Sneaked out of a family journey for an hour and a half of sketching and testing various equipment. Haven’t been an active sketcher recently, so those goodies piled up in the meantime: it was a triple test of De Atramentis DOCUMENT BROWN ink (which I’m using for some time now at my home, but this was the first real “en plain air” situation), Terry Harrison’s TREE&TEXTURE small watercolor brush and THE PERFECT SKETCHBOOK, my newest acquisition I partly helped via Kickstarter. All this put to use together at the beautiful site of monastery GORNJAK in east Serbia.
As I knew I will be finishing it in color, I did just a simple drawing to determine the composition and basic shapes. I’m yet to write my whole review of De Atramentis DOCUMENT BROWN, but can tell already that it is a great sketching ink. No feathering, no bleeding, quick to dry, stays put even under many layers of water and paint and is as waterproof as Platinum CARBON BLACK (which is my regular choice). The advantage of De Atramentis is it’s color, nice reddish brown. And there are OTHER COLORS too, which, even better, are intermixable, so the perfect shade shouldn’t be far off.
I installed myself on top of the stairs leading to the small chapel so I could lay down the sketchbook in front of me and place my tools around. It was a sunny spot so I did well, even though my brushstrokes were to the rhythm of breaking ice that gentleman was playing with his shovel down in the yard.
Took me about 40 minutes and I called it done. TREE&TEXTURE brush is a welcome addition to my stable – it gives nice randomness to strokes, very useful for textured parts. I wouldn’t be able to do as natural on rough plaster work of chapel wall or stones if I was to recreate them just with a standard brush.
All this on pages of THE PERFECT SKETCHBOOK which is of a convenient small size to be manipulated around, well put together with pages opening flat (which is very handy if you like working on spreads like me). I would like the paper to be heavier, for the feel of it and to prevent buckling, as I tend to molest my pages with many glazes of water and paint. But it is a quality paper, so it did well and once strapped after the session, it straightened dry pretty much. The surface is slightly textured and provides feedback, but not to extent to prevent fountain pens from working smoothly.
So the final result looks something like this:
On the way back I stopped at ruins of monastery BLAGOVESTENJE, but as that part of the mountains is in the shade I quickly got cold. All the stones and grass being damp, I had to stand up all the while I was drawing, supporting the sketchbook in my left hand. As I said, for that kind of application, the size of THE PERFECT SKETCHBOOK, as well as fact that it stays open and flat, were, heh, just perfect
It would have been nice to paint all the brickwork, but my fingers were getting numb and time was running out. One last photo of both the model and result, and off to lunch I went.