I have been starting up again my once a week plein air watercolor sketch outing. My goal is to user a larger sketchbook and get quicker with the drawing and looser with the painting. I'm using a 9" x 11" Stillman & Birn, Alpha Series sketchbook. I am really liking this painting surface. A few of my other books have hand-made khadi paper which I also like, but I'm loving how the color is popping off the page with this smoother paper! The Alapha Series paper is thinner than their Beta Series paper. The advantage to that is you get more paper in the book and I'm able to watercolor sketch on both sides of the sheet with no bleed through. That's how nice this paper is. It's a little more like a hot press surface than a cold press paper, if you were to compare it to watercolor paper, but not as smooth and slick as some hot press papers are.
The main reason watercolor is my preferred medium at the moment is for my love of sketching in watercolor. Once I did this for a number of years I had the desire to try my hand at larger works! My sketchbooks are like my little children, complete treasures. I love looking through them to remind me of the memories of the places I have traveled.
If you are interested in sketching in watercolor, documenting your travels or your daily life, I will be teaching a "Sketching in Watercolor: Plein Air" Workshop" at the Winter Garden Art Association. One this fall, November 14 & 15 and one this spring, April 11 & 12. Leave me a comment or send me an email if you would like to register for the spring class.
My complete workshop schedule is on my web site here.