USK: Sky at New Seasons Cedar Hills

Mitchell went to the dentist and I sat and had coffee
at New Seasons before shopping.  The sky was talking to me:
the calm before the downpour!

I am sad about Birmingham not making Tarnished Nickel ink any more
and want them to try to reproduce it.  It is a favorite grey!
They are discontinuing all their old inks because they are starting
a new line of inks made from scratch… on the other hand,
I know Nick and Josh will make amazing inks in this next phase!

To hear about classes, follow me on Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, journal, memory, pen & ink, sketchbook, urban sketchers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inky Thots: Robert Oster Sterling Silver!

I’ve been asking Robert Oster to pleeeeze make a lovely silver…
I am not a gold gurl, not even a glitter gurl,
but I am a silver gurl… while I love Robert’s Heart of Gold (below)
(and it is one of Mitchell’s favorites) I wanted silver… Drumroll…

Introducing Robert Oster
Shake N’ Shimmy Sterling Silver!

(With and without flash so you can see the glitteries!)

I see a universe in this ink!


I have in my hands a
lovely bottle and am just starting to play… I had to give you all a preview.

Yes, it appears to be all the things you expect from
Robert Oster inks —
well behaved, doesn’t feather, nice flow!  Then there are
the lovely colors that
emanate from this
glitter ink when it is
hit with water… It is a deep charcoal grey with turquoise
and emerald and purple!

Yes, there are other new inks to talk about:
Go-Go and Taiwan Blue and Australian Opal
are also new, some are selling at Vanness!

To hear about classes, follow me on Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, review, sketchbook, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lojong 46: The Three Causes

I’ve studied through the slogans a dozen times in my life;
these are my musings on the slogan currently, what comes up on the day that
I am posting the slogan,
not a formal interpretation.
For that reason they are less about straight Buddhist teachings,
and I think able to be shared with most practitioners of other faiths or no faith
(unless yours doesn’t allow you to read any other tradition.)
If you have time and the inclination, I published the WHOLE  thang here!

#45: Take on the three principal causes.

I used to draw this card randomly for weeks from my slogan cards.  Drove me crazy because I did not get the translation.  Finally I abandoned the translation “causes”.

I get it.

This slogan is about setting an environment ripe for the dharma.

  1. Get a good teacher.  This one can be complicated.  There are bad teachers
    in every walk of life, so for me, this is connected to
    Maisumi Roshi’s statement, “Put no mind before your own.”
    Trust your instinct and don’t be led on by an abusive teacher or charlatan.
    A good teacher may also come in the form of a spiritual friend
    who is telling you that you are being an ass.
  2. Apply heart and mind to the dharma.
  3. Take care of the practical aspects of life efficiently and with
    an attitude of responsibility, doing the best job you can.  It is more likely
    that you can apply yourself if you are not homeless and hungry.

I think a lot of people are following false teachers today, more than ever.
Many religions are being corrupted for greed, because truthfully,
“dharma” or truthful spiritual teachings can be found in many traditions.
I had a good grounding with compassionate Catholic teachings.
But today, people have lost their way… for greed.

It is disheartening.

In this weekly commentary on the lojong, I am interested in hearing about
YOUR life or how the lojong affected you or your practice awakening in some manner.
For more info about why, go here.

 OE or OKINA NOTEBOOKS (my favorite journals, also known as Cadic)

Okina Journal, with TWSBI Eco 1.1  — started with Robert Oster Aussie Brown ink
and switched the ink to Robert Oster Golden Brown ink before I started writing.
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Posted in art, Buddha, journal, lojong, meditation, pen & ink, ritual, tonglen, watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year of the Metal Rat!


New decade, and the beginning of the Chinese Zodiac!
Ink painting and notes in my new Hahnemühle 1584 Journal!

To hear about classes, follow me on Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Purple Gurl

The holidays brought new inks (not that I need an excuse.)
A couple were gifts to me, and a couple were gifts to Mitchell
(he goes for shimmers and glitters, and I should have predicted this,
because he is also a tassel man!)

Of the lovely new colors below (and I have another couple pages coming)
I want to talk about the purple smack dab center!

