Thursday, December 16, 2021



12/10/21 Ballard

A couple of weeks ago when we visited the National Nordic Museum, we had lunch at the museum’s Freya Café. Promising good coffee, food and hygge, the café has one more feature that caught my attention: good natural light from huge windows on two sides. I knew I’d be back to sketch there.

12/10/21 Ballard

Arriving when it opened, I grabbed a bright table that gave me a great view of the kitty-corner liquor store (above). I picked out a primary triad (plus indanthrene for the darkest spots) to work on seeing the color temperatures in this otherwise mostly colorless corner.

Instead of parking in the museum’s pay lot, I had found a spot several blocks away on a residential street to get a little walking in, too. I had been wanting to make a postcard, and the view from my mobile studio gave me just the right amount of “nothing.” Using a subdued purple and yellow complement, I got a color temperature study for myself along with a postcard to send to a friend.

Newsflash: These urban sketches are the last I will make with Caran d’Ache Luminance (or any other non-soluble) colored pencils. They are terrific pencils that I love to use when I’m making leisurely, detailed drawings at home. But on location, they are just too slow! Both of these sketches look wimpy in color, but I didn’t want to take the time to keep layering on more pigment, especially on the toothy Hahnemühle postcard. I am too spoiled by the fast bang of rich color I can get with Museum Aquarelles and water.

As soon as I got home, I switched back to Museum Aquarelles – but not my standard palette. Taking a cue from the warm/cool primaries and secondaries I have been studying color temperatures with, I picked out watercolor pencils to make up a similar minimal palette. It seems like it should be a simple matter of swapping out Luminance for Museum Aquarelle pencils in the same colors – they are both Caran d’Ache lines. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – quite a few colors are not available in both lines (I’ll show you my picks soon). My color studies will continue. And I’m still using the Tombow “sandwich,” which is working out well – no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

This also means that I will finally be giving the Hahnemühle watercolor A5-size sketchbook an earnest try. 

Pencils and hygge -- a good winter combo.


  1. How great that you had such a good view of the liquor & wine store from the museum. Glad to see you are going back to the Aquarelles. It will be interesting to see how they work for you with the color temperatures.


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