Holly is my favourite wood for painting. It has good weight and the pale biscuit colour helps the watercolour paint to stand out crisply. It is ideal for almost all subjects and particularly good for pets. First the wood is primed with white gouache and then sanded down to help even the grain and get as smooth a surface as possible
Lemonwood also has a very smooth surface and is ideal for detail. It gives a contrasting darker colour background when the varnish has been applied. Not suitable for portraits.
Ebony remains very popular. It is close textured and especially suited for white designs.  Subjects with texture such as lizards and seahorses also work well because of the detail. Colour can be added, even just one… which can change the whole appearance. The overall results are soft and muted.
An alternative to ebony is to choose a painted black background. I have found that if the colour needs to be more intense, then flooding the background on wood bobbins with black paint can make a real difference, particularly for something exotic when the colour needs to be bright.
Bone is great for painting but is heavy and therefore not really suitable for Honitons. It is white and smooth and gives a translucent effect which is particularly good for portraits.
Three of our very best bobbin makers supply the bobbins. They are Acorn Bobbins (bone and ebony); Graham Hudson (holly and lemonwood) and Honitons from Chris Parsons (holly and ebony). Please note that the bobbins shown in the gallery are not standard designs available for sale  The designs are drawn using pencil before watercolour/gouache is used for the painting.  Several coats of gloss, polyurethane varnish are applied to give protection.
The bobbin is spangled using glass beads and a matching painted centre bead.


wood bobbins
ebony and bone bobbins
wood and bone beads