Category: Mixed Media

More Shrooms…

I enjoyed my first mushroom paintings so I thought I’d make a second set the next day. Still fun! Who knew there were so many varieties of edible mushrooms. I feel so deprived. I saw a video yesterday of really odd-looking shrooms, I should try those next.

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I wish I can see these in person. Especially the green one. It looks like the 1Up mushroom in the game Mario Bros.

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Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Phthalocyanine Blue, Forest Green, Phthalo Green, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

‘Shrooms

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I was sick with cough and colds last week, so I wasn’t really able to sit up too long and paint anything. I’m feeling much better today, though. I thought I’d have a little fun. I had the idea while having dinner with my husband and a friend last Sunday. We had some awesome mushroom chicharon (deep fried mushrooms that taste like pork cracklings)  for appetizers and oh mah goodness. Those things are delicious! If I were blindfolded, I wouldn’t have guessed those were oyster mushrooms. I thought the little folds and textures were interesting.

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On this page, I drew/painted oyster mushrooms (yum), morel and chanterelle mushrooms.

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On this page, shiitake, enoki and porcini. It was lots of fun! I had a great time exploring different kinds of browns, yellows, and reds.

Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

Moleskine Watercolour Album (First Impressions)

I must admit that I’ve never been particularly impressed with Moleskine notebooks before. They’re not very fountain pen-friendly and they’re quite expensive. Since I’ve been trying out different watercolor journals that I can take around with me in my bag when I go out, I thought I’d give their watercolor notebooks a try. Maybe they will be suitable for urban sketching. I bought the smallest size first so I can try it out before committing to a bigger sized journal.

I was pleasantly surprised with it. The size is 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, it has 30 leaves (60 pages) of 200 gsm, acid-free, cold-pressed paper that have 25% cotton content. I’ve only used 100% cotton paper and I love them a lot, but I wanted to try something smaller and with thinner paper.

Since it’s not 100% cotton, I expected it to buckle a lot after several washes, but it actually held up pretty well with a few light washes. You can add several layers without the paper warping. I do mostly ink and wash drawings, so I think the paper holds up pretty well because I don’t do a lot of super wet washes.

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I like that the blank ink of my drawing pen pops on the paper. It seems to be very picky about fountain pen inks. Some bleed horribly while some don’t, but pigment ink work very beautifully with it.

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It’s easy on my brushes too, since the paper doesn’t fight it too much. On the flip side, the paper absorbs the water pretty quickly so I have to work very fast if I want to do some basic blending. I need to be careful with blending washes on paper, though because it doesn’t seem like it will take a lot of abuse like 100% cotton paper does.

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I like the subtle texture of the paper too. It adds some character to the paintings.

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I picked this size because I thought I’d just test the paper out, but turns out I like this pocket-sized notebook a lot. It’s just big enough to accommodate some simple sketches, but it’s great for practicing layers and drawings.

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I like that the binding allows the little book to lay flat easily, and the hard cover also makes it easy to hold up when sketching without a hard surface. I think it’s great for urban sketching.

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I’ve tried other journals that have about the same cotton content and I’m so disappointed that the paper somehow makes the colors of the painting look dull. This one stays true to what it’s supposed to look like. It looks so vibrant, especially in person. It’s hard to capture the colors in photos at home (it’s a bit too dark in my study), but the colors really pop on the page.

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So far, the ink that works best with this paper (aside from the pigmented drawing inks) is J. Herbin Perle Noire, in case you want to use fountain pens in your drawings. I don’t have waterproof Noodlers inks yet, so I wasn’t able to test them. Iroshizuku inks don’t fare too well. They spider out and feather like crazy.

It’s also pretty nice that the paper doesn’t show a lot of warping, as you can see below.

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Overall, me likey. It fits my preferred style, at least. If you’re fond of using a lot of wet washes, I’m not sure that the paper can hold up well to it. But for urban sketching and some light washes and layering, it works well enough. I think I can commit to a larger notebook now.

Review: Sennelier 24-Watercolor Half Pan Walnut Set

Something awesome came in the mail last week. My husband’s Christmas gift came early and I was so over the moon with it.

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I’ve been coveting this watercolor set from ArtNebulaPH for quite some time now. I agonized for months about buying it but always ended up buying a half pan refill here and there just to try out the colors. I’ve tried a few brands but I really like Sennelier best. I just remembered that he was even the one who encouraged me to try out the Aqua Mini set, because I’m always a bit slow on pulling the trigger on some things that I want for myself.

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The watercolor set came in a gorgeous walnut box. It’s got some weight to it, most probably because of what’s inside. It feels solid and the box looks and feels well-crafted. There’s nothing shoddy about it, even the steel clasp.

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The hinge opens easily, all the way to the back, so you can lie the set flat. Inside is a whole assortment of gorgeous colors, all wrapped up like candy treats.  The colors included in the set are Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Deep, Phthalo Blue, Cinereous Blue, Warm Sepia, Lemon Yellow, Indian Yellow, Naples Yellow Deep, Bright Red, Venetian Red, Carmine, Opera Rose, French Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Alizarin Crimson, Payne’s Grey, Ivory Black, Phthalo Green Light, Viridian, Forest Green, Cobalt Violet Light Hue, and Dioxazine Purple. There are two brushes inside (A #2 Raphael mop brush and a tiny Sennelier #3 detail brush). I know the Raphael mop brush is made of squirrel hair, I’m not sure if the detail brush is synthetic or natural, but it’s also quite a nice brush. I decided to keep using it.

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Unwrapping all the pretty half pans is quite the thrill. It’s my first artist-grade watercolor set, so I was so excited to see all of them lined up and unwrapped, pretty as a picture.

It also had a porcelain palette included in the box, which is the thing that added to the weight of the whole package. It’s my first time to use a porcelain palette and I must say that I find it easier to unload water and pigment from my brush instead of in my regular plastic palette which has more surface tension, I think. It just feels like the porcelain palette takes water easier than my plastic one. It’s easier to clean too, and doesn’t stain.

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Here’s the color chart for the set. 🙂 I don’t usually keep a color chart of my little watercolor palettes, but I realized it’s helpful because some colors tend to dry differently from what you expect. You can’t really judge a color just by looking at what’s in the pan.

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I like Sennelier watercolors because the ones that I have tried have very vibrant hues and the consistency is like butter. It’s easy to lift up with a brush, easy to mix, and apply on paper.

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The colors I tried so far have a nice transparency to them. It’s great with layering colors and building up values.

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This flower painting was done on a Strathmore watercolor journal. The paper was okay, though I prefer Arches and Khadi paper better because it shows off the vibrancy of the pigment very well. The painting below is on Khadi paper.

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Overall, it’s a very beautiful, well-presented set. I wish there were more kinds of green, though. It may not be portable compared to pocket watercolor sets, but it’s a nice set to have at home or if you don’t mind bringing it around with you. The pigments are beautifully vibrant and varied. The brushes included are also pretty good, they’re a lot of fun to use. This set will probably last me a long time, since I mostly do small watercolor paintings in my journal, anyway. Any color that I use up, I can easily order a refill of online.

It’s awesome that there are online stores like ArtNebulaPH and others that already sell these wonderful, premium watercolor brands. I’m very happy with it.

Also, cheers to my wonderful, supportive husband. 🙂

Year 5

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Last month was my mom’s 5th death anniversary. I still think of her all the time. She’s a remarkable woman, and many times I ask myself if I am living in a way that she would want me to live. She’s like a compass that always points me to my true north. This is a great loss that still aches so much whenever I think about her.

My mom had a rough childhood. Actually, “rough” would be an understatement. But her childhood was like a refining fire that made her better, not worse. She and papa were determined to be good, God-fearing parents. I take after part of my mom’s temperament. I was melancholic, always kept to myself, and had trouble making friends because I was painfully shy and was perfectly happy by myself. She made an effort to make good friends, though. I remember when I was young, she made it a point to ask me how I was doing at school and if I made any friends. She told me that being an only child, we didn’t have aunts and uncles from her side of the family. She asked God to give her good friends who will also love her children. Good relationships are from Him too, she said.

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She and papa started out with very little. This was the house where we grew up. It’s a cluster of old homes in E. Pascua St., a jumble of old, patched up wood and rusty roofing materials. We were poor, but my parents did gave their best effort for us. We would eventually move out of this neighborhood to a better one, but I would always carry in my heart our humble beginnings and how my parents taught us to live with integrity and a healthy sense of self-worth.

My mother also showed me by example that women can be strong and successful. During my teenage years, I remember her telling me that if I decide to get married, I should choose a man who isn’t intellectually insecure. I always kept that in mind. I saw how my father was always so supportive of her and gentle in his ways, and I married a man who is the same towards me. 🙂

I also saw how my mother treated everybody the same. She treated their office janitor with the same dignity that she gave the company CEO. Ayaw ni mama sa matapobre.

She was a voracious reader, and she encouraged this habit in us too. She’s the original Serial Doodler. 🙂 She was always writing, writing, writing. When she passed away, I gathered all of her journals and kept them in a drawer so I can read them later and hear her voice again inside my mind. I am thankful that she kept journals because her thoughts are precious to me.

It’s the fifth year without her. Though the grief has faded into a dull throb, I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get to that point when it won’t hurt anymore. Maybe someday I’ll find out.