I didn’t know I was a purple lover, but if you saw the inks I buy most (other than my workhorse waterproofs) they are mostly grey, green, and purple!
And I thought I’d found the absolutely only purple a gurl could ever want by Robert Oster,
Bishop to King, then at Christmas bought a second by him, Cosmic Swirl.

Omigoddess, I’ve become a purple gurl!

Obviously, they are both gorgeous.
Bishop to King (right above) has a much more blue-purple presence; when hit with water separates into beautiful blues and even turquoise.
Cosmic Swirl is an lovely sheening ink that is just a drench of pure purple.
Heaven in a box… seriously, these two colors are the colors of the heavens!

Below, on the occasion of the first full “Wolf” moon of the decade,
I painted a lovely full moon in Cosmic Swirl, and
said I imagined a world without the crap that is going on now.
We can do so much better.

Above, Full Wolf Moon (left) in Cosmic Swirl; Buddha in Bishop to King, right.

BTW, I realized I was becoming a purple gurl because even in Robert Oster,
I have several other smokey moody purples, below.

Do you know the difference
between purple and violet?

I always think of violet as being on the blue end of purple…
Purple being that balanced mix of red and blue, a purr-fect secondary color.

To hear about classes, follow me on Instagram, Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dingbats Journal, Review

I have tried three of Dingbat’s journals, two of the Wildlife and one of the Earth series, left and right, above.  A huge reason I chose them over others was their commitment to the environment, and their pretty covers.

I used the elephant journal and had no issues — a really good journal.  I gave Mitchell the orange Tiger Wildlife journal; he is still enjoying it. The Wildlife paper was sturdy — light ghosting (like everyone’s), and bleed when I pushed it but then the paper is not meant to do the things I throw at it.  While the stamp I use bleeds through on ALL journals, you can see almost no bleed, right, even when I painted the ink bottle in on the other side. That is pretty good paper!

When I finished the elephant journal I moved to the monkey journal, the Earth series.
I was sorry I hadn’t paid closer attention when ordering, because
the paper was ivory
(I like to see the ink colors on white)
and the pages are all set up, numbered for indexing, etc.
I know many will like that, and it wasn’t a deal breaker for me…
I just figured next time I would make sure to buy the Wildlife series.

Then, literally the first day using it, the ribbon markers came off.
I actually use them, so that was a bummer.

But the worst was the quality of the paper.
Pen and ink combos used in the elephant journal feathered in the Wildlife journal; anything thicker than a medium fountain pen bled.
Unhappy, I contacted Dingbats to tell them and ask why the change.
The dialogue didn’t go well… I sent images, asking about
the change in the quality (I didn’t want to order more with these issues).
Mo asked me lots of questions, admitting there had been some issues.
He said he would send me a replacement, and kept asking me more and more questions.
I mean, if I sent pics, then that should do the trick (I sent many).
And I would have removed my journal pages if he had wanted to have it back
— and paid for the shipping back — but instead it was just more questions until
after a couple of days I had had enough.  They knew the paper had issues —
he’d said that in on the first email.  I finally pulled the plug on the back and forth.
I was never going to buy another Dingbat.  And I never got a replacement.

But I would not have written a bad review… figuring two out of three journals were okay.
Then less than three weeks and the pen holder came off, right.  I mean really, every time I opened the dang thing
I was annoyed. I don’t like reviewers who say bad things about a company but never contact the company.  I had.  The memory of the interaction plus everything else left using the journal an unpleasurable experience. Juggling Post-its to show where I was writing… constant bleed through.

Then they came out with their version of plastic disposable marker pens
That was the last straw.
How can you say you are a company that is interested in the
environment and critters, and then go out of your way to make
PLASTIC pens that will end up in landfills and in the waters,
where they harm the critters you say you want to protect?
I wrote them again.  (BTW, me writing a company is not unusual… I now write many companies to ask them to rethink their choices.  I am working for the environment.)
This was their response (my bolding emphasis):

“Indeed we always celebrate ourselves by being one of the very few environmentally conscious brands available in the world today. Regarding the pens, we are actually the only brand looking into producing this type of dual tips pens made from 100% recycled post consumer waste plastic or 100% biodegradable plastic. In the meantime, we have done an interaction to the line of pens using a very small batch to get as much feedback from the market as possible about the quality and at the same time we have made them using #5 plastic.  #5 plastic can normally be recycled in local curbside programs; else, mail in programs are also gaining popularity such as Preserve and you can find some more from below online resources (edited out by me, not shown):

#5 plastic can be recycled into: signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays.

