World Watercolor Month: Crocus

I don’t know whose image I painted from, but I thank them.
flowers are so good for releasing an artist’s block.

To hear more about World Watercolor Month visit here: Everyone can play!

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World Watercolor Month: Sharkavado


Hahahaaaaa!

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World (Not) Watercolor Month: Orange Daisies


I know I won’t be able to keep up with the one-a-day watercolor,
but when I do them I enjoy them!

These took me way back to being a kid in the 60’s,
avocado and orange and pop-culture flower power!

These were painted using inks, not watercolors!

To hear more about World Watercolor Month visit here: Everyone can play!

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World Watercolor Month: Sweet Peas / Creative Block

I am in a creative slump.

I’ve been in this stuck place for weeks and pushed myself to sketch posies — which usually works — but nothing is working.  Painting these flowers has been like slogging through mud.  I told myself I must NEED to veg out watching movies all day on days off, but now I’ve had several of these days and I feel like my creative life is slipping away.

The idea of time slipping away: accompanied by the feeling of being very old… a new feeling.

Part of that comes from the pain of arthritis — if you haven’t felt that consistent pain you just don’t get it.  I’ve had excruciating back pain and not had that be so daunting as the persistent
always-in-the-background
pains in my hands and knees.
I am grieving for my old self, my self that is happiest when making marks or writing, exploring.

So I decided to push into this stuck-ness in the only way
I know how: timed writing.
Twenty minutes or two pages daily, first thing in the morning.


The up side is that I like writing and spent years writing in the morning,
a timed dumping of what was in my unconscious mind and needed to get out.
Brain dump.  Raw writing.
I choose my trusty best journal, and the prettiest blue ink to begin.

The things about free writing with no direction is the funny stuff that comes up.
I wrote today about hating ironing and loving laundry.
I know, not earth shattering but I had never considered it.
You learn things about yourself when you do timed writings.
You may end up hearing some of the (edited) brain dumps in my posts.
Yes I will edit — some of my raw writing is unintelligible!


I also made a commitment to watercolors every day on 1 July and have not lived up to it…

It was strange being in a Hand-Book journal, but I have a few of them, a gift,
and so thought I’d try one out.  The watercolor paper doesn’t feel the same as Hahnemühle‘s but they are not bad.  It may take getting used to the feel of the paper.


Not my best of the florals, but I tried Sweet Peas.
One of my favorite flowers, and my nickname when I was a kid.

To hear more about World Watercolor Month visit here: Everyone can play!
BTW, I am not keeping up.  Oh well.

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I hate the 4th of July


I hate the Fourth of July.

There, I’ve said it.
Not popular, and I’d like it if it didn’t threaten our livelihood in this stupid city.

Every year we have to pack up our computers and such,
and sit in the studio not for just the one night, but for a couple of nights until the wee hours of the morning to make sure the building is not burnt to the ground
by idiot people lighting illegal skyrockets within a few blocks.
We are in the NW Industrial Sanctuary, which is deserted over holidays.
Hence the idiots choosing this place to party.
And the cops do NOTHING, though they can see the illegal fireworks
and the lockup is in this neighborhood so they are RIGHT HERE.
We don’t call cops anymore, just sit and have a maybe stupid idea that
if one of the damn rockets broke a window we can put out a fire.

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Inky Thots: Robert Oster Graphite

Robert Oster Graphite is one of five of my favorite greys, leaning into deep purple and blues when touched with water.  I am on my third bottle.

Above, a wet circle is ringed with Graphite, and left to dry on its own.  Right, my FPR Himalayan with an ultra-flex nib filled with this lovely ink.

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

Properties of Robert Oster’s Graphite:

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 doesn’t show color when sketching, but does move into colors when hit with water, below.  Water moves this ink easily with no resistance or ghosting; it is not water resistant.

The paper towel test shows many colors beneath the ink! Turquoise, greens, purple-red all move out from the graphite ink. Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer Daniel Smith’s Imperial Purple, Phthalo Blue, and Cobalt Teal.  The pigments fall into in the following Munsell ranges: PV23, PB27/PV19, PB 15:3, PG36.

*For more info on the munsell system, go to this page.  

*Above, watercolors, from Daniel Smith and Sennelier.*


On watercolor paper, a sketch of pencils stacked…  For fun, actual graphite
was used for shadow on the side and the architectural markings below.


AAA Los Angeles, above, was drawn with a FPR Himalayan
with an ultra-flex nib in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.
he lines were touched with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.
The lines were added back in after the water moved the ink and dried!


I sketched this while waiting for Mitchell to come from picking up groceries at new Seasons with a FPR Himalayan with an ultra-flex nib in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.  I  dipped the Pentel Aquash waterbrush onto my pen and picked up the inky grey.

RO 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.

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’s Graphite at Vanness.

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World Watercolor Month: Dan’s Purple Flower


Flower from an image by Dan Antion, a good photographer and writer-blogger, met through blogging and he is a friend who also lets me steal his images from which to paint.
I love that I am starting this new book with a sketch from one of his images.

I am trying a square Hand-book Watercolor Journal to fill with
flowers and nature things, and I love the format.

