Sketches from Andre

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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:13 am

This year, taking my busman's holiday at the Iditarod, I made two paintings; the other one is above. In the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race at this point the musher runs along rolling low wooded hills and ridges, really quite pleasant, then the dog team crests one last forested ridge and enters the alien hell of the Farewell Burn. This is the grim remnant of Alaska's largest forest fire, a million and a half acres burning in 1978, through which the race runs for 40 miles. Without trees, the sightlines are forever, and at night one can see the single light of the radar tower on the peak of Tatalina Mountain, near McGrath, a couple of days away by dogsled, seeming to stay eternally unreachable even at racing sled dog speed. While in it, the Farewell Burn seems to continue forever, without hope, like Purgatory. It is the all-too-real proof that after three days among the trees the Spirit of the Forest, Wendigo, drives men mad.

Image
Andre Jute: The Farewell Burn, Alaska, an Iditarod Trail painting, acrylic on card, 320x230mm, 2016

I made two of these paintings, mirror images, because I intend to use them as endplates for a sketchbook that I'm binding. The sketchbook is 300gr cotton watercolor paper, which is why I made the painting in acrylic. For further waterproofing I'll also varnish both the front and the back of the cardstock before glueing it in.

There's more about the book to which this is linked on my blog at http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/fare ... rn-alaska/
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Russ » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:12 am

When I squinted my eyes, a dog jumped out at me!
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:34 am

Sure thing, Russ. Depending on which you saw, its name is either Toots or General. They're characters in IDITAROD
a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth
. I have some ebook copies my publisher lets me give away, so you and anyone else here just need to ask.

Here's some explanatory discussion of the painting above with a knowledgeable chap on my cycling conference who saw the deer in the background, and some differently lit views of the painting:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11568.msg85816#msg85816
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Sat May 07, 2016 10:23 pm

In a post on Rajesh's thread today I mention a couple of new watercolour kits I made up. Here is one of them.

Image

This is a complete tube watercolour kit, A5, which is approx 6x8in. The deep brown leather cover is by the Sino-Irish designer John Rocha and the deckle-edged pages inside I ripped from 300gr imperial cotton sheets by Arches, Fabriano and Saunders Waterford. I described earlier how I "bind" these books with elastic bands or other flexible holders so that they lie flat and every spread is a true spread.

Image

The box is the same size and holds everything to make the kit self-contained: 12 tubes of paint, three sable brushes sizes 4, 6, 10, a sponge in a watertight container, a water bottle, a double dipper with watertight lids for rinsing and clean water, a 2mm clutch pencil, twin 6-hole mixing palettes. and some kitchen roll (behind the palettes) for wiping the brushes and blotting the paint either to catch runs or to vary the layup. It fits in the side pockets of my outdoors jackets or in a messenger bag. It's the biggest kit I have that is still pocketable.

My bigger kit (the red leather book described earlier and a big box of M Graham 15ml watercolour tubes plus another bag for brushes, plus water) definitely requires a big bag or briefcase; a book that big requires a bag even if the colour is in a small case of pans and you use water brushes. I have a smaller postcard-sized kit too, which lives on my bike and which y'all have often seen; it fits even my cycling jacket's small pockets.
Last edited by Andre Jute on Sun May 08, 2016 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Alitogata » Sun May 08, 2016 10:09 am

Where did you get this wooden box Andre?? :)
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Sun May 08, 2016 2:49 pm

Alitogata wrote:Where did you get this wooden box Andre?? :)


The German supermarket chain Lidl has a branch in my village. Twice a year for three days they sell a selection of art supplies, sometimes fine quality gear for very reasonable prices. The wooden box originally held a selection of charcoal sticks and pencils and erasers and a sharpener and a sanding block. It cost six or seven euro — the box is worth that much to me! The charcoal was used up, the tools distributed to other kits, and the box, being a convenient A5 size, was repurposed first to a plein air acrylic kit and now to this watercolour kit.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Alitogata » Mon May 09, 2016 1:16 am

Here is a Lidl at every other corner! :roll: :lol:
But I have to check continuously on their web site in order to see when they have offers at art materials something that I don't bother to do. Nice box though. It can make a very nice watercolour box if you stick with some kind of sticky tack half or full pans in there.

