Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I spent some time today playing with my new Cheap Joe's American Journey Watercolor Sticks.  I tried different watercolor papers.  This is a quick painting I did in a travel sketch book,  The paper is smooth, heavy but not 100% rag.  In fact,  it is an American Journey spiral bound watercolor travel journal.  I drew in the basic shapes with ink, let it dry and then worked with the sticks.  They are different from Caran d'arche  watercolor crayons.  Watercolor sticks are pure watercolor with enough binder to hold them together.  Joe's don't seem as "sticky" when wet as do Daniel's but the quality of the paint in the American Journey line is not that of Daniel Smith.

I discovered that there is a significant coating of clear wax on the American Journey sticks.  I had bought a sharpener from Daniel Smith that takes a very large diameter stick and this peeled off the wax nicely without loosing too much of the pure pigment.  I suppose a sand paper block would work to remove the wax or an exacto knife, etc.  Once that barrier was removed, I used a wet brush to pick up pigment and apply to the paper.  I also dipped the stick into water and "colored" with it, then smoothed it out with a damp brush.  The nicest feature of the stick is it's has a pointed end like a crayon.  Daniel Smith watercolor sticks are flat at both ends.  They have no protective coating to remove before you can use them.

Overall, I think these American Journey watercolor sticks will be great for travel sketching.  They work best, for me, on smooth paper.  I don't think I would attempt a serious painting with them. 

If you think you might be interested in this type of product, my suggestion is to order a red, yellow and a blue and then play around .  Everyone has a different style of working, so what works for you may be very different than what works for me.  If you come up with some interesting techniques with these sticks, be sure and drop me a note and share your discoveries.  


BrendaJean said...

Thanks for this additional info, Myrna. The picture is lovely. I'm going to forward your email to 2 art friends of mine in in Ga, as I'm thinking they might like to know about this. I'm fixin' to work on some art here as soon as I turn my chair around to my work station. Oh Happy Afternoon, doing art, for me and for you.

Joyfulartist said...

I decided to order the set of 12 watercolor sticks from CJ. Perhaps I'll take your advise and get a red, blue, and yellow from DS, too. I can't wait for them to come and try them out.

hwfarber said...

I've played with the Daniel Smith sticks for the past month. I don't usually paint with watercolors and was surprised at how intense they are. My method is the lazy one--dip the brush in water and pick up color from the end of the stick.

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