My New Sketchbook Prompts a Look at Other Sketchbooks

My husband surprised me yesterday by saying he would go to Curry’s to pick up the art supplies I wanted.

Unfortunately, Curry’s was out of the little folding palette I wanted. They will call when they have stock in, but it means my husband has to make another detour on his way to work. The little plastic palette I am using now only holds 8 colours and I carry it in an under-sized, open plastic sleeve, so it’s not ideal. I squeeze my tube watercolours in the wells and then let it all dry–that makes a great build-your-own field kit.


This is the one I want, it’s only $5 so not the greatest, but it has 33 wells and since I only have 18 colours I could probably put a few colours of gouache in the top wells. I never use my gouache, which is Reeves student grade junk, but if I had it handy…


I was checking the information for the Great Canadian Sketchbook I currently use, and it has 110 lb. paper, whereas the new sketchbook has 100 lb. paper. I covered the front with wallpaper and pressed leaves from the garden. I call this my Cinderella Sketchbook because I bought and decorated it for my 50th birthday with a picture of Cinderella. I carry a calligraphy sheet with it since I practice lettering in there too. My accordion journals are ones I use my wonky calligraphy in.


I was doing well with this accordion journal until I spilled the gold ink that I use with my dip pen and lost half a bottle of it. I just checked it and the bottle has dried up so I’ll get a replacement so I can continue in these journals. I find I have to be in the mood to work on such small paper, each section measures 3 x 6 inches, and the dark coloured paper can be a bit tiring to work on too.



So here is the new Stillman and Birn Gamma series sketchbook. I’ve gone through it twice, bending it gently open as recommended by the manufacturer, and the pages are lying fairly flat. This is a Smyth sewn binding so they lie flat but you have to use the book to work it in as well. I love the ivory-coloured paper in this new sketchbook.


Paton and his dog Willie were taking Cerberus for a walk (only Patton can handle Cerberus!), and they were exploring my four new tubes of paint too. I am keen to try Hooker’s Green, and Phthalo Green is an old favourite of mine from when I used to use acrylics at the age of 16. I use Van Gogh watercolour paints because I can afford them, but they actually aren’t that bad, and are better than some of the student grade paints.

I used to have oodles of energy and creativity, but chronic pain and poor health really saps my interest most days now. I started that mandala you can see on the right, but my arm is hurting from using the coloured pencil so I’ve lost the impetus to keep going. I hope to putter away at this by including some watercolour, and then start working in the marvelous new journal.

I’ve lost my oomph in the last year. I take my supplements and try to eat properly, and making art does help build some joy back into my life here and there.

Cerberus is a big help to me too. You know how he is, so cheery and welcoming.



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