The weather has been a bit cooler the past few days so it's been easier to be outside painting and moving around. I'm working on a few larger pieces and they've given me real sense of freedom. One of them is an evening scene of the pond which I'm working on in the studio. I did an oil sketch beforehand and I'm usually committed to working en plein air, but the size of this canvas makes it really difficult to manage. The sun is an issue since my umbrella only shades a portion of the canvas; the wind can be a big problem too since a canvas is essentially like a large sail that can catch the wind.
I am working on a morning pond scene entirely en plein air because it's small enough that I can handle it. I'm really getting accustomed to these larger sizes and am planning more to come.
Some new flowers are being planted in the garden and they're really very colorful. I sketch a lot in the evening and it's great to just sit and appreciate the different shapes and colors. I can recognize many of the varieties, but some are new to me and I've been having fun studying them.
Currently on the easel:
I just received a set of Schmincke Horadam watercolors, which is an early Christmas present to myself. The set includes 12 colors (5ml tubes) in a solidly built folding palette. I'm always trying out various brands and have found that I like the semi-moist quality of M. Graham & Co. and Sennelier; these two brands are honey-based and allow easy rewetting of the colors. Schmincke is not honey based, but does have similar properties to the brands I prefer. I'm not too picky about the brands I use (I also enjoy Winsor & Newton), but I find Daniel Smith's watercolors to be too difficult to rewet once they're dry.
This set by Schmincke has a full range of colors and each is vivid and lays very nicely on the paper. I was particularly impressed with the ivory black because it laid down really dark and didn't lighten too much as it dried. I know some artists don't use blacks and browns in watercolor, but I find black to be quite useful. Another nice touch is the inclusion of a color chart so you can see the colors in all their glory.
I don't quite know how to explain the fact that these tubes and colors also feel nice. As a painter, I usually follow my instincts and have a more intuitive approach so my feelings are very important to me. As I also mentioned, I like colors that rewet easily and this set does this extremely well. I would definitely recommend this set and this brand to other watercolorists who want bright, vivid pigments that rewet easily. Well done Germany!