To hear more about World Watercolor Month visit here: Everyone can play!

To hear about classes, follow me on Instagram, Facebook
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World Watercolor Month: Coffee Ritual


We have a coffee ritual.  Mitchell makes the coffee.
I slice the fresh ginger for him.
Beautiful cups, and sliced fresh ginger, brown sugar and milk make a heavenly coffee.
Mitchell puts his finger in it for extra sweetness.


I’ve always painted these cups using every tool available,
including Fineline Masking Fluid to show the white outlines, and you can see
the effects of the white as it really exists on the cups below.
I wanted to try a faster sketch for #worldwatercolormonth,
trying to capture their essence without all the masking fluid.
I think these cups, with all their gorgeous white raised detailing,
need me to take the time every time.

Side note, I’ve not used my watercolors for ages,
and I did not clean them before starting this challenge,
and learned another valuable lesson.  Two really.
First, In my world, with cats and upholstery, bits of dust and cat hair get into everything.
I had to really clean them thoroughly to get them to run clean.
Second, not sketching with watercolors for a long time I have gotten rusty!

To hear more about World Watercolor Month visit here: Everyone can play!

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

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Inky Thots: Birmingham Tarnished Nickel

Taking a break from posting World Watercolor Month images
for a review of a great grey ink from Birmingham.

NOTE:  I just realized this ink is nowhere in their new colors, and so, I apologize.
I picked up one of my favorite greys to review!
Birmingham, I think this needs to return!!!! I LOVE this color!
It appears to be between Burnt Charcoal and Corroded Tin.

I love sketching with soluble grey inks, and touching them with a waterbrush
to move the inky colors in interesting directions.  Greys are rarely neutral,
leaning toward warm or cool, and often filled with hidden colors.
One of my favorite grey inks is
Birmingham’s G. C Murphy Tarnished Nickel ink.

Properties of Birmingham Tarnished Nickel ink:

Tarnished Nickel is well behaved gorgeous ink, though it feathers slightly on Post-its, and no other paper on which it has been tested.  It performs well on the smooth paper in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal. When scrubbed it has some water resistance, above and note the central dot, right.  Further test sketches in my journals show it to leave a imprint of water resistant ink lines when hit with water.  It has no sheen that I could produce.

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


It is a complex grey ink!
This is why I love it so much for sketching — hit with even the slightest water
it begins to move and do such interesting color changes, above.

From their website, the naming of this ink:
Originally opened in Pittsburgh in 1906, G.C. Murphy was a five & dime
variety store founded by George Clinton Murphy in the suburb of McKeesport.
The chain grew to 529 stores around the country by 1976.
I drew the GC Murphy five and dime on my test page with a FPR Himalayan pen with
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 slight water resistance.
I did not add linework in, but left some lines untouched.
Yes, I added a bit of red ink to the drawing, but only for the signs!

*Above, watercolors from Daniel Smith.*

When painting, it first goes on the paper with a charcoal-blue blue cast, then deepens.
Looking at watercolor comparisons, when hit with enough water to separate,
the colors fall in the Phthalo Blue-Green, amethyst, and pinker ranges.
In watercolors that puts the pigments in the following Munsell ranges:
PBk10  / PR209 / PB29 / PB15:3 / PG7.
*For more info go to this page.*

In my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal, with the pen that is currently hosting it!

From 1 week 100 people, From line to wash with a water-brush.  I drew Guly Gus from Sktchy; Love the rich dark grey ink!
I also drew a baby picture from a friend.

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

Disclosure, I bought my own ink from Birmingham.

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

 From their website: We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the doors of our first retail shop opening to the public in 2016. 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.”

A small family business started by the brothers, Nick and Josh,
Dad is the chief pen machinist (I own one of their lovely pens!),
and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, their historic names!

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World Watercolor Month: Three Berries

Berries in pretty blue glasses!
What could be better?
Okay, we added a little vanilla bean ice cream in one serving and that was good too!

Ink painting, mostly Robert Oster inks, and Hoping Charlie will be okay with ink-painting:
Red Clay, Lemongrass, Melon tea, Midnight Sapphire.
Birmingham Ultramarine (glass) and Boysenberry, with a little 3Oysters Gogung.

Yummy!


More berries below… I’ve been noticing what foods I like to sketch.
Berries are high on my list; berry season is a joyous occasion!

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Grrr


Not happy with this company.
Fought with them over their technicians stripping all the bolts during installation,
2 years ago (how would we know until we wanted to move it?).
Weeks of fighting.  They tried not to deal with it.
Finally I got them to agree to remove and replace it BUT
they do not give a crap that it is sitting half disassembled (by their own technician)
in my studio and I cannot move my textiles in to begin work on them,

So no hurry on moving it.

BTW, never trust a company that goes by many many names.  They have a different company name for each group of people with whom I’ve spoken.

Well trained mouthpieces in the tradition of:
“I am so sorry you are having these issues.”
“I am so sorry this is not covered by your warranty…”  (It is.)
“I am so sorry for any inconvenience you are experiencing.”

I HATE CORPORATE SPEAK.
THREE MONTHS IT IS GOING TO TAKE THEM TO FIX THIS AND MOVE THAT DAMN MACHINE OUT OF MY STUDIO.

THREE FRICKING MONTHS.

Nick the technician was the only decent person I dealt with….

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USk: Worst Nicolai Sketch Ever


Oh gads what to do when the sketching is not happening?
I try to give my babies a fair shake and finish them,
but this one I finally gave up on and splashed a little color on and called it quits.

Tried a little urban sketching this week: pffft!
Can I blame the heat?  That will do.

Most don’t show their baaaaaad sketches.
But here is one of mine.
Better views below.

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Pandemic Recipes: At the Beginning, A Prayer


I am creating a new cookbook, gathering the recipes we relied upon in the last year of this crazy pandemic.

I am using a journal I am unfamiliar with, created from heavy unfinished
and rough paper from India, a Kadhi journal. This should make things interesting,
as I already see how different my outcomes are when using this paper.
Ink tends to spread easily, and watercolors also spread or fuzz a bit,
but I am committed now, and so will work with the limitations.

I placed a colorful Mexican/Indian inspired Ganesha at the front of the book to set intention for the recipe book.  These are not fancy recipes, but grounded recipes that were cooked throughout the pandemic with frequency, partly due to limited shopping resources and even more limited time — and many were cooked in the studio kitchen.

We did okay during the pandemic (as I write this the pandemic is not over
but we’ve been vaccinated and survived).  I am gathering the notes
I placed in my art journals, like the one below, and writing them nicely with
the changes I made as I cooked beans every other day for months.
My bean recipes become simpler the more I cooked, and as I found out that cooking them simply worked best, with changes in spices depending upon their use.

I sketched many of my recipes into my sketchbooks, above,
and wanted to begin to gather them into one place,
and give them the attention this shift in my cooking deserves.

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Posies: Cynthia’s Sedum


You n ever know how you change someone…
I have a friend who is an artist and also has an amazing garden.
Cynthia shares her whimsical garden with us daily,
and also lets me sketch from her flowers.

This morning it was her sedum flowers on a cobweb hen & chick.

I’ve been stuck, tired and overwhelmed from wanting to work on some projects,
and finally said screw it and forced myself to pick a posie and let loose…
15 minutes to finish before the alarm went off and the work day began.

I don’t know why I forget this — that flowers always lift me to sketch!
Thank you thank you thank you Cynthia!

PS I will sketch sedum again and find the right pinky coral for it…
and a more electric green… but the moment was then
and I made do with the Rosie Coral I had on hand.

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Inky Thots: Birmingham Polar Bear

 Birmingham Polar Bear ink is named in honor
of the Polar Bears at the Highland Park Zoo in Pittsburgh.
I am disappointed that they do nto put this on the bottles anymore as they used to…
It was a distinctive touch!

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

Note the many blues compared to Polar Bear, above.

Properties of Birmingham Polar Bear ink:

It is a well behaved ink which dries relatively quickly. It found no feathering on the various papers I tested, including my daily work journal/datebook.  When I scrubbed it, top, it showed almost no water resistance.  It has no sheen that I could produce  It is a moderate shader with my 1.1 stub nib, but when ink painting the polar bear, below, I was able to move various blues out of the ink!

The paper towel test shows all the colors of a clear clean ocean.

*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!


Of course I had to sketch a polar bear, and I am happy with how s/he turned out!
Drew on cold press watercolor paper and touched the lines with water
using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush… lines disappeared.
This was a 60 minute sketch with water movement…

The ink changes color under various lights,
more than other inks.

It has found what may be a permanent home in my Woodshed Pen,
a perfect match and the pen likes this ink!

 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.

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!

I bought this  Birmingham Polar Bear ink from Birmingham.

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USk: NW Vaughn St


East street from NW Wilson by one block…
flanked on both sides by homes similar to the ones on NW Wilson.
Nice memories of buying Christmas trees for several years;
no Christmas trees in June, so I took liberties with our  memories!

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Woodshed Pen gets a New Ink!

Mitchell bought my Woodshed pen from Mike Allen:
since following him on IG I have grown to love him even more as he is a dog lover,
taking in strays that show up at his door and either giving them home or finding them homes.  I like that our dollars go to his saving dogs…

I put a new blue from Birmingham Pen Co, Birmingham Polar Bear.
The blue changes color under flash…

Taking it out for a run, I sketched our blue hand-blown Mexican glasses… perfect!

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USk: NW Wilson St

In NW Portland there is an area we often drive through on our way to other places,
and each time I think about what a sweet neighborhood
this must have been before the area around it become warehouses…
At some point it will become high-rises.

I decided to sketch them; they’ve given me such delight!

I sketched them on site, and back in studio I inked
using a Platinum Carbon pen, and added color.

I started with NW Wilson…
the longest of the lovely old streets with all homes intact.


This time of year the greens are so bright and varied;
I had the most fun mixing greens.


The houses are all the same, alternating the exteriors,
which means they were probably all built by a developer as early track homes
of some sort, though not marketed the way they are today.
I never noticed before I drew them.

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