Heavy Paper Review 1: Watercolor Blick Studio

I’m a paper snob. A necessary trait for someone who has a heavy hand and utilizes wet mediums (Watercolors/Heavy Metal mixes/Gouaches/India Inks). As such, I like to test out various paper stocks to see which can best handle heavy mediums while still being smooth enough to support extensive line-work without forcing a texture.

Over the past two weeks I’ve worked with Blick’s in-store studio watercolor 9×12 paper.

Cost: I got it on sale for six dollars, which is very low for a whole 15 sheets of 9×12.

Specs: 9×12 inch (confirmed with ruler, +- .05 inches depending on the serration), 140ib. weight, with a smooth finish. Acid-free and Cold-press! Both good things. Made in the USA, if you care about that. The 140 pounds is standard for watercolor, but nothing special. I usually like it a higher around 160-180, but that’s just so I don’t have to worry about killing the tooth.

Texture: The texture is extremely smooth, which is what drew me in at first. Smoothness is often a double edged sword, though, as it can often correlate with a weaker tooth, which means I have to be subtle with the watercolors (God-forbid I take my time, right?)

Ink performance: This is a beautiful stock for archival and fountain inks. It can take a good amount of pen punishment without showing indents or pressure lines. I had no issues getting a good range of value either, which means the absorbance isn’t too high (some papers spread ink when you put it down too thick).

Pencil performance: It falters in the higher b pencil range, probably because its pretty thick. Texture lines will show up if you aren’t careful, but the texture is very ordered, so used correctly, this could be a bonus. hb to 6h works perfectly well as long as you sharpen enough. My 4h really liked this paper, it started to scratch above 6, though.

Watercolor performance: This is the part most of you will want to pay attention to, considering its marketed as a watercolor studio level paper. I was a little let down by how quickly the tooth came up in the mid to shadow range of my drawing. I’ve almost never wrecked the tooth with a moderately saturated tone (the middle color of a particular watercolor). Putting down deeper colors was a big struggle and I had to do it dry as the paper didn’t hold well against the paints. It was noticeably worse against my higher quality watercolors, especially ones with metals, despite being acid-free. The glaze from my series 4 amethyst barely shined despite using a bunch of it almost entirely dry.

Metal Performance: As with most smooth Cold-pressed paper, Metals and glue bind well and sink into the tooth if you’re delicate. Very good paper for leafing and adhesives. Here is a link to a piece in which I used extensive adhesives and leafing with this paper: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/30/sagittarius-art-in-progress/

Oil performance: I only used a white oil in the drawing, but it reacted very well with the paper and watercolor and I was able to achieve the low opacity effect I was attempting without any issues.

Conclusion: This is a great stock for light-range watercolors, pen drawings, light use of oils. It suffers quite a bit with wet gouaches and mid-deep tone watercolors as well as heavy metal paints and mixed media projects. Overall, it’s still an excellent stock for the price. In store it was going for eight normally, but online it is listed for a mere 5.72, and I got it for 6 with a membership card.

Rating for price: 7.4/10

Rating overall: 5.6/10

 

Here is the mixed media painting that I did on the paper. I did quite a bit to repair the damage to the right of her head, but it still showed up in the final project despite two layers of dry oil over it. For these reasons I would not use it for an intensive mixed-media painting, but it performs extremely well for subtler projects, just go easy on the water and saturation and you’ll be fine : )Food2

Artwork: Pisces

The second piece of my Zodiac project. After Leo (found here:https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/29/artwork-zodiac-series-1/) I really wanted to clean up the line-work and composition. This almost ended up looking a little too clean for the style, I think. This is probably the first time where I’ve had a reverse fore-ground, where the background is so noisy that it draws attention to the undetailed focus of the painting, which is a weird but kinda cool effect. Sorry about my shadow on the bottom of the picture, I have a very dark room and the light is currently out, so I had to use the window!

Concept: Pisces are all about finding that one person who makes them feel whole, there yin or yang, so to speak. To a true Pisces, life may not seem worth living until they find that person or thing that drives them. You know what they say, life was built for two.

Love2

Sagittarius (Art in progress)

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Spent a good amount of time getting the outline done and some preliminary shading so I know where to put the watercolor. Tried a new technique using metals and glue which turned out pretty cool for the first try. I used my fingernail for most of it to be honest. Still need to put in the Shadows and clean up the contour before I get to painting, though.

A few mistakes, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going.

Artwork: Leo

The first piece of a conceptual project I was commissioned for. This represents the zodiac sign Leo. I wanted to get across the whole sense of individuality and feelings of not quite belonging where-ever you go.

Overall it went pretty well, a lot of pen and line errors, especially in the skeletal portion. Had a lot of fun and learned some new techniques with watercolor.

11×8 inches on blick watercolor paper. Done in watercolor and ballpoint pens. The word are an overlay comprised of typed text and a page from my dictionary.

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Artwork in Progress + Steps

 

I recorded many of the steps along the way: 

Outline work:

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Minor shading and reinforcing line-work:

IMG_7122

 

Watercolor overlay and deeper mid-tone base:

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Water-color detailing (Bad Picture, the light is reflecting off the heavier painted areas):

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Heavy oil and pen shading+detailing in addition to skin shading and texture work (Current Progress):

GhostV4

It has taken on a bit of a surreal vibe with the self-harm symbolism being echoed through the blood-tinged smoke, the wrist, the smoking, and standing in front of a moving train. I like how dark I’ve managed to get the shadows as well. I need to go in with some white and highlight a few things, but I want to get basic mid-ranges handled on the train and grass before I do so.

The scene itself is from Finding Happy: Chapter 11, which hasn’t been released yet. I need to spend a week or two re-editing the flow of part one as a whole, at which time I’ll start releasing more hard-content. Another issues with these pictures is I couldn’t submit .Tif files, which really hurts the shadows in the current drawing, especially the hair. I’m going to try to figure out which compression file works best for it in future uploads, but I just wanted an update on artwork put out since it’s been almost a week and a half.

-Cheers

Bluebeard

Blood-Hound (Poem + Drawing)

Blood Hound   —–>PDF with proper formatting, manuscript below. 

 

Blood-hound

________
I’ll be your sick-bird,
you be my blood-hound,
My hearts in your mouth,
Breaking neck spins round.
But,
You’re not the one to blame,
You see; I can’t complain,
This is all you’ve known.
Blackened bloody mold,
Just doing what you’re told.

Your love was a warhead,
A straight time-bomb,
You taught me this lesson,
That I ain’t so strong.
Take your pound of flesh,
Don’t matter if it’s right,
Hit me while I’m fresh,
You know I’ll never fight,
As long as you let me,
Love you more than this life.

So here’s to that jaw,
Tightening ‘round me,
I’m just your dead-bird,
So be my blood-hound,
‘Cause baby,
You’re the one with teeth.
And all I am is meat.

_______________

7×11 cut watercolor, Pen and marker. Edited fox

Reworked Poems (9/27/17) + Art

Had a few hours to tinker around with the balance of some of these. I also finished a drawing I started a few years back. As always just click the blue links for a PDF version of each poem with the superior formatting. Drawing is at the bottom.

Fractured Memories (Click for PDF version):

Fractured Memories
_______
The pain that’s easiest to hide,
Numb,
The one hurt I can’t abide.
I find,
The times I want to die,
Are when I stop feeling alive,
But you threw the die,
Told me to try,
You didn’t laugh when I’d start to cry,
Or when I told you to help me fly,
Away from here.
I wanted was to be free,
Can you be my key,
The one and only who’ll let me be,
Me.
I don’t know where I’m going,
Or how long-away I’ll be,
But you’ll live on forever,
In these fractured memories.

____________

Born of Frost

Born of Frost

________

Born of frost,
Splicing winter’s cross,
with summer’s burning moss.

They laughed and jeered,

Twelve foot tall,
A thousand thrall,
Skin; an ice-plate wall.

Now they cry in fear.

Deathly glacier,
A cruel-dawn’s slaver,
Draconian martyr,
Rapturous erasure.

Beware my dear,

The towering eolith,
No man or myth,
Fear our moiré; the WinterSmith.

_______________

Call me Faceless

_______________

Call me Faceless

________
Who am I to speak to what’s wrong or right?
One who’s closer to oppressor than victim,
I try on a long and stormy night,
To decipher this dictum,
Oblong and gritty plight.
How can I complain,
When I rest on the laurels of another’s fortune,
Screaming a phantom pain.
Who am I to say what you should do?
When I’m a short step away from weak,
Despite being one of the lucky few,
Who has money enough to speak?
Inherent disdain,
A fallacy tainting the fabric of my minds misfortune,
Learned condition renders me lame.
Do I really care,
About blood-soaked policies of an empire built on the backs,
Of those with actual despair?
Why can’t I just relax,
Cut out the fancy fucking syntax,
Abuse our militaristic axe,
Deny the horrendous acts,
Against children who couldn’t afford a simple tax.
But it’s not easy for me to lie,
When I walk outside and watch the homeless die,
Sure,
Call me weak,
Because I cry,
Because I try,
To care.
You tell me money isn’t happiness,
Then tell me not to worry; because I have enough to eat?
As if the relative suffering of others is supposed to placate my crimson-soul.
My truth;
The only thing worse than trying but failing,
Is giving up entirely

______________________

Media: 6b pencil + a bic pen.

Paper: 6×9 inch cut watercolor paper.

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Distant Fall (Artwork)

9/17/17

Finally got around to adding another layer. I didn’t have a blue, so I used a very light coat of “Midnight Violet”. I’m actually okay with how the purple turned out. I think it amplifies the pinks muted tones.

Going to let it dry for a day or two before fleshing out Amy and the tree’s shading.

 

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Part one of the related short-story can be found here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/

 

Related Poems can be found here:

Wish: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/16/wish-poem/

Just Leave: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/17/just-leave-poem/

Sometimes I Repeat (Poem)

We all do, though.

Sometimes I repeat<——–Click here for Poem PDF

Written 9/6/17

 

Picture info: Finally got around to doing the watercolor over-lay of the Hunger-Demon/WallSpider as well as some grey-tone shading on Amy’s back. I think it made the overall tone a little bit dark by reducing the contrast. As much as I like contrast, too much white can be a bad thing.

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