Amsterdam in monochromePosted: August 9, 2019
There were an exceptional amount of art supplies donated from generous sponsors in our Urban Sketchers goodie bags this year that I had to buy an extra carry-on pack to get them all home. The products are too numerous to name in one post. What I prefer to do is try each one individually when I return home, and then write about them. But I couldn’t resist cracking open a small watercolour kit from Sennelier while I was still there. It was a good opportunity to try some of the colours individually, as well as use a new travel rigger I picked up from Rosemary Brushes.
The Sennelier colours are vivid and very creamy. I was warned that because they contain honey, they do attract bees when you use them outdoors, and I have had that problem in the past with M. Graham paints, but sitting by the canal in Edam sketching the houses across the way, there were no bees in sight. I used French Vermilion for my first sketch.
Also in Edam, before catching the bus back to Amsterdam, I tried out the French Ultramarine Blue, again using the rigger brush, both for drawing and then for painting.
Back in Amsterdam I sketched the parked bikes using Burnt Umber. This is the colour I love best so far, evidenced by the pan which is now almost empty.
One evening a few of us ended up at the symposium Drink and Draw location, and I sketched this canal scene in Payne’s Grey, which is definitely less blue than I’m used to, but beautiful nonetheless.
I guess what I love about working in monochrome is that you really get to know your colours. And what I enjoyed most about these Sennelier paints is how they disperse in water, leaving behind beautiful and unexpected backruns, and also how my brush lines remained partially intact and partially dissolved as I painted over them with subsequent washes.
There are still a few colours left to try. In the set there’s also a Primary Yellow, Cinereous Blue, Phthalo Green Light and Sap Green. I doubt I’ll try the yellow as a monochrome sketch but there were lots of greens in this week’s vegetable sketch.