Yellow glacier lilies dotted the hike we took in northern New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest, at the Upper Canjilon Lake.
The forest was a surprise. It was June, we had just been hiking in the Chama River Valley, very near Abiquiu, exploring canyons, talking to the black-robed Benedictine monks at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert (disappointed, though, that they neither brewed their Abbey beer or had tastings on site!), bearing the 90+ temperatures. We were not prepared for 60 degree temperature and patches of snow up in the mountains! We hiked a couple miles to the top of the mountain, around 700 feet of elevation gain, and found ourselves whipped by strong winds and rewarded with views of the surrounding landscape, desert to the west, snow-capped mountains to the north.
I did a series of the glacier lilies on a variety of types of paper — I’ve been a little bit out of etegami practice and wanted to reorient myself. Below I highlight some of the features of the types of paper I use, all bought online either through JetPens, Rakuten (the site is Japanese, but you can use Google translate on it, and they do ship to the US, for a fee), or Dosankodebbie’s Etsy store. I used a line from a Buson haiku for most of these. The poem reads in full “We walked and walked / We still had yet to walk / Summer fields.” I used only the first line, “行ゆきて”, or “We walked and walked.” Only later did I realize I had missed out on a pun I could have worked with — “yuki” means walk or go, but it also means “snow,” a double meaning I could have played with in my image of a “glacier” lily, and especially given the fact I hiked through snow patches when I saw these lilies.
The first two etegami below were done on a thin low-bleed etegami paper — I used either this Gasen paper from Akashiya, for sale by JetPens or this #1 paper from Rakuten (a deal at 100 pieces for 1100 yen, or about $12). I usually start my etegami practice using this type of paper, till I’m “warmed up” and ready for the more temperamental nature of higher bleed paper. You’ll find with this type of paper that the watercolor will just sit on top a little before drying and will not spread across the paper as well. This is better for control of your colors, but can sometimes be a little “un-etegami-esque,” and, well, boring. The second of these two I did using a bamboo pen — you’ll find you have to constantly redip the tip to reink it, but it does provide very blobby results! You’ll notice the second one has a bit of a warp to the paper; when the watercolor dries it tends to curl the paper a bit, especially if you’re heavy-handed with the watercolor on your brush as I tend to be. I did the next etegami, below, on this high nijimi (bleed) paper, which I bought from Debbie of Dosankodebbie. It was VERY bleedy and tricky to use; the sumi ink spread quickly.
Finally, the last one, below, was done on this Niso-Kyosen Akashiya high bleed paper, again from JetPens. I use this paper, along with this 3-Layer Hongasen Akashiya paper from JetPens, quite a lot. The first link is to a higher bleed paper — even though on their labels they are both marked as highest bleed, the first one has a second layer that adds to the bleed of the paper. Also, the texture feels more porous.