Tara L. Tieso is a Saint Paul abstract artist who “loves Wet Paint with all her heart.” A 2011 recipient of the McKnight Foundation-funded Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Next Step Grant, and 2012 recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, her primary medium is encaustic. You can see her work at www.taratieso.com.
I recently decided for the first time to sketch in preparation for a series of abstract paintings based on the street life of the LynLake neighborhood. I was drawn to kraft paper, both for its contrast to the pristine white of most sketchbooks & for its somewhat urban vibe.
I worried that the materials I normally use in sketchbooks might be problematic on kraft paper, but was delighted by the way graphite, chalks, ink, Montana acrylic markers, light watercolor & gouache washes, & even alcohol-based markers worked in my Big Black Bee Sketchbook. I also began working in the new Hahnemühle Kraft booklets & found their paper to be almost like a hot press version of kraft-- silky smooth, but still up for any materials I threw at it! Strathmore enticed me with their toned sketchbooks too-- their grey paper is a different, but equally wonderful, surface to work on.
A big benefit of toned paper is that it provides a ready-made medium tone for your work, but what I like best is that it seems easier to make that first mark when it is not on a bright white page!