Vendor Voices

Stillman & Birn: Capturing the Dog Days of Summer with Stillman & Birn Beta Series

Joe Rayome is a full-time artist and Signature Member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. He lives in New York City. He used the Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook to capture his one-year-old English Setter puppy named Sophie.

From his artist statement provided for the Stillman & Birn blog: 

“When my wife and I met in college, her family had a year-old English Setter pup named Sophie. Sophie was everything a good dog could be – loyal, lovable, protective, and smart. She taught herself to ring a bell hung on a doorknob as a Christmas decoration when she wanted to go outside, which was always. In the woods, she was the finest bird dog I’ve ever seen. Her bottom front teeth were crooked and she had cinnamon-colored spots. I called her “freckle face”. She was beautiful.

This is a watercolor sketch in a Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook.   The underlying drawing was done in watercolor pencil and graphite. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a technique where I first block in the major shapes lightly with a watercolor pencil. The concept is similar to the use of non-photo blue pencils in animation. With a 2B pencil, I draw a cleaner, more accurate drawing over the watercolor pencil sketch. Working in this manner allows me to avoid extra pencil lines and eraser smudges. On bigger paintings, it also helps keep me from falling into the trap of drawing unnecessary details. A thin wash of clean water dissolves the watercolor pencil but not the graphite, leaving a clean, accurate drawing. The rest is a simple watercolor sketch, light to dark, preserving highlights, utilizing negatives. A white gel pen was used for whiskers and stray hairs.”

MEDIA: Watercolor pencil,  Graphite pencil, Watercolor,  Gel Pen


SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Stillman & Birn Mixed Media Sketchbooksare available through MacPherson.

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