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Sketchbook week

I've been waffling for several weeks over whether or not to buy new watercolor brushes. All but two that I'd had for years and never used, beautiful red natural sable brushes, are nowhere to be found now that I finally want to try painting in earnest. Good brushes are expensive, but as much as I didn't want to shell out for new ones, I was using the lack of them as one of my many feeble excuses not to get at it and learn the medium.

This morning, I drove down to the closest really good art supply in center city Philadelphia. I carefully picked out a small assortment made by a venerable French brushmaker, along with a few other basic items. I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but the total cost reminded me of a hefty new car payment. So I'm committed now, like it or not.

Here's the week in sketches, in reverse order. The river scene and compositional thumbnail happened this afternoon, taking my new brushes for a spin.

I take a zigzagging route through fields still largely worked by horse and mule teams when I drive out to see my client, Rutt Handcrafted Cabinetry in New Holland. Since boyhood, I've found clusters of farm buildings fascinating, and the countryside is teeming with them in eastern Lancaster county. I've lately become fixated on this one, and decided to try to figure out why. Three quick impressions on separate days, on the way to the shop.

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