I am sure that some of you may recall me saying that I have been blessed & am very fortunate to be able to experiment (read "play") with some awesome products thanks to the largesse of Exaclair's Karen Doherty. Being a little short on funds has made this a double blessing for me since without her generosity I would not be having some of the great fun that I have been enjoying lately! Karen's latest 'box' arrived packed with some more wonderful Clairefontaine paper products. What I don't think I have mentioned in the past is that I was a fan of Clairefontaine products long before I made this happy connection with Karen. I always had at least one or two colorful Clairefontaine notebooks on hand - a small graphed paper one for my purse as well as a larger graphed version for home. So I am not simply being gratuitous when I say that I truly do feel that Clairfontaine products are quite superior - as well as more colorful and appealing !
What I had not realized prior to the arrival of this box was that Clairefontaine produces what I now know is a full line of truly select artist sketchbooks, pastel papers, watercolor paper & pads as well as an inspiring line of calligraphy papers. WoW! I have been one happy camper!
I have received some queries today asking if I had fallen off the face of the earth . Aside from a spate of the rainy,wet & cold weather doldrums as well as some birthday days off for DH that threw me way off schedule (who knew I had one of those?!) I have, in fact, been busy, experimenting with some of these great artist papers. My new 'career' must surely be "Doodles r Me "(or is it i? ). I have been using of J.Herbin inks, paint & pencils on these papers & trying to fit in other, much less enjoyable things, like work & home, has been difficult! This morning I even got up an hour early to be able to doodle some before I left for work. Those who know me also know that this is not at all like me. I do not 'do' morning easily nor generally with a smile on my face!
A second 'go-around' of an earlier design on pastel paper.
Pen & permanent ink, acrylic paint & watercolors.
Pen & permanent ink, acrylic paint & watercolors.
I love working in a square format - at least with painting I do. Quilts are another matter - and I am not terribly fond of working square in quilts - except perhaps for some artistic, non-bed type pieces.
Look at these amazing watercolor pads from Clairfontaine. They're awesome! 300g cold press paper that is a joy to paint on. My favorite size right now is the small 100X100 mm (roughly 4 inches) pad. I have it with me all the time & have been having endless fun doodling away. It got me through a staff meeting today even (no worries - my boss humors me & knows that keeping my fingers busy during staffing actually helps me focus more!). The other size that has become a favorite is the 200 X 200 mm (roughly 8 inches) & the portrait size is a generous 210 X 297 mm (again, roughly 8 X 11 inches). These pads have a cool see through cover made of a sturdy (non-bending) plastic vinyl kind of material with a nice design on the top. The backing is made of the same material with a super sturdy piece of creamy cardboard underneath it (except for the mini square size). The plastic & cardboard makes balancing these pads on a knee , a tree limb or a deck rail a breeze.
These are the watercolor sketch books described above. These pages are not micro-perforated & would need to be cut away if the work needed to be removed. I have to say that I really have become enthralled with this particular paper. I have used different water color brands over the years but this product does have superior performance - comparable or better than any of the more "well known" mainstream brands. I do still like Arches hot pressed with the molded edges - but with this available now I am not sure that the cost differential would be worth it to me any longer.
Below is the 9.5 X 12 " 60lb Ingres Pastel paper with 25 sheets to the pad. The paper color is a very pale, warm ivory & the surface has a beautiful laid structure. Color goes on smoothly; I experimented with pastels, cray-pas, acrylic paints & pen & inks. A lovely paper choice that is available in assorted colors as well & is available in a wide a range of sizes that includes full 19.5 X 25.5 inch sheets.
Next up is Clairefontaines s-m-o-o-t-h & yummy 60 lb Calligraphic paper. This pad is 9.5 X 12 inches and includes 60 sheets.I had to include a picture of the descriptive notes about the paper - which explains why it is such a special choice for calligraphers. I have some calligraphy books that I have been meaning to practice with & this paper could not have arrived at a more opportune time!
Last, but not least, is a really pretty tablet of lined paper that features super smooth Clairfontaine writing paper. I think that this is a truly happy looking pad! I love the full front & back illustration which looks "Disney-esque" to me. It's a little treasure that would brighten anyone's day - what a cool surprise for a Mother's Day gift this would be ! I am, truly grateful for having the opportunity to try out these products from such a fine company - and as I said - I liked their products before so my praise is not simply because I have been fortunate enough to be able to exercise my unstoppable desire to put more playtime in my life! Thank you Karen - may your generosity return to you many fold!