I made a very nice watercolour box that holds 12 full pans from a cigar box that I modified it. I don't have a photo available right now but I'll take one tomorrow to see it.

And I found a very nice e shop here in Greece that has a plethora of sketching stuff including the sharpener that you bought the other day from Amazon. The KUM one with the lid sharpening thing.
And this store has also Kuretake and nib pens and inks and such things for manga drawing.
Check them here: http://www.arttime.gr/index.php?route=common/home
They told me that they send their products abroad so if you like something you can buy it from there. I find their prices reasonable.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Alitogata » Mon May 09, 2016 1:24 am

What do you think about the prices of these brushes?
Are these the same as yours?

http://www.arttime.gr/index.php?route=p ... t_id=17632
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Merry Christmas, everyone

Postby Andre Jute » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:10 am

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Image

I got some new brushes, including a one-inch W&N Kolinsky sable one-stroke, which is how I made those wide bars on the Christmas card. Other brushes used were a number 4 Jackson's series 1205 Tajmir sable (it's an Escoda Reserva 1214 by another name) and Jackson's flat half-inch foliage comb, which appears to be made for them by Rosemary and Co from coarse animal-hair and a Jackson's size 6 squirrel mop for the cloud. (You can see, I like Jackson's. Their brush copies are the real goods by the original makers, at very much reduced prices in the frequent sales.) The brown ink on the foremost house is my new secret formula. I call it Andre's Ambre de Karroo. The Karroo is the desert in which I grew up. It's lightfast pigmented ink, not chemical, fountain-penable up to a week or so but at about a month it starts to clog fountain pens, though I haven't actually ruined any. But after the first house or two I found I''d run out because I made only a little (ingredients are expensive and difficult to get) and used it all up in my sketchbooks. The black ink is common Bulletproof, the watercolor is M Graham, including the white haze (which I was prepared to do over in gouache as recommended by posters on this conference, but it proved unnecessary) and the paper is Saunders Waterford 300gsm 100% cotton, the stuff recommended by the Royal Society. The painting is octavo, 11x7.5in, made in the A4 red leather covered custom sketch book shown being constructed somewhere else in this thread. It's an idealized version of my little town from the steps of the Catholic Church; the town calls itself the Rome of West Cork because it is built on seven hills.
Last edited by Andre Jute on Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Alitogata » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:43 pm

Merry Christmas!!
Beautiful sketch Andre! :)
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby mdmattin » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:55 am

That is a lovely sketch, Andre. I love the interplay of abstraction and representation and the sunny colors. It reminds me of a charming children's book, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, I Want to Paint My Bathroom Blue.
I used to live in Worcester MA, at the time a gritty mill town, but heir to the grandeur that was Rome by virtue of its seven hills. Also the birthplace of the monkey wrench, the modern typewriter, and Abbie Hoffman.
Matthew
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:23 am

Making a
TEST AND REFERENCE PAGE OF MY TEXTURE AND OTHER SPECIAL PURPOSE BRUSHES
TEST AND REFERENCE PAGE OF W&N CALLIGRAPHY INKS


I don't know if I've explained this before, but I have a zip-round (to keep the moths out of my sables -- roll-up canvas is no good) book of brushes in my studio for each size of watercolor I might tackle, and the books are named for the sizes: Imperial, folio (half-imperial), quarto, octavo; these contain in the main sable and squirrel brushes; there are also books for mixed sable and synthetic brushes (a class of brush I'm very keen on, considering the good ones brilliant allrounders); a book for brushes reserved for gouache and ink; a book for brushes used on rough-surfaced paper; plus a book for synthetic brushes; also a book of brushes kept with sketchbooks and paintboxes downstairs on the kitchen dresser where I often paint as I eat my midnight snack. There are also books for long-handled oil brushes, which I don't use (I keep a couple of wooden cases, one for painting with silicon-tipped wipe-clean implements, one for painting knives), and a book for acrylic brushes which is kept in my acrylic case (illustrated in this thread). Each of my pochade boxes and watercolor kits also carries brushes or other tools appropriate to the size and medium. God knows how many brushes I have; some I inherited from my teacher and my father-in-law are a century or more old, and better than most you can buy today.

It is good professional painting practice, unless you're a miniaturist, always to pick up the biggest brush that will do the biggest job on the page, and not to swap it for a smaller brush unless you're forced to. The sign of a wistful amateur, or a jumped-up graphic designer, or an arty housewife, is messing around with teeny brushes. Especially in watercolor, you want to lay the stroke on fat and juicy — and then not mess with it unless you're glazing or blotting or using some other technique to a purposeful plan.

These books for various sizes of artwork of course hold brushes scaled to the size of the artwork, up to size 50 in round, or the standard German quill size 8, which is the equivalent. In each book there are also different types of brushes scaled to the size of art intended. In particular, each book has its own specialty brushes, in the main texture brushes because these days I'm mainly a landscape painter. Note however that I do a lot of work with for instance a large sword brush that someone else might do with a round or a rigger or the edge of a flat.

Anyway, I needed a reference of all my special purpose brushes, and I had this custom sketchbook with one last spread left in it already lying on my desk. The paper is common neutral grey thin project card bought in a pad from Lidl and cut down to size to be used as interleaves for Arches 300gr, but I discovered it is rather nice to work on, so I painted the interleaves as well. The pigment is a full set of W&N Calligraphy pigmented inks I've been building up (I bought a pack of six, found them good, and filled in the rest as they became available at Cork Art Supplies) for which I also needed a reference, and between the specialty brushes and the specialty inks and the need for every brush and every ink to appear on the page, these parameters account for the weird structuring and coloring of the page.


Image
The pen is a Duke Confucius signature pen for Chinese characters, a faux fude pen, in which the flip nib mimics a brush. This is the longest flip nib among the dozen or so I have. The fancy Confucius is too expensive (about €60 or €70 landed here) to take the chance on pigmented ink ruining it, but I wanted to try it; you can find superb Chinese flip nib fountain pens on Ebay for a handful of Euro, cheap enough not to care if you ruin them by leaving pigmented ink in too long (I especially like the Jinhao 450X and 250X). The light tan ink is my own custom-made Andre's Ambre de Karroo, pigmented, lightfast, washable while wet, water-resistant when dry, too expensive in ingredients to make in big batches which accounts for the mean little bottle. The color of the ink serendipitously matches the leather slipcase I made, rough side out for plain air traction, for my rough sketchbook. The paper is cheap student card stock from the supermarket Lidl, used as interleave for expensive paper in my custom sketchbooks, fortuitously discovered to be nice to work on.

Image
I have so many specialty brushes because I keep full sets of brushes for various sizes and mediums of paintings, simply for convenience; some, like a squirrel sword too soft for me, are not shown because I know I will never use them. If you keep only one brush set, you need only five specialty brushes. The most useful of those shown is the large Rosemary & Co sword, sable and synthetic mix, expensive but worth it, fifth from the bottom, with which I often complete a painting up to A4; it makes thin and variable lines and all kinds of figures, and can also be used for interesting washes. Then I recommend the three Royal soft grip brushes shown, transparent plastic handles, soft grip holds, synthetic fibre, cheap at three euro each, which are a square comb and a filbert comb plus an angled flat useful for botanicals or just as a scrubber. The fifth brush that is extremely useful but not shown here is a really worn toothbrush, hair pointing every which way. Of special interest is the second brush from the bottom, a Winsor & Newton "rotary tree brush" I inherited, decades out of production, but you can now get a copy from Rosemary; it takes some learning though, so if you're on a budget, buy the far more versatile sword instead.