In addition, the boxes the pens come in are made from post consumer waste so from 100% recycled materials to reduce the footprint as much as possible in this test.

Hopefully we will figure out the way to produce the pens using recycled or biodegradable plastic and we the first ones to do so!”

So it is a plastic pen made from recyclable plastic… and…
1) There are other environmentally conscious companies —
Hahnemuhle and Clairefontaine come to mind.  Both make journals.
2) The pens are not refillable.
3) They are making a non-biodegradable product that will quickly end up in the trash.  Trying to pretend that telling people they can send their plastic pens to
a special waste center is hypocritical.  FEW WILL DO THAT,
or even recycle them at all, so truth is, into the trash bucket!
4) Then there is the carbon footprint for shipping… give me a break.
5) Recycling plastic is also hard on the environment… in fact, much of what we send to recycling centers does not get used, even if it is the “right kind” of plastic.

image by adege from pixabay

These pens will end up in landfills, floating on the waterways, washing up on land, ultimately harming the critters Dingbats wants to protect.

Because they are only giving lip service to their “cause.”

I won’t buy from a company that doesn’t stand behind their products
and is hypocritical about their mission statement about the environment:
“We see a future in which humans live in harmony with nature and communities committed to protect wildlife, fresh waters, forests and oceans.”
They are putting profits (disposable plastic bits are profitable)
before their mission statement.  

I always finish journals… but using it is annoying the crap out of me.
I am tearing out the paper to use as scratchpads in the office and that is the end of that.  Moving on to my new “1584 by Hahnemühle” notebook, a pleasure.

To hear about classes, follow me on Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, creativity, ink painting, journal, pen & ink, process, review, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pen Love

Who knew in 2015 I would
fall in love with fountain pens?

My sketch was of the beginnings of my pen obsession…
Done in a Moleskin and a Platinum Carbon Pen
with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
it helped me get to know every crevice of my pen collection.
I started with a beautiful baaaad pen… NOT drawn (I was glad to toss it!)
It was stinky and never wrote well, hard starts and I do not regret tossing it.
We don’t talk about that one….
Thankfully I bought a cheap Pilot Preppy pen from Goulet and turned it into
what they called an “eyedropper” which held so much ink!
When I placed my next order for the Platinum Carbon Pen I bought a Pilot Preppy pen
in every color, and all my waterproof colored inks had a home.

At the time I had yet to discover the world of gorgeous inks.
Inks were a means to an end, vegetables before dessert!
They secured my sketches before using watercolors.
I “painted” with the waterproof inks from Super5 and De Atramentis,
especially underpainting shadows, or grisaille.

When I wanted to make
my joyful pen sketch
colorful, I also used a few
of these waterproof inks,
namely Super5 Dublin ink
in Pentel Aquash waterbrushes
for the background, and
layering Platinum Carbon ink
for the blacks.
I augmented the inks
with watercolors.
Diving into my love affair
with inks was just
around the corner… So many inks, so little cash!

My card above, just in time for InCoWriMo
or International Correspondence Writing Month.

The full spread!

Pens shown in the image are: Lamy Al-Star, Jinhao 750 with Goulet 1.1 stub nib, Pilot Metropolitan, Platinum Carbon Pen, Pilot Preppy pen, and Pilot Parallel pen.

Announcing my new card line!

Cards can be bought singly, in multiples,
or as a package with the Morning Coffee images.
In time for International Correspondence Writing Month, or InCoWriMo.

Or visit RedBubble for the image printed on totes and tees and notebooks!
I use my own wirebound notebooks in the studio,
and they take fountain pens well enough, shown above tested with wet pens.

Yup, I am self promoting — gurls gotta make a living!
Please support a working artist!

To hear about classes, follow me on Instagram, Facebook
or check out my new, improved

Posted in art journal, calligraphy, cards, drawing, ink painting, journal, memory, painting, pen & ink, sketchbook, tools, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment