when the flowers are in bloom

3rd st Davis
It feels like I’ve not been sketching as much lately. This is true. Though my busy 2013 initially brought a burst of sketchbook activity hitherto unseen (or so it felt), I’ve had little energy to go out and sketch as much as before. Well, that and the dreaded allergies – it’s that time of year. This always happens to me at around late March, early April: not just the allergies, but a general slowing down of the manic sketching. I refer to it as my annual “what does it all mean” phase. It picks up again pretty quickly. The weather is getting hot already, but we’ve had a lot of wind as well. Sneezing city. Anyway, I did take a lunchtime last week to try out a lovely new sketchbook I was sent by the kind people at Stillman and Birn. It’s their latest product, from the new extra heavyweight ‘Zeta’ series. Much smoother paper, but super thick too, 180lb. I usually try out new sketchbooks at the comfort of my living room table, where all the elements are just so, and let’s face it that isn’t how I do most of my sketching. So I took it downtown, and used a worn-in micron pen. It took a bit of getting used to – while the paper is smoother, my penwork is used to the slightly less smooth paper of the watercolour moleskine, but I got the hang of it. I am relishing doing a big pen-heavy piece. I was also drawing in a larger format than usual, and I always forget that takes a bit longer. I added the colours at home. The paint, that was going to be the test, and yes it’s different from watercolour paper, but it really takes the paint very well. It’s thick paper, so it doesn’t buckle at all, but unlike some other smooth papers the paint doesn’t bead up. Overall, very exciting paper!

This is that block on Third Street I have sketched several times.

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