Bright Ideas: Cleaning Brushes


Used daily, my metal brush cleaner
takes good care of my brushes.
It is filled with
Gamblin’s Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS).

When you use watercolor on these pages it ghosts!.

Bright Ideas multi-color journal
(which I am not sure is still sold at Barnes and Noble),
DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey ink,
Lamy Joy pen with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen (no longer made)
with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges.

w16-5-13-bi-patricks-sanddollars-01-sq  w16-10-6-bi-rhinestone-stars-sq  w16-4-25-bi-silver-buddha-sq

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Bright Ideas: Malachite Buffalo


My malachite buffalo totem is palm-sized.
Inlaid with turquoise and onyx and just beautiful.
the backside has a lovely turquoise arrow
that floats from his feet to his back.


Bright Ideas multi-color journal
(which I am not sure is still sold at Barnes and Noble),
Lamy Joy pen with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen (no longer made)
with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges.

w16-5-13-bi-patricks-sanddollars-01-sq  w16-10-6-bi-rhinestone-stars-sq  w16-4-25-bi-silver-buddha-sq

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Mimi and Me


My grandma could do not wrong…
I called her Mimi but have no idea where that came from.
When I took my first Communion they drove down from Grass Valley:
her coming to visit was the best thing about Communion.

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VSW: Fast Echinacea 3


They can’t all be good….
Or even acceptable.
Other artists should show their duds.
Here is mine.

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Inky Thots: Robert Oster Muddy Dragon

Swatched on watercolor paper, as that is the paper I use the most when not writing.

I am a fan of all the “Muddy” colors (see below) but I must admit that this Muddy Dragon is one of my favorite reds.  I am rapidly working my way through the bottle.  SO many colors come from this ink.

Muddy Dragon is one of the Mudpack set sold directly from Robert Oster, shown left, and I am begging him to eventually release them individually for those of us that are in love with them!  I  love all the muddy colors!


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

Properties of Robert Oster’s Muddy Dragon :

This ink is well-behaved,
and does not feather on
any of the papers I normally use,
even Post-its, left, which
are not fountain pen friendly.
I consider it a medium ink,
neither wet nor dry,
and it evaporates quickly.
It has never smeared on me.

It has a hint of a graphite sheen,
barely seen top, and
when hit with water it moves
easily with no ghosting,
so is not at all water resistant.

When the edge is touched with
water it moves into bright reds,
dark red, pinks, and purples —
and then that lovely charcoal grey
(see it along the top ridge, left?)

Compare the pink and lavender tones
above to the nearly black-red.

Looking at watercolor comparisons,
below, good color matches are
Perylene Scarlet, Mayan Red,
Rhodonite, Shungite, Amethyst,
and Dioxine Purple, all from
from Daniel Smith Watercolors.

*Above, watercolors  from Daniel Smith.*


My Dragon Flower was drawn in Muddy Dragon, in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.  You really experience the range of pinks to deep blood red! It is a lovely ink for sketching! The fire breathing dragon  was drawn on cold press watercolor paper.

Both sketches were created with a TWSBI Eco 1.1  then the lines were touched with water with a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.  The lines do not stay visible but quickly lose themselves in wet color; I was able to gently build up layers of color by dipping my brush into the pen and picking up more ink. Some lines were added back in after the water moved the ink and dried!


The Sleeping Beuaty Poison Apple was drawn on
smooth paper in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook,
adding color with a paint brush and layering once or twice.
This produced the deepest range of Muddy Dragon.

I love all the Muddy colors!
Get them while they last!

I have reviewed many other Robert Oster Inks
reviewed in this manner to date;
you can find them here!

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 put them in a steady container to decant if I am dipping my pen into the bottle. All my pens fit easily into the bottle opening to fill.

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VSW: Fast Echinacea 2


I’d love to SEE
a real field of echinacea…
not just in photos!
My birthday today so spending the day painting!

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VSW: Fast Echinacea 1


I have been tryign to do some sketchs in under ten minutes…
not counting dry time though most of my sketches include the dry time on these.

Lovely echinaceas… I have so many pics from which to sketch!

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Tools: Leonardo Officina Italiana Pen


Red is my favorite color…
I love pens!
I love gifts!

Imagine how thrilled I am with three favorite things
coming together in one pen?

Thrilled!

Leonardo Officina Italiana Pen in Red Passion…
Filled with Robert Oster Direct Sun!
This pen is lovely — the nib is like butter!


Oooooooh, the pretties of golds wrapped around the pen!

Thank you thank you thank you….
You know who you are!

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VSW: And More Posies in Queenspark, Toowoomba!