Image
My set of W&N Calligraphy inks, pigmented and therefore lightfast, water based, claimed to be fountain pen safe, though you'd better clean out your fountain pens once a week, certainly not less often than once a month. Good with brushes, as here. Note that I keep the non-fountainpenable bottles (metallics, whites) in a different box to avoid expensive mistakes. Note also that I have a spare bottle of the bright yellow, because I like using it as a mixer and therefore go through it faster than the other colors. The needle point squeeze bottle is my custom Andre's Ambre de Karroo, and the small white bottle top right contains ingredients to make more; Andre's Ambre is described above. In the lid of the wine box in which I keep these inks are a collapsible waterpot, a tin holding nibs and nib holders for general and specialty pens, and a tin for my Graphos pens, a now obsolete drafting pen that handles pigmented inks easily in its built-in reservoir and for which a soft "sketching nib" was available (I'm looking for a sketching nib since mine broke). Meanwhile I use these inks with brushes and in my fude and straight nib fountain pens as I can't be bothered with dip pens.

Image
It's not art, it's a test of brushes and inks, and a reference to use for future artworks when, in a rage of creativity, I want to pick up just the right brush and just the right ink, no messing around.
Last edited by Andre Jute on Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby RajeshS » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:08 pm

Incredible Andre

>> always to pick up the biggest brush that will do the biggest job on the page: Yes - sound advice

>> The light tan ink is my own custom-made Andre's Ambre de Karroo: WOW! :) This is so ingenious!

The "test page" that you made - I must say - is beautiful to me. The use of metallic color - is so pleasing in some places - it is almost like sun shining on plants

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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Andre Jute » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:08 am

Thanks, Rajesh.

RajeshS wrote:The use of metallic color - is so pleasing in some places - it is almost like sun shining on plants

I was so pleased with the effect of the gold and silver inks that I ordered small tubes of gold and silver watercolor (Schmincke) to put in my studio kit. I haven't used them yet, but I'm planning to try some tiny highlights. I also ordered a tube of irridescent white oil (W&N) and the very next idea I had for a painting — required it; I swear, I didn't put my finger on the scales, the subject (three wolves or huskies sitting on roiled snow turning to ice) just requires it. In addition, when I made up a gouache set (W&N) to use on a custom sketchbook of colored Ingres paper I made, I ordered gold and silver as well as the normal fine art mixing colors (1).

(1) BTW, don't buy W&N's set of six or set of twelve gouache colors, even though it says "Artist's" on them. They aren't. They're selected for the use of graphic designers, and you'll have to throw out several tubes because they're not lightfast. I bought the set of six and was sickened when I realized how many tubes I would have to trash as made of multiple pigments, not lightfast, simply just wrong for making art to hang rather than for reproduction. I had to byu probably twelve tubes, including several replacements, to have a good artist's set; cheaper to start from scratch, I think. On the other hand, W&N gouache is cheap for what you get (lots of the same pigment as in the watercolors, and in 14ml tubes). and it handles agreeably well.
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Re: Sketches from Andre

Postby Alitogata » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:17 am

Andre Jute wrote:Thanks, Rajesh.

(1) BTW, don't buy W&N's set of six or set of twelve gouache colors, even though it says "Artist's" on them. They aren't. They're selected for the use of graphic designers, and you'll have to throw out several tubes because they're not lightfast. I bought the set of six and was sickened when I realized how many tubes I would have to trash as made of multiple pigments, not lightfast, simply just wrong for making art to hang rather than for reproduction. I had to byu probably twelve tubes, including several replacements, to have a good artist's set; cheaper to start from scratch, I think. On the other hand, W&N gouache is cheap for what you get (lots of the same pigment as in the watercolors, and in 14ml tubes). and it handles agreeably well.


The best gouache colours are the Van Gogh ones made by Talens. I have some paintings that were made with these colours back in my student days more than thirty years ago, that haven't changed at all, after all these years.
General speaking W&N colours ( watercolours or gouache) are overpriced and in some cases inferior to other brands. And their half watercolour pans ( artists or student grade) are smaller than the others something that I find it completely ridiculous. How much colour are they going to save if they cut the size of the already small half pans? Half ml or what on each half pan?? :roll:
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