Dryburgh Abbey – Featured by Stillman And Birn

 

Weatherd Scottish Abbey On Etsy

 

During the break I took over the last few weeks, I learned that Stillman And Birn, makers of wonderful sketchbooks, had featured my watercolour paining of Dryburgh Abbey, not only on their website, but on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as well.  I am not an affiliate, so imagine my joy at the news!

 

I wanted to take a painting project with me to fill the long hours of travel time on the plane while travelling to England.  Of the places we visited in Scotland, Dryburgh Abbey is one of my favourites.  I enjoyed the tranquil moment standing alone in front of this aged and wet stone abbey chapter house ruin so much that it became the subject of my painting.

 

You can read about the artist statement I wrote for the feature on Stillman And Birns’ blog.

 

I am really very excited about it all.  So I thought I do a full review of the Stillman And Birn Beta Series paper and on why I love working with it.

 

 

 

 

At the time of my travel I didn’t have a travel-size sketchbook.  I am very heavy-handed with water when it comes to watercolour, so the new sketchbook had to be able to handle that. During my research, I came across Stillman and Birn.  Their Beta series sketchbook with 270 gsm weight paper seemed ideal to me.  I also like the white paper of the Beta series instead of the ivory of many others.

 

The Stillman And Birn paper stayed smooth despite my water usage. I didn’t see even the tiniest bit of the lint-like effect that other papers get when used with watercolour.  It also warped very little, which I was able to easily fix once the painting had dried. 

 

The Beta series is not rough like cold press watercolour paper, neither is it as smooth as the hot press ones.  It has an in-between texture.  I love to play with different painting media and the texture of the sketchbook handled them all beautifully.  I pulled out a few examples so you can get a good idea. 

 

 

 

 

The Dryburgh Abbey painting was done with watercolour pencils.  The picture above shows how much I had finished on the plane using a waterbrush.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Canoe Prismacolour Marker And Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Markers typically work best on smooth paper, but this paper was smooth enough for me to blend and lift off paint with ease on this marker landscape and canoe painting.

Note – if you use markers, the pigment does seep into the back of the page.  Therefore, you won’t be able to use the back side.  I only use the right side of a sketchbook, so it was not a problem for me.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Cat On The Wall Prismacolor Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The sketchbook is great for quick, fun, comic-book style marker and ink sketches too.  I was able to layer different markers and blend them without hard edges showing.  I used a Micron pen to draw the black ink outlines.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Lavender Field Painting Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The paper has enough grain for pastel pencils to work just as well.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Vintage Tiles Winsor & Newton Watercolour Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I used Winsor Newton watercolor markers to paint these rusted tiles.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Dance Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I worked with mixed media on this one – markers, ink and pen.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Steampunk Fleur De Lis Painting Marker & Winsor Newton Ink | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Water soluble Winsor Newton Ink gave me the vibrancy I needed for the steampunk Fleur-de-lis and the blue background.  I also used pens and pencils for the details and shading.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Birch Trees In Snow Schmincke Horadam Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Of course, it does superbly well with watercolour.  Once I painted the background, I went over with more saturated paint for the details on the trees, finishing the painting off with white paint for the snow. 

When I originally posted this painting, many of you chose this one as your favourite and wrote lovely words about it.  Since I prefer colder temperatures, I used this one as the watercolour example.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks | Whims And Fancies

 

 

If you are looking into trying out sketching, painting, or journalling, I highly recommend the Stillman And Birn Beta Series sketchbooks.  You get 25-26 sheets per sketchbook.  It is thick paper, which makes it suitable for both dry and wet media.  As you see, I have used all kinds of painting media along with pens on this paper.  Currently I am working on a travel journal, hopefully I will be able to share more with you soon.

 

Drawback

Update

Since I have written this review I have worked on very wet on wet paintings.  The paper does not handle that kind of the water at all.  It becomes too soft and starts to lint severely.   It was an exersize in frustration.  I suggest using 100% cotton Fabriano or Fluid paper.  Fluid is a cheaper option of the two and does very well with wet on wet paintings.

