Category: Watercolors

Yesterday’s Theme: Frozen Treats

This year opened up with a lot of challenges at work, so I really hardly had any time to draw, paint, or write. I did find a bit of free time yesterday, though, to participate in Doodlewash’s theme which is Frozen Treats. January’s themes are all about childhood memories, and the first thing that came to mind when I thought about my favorite childhood frozen treats was Funwich. Ah, yes, I still have a Funwich-shaped hole in my heart because it’s not in production anymore.

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I remember when I was young, Funwich was a bit more expensive than other frozen treats, but it was really worth it. My brother and I would save up our lunch money and head off to this little store just a few meters from our house called Mini Mart to buy these sweet treats.

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He liked the chocolate flavored Funwich, I liked the vanilla ones. Perhaps it’s because I’m remembering The Funwich through the eyes of my younger self, and good childhood memories are always awesome, but I think this is still the best ice cream sandwich I ever tried.

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There are a lot of food memories tied to my childhood. We lived in an open community and, unlike gated communities, there’s an overabundance of street vendors, sari-sari stores, carinderias, and other places to buy food. From binatog to betamax, I tried them all haha. Oh, the wonderful memories of childhood, when things were simple and you didn’t really think too much about how clean the kapitbahay’s ice candy is, you just buy it especially if there’s mangga flavor. ^_^

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

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. 🙂