USK: Pfizer Vaccination


I am just now coming out of the week+ reaction I had to the Pfizer vaccine.
Total flu-like symptoms with a kick — a muscle spasm in my groin, legs, feet and underarms which went on for five days — along with weird dreams and dizziness.  Nevertheless, I am happy for the vaccine…

We won’t go places for a long time, but if we had to we would feel less fear.
I want to see what the country and the variants do before being comfortable.
We have so much to lose.

I drew a lot of this at the convention center, above,
then added watercolors later.


Later that night I wanted an antidote image, so sketched Eucalyptus Trees
from a photo provided by a friend.  That was where I wanted to be that night,
under that canopy.  Eucalyptus reminds me of home.

And more journaling that I feel comfortable sharing…
reading Buddhist teachers, finding inspiration.

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

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, memory, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, urban sketchers, virtual sketching, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Valentine’s Day 2021

I’ve sketched and journaled this year, but was too busy and/or exhausted to post….
So, going back, there will be some retro posts of our time earlier this year, before I stopped sketching at all and began journaling furiously.

After a year of Covid and no end in sight, the entire situation finally was wearing on us…  When Valentine’s Day came around all we wanted to do was not see or speak to a single human being except each other all day!

Our first order of amazing
small cakes from Portland Bakery was the real treat —
Four cakes slightly larger
than a cupcake
(a nice sharable size)
came in four flavors:
Chocolate, Lemon,
Chocolate Berry, and
Yummy Coconut!

We strung lights, turned the ringers off on the phones,
napped, slept late,
never took off our pajamas, napped, binged on old movies, and, did I say napped?

Mitchell also surprised me with a lovely Mala that is stretchy and I have not taken it off!
Cats were happy, as they got to take turns on laps over the three day weekend…
We were happy with good food (yes I cooked) and no plans!

BEST Valentine’s Day!

To hear about classes, follow me on Facebook
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Zoom Buddha


I’ve been in a creative block… No energy, no inspiration, no drawing, no sketching!
I’ve played with ink swabs, but that is as far as it goes.
I’ve also found I had nothing to say…
Almost no writing, though there is more of that than sketching.
I know some of it is depression (what we are living through finally got to me)
and some of it is sheer exhaustion, because the business is exhausting me —
dealing with Covid as it effects our ability to do business.

Marianne has been asking me to come to sketch with her zoom group for months.
Maybe it is my introverted self dealing with all of the above, but also,
I am sometimes sleeping or working on weekends…  I had not shown up!

Finally I joined… I pulled my red resin Buddha wrapped
with my red mala in front of me in case I got inspired.
I made this mala, and it has large red whiteheart, hematite
and a lovely carved tortoise as the mala bead, above right.

All women, all chatting, and I relaxed a bit as I got to know them…
Finally I also sketched as I talked, and as Buddha is a familiar figure it was relaxing,
no stress.  Mitchell walked through a few times and commented how much he
enjoyed hearing me laugh — not that I don’t laugh if we are watching a comedy,
but this kind of laughing and talking is different, and much much better!

Our zoom session didn’t totally break through my creative block, but it helped…
Since then I have picked up my pen and sketched!
I also realized how much I miss community, and this group was a balm to my soul.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

 

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

Posted in art journal, Buddha, creativity, drawing, gods and goddesses, journal, painting, pen & ink, sketchbook, watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inky Thots: Robert Oster’s Vanness Exclusives

I love Robert Oster inks, and his newest exclusives to Vanness are gorgeous!
*ps if they sell out they will restock but don’t wait too long; you can preorder!*

My sketches below were drawn with a dip pen on cold press watercolor paper,
then the lines were touched with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.
The lines do not stay visible but quickly lose themselves in wet color;
These inks are highly soluble, which is good for me and ink-painting!

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!

Blue River is gorgeous clear blue that is perfection!
It has a permanent home in my PENBBS and it cheers me!

Hemp Green is a natural warm green that has yellows and rusts lurking
in its pigmentation… and I didn’t ask why they chose “hemp” for one of their colors!

Charred Hickory is a beautiful red-brown.  I also grew up seeing iron rich soils near my grandparent’s ranch, and this ink reminds me of those colors in the rain.

Properties of Robert Oster’s Vanness Inks:

This ink is well-behaved, and does not feather on any of the papers I normally use, even Post-its.  I consider it a medium ink, neither wet nor dry, and it evaporates quickly with a wet nib.  none of these have smeared on me during a sketch.  When hit with water it
moves easily with little no resistance, so is water soluble.

