Testing out Viviva Colorsheets

(( This is not a sponsored review, this is just me making a few color swatches and sharing the info <3 ))

EH Sherman testing Viviva color sheets

I make a lot of work while on the go. Whether that’s an adventure abroad, or a coffee shop down the street I paint a fair amount outside the confines of my little studio and need small(ish) supplies to be able to do so.

And so, I am constantly on the look out for materials that will travel with me; tucked away inside a backpack or in a back pocket.

I had seen a few ads for these watercolor colorsheets from Viviva and found myself intrigued - but cautious. I’ve tried a few portable-themed watercolor paints that seemed great in theory, but didn’t really perform up to my standards, so I wasn’t overtly hopeful as I placed my order.

The colorsheets shipped from India and so took a little while to arrive (so keep that in mind if you order a pack for yourself!) but when they did I found myself getting more excited about trying these out. Slightly larger than a business card, these could bypass my backpack storage and go straight to my pencil case. That was an interesting thought.

EH Sherman Art Review - Viviva Colorsheets
How pretty is this rectangle of Viridian?

How pretty is this rectangle of Viridian?

EH Sherman Art Supply review - colorsheets

On trying them out, I was surprised. I expected patchy color, or a LOT of water application to loosen the pigments. Not the case. The brush glided across the surface and picked up SO. MUCH. PAINT.

In between each sheet is a page of wax paper, this is to keep the wet colors from sticking together (though it is recommended to allow each to dry before closing the book) and really enjoyed flipping through the pages. Some of the colors are so different from how they appear on the brush due to their concentration, it’s a bit magical to watch.

I made my swatches, noting how often I had to refresh my water due to the potency of the pigment. Definitely not what I was expecting.

EH Sherman Art supply review - Viviva Colorsheets

I don’t know how long they will last, though I will continue to use these sheets and update here when I run out of a color. I also don’t know much about the archivability of the pigment, I wonder if a bit of added of water might make them run off the paper once painted? But for a small set to sketch with, these work really well. And the fact I can keep them in my pencil case and not even need an additional bag - even better!

EH Sherman sketching with watercolor sheets

What do you think of these? If you try them out I’d love to know how they work for you!

Sketchbook Workshop at Teaspressa (1/13/19)

That first blank page can be an absolute doozy.

EH Sherman Sketchbook - blank page

It sits there, beautiful in it’s emptiness, complete as a book dedicated to the texture of the fibers, the tone of the paper.

And we intend to mess it up, to mar those beautiful pages with our marks and thoughts. This is one of the hurdles just high enough that it can keep artists and non-artists alike from truly committing to a sketchbook practice and from developing a discipline to connect regularly with our creative selves.

I’ve been there and it is incredibly uncomfortable.

EH Sherman Sketchbook Workshop

Which is why I decided to put together this workshop!

Join me on January 13th at Teaspressa in Ann Arbor at 1pm for an afternoon of sketching, discussion, material exploration and of course, delicious tea beverages.

RSVP HERE!

Who is this for?

Artists! Non-Artists! Anyone who wants to take a few hours out of your day to sit with a sketchbook, learn about my methods for sketching and engage in a few creative exercises designed to help you dig deeper into your sketching practice. Even if you’ve never held a pencil to a blank page before, but you are interested in exploring your creativity, there’s something for everyone on each step of their journey.


What is provided?

Materials that I use and love particularly for working small format and on the go. Feel free to bring your own supplies as well! The $45 ticket also includes a sketchbook if you’d like to start from scratch. We’ll be filling at least 4 pages in the books, so if you bring your own consider how many pages you have left.


Is this ONLY in person at the location?

For now, yes. I have plans for an online offering, but for now - this is only accessed by attending the workshop in person.

EH Sherman - Sketchbook

Head over to the RSVP page to sign up, I’d love to see you there!





A Day in Life of my Sketchbook; featuring The Mercer Refillable Sketchbook from SLATE COLLECTION

Thank you to SLATE COLLECTION for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

One of the most important parts of my art practice is my sketchbook. (If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably gotten that impression already.)

EH Sherman with Sketchbook

My paintings are an aggregate of so many different inspirations; contours of flowers, the colors of leaves on a run, words that stay stuck in my mind, patterns on the water, rhythms in remembered landscapes… all of these factors inform my work, so it is crucial that I have a sketchbook with me literally at all times, to record all of these.

Keeping a sketchbook is a discipline I cling to, rely on and owe much of my current practice to.

Currently I’m using the Mercer Refillable Sketchbook by SLATE COLLECTION and I’m in love with it. The cover is soft and supple (and in the case of my book, my favorite color; INDIGO!) and yet incredibly sturdy. I put my supplies through a lot, and it has held up beautifully.

How I use my sketchbook;

I get a fair amount of questions about my process when it comes to keeping a sketchbook, so I thought I might break down a typical day in regards to my sketching habits. I’d love to hear about your sketching routine too, make sure to leave a comment so I can learn about your practice!

7 am; Wake up (slowly, I’m awful at shaking sleep!) and quickly record thoughts from dreams, or colors that creep into my pre-dawn thoughts.

These are small notes generally, unless I’ve had an amazing dream, or spent the morning lying in bed visualizing a new series. It’s important for me to have a sturdy sketchbook, as I don’t sleep with it, but if I’m scribbling notes during the night, it can get caught in between the bed and the frame pretty regularly. The Mercer is both thick and rigid enough that this isn’t a problem.

9 am: Back from my run, I’ll write down thoughts that I’ve mediated on, colors from our local landscape, lyrics or moments from the music that empowers my run, and I’ll start to make plans and notes for the day ahead.

EH Sherman SLATE COLLECTION sketchbook

(This particular morning was spent watching a few busy squirrels outside my studio window. I put the pencil on the page and dragged it around according to the squirrels movements. Like a little treasure map to their buried nuts.)

11-1 pm: Errands and meetings! I make notes in my sketchbook of orders that need to go out that day and any supplies that I’m low on. Since I’m already out and about, I try to schedule meetings and meet-ups around the same time (and, Ann Arbor has such great food that lunch meetings are automatically THE BEST). My sketchbook is in tow for all of this, acting as a list for supplies, and as a mini portfolio if I’m meeting with a client or gallery space.

2-3 pm:   My favorite part. Unless I’m knee-deep in other paintings, this is my project time; when ideas take form and the next paintings in a series starts here. Here is where I distill morning sketches, break apart words that have been stuck in my head, examine memory, color, and make thumbnails.

EH Sherman - thumbnails in Mercer Sketchbook

These can be super clean, super messy, made with lots of types of paint, or just pencil - so it’s important to me to use a sketchbook that is multi-purpose. Paper that is too thin will tear with water, paper that is too thick feels too final and I’m less likely to get deep into the experiment phase. I’m looking for a quality paper that can take a few layers of exploration, and the pages of this sketchbook (Mercer Refillable from SLATE COLLECTION) are perfect for that.

Once I’m confident in the idea, the movement and color scheme of the piece transfers from my sketches to canvas as I begin to create the painting. If I’m not totally feeling the pre-painting sketches, I’ll just keep exploring the composition and colors in thumbnails until I feel like I’ve got a better handle on the message I’m trying to convey. Or, the idea gets scrapped / shelved for tomorrow and I’ll come back with fresh eyes.

10 -11 pm: A slow unwind. At the end of the day, orders shipped, progress made on paintings, space (relatively) clean, I like to take stock of the last 16 hours and make sure if any thought is still rattling around upstairs - that it is written and/or sketched out for tomorrow. I’ll use this time to journal in my sketchbook a bit, reflect on things from the day or the days to come.

Keeping a sketchbook and being disciplined about the process is a huge part of my practice, and using the Mercer Refillable from SLATE COLLECTION has been the perfect book to use for this. If you’re an artist looking for a new sketchbook (refillable too!) check out their books. And if you know an artist, none of us is ever upset at a new sketchbook for the holidays!

What sort of sketching schedule do you keep? Is it a daily activity or more of when the mood strikes? I love looking at other artist’s sketchbooks and hearing about their process - feel free to share your habits below!

Happy sketching friends!


Art Studio Renovation - Finished (for now)

I am SO. HAPPY. to be back in the studio.

It’s been weeks of projects scattered throughout our house, a few in our friend’s houses, and many sketching sessions at coffeeshops - but I’m finally back in my dedicated space.

I’m hoping to film a little walkthrough soon, but here are a few photos of the process until then.

Everything in my studio is now in the living room. Yikes.

Everything in my studio is now in the living room. Yikes.

The house is from the 1880s, so there’s LOTS of work that needs to be done. Window replacements are first priority - it’s cold!!!

The house is from the 1880s, so there’s LOTS of work that needs to be done. Window replacements are first priority - it’s cold!!!

New windows are in! Time to freshen up the paint. This eggshell warm white is not cutting it for me.

New windows are in! Time to freshen up the paint. This eggshell warm white is not cutting it for me.

This is the new EVA foam flooring that will cover the studio. I work on the floor most of the time, so having a bit of extra padding as well as protection for the floor is something I’ve been hoping for. It’s like sitting on an extra thick yoga mat, makes a HUGE difference when working for hours down here! Much cheaper than leveling our INCREDIBLY slanted floors, it also gives my furniture on wheels a place to stick.

This is the new EVA foam flooring that will cover the studio. I work on the floor most of the time, so having a bit of extra padding as well as protection for the floor is something I’ve been hoping for. It’s like sitting on an extra thick yoga mat, makes a HUGE difference when working for hours down here! Much cheaper than leveling our INCREDIBLY slanted floors, it also gives my furniture on wheels a place to stick.

It’s late, but I’m happy as a clam. My soul is at ease when painting, doesn’t matter if it’s walls or canvas.

It’s late, but I’m happy as a clam. My soul is at ease when painting, doesn’t matter if it’s walls or canvas.

We had a little bump of a light up there, and I was hoping to find some directional light instead. I picked up this fixture at Home Depot and it’s perfect.

We had a little bump of a light up there, and I was hoping to find some directional light instead. I picked up this fixture at Home Depot and it’s perfect.

First look on the next morning! I LOVE how the cool white paint and white floors brightens up the room!

First look on the next morning! I LOVE how the cool white paint and white floors brightens up the room!

These are my grandmother’s ancient poinsettias. I inherited them when she passed away and they are my favorite studio friends &lt;3

These are my grandmother’s ancient poinsettias. I inherited them when she passed away and they are my favorite studio friends <3

The final piece - the white board from my sister. I use this to keep track of projects, plan paintings, brainstorm for articles and just to keep track of all the things on my plate.

The final piece - the white board from my sister. I use this to keep track of projects, plan paintings, brainstorm for articles and just to keep track of all the things on my plate.

First night in the renovated studio. Here’s to many more!

First night in the renovated studio. Here’s to many more!

Thanks so much for following this journey of mess-clean-bigger mess- finally organized! I’m thrilled to be back in my space and sitting much more comfortably <3

Giving Form to Idea with Blurb

((This is a sponsored post. But rest assured, I only work with companies that I really like and would absolutely recommend even if it wasn’t sponsored. Happy reading! ))

Have you ever had an idea that just circles in your periphery, pops up occasionally to say “hey! I’m still here! Work with me!” but you haven’t found the right way to give it form?

That was me for a few years with this one tiny, but exciting thought that I just couldn’t shake.

chile.jpg

I was on a plane that was heading towards Santiago, Chile. The pale gray fog laid heavy over the Andes as we descended, burning into vapor in the sunlight and obscuring the land in the shadows.

Undulating color and pattern stole my breath and I took a gratuitous amount of photos out of the teeny window. In addition to it’s raw, abstract beauty- I was struck by how much it looked like my desk, covered in balled up paintings.

That was 2015 and I’ve been collecting balled up paintings ever since.

It took me three more years of thinking about this moment, this spark that I found looking out the airplane window to finally find the form it needed.

I made a book!

EH Sherman Blurbbook creation

I’ve worked with Blurb before on past book-making projects and I loved the process, so once it became apparent what this project needed to be - using Blurb for the creation was my go-to answer.

If you haven’t used Blurb yet, they are an independent book-making / self-publishing platform that makes it easy to design, produce, and sell all sorts of book and magazine projects (both print and digital!).

I started designing the book on paper (as I do with all things) making sure that my idea is fully explored and properly mapped out. I chose not to add words this time. I was speechless the whole time the plane flew above those mountains and I felt like adding words was untruthful to that moment I was seeking to honor. It would be picture book only.

Once I had a skeleton of the project together, I started photographing the paintings I had been saving for at this point, years, and started to think about the final layout. I picked a landscape (10 x 8) orientation and opted for a nice shiny softcover and premium matte pages.

One of the reasons I love Blurb is the number of tools I can use to access their platform and design my book. As someone who is very familiar with Photoshop and Lightroom, I really appreciate the ability to use these programs for exceptional creative control over the process. In this case however I used their service; BookWright to design the entirety of the project. It’s super straightforward and allowed me to think more about the content of the book while they handled the finer details of the creation.

Just about a week later, the book was in my hands!

EH Sherman Blurb Book Creation

It was exactly what I was hoping it would be. The paper was rich and smooth, the book had a beautiful weight to it and my photos printed perfectly. I was elated, flipping through the velvety pages for the first time; each one reminding me of a landscape from memory.

EH Sherman BlurbBook
EH Sherman Blurb Book
EH Sherman Blurb Book - printed
EH Sherman BlurbBook Design

Thanks to Blurb for getting the ball rolling on this, I’m so in love with the final product. It is a creative weight off my back, finally being able to set this idea free in the form that felt right.

If you want to check out the book pop on over to the book page where you can flip through mine and purchase your own copy too. Or stop by their Book Shop to see the rest of their catalogue!

What about you? Have you made a book of your work before? What’s your favorite part of the process?

EH Sherman Blurb Book Creation