Another from the lovely images from Amanda Thompson (@a21981 on IG)
of Queenspark, Toowoomba.

Love the poppy’s heads before they bloom, as if bowed in prayer.
I don’t feel I did the delicate papery petals justice…
I should have chose a more transparent watercolor pigment..

I had expert help writing my quote alongside the image from Savitri,
who obviously felt I had spent enough time drawing in bed that night,
and continually rubbed and tried to catch my pen!

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VSW: Posies in Queenspark, Toowoomba!

Amanda Thompson (@a21981 on IG) offered me some amazing images
of Queenspark, Toowoomba from which to sketch.
Foxglove towers over what appears to be snapdragons..

I LOVE sketching flowers!

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Tools: Wing Sung Brush Piston Pen


I bought three Wing Sung Brush Piston Pens from Etsy.
I wanted to compare them with the plastic Pentel Vistage Water Brush
(formerly known as the Pentel Aquash waterbrush pen),
which I use normally like a waterbrush over watercolors,
but have also been known to fill with liquid watercolors or inks.


Sad to say the pens are not very good.
They are sturdily built… That is all that is really good news.
Compared to the finer brush of the Pentel Brush pen with black ink, above,
the lines are fat and the point does not hold a good point.

That’s not all… there is no apparent way to clean out the inside of the pen
so that you can change inks in these pens…
I asked the seller and they just kept telling me to turn the end,
which is how you FILL the pens with liquids,
and suggested I fill the pen with water instead…
Trust me, that will never work.  Big down side.

So the Wing Sung Brush Pens are a big thumbs down.

This led me to quickly compare all my brush pens.

From top down, reviewed individually below:
Pentel Vistage Water Brush (formerly known as the Pentel Aquash waterbrush pen,
which does not come inked and which I fill with liquid watercolor and inks), my favorite hands down:
Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen (never liked, leaks easily if it is touched
even a little bit, black ink in mine);
Kuretake ZIG Brush pen (many sizes, bundled and single pen,
I fill with liquid watercolor and inks);
the Pentel Pocket Brush pen (AMAZING point, waterproof ink);
lastly,
Wing Sung Brush Piston Pens, which I fill with liquid watercolor and inks.

Not shown: (it is empty) is the Platinum Japanese Art Pocket Brush Pen,
inked with black waterproof ink, which I LOVE, and must buy more!


Hands down, for inked brush pens, the Pentel Pocket Brush pen
and the Platinum Japanese Art Pocket Brush Pen are the best!
BOTH are refillable, have lovely points, and waterproof ink!
(Doodling sketch above with the Pentel.)


BEST BRUSH PEN BY FAR!!!!!!

The Pentel Vistage Water Brush (formerly Aquash) is the best empty pen,
and I buy them in bundles from Jetpens and Amazon.
The bottom three above is my favorite pack of pens.
The point stays nice even with hours of abuse, and they are easy to fill.
I like that you have to actually squeeze to get the liquid flowing,
which means you don’t get blobs of water or medium leaking on your sketch.
The tiny one that Jetpens has in their bundle is not worth much —
very small capacity for liquid.  SHOP!  I have many!

Kuretake ZIG Brush pen (the two middle
blue pens, above) comes in many sizes,
is sold bundled and singly, and appears to
now have MANY names… which is dumb.
I was not impressed with the point
on the brush, which quickly goes flat.

I’ve tried Yasutomo Niji Water Brush
and Holbein Water Brush Pen
(not sold anywhere right now, top two above)
but was not impressed with either.
The points on the brush (though I am
showing the flat brush in the image above)
and the water distribution had issues of
leaking with normal holding. I did not replace.

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VSW: New Caledonia Pier


The Virtual Sketchwalk group on Facebook is exploring New Caledonia
this month with wonderful images from Aniko Szedlak (pic below)!
They are a balm to this beach-loving gurl’s soul.

I am so oriented around linework, but wanted to try a watercolor without lines.
I am okay with how it turned out, but I miss my linework!


Detail Above.

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Tools: Moo Journal

I bought a Moo Journal the last time I ordered my business cards from Moo.
It comes in a reusable sleeve, above left, that can sit in your bookshelf
so the journal pages do not get worn.

A card holder comes with the journal and I placed it in the front of the book.
I like dotted paper because I may want to sketch —
It can also be ordered with lined paper.

The paper is excellent…
and of course, bottom line, it is all about the paper! 

The center section has a couple dozen pages of sturdy colored paper that matches the cover liners; it is a surprisingly nice feature!
I am using mine for notes on a book we are writing so they can be easily found.

One thing I don’t like about the journal format is that the beginning pages need
to be supported.  In theory they should lay flat but they don’t quite,
so I had to put a pad underneath that happened to be the right height
for the first three dozen pages.
See it peeking around the page in the image below?


I use this book as a journal; as such I sketch the oddities of life! The paper handled the sketch and waterbrush treatment that moved Robert Oster’s Carolina Blue ink and the watercolor pencils with no bleed through, above and left.

I noticed bleed through: 1) in a few inks that move right through the paper, below, and I think testing is your only option to know in advance, or, 2) if a lot of water is scrubbed onto inks, both shown below.

Above, you can see that in the back pages of the book I created my ink/pen list
— and I use a waterbrush to push the ink around on the side.
The back of the TWSBI page above right shows that there are times
when the ink bleeds through on the back.

The three inks above:  Robert Oster Carolina Blue ink,
Waterman Havana (or Absolute) ink, and Waterman Tender Purple ink.
All performed well with no bleed through.
The pages also take pencil very well, shown in the last image above.

Bottom line, while I did have a few issues with bleed through,
I am happy with the journal.
I’ve experienced occasional bleed in every journal I’ve bought but one,
and the pages were SO thick in the Archer & Olive journal
it was more like trying to write in a watercolor journal.

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VSW: New Caledonia Sunset


The Virtual Sketchwalk group on Facebook is exploring New Caledonia
this month with wonderful images from Aniko Szedlak!
They are a balm to this beach-loving gurl’s soul.

Because this process had so much waiting time, I decided to image the steps;
with each additional round of pigments the paper had to thoroughly dry.

The water and fog was a buildup of the same mix, just diluted as necessary.
After it dried, I began to soften the edges and then remove paint to brighten the sunset.

I don’t know how the sandy area granulated…
all of this was done in a watercolor Handbook Journal which has very textured paper.

My notes, which were on the facing page,
and the final bit of dark brushed linear leaf and trunk imagery.

Below, this is all part of the New Caledonia virtual sketchwalk from Aniko Szedlak.

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VSW: Echinacea Field


Dreaming of Monet…
I saw an image of a field of echinacea in many colors and had to try to paint it —
so cheery!  I did not have the image to look at, from memory.

Lots of artfully placed dots and dabs, fun and relaxing, no pressure.

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Inky Thots: Birmingham Kentucky Bluegrass

Above, Kentucky Bluegrass ink on
two different watercolor papers; right,
in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie
Sketchbook
. Writing samples on a
Post-it and on fountain-pen friendly paper in my Moo Journal, below

Birmingham Kentucky Bluegrass ink is from the Crisp Formula ink line. Crisp Formula inks are formulated to perform well on many types of papers: premium fountain-pen friendly to discount papers.  Here I show the ink on five papers…

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

 Birmingham Kentucky Bluegrass ink

is a well behaved ink. It dries relatively quickly, and while it feathers on Post-its, left, is lovely  on fountain-pen friendly paper, such as in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook or my Moo Journal, above right and detail left.  It performs well on Hahnemuehle watercolor paper, top and also second tier. When scrubbed, above, it showed water resistance, and in the test sketch below (detail image) when water was applied to move the ink.
No visible sheen, and not a strong shader.

Note: I am a novice on a dip pen so please do not judge the ink on my writing!

Above, the chromatography tests in the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook
and on a paper towel.  The colors that pull out of the
Birmingham Kentucky Bluegrass ink are not wildly varied.
The paper towel test best shows the colors lay in the ink.

Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer these colors:

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


I drew my glass pen/brush holder with a #6 long round in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.  This was a 10 minute sketch and one thing I noticed was that the Birmingham Kentucky Bluegrass ink lines stayed put and did not move when I brushed a second layer over the top, so there is some water resistance.  After the ink was fully dry I did a water movement test on this image, right.  There was some movement, but also great resistance and staying power.

Birmingham tells us their story (edited): We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in the Southside of Pittsburgh, PA., in a region of Pittsburgh 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 & 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 and now that
I’ve emptied one, I can repurpose them!

I have reviewed many other Birmingham inks;
you can find them here.


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.

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VSW: New Caledonia Beach


The Virtual Sketchwalk group on Facebook is exploring New Caledonia
this month with wonderful images from Aniko Szedlak (pic below)!
They are a balm to this beach-loving gurl’s soul…

A chance to work on washes… getting enough made before I began
and then working the washes and blending as I went.
I am pretty happy with the outcome.

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Doodling, Drawing, Whatever


I draw whatever is in front of me while I am listening to just about anything.
When I was listening to my brother talk about being on his way home from the hospital
(no one called me to say he as IN the hospital) I drew…
I threw watercolors on later.

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