February 3, 2016 0

Paintings on Whatman paper

By in paintings, ruttan's place, self-promotion


This is a recent painting I did on the Whatman paper. Even though I work hard on adding light, I fancy that it’s somehow brighter, almost sparkly.

Here’s the paper stretched and ready to go:

Here’s a closeup of the grain. It’s pretty rough, Hot-rolled, as they say (I think).

Maybe I’m the only one excited about this. I think it’s pretty cool.

February 2, 2016 1

J. Whatman Antique Paper

By in paintings, ruttan's place, sketches, watercolor, watercolour

In the last post I was writing about painting on simple typing paper, and the (futile) effort of stretching it. Well, today I was stretching some old paper I had inherited from my late Mom’s stash of art materials, which I had taken with me to Montreal back in 1987 from our family home in Calgary. There are five large sheets of it I’ve managed to hang on to as part of my own painting supplies.

The paper is a little brown around the edges, but I’ve been using bits of it, and it’s always been pleasant to paint with.

So today I was stretching some of it to make new paintings for my watercolour site Jack’s House of Cats. When the paper got wet, some letters appeared around one edge. A watermark. It seemed to read “Whatman.”

I looked the name up on the web, and found the story of J. Whatman’s paper company in England, founded in the 18th century. It disappeared in the 1980s when the factory burned down. The brand has been taken over by General Electric, and is still used for filters and papers meant for lab work. But the watercolour paper is one of those legendary names sought after by enthusiasts. Apparently, JMW Turner and James Abbott McNeil Whistler used it. [link]

So, to see better, I took out one of the sheets and put it up against a window, to snap it with the camera and read the following:




“J. Whatman 1941” “Handmade” “England.”

Some sites note that the date on the watermark is an honourary thing, and doesn’t necessarily tell when the paper was manufactured. Still, it’s possible this paper is 75 years old. I don’t know how my mom got hold of it. I only remember it coming in a big envelope to our house in Calgary after she had made a special order by mail.

It’s a great honour to paint on this, and I do want to paint on it. Because often, as a friend of mine has said, antique things stay untouched in a cupboard, to disintegrate on their own or eventually get ignored and thrown out through ignorance. I think these special things are honoured by being used.

January 30, 2016 0

Cheesy Paper

By in sketches


Sometimes it’s fun to do something completely against the rules, and find out how it works. In this case I found out that trying to stretch ordinary typing paper doesn’t work. Kind of fun to paint on with gouache, however.

January 18, 2016 0

Mr. Boggedy in the Front Room

By in cats, paintings, sketches, watercolor, watercolour


Frustration today with Canada Post website, with which the latest technology and biggest brains in the nation (I’m sure), won’t let me figure out how much it will cost to send a painting to the USA.

But at least while rummaging through old envelopes I found a cool picture of Mr. Boggedy in my front room; now my “office,” the way it looked before getting repainted.

I signed and dated this picture, but the date is hard to read. Zooming in on the high-definition version of the scan, I now think it says 2002.

January 12, 2016 0

Hard Cheese for Mister Boggedy

By in black and white, cats, pencil, sketches


It’s been a pretty hard morning to be a gentle, senior cat. First, he tries to walk by the old girl cat. He is hissed at and then swatted for his trouble. He then goes out into the hallway, where he is sniffed and then thwacked by the small cat.

Happily it’s all quiet now, but I imagine Mr. B. felt put upon.

January 5, 2016 0

Condolence Flowers for the family of Mme. Primeau

By in sketches


Someone I’ve known since 1991. She was born in 1916, passed away this Jan 2nd.

December 21, 2015 0

Nora Small Cat

By in cats, color, Nora the cat, watercolor, watercolour


Different kinds of paper lead to different results. This was a watercolour “block” which was slightly softer and “fluffier” than the paper I’ve been using.

November 25, 2015 0

“Traditional” Media

By in ballpoint pen, black and white, color, heads, paintings, Portraits, sketches, watercolor, watercolour, women


I’ve been so deep into digital, that I began to wonder whether I could still do useful things with paper.

Below is a drawing a made during a phone coversation (they’re often long, at least with my friend). Black ballpoint pen in my sketchbook. Above is a made-up woman painted on a sample of my Mom’s old watercolour paper. It’s nice, but surprisingly thin. Still, I’m back into stretching things.

Trying to accomplish a lot of “real” paintings for Christmas.


November 16, 2015 0

People and Backgrounds

By in color, digital, men, paintings


I’m pretty thrilled over the control I have of the stylus. Working on backgrounds and lighting now, as well as the people.


November 6, 2015 0

Further Digital People

By in color, digital, sketches

Digital is like pen and ink, in that it’s hard to know when to let go of something. There’s always one other little improvement to make.


Happily, I seem to have tamed my stylus, which was giving me all sorts of headaches, like a pencil nib that keeps breaking off, or a pen that blobs, only here the system costs hundreds of dollars.


Still not really “there” yet, and I’m deleting my earlier experiments. But I enjoy the new medium, when it responds, and I can figure out the infinite complexities of layers, masks, brushes, and all these other peculiarities.


November 4, 2015 0

Island Woman

By in color, digital, pencil


November 3, 2015 0

Bad Cattery

By in ballpoint pen, black and white, cats, color, Gouache, sketches, watercolor, watercolour





November 2, 2015 0

Jennifer and Anne

By in sketches


Blogging a lot today. (drawing a lot, too!). These are from one of those free magazines I always pick up when going to the movies.

November 2, 2015 0


By in black and white, digital, sketches


One of the members of Run DMC. Didn’t want to draw the one with glasses, because, glasses.