Other than that Stillmand & Birn is quite a versatile sketchbook.

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, I am also working on a small quilt for my kitties.  I will be joining in One Monthly Goal hosted by Elm Street Quilts.  My goal is to finish making the blocks.  I will also talk a bit about palette at that time.

 

Until then,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

 

Comments (35)

 

Scottish Penguin Glen

Scottish Penguin In A Kilt Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Scottish Penguin Glen pattern on Etsy

 

On Monday I sat down very decisively to work on something happy.  Meet the newest member of my penguin fold – a little Scottish penguin named Glen.  When I shared the initial sketch, Kris asked what a penguin keeps in his sporran.  As I was sewing, I thought of a little story.

 

Glen had always loved wearing his kilt, but the other little penguins made fun of him.  Instead of changing himself to fit in with the others, he spent his days roaming the hills and dales alone, having his own adventures.  Although he was happy to go about on his own,  he sometimes wished he had a friend with him.  During one of his excursions, he found a new hill.  As he walked up the hill slowly – he was a little penguin after all – it started getting colder and darker.  Rain clouds covered the sun and very soon, strong gusts of wind started blowing him all over the place. 

 

Scotland | Whims And Fancies

 

He hurried up the hillside and found an old broken ruin there.  The hill was in a remote area and the entrances to the ruin were all overgrown with brambles.  He took a little knife out of his sporran to clear a path so he could get in without spoiling his clothes.  As he was cutting the brambles, something pink plopped down along with a few Thistle flowers.  He loved Thistle.  When he bent down to pick up the flowers and put them in his little sporran, he found a small pink stone among them.  By this time, big raindrops had started pelting down on him.  He hurried into the ruin to sit inside a big stone fireplace.  There he sat, thumbing the stone and looking at the sky, waiting for the rain to let up a little.

 

Penguin Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Little Penguin Polaris pattern on Etsy

 

A flash of lightning, and he suddenly found himself elsewhere, facing two other penguins.  One was dressed in woolens and the other in Viking clothing.  They were as surprised to see him as he was them.  After a little awkward introduction, Glen learned their names were Polaris and Olaf.  He also found out that they had been lonely penguins too, before they met each other. Polaris loved his matching woolens, he had quite a few sets.

 

 

Viking Penguin Olaf pattern on Etsy

 

As for Olaf, not only did he love his Viking clothes, he also insisted on having horns on his helmet even though he was told Viking helmets didn’t have horns.  He thought the horns made him look very mighty and formidable.  They both welcomed Glen with open arms.

 

Scotland Thistle | Whims And Fancies

 

Polaris gave Glen a little snowflake that sparkled in the moonlight.  Olaf gave him a little fire-stone which glowed in the dark.  Glen remembered the thistles in his sporran and gave each of his new friends a thistle.  He showed them his pink stone too.  All three wondered if rain and thunder somehow activated the stone and if there were more penguins like them.   For now though, they were delighted to have found each other.  Sometimes you just have to look a little farther to find what you are looking for.

 

The photos were taken by me in Scotland.  I took the photo of the Thistles in the mountains standing outside, buffeted by wind gusts of 40 – 50 mph.  It was quite a difficult task, and I feel like I brought a little Scottish spirit home with me captured in that photo.

 

Scottish Penguin Glen Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Scottish Penguin Glen pattern on Etsy

 

Glen doesn’t always like to wear his tie or his belt buckle.  So I included additional sections in the pattern for easier piecing without the tie and the belt buckle.

 

Since I always get asked about pattern links, here are links to all three penguin quilt patterns –

Scottish Penguin Glen – EtsyThe newest member!

Little Penguin Polaris – Etsy

Viking Penguin Olaf – on Etsy

 

Penguin Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

They are a happy bunch, aren’t they!  I love them!

Have a crafty week,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Comments (34)