The paper towel test shows the chromatography of the various inks when hit with water!  Only the green reveals many colors; the other two appear a single pigment color.

Robert Oster is experimenting and testing lightfast properties…
MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to these things
because most artists who use ink are making prints of their work.

Other Robert Oster Inks
reviewed in this manner to
date can be  found on this page: Robert Oster Signature Inks.

The non-toxic inks come in
50ml plastic bottles that
are environmentally friendly,
using recycled plastic.
They can be tippy, so I
usually put them in a more solid container to decant.
All my pens fit easily into the bottle opening to fill.

I bought Robert Oster
at Vanness.

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

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Inky Thots: Birmingham Crisp Formula Inks

Birmingham has a new lineup of amazing inks, the Crisp Formula Inks.
I know, I usual write about inks as an artist, but these inks are made to be
compatible with inexpensive everyday papers, without bleed and feathering, which is excellent news for anyone who uses their pens in an office setting with lots of cheap paper.

I’ve put two of them through their paces on everyday papers around the studio this week, above, and am amazed at how well they write on Post-its and cheap yellow legal pads.
The Blackberry Jam was placed in a wet fude pen and there was NO bleed on any paper.
The Black Olive is in a fairly wet writer and it ghosted heavily on post-its
but not on other papers, and no feathering in either.
The inks dry quickly and flowed nicely in the Pilot Metropolitans and Jinhaos I filled.

In my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal they also flowed nicely on watercolor paper.
When scrubbed with water after drying, there is some water resistance in many colors.
No sheen that I could produce, but several produce nice shading.

Below, the colors I tested on both smooth sketch paper (left) and on watercolor paper (right)… any slight color distortion is in the lighting.  In general, the colors shown brilliant in the smoother Hahnemühle journal than on the watercolor paper, which is more absorbent.

Note the last testing, the Black Olive, which puddled on the paper on the right, above?  Even there, the ink did nto bleed through the watercolor paper, which most other Birmingham (and many other) inks would do.  These inks are very well-behaved!

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also usually interested in how they are used for ink-painting!

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!

 I like what Birmingham says on their website
about their company:
We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The region of Pittsburgh where we began once called “Little Birmingham” due to the area’s prolific manufacturing industry in the early 1900’s.  The Birmingham moniker was derived from Birmingham, UK – a manufacturing hub that specialized in, among other things, pen and nib manufacturing with thousands of craftspeople employed in the industry. We chose the name Birmingham Pen Company to share this little known piece of history and
continue in the traditions behind the name.”

Birmingham’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes.  I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.


Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*

This is a small family business run by four people!  The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist; and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!

Disclosure, I was gifted with these sample inks from Birmingham.

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

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Inky Thots: The Maker’s Palette 

I have a lot of inks… way too many to use in my lifetime even with painting.
But, really, why have a boring crayola 8-pack
when you can have the 64-pack with every color imaginable?

I’ve also found the makers that I gravitate to mostly, and know why I love them,
mostly for their complex stunning colors — though I do sample inks from others.
I have a theory now that I have played with a lot of inks from a few makers, and seen the range of their colors again and again as I place new colors on my wish lists.
I believe that the best makers are influenced by the world they see around them.

Robert Oster has the most amazing blues which is why I call him the King of Blues!
But his colors in general are the colors are the colors I imagine when I think of the huge continent of Australia and the area around his home: blue to blue-green seas all around, natural greens that range from desert to forest, and rich desert colors — I think of the huge red rock country in the north.  He is not the king of greys, nor urban colors!

Coincidentally, Blackstone (now out of business) was also an Aussie company,
and carried very similar natural palette.  Wonderful company, sad they are gone.

Birmingham, on the other hand, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
is the company I think of for the richest greys — and I LOVE grey inks.
I have more grey than any other single color ink!
Birmingham’s palette is a very urban palette, and I can see the colors of urban gardens with pops of color in tended greens, and the working rivers that surround them:
The Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which come together to form the Ohio River.
I imagine the swirl of the people at work around them…  Having lived in an urban environment for most of my adult life, the people compensate with brilliant and sometimes unnatural colors: Green Weenie, Salmon Hors D”Oeuvre, Parrot and Five-Cent Fuchsia are colors I wore daily when I worked in Los Angeles.  When I moved to rural Oregon people stared at my brilliant colorful dress, so out of place in their natural environment.

