On a visit to Utrecht with my daughter last week, I had some time to wander around by myself, which is one of my ultimate joys in life. While strolling around the canals, I spotted an art supply store and of course I couldn’t resist! I went in thinking I might buy a cheap sketchbook, since I’d forgotten to bring mine, but got lost looking at all the lovely things in there… Upstairs was a room with just paper of all kinds, colors and sizes. I was there all by myself surrounded by the sights and smells of paper… bliss.
Well, I couldn’t take it all with me, so I ended up buying a block of gray tinted paper. I was hoping to sketch a little on location, but couldn’t find a decent place to sit, and once the sun came out I just went exploring along the alleys and canals with my camera. This is how I fall in love with cities: on my own (or occasionally with a kindred companion), camera in hand, ostensibly looking for good shots, but really in pursuit of the genius loci, the spirit of place.
The next day, I couldn’t wait to try out my new toned paper. It’s smooth enough for pen and pencil, yet heavy enough to accept watercolor washes without buckling: definitely a keeper! I’d also like to do some pure watercolors of Utrecht, and try some different subjects on the toned paper, so lots of possibilities yet to explore.
Aan de Oudegracht / Along the Old Canal
Mixed media on toned paper, appr. 20×20 cm (8×8 inches)
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands