Thursday, May 3, 2012

Miami Beach

Stillman & Birn, a sketchbook manufacturer here in the United States sent me about seven sketchbooks to test out in preparation for NAMTA, an artist materials convention coming to Orlando in May. At that convention, I will be showing people the sketches I did and discussing the books from an artist's perspective. I have been using, Handbook Artist Journals for the past three years to do all of the sketches on this blog. I have noticed recently that the pens have been making indentations on the Hand Book pages that show up on the back of the page. Since I sketch on both the front and back of the pages, this became a problem. For the past month I have been searching for a better sketchbook, trying Canson and Strathmore books. I just haven't found the right weight and feel to the books I picked up at Sam Flax. Then out of the blue, I am told by an employee at Sam Flax, that a representative from Stillman & Birn wanted me to test out their sketchbooks..

It was Spring Break at Full Sail where I work part-time and my wife Terry decided to book us on to a cruise ship leaving from Miami and sailing the Caribbean. We drove to Miami Beach where we stayed at Elaine Pasekoff and Derek Hewitt's gorgeous condominium. It was a long drive and when we arrived, Elaine and Derek were out at a Passover diner. I went out on the windy ninth floor balcony and looked east towards the beach.

This is the first sketch I did in one of the new Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. I was delighted that I could lay colors down thickly and I loved how vibrant the colors were. I scrubbed some areas violently and with the previous Hand Books, the paper would come up in pieces, thinning the page. With this new sketchbook, I imagine my sketches will become more painterly and I can "work" the sketch with far more abandon. I can't help but "geek out" about these new sketchbooks. I feel like a kid who has finally found a new indestructible toy.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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