I can’t help it: when I look at Papier Plume‘s inks I think of the
decadent, ladies-of-the-night and outlaw gentlemen I read about in my teens.
I think of late nights, parties, brunch, and rich amazing foods blended from many cultures into the place that is New Orleans!  I think their palette reflects a rich mysterious culture!

I now am going forward with this theory in mind… and watching…

What do you think?

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!

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

Posted in color, commentary, creativity, drawing, ink painting, painting, pen & ink, review, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inky Thots: Birmingham Coking Coal


Birmingham Pen Company Coking Coal ink is named in honor of coking coal, a unique coal which “usually refers to the product derived from low-ash and low-sulphur bituminous coal by a process called coking.”  Coking is “the heating of coal in the absence of oxygen to a temperature above 600 °C to drive off the volatile components of the raw coal, leaving a hard, strong, porous material of high carbon content called coke.”  In this  case made at and for the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, founded in Pittsburgh in 1872. (Quotes from Wikipedia.)

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!
Also, this review shows the older version of Slag Grey ink at the bottom, and here.

Properties of with Birmingham Coking Coal ink:

It is a well behaved ink which
dries relatively quickly.
It feathers slightly on Post-its,
and in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal when my dip pen drops a blob! (I need a new dip pen!)  But not on watercolor paper, above, nor in a well-behaved nib.

When I scrubbed it, top, it showed quite a lot water resistance and further test sketches in my journals show it to leave a good imprint of water resistant ink lines when the waterbrush moves the color.

It has no sheen that I could produce, and is not a strong shader with my 1.1 stub nib.

The hue?  This is the first time Birmingham’s image and my visuals differ slightly.
I see a bit more blue in the ink than shown on my screen (which is calibrated),
and had me thinking it was an umber hue.  On the paper towel you can see
a blue tinge that pulls out of the dark writing ink.
Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer these colors:

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks at this time.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!


I drew the Edgar Thomson Steel Works on my test page with a dip pen —
a rather poor dip pen and so it tends to splotch out —
on cold press watercolor paper and touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.  This was a 30 minute sketch with water movement…
The lines stay visible but also release ink; which means some water resistance.
I was able to layer inks which is not possible with highly soluble inks.
The smokey billows (my imagination — the clouds around the mill were white)
are both stright ink and watery ink, and the inks stayed in place quite well when dry.


The image of a Vietnamese statue in Hué was created with a stub nib,
and the Jinhao and nib combination created a very wet flow.
I used a waterbrush to pick up color off the tip of the nib and also to move lines slightly… on the smooth Hanemuhle Nostalgie pwper the lines moved and did not offer the same resistance as on the watercolor paper.

I am glad I have this in a pen, as this is an ink with qualities I will enjoy sketching and  using watercolors over.  I am sure they will muddy up and move the ink,
but that will make for an interesting image with the right subject.

 From Birmingham Pen Co’s website:
We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in
the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The region of Pittsburgh where we began once  called “Little Birmingham” due to the area’s prolific manufacturing industry in the early 1900’s. The Birmingham moniker was derived from Birmingham, UK – a manufacturing hub that specialized in, among other things, pen and nib manufacturing with thousands of craftspeople employed in the industry. 
We chose the name Birmingham Pen Company  to share this little known piece of history and continue in the traditions behind the name.”

Birmingham’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes.  I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.


Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*

This is a small family business run by four people!  The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist;  and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!

Disclosure, I was gifted with this sample ink from Birmingham.

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

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Inky Thots: Robert Oster’s Pen Chalet Exclusives

I love Robert Oster inks, and his newest exclusives to North America’s Pen Chalet
are gorgeous!  This trio of inks celebrates the American Southwestern desert.
Pen Chalet has their brick and mortar store in Mesa Arizona.
*ps if they sell out they will restock but don’t wait too long; you can preorder!*

There was one more that I
will include in this group,
though it was released
before Christmas 2020
because it too is an exclusive,
and fits the theme.
I assume Antelope Canyon
is named after the famous
natural wonder of the
same name near Page AZ
.
The ink matches the amazing
rock formation colors of the
often photographed canton.

My sketches below were drawn with a dip pen on cold press watercolor paper,
then the lines were touched with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.
The lines do not stay visible but quickly lose themselves in wet color;
These inks are highly soluble, which is good for me and inkpainting!

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!

Monsoon Sky is a beautiful smokey teal blue that runs a deep turquoise
when mixed with water.  Most people think of India or China when they think of Monsoon season, but monsoons are a seasonal occurrence in the
Southwestern United States into Mexico in late summer and early fall.

Saguaro Green is a highly changeable warm green that has yellows and rusts lurking
in its pigmentation.  Named after the Saguaro (cactus) which is native to the
Sonoran Desert.  The warm green ink nods to the rich the colors of the area where
they grow.  Different lighting makes the green change color!

If you’ve never seen the red in the hills of Sedona in Sedona Red Rock Park it is
hard to believe, but this is very much the color you will see.  As a California Girl,
I also grew up seeing iron rich soils near my grandparent’s ranch.
This ink is a charcoal infused beauty that moves into a warm pink color with water

Antelope Canyon is named after the slot canyon near Page AZ, to canyon areas
known as the Slot and the Corscrew.  “The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means ‘the place where water runs through rocks’. Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí (called “Hasdestwazi” by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or ‘spiral rock arches’. Both are in the LeChee Chapter
of the Navajo Nation. They are accessible by guided tour only.” Wikipedia
This amazing ink rounds out the colors of the desert with its beautiful rich rusts.

Properties of Robert Oster’s Pen Chalet inks:

This ink is well-behaved, and does not feather on any of the papers I normally use, even Post-its.  I consider it a medium ink, neither wet nor dry, and it evaporates quickly with a wet nib.  It has never smeared on me during a sketch.  When hit with water it
moves easily with no resistance or ghosting, so is not water resistant.

The paper towel test shows the chromatography
of the various inks when hit with water!

Robert Oster is experimenting and testing lightfast properties…
MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to these things
because most artists who use ink are making prints of their work.

Other Robert Oster Inks reviewed in this manner to
date can be  found on this page: Robert Oster Inks.

The non-toxic inks come in
50ml plastic bottles that
are environmentally friendly, using recycled plastic.
They can be tippy, so I usually put them in a more solid container to decant.
All my pens fit easily into the bottle opening to fill.

I bought Robert Oster
at the Pen Chalet.

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

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, review, sketchbook, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Inky Thots: Birmingham Slag Grey

Blue-green-grey Birmingham Slag Grey ink is named in honor
of the Homestead Steelworks, built in 1881.
It became part of the Carnegie Steel company in 1883.
For many years was the largest steelworks in the world.

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!
Also, this review shows the older version of Slag Grey ink at the bottom, and here.

I adore the new Slag Grey!

Properties of with Birmingham Slag Grey ink:

It is a well behaved ink which
dries relatively quickly. It feathers slightly on Post-its, and in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal when my dip pen drops a blob! But not on watercolor paper, above, nor when used with stub nibs. When scrubbed, top, it showed quite a lot water resistant, and further test sketches in my journals show it to leave a good imprint of water resistant ink lines when the waterbrush moves the color.  It has no sheen that I could produce, and is not a strong shader with my 1.1 stub nib, but when painting it separates so I consider this a complex ink color.

Above you can see the pretty blue that pulls out of the dark writing ink.
The paper towel test shows how many colors lay beneath the grey.
When the edge is touched with water it moves easily
into dark blue, blue-greens, and a green-yellow.
Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer these colors:

*Above, watercolors, from Daniel Smith, QoR, and Senelier.*

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!


I drew the Homestead Steelworks on my test page with a dip pen —
a rather poor dip pen and so it tends to splotch out —
on cold press watercolor paper and touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.  This was a 30 minute sketch with water movement…
The lines stay slightly visible but also release ink; which means some water resistance.

Notice how blue-grey the lower image appears, versus the green-grey of the
top swatch or the grey in the pussy-willows, below.  This is the same Slag Grey
under the same lighting (smooth versus textured paper),
and shows the range of color in this ink.

Slag Grey linework and ink-painting with a touch of yellow watercolor, below;
you can see slight feathering on the lowest catkin where my dip pen blobbed.

 I like what Birmingham says on their website:
We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in
the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The region of Pittsburgh where we began once  called “Little Birmingham” due to the area’s prolific manufacturing industry in the early 1900’s. The Birmingham moniker was derived from Birmingham, UK – a manufacturing hub that specialized in, among other things, pen and nib manufacturing with thousands of craftspeople employed in the industry. 
We chose the name Birmingham Pen Company  to share this little known piece of history and continue in the traditions behind the name.”

Birmingham’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes.  I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.


Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*

This is a small family business run by four people!  The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist;  and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!

Disclosure, I was gifted with this sample ink from Birmingham.

New Slag Grey, below…

Old formula, below….

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

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, review, sketchbook, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Recipe, Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans


Rancho Gordo’s Yellow Eye Bean was a bean I tried earlier and ruined….
Now that I am an old bean-cooking gal, it is time to revisit some of the beans
that I did early on because now I can coax their amazing flavors.

Yes, I am still a fanatic!

Yellow Eyes are creamy with a rusty center eye…
I did not soak, and cooked them as I’ve been cooking my beans  now, simply,
with 4-5 garlic cloves, a chopped raw onion, 4 de Arbol chilies, 1 chipotle chili
(I was seeing how much chili was too much and think I reached the point!),
2 bay leaves, a few dried sage leaves, and one pint of the
yummy Carman Ranch Beef Bone Broth (that is new to me and oh my was it good.)
Brought to a boil, 15 minutes, then began simmering.
This was just at the edge of too much heat for me,
but over rice or served with something else it is perfect!

Salt at the end, in the last 45 minutes!


Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised. It matters!

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

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

Crows and more Birds


We started feeding the crows during covid because the people
in the neighborhood that shared their lunch scraps with them were not here…
Then the jays and junkos and finches and even the occasional seagull showed up.
How can we say no?

As it went into winter we got very committed…
Mourning doves showed up too.
Now here is the thing…

THEY HAVE TURNED INTO DEMANDO BIRDS!

They know I feed them, know my “caw caw” and so if there is not food
on the roof they start looking for the window I am in and pushing me to get
the food onto the deck!  Everyone plays nicely, from the smallest birds to the crows though occasionally someone chases someone else, and it is usually
a couple smaller birds going after a crow.  When people start populating the area we will cut back on what we put out on the roof… or start thinking of them as pets!

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

Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, history, ink painting, journal, memory, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, virtual sketching, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inky Thots: Birmingham Boysenberry


Birmingham Boysenberry ink is named in honor of the fruits from
the Southside Farmer’s Market, built in 1915.
The original market house on this spot was built in 1893, burned,
and was rebuilt by architect Charles Bickel in 1915.
“According to Walter C. Kidney, “When it was rebuilt in 1915 after a fire,
the towers came off, the gable roof was brought down to the eaves on both fronts,
and a well-scaled stone cartouche was set into the south front memorializing
the new work. This cartouche is the building’s one decoration today, set off by swags and surmounted by a bull’s head. The Romanesque walls otherwise survive largely as built, industrial rather than civic architecture.”” (Wikipedia.)


Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!

Properties of  Birmingham Boysenberry ink:

It is a well behaved ink
which dries relatively quickly.
It feathers slightly on Post-its, but not in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal even with a wet writer, above, nor on watercolor paper, top.
When I scrubbed it, top and below left, it showed quite a
bit of water resistance. It has
no sheen that I could produce, and is not a moderate shader
with my 1.1 stub nib… when painting it separates into
these beautiful pinks and
blues, so I consider this a complex ink color.

Top, above and left, you
can see the pretty blue
that pulls out of the
dark writing ink.
The paper towel test
shows how many colors lay beneath the dark purple!
Aptly named Boysenberry!

When the edge is touched
with water it does not move easily into the berry stain colors. Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer these colors:

*Above, watercolors, from Daniel Smith.*

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!


I drew the Southside Farmer’s Market on my test page with
my Model-A Demonstrator pen with a 1.1 stub nib (below)
on cold press watercolor paper,  Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal,
and touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.
This was a fast sketch with water movement…
The lines stay slightly visible but also release ink; which means slight water resistance.
I added linework in, but left some lines untouched.

I like what Birmingham says on their website:
We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012
in the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The region of Pittsburgh where we began once  called “Little Birmingham” due to
the area’s prolific manufacturing
industry in the early 1900’s. The
Birmingham moniker was derived from Birmingham, UK – a manufacturing hub
that specialized in, among other things, pen and nib manufacturing with thousands of craftspeople employed in the industry.

Birmingham’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes.  I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.

Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*
I placed the lovely Boysenberry into the pen.

This is a small family business run by four people!  The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist;  and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!

Image of the South Side Market used for reference was taken by Piotrus.

Disclosure, I was gifted with this sample ink from Birmingham.

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Inauguration 2021


Like many artists, I sketched what I was seeing…
Except when I was so transfixed, as in Lady Gaga’s Performance,
and the oh-so amazing Amanda Gorman, I could not sketch.
I watched and listened intently, joyous after so much stress.


During the evening the fireworks were some of the most beautiful
I’ve ever seen, and I knew they were a stretch for me to capture.
My impression, done the day after from memory, of the gorgeous colors with the Washington Monument in the middle.
All ink, with a Fineline Masking fluid laid down
before I started painting with inks:
Robert Oster, l’Artisan Pastellier, and Krishna inks.

You can purchase cards and other objects with this image on it from RedBubble.

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VSW Vietnam, 1


I am happy I had the Virtual Sketchwalk group
(on Face Book)
to take me away to Vietnam
with images from Aniko Szedlak…

I started with an image of Aniko and ginger…
Love me some Ginger!

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VSW Vietnam, 2


In the midst of so much sadness having
these lovely silk lanterns and the beautiful lantern shop
with the bougainvillea in full blossom was a delight.


It took me forever.
Depression would pull me, sleepiness and distraction also overtaking me.

The sketch above is an ink-painting, no watercolors.
An assortment of L’Artisan Pastellier Classique inks were used.


I sketched the planters with
a Platinum Carbon Pen
with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges, and
chose delightful clear watercolors to depict
the bright silks!

I went back and forth on
writing the reality of what
is going on and in the end, decided to do this as this
is my art journal, and
I will look back and see
what I was struggling with
when I chose to sketch lanterns.

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One Week Later

Still processing.
Watching news, sleeping, reading, horrified.
This week diversion is the Closer.

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One Week


2021 1 6 I don’t have anything to say right now about this.
Sketching and watching.


Jan 12 2021 finished by labeling and writing on the sketches.

And let me say I am not tagging this post.
That alone should be an alert that this shook me to my core.
Staying out of the eye of Sauron.
One week today.

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Tools: Rhodia Touch

I’ve been playing in the Rhodia Touch “Lavis Technique” journal
made for pen and ink-wash and sketching, a journal that is new to me.
I usually would do a lot more testing of a journal,
but I am ready to let this journal go — it is not for me.  I like Rhodia papers,
but this journal has been a huge failure, and I will walk you through why
I am abandoning it as a inkpainting and watercolor journal below.

The paper is bright white, 90lb, and mine is A5 landscape, bound.

Positive:  A beautiful sturdy journal, faux leather, nice thick band closure.
It feels good in the hand, and when opened lays flat.
The front and back inside cover pages are black, and that is fine —
I used a white gel pen and often paste mementos in those areas.

There is no back envelope, but again, that is often true in good sketchbooks,
and if I was going to continue with the journal, I’d paste an envelope into the back.

I will say that there was a somethingness that I could quite identify that bothered me, but the truth is, I also was playing with new inks, so not sure what the issues were. Pencil worked well on the smooth sheets, but I can’t show it as they were underlayers.

Then I tested the new Birmingham Everlasting inks,
below, and began to see issues clearly.

When I test new inks in
my sketching journals, it is
often my first experience with
a new ink medium.  I lay the
ink in, and let it dry.  I add water and scrub the dried ink a bit
to watch it move.  If you
look at the water-resistant
Birmingham Everlasting ink test above, I let those dry then dropped water to see how the inks move in various ways.

What concerned me was
how quickly the paper began
to pill… See the circle that
pilled in the middle above?

Compare it to an example in Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, where I have performed these tests for years.  Above right with Robert Oster Dragon’s Night ink,
you can see no pilling or textural change in the scrubbed areas on the right side.

This was my first solid strike on this journal.

My next and deal-breaking “test” was laying in several more test swatches,
all quite typical of what I would do in the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.
Each image above shows front and back in succession.
Both pages of swatching seeped through to the other side, unable to take the wet ink.
I don’t even experience much ghosting in the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook,
as a comparison, let alone bleed-through.

This was the deal-breaker.

So in the beginning I was willing to continue to play, because of the new inks
and dip pens (I don’t usually use a dip pen), in a new journal…
but I don’t want to continue to play in the journal.
I will publish the last few images I have sketched and written, but I am moving on.

The only way I could continue to use this journal would be to use only one side
of the paper, and to place a barrier sheet between pages when using it.
Otherwise I’d risk bleed.

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