Coping


Okay, I am coping.  Some movement I attribute to working these items below.
Like exercise, you have to force it then it feels good.
(Okay, me and exercise, in theory only.)
Maybe some is the answer to prayers, a shift in consciousness.
Perhaps some is the collective sighing a sigh of relief.

Gratitude.

Mind you, I didn’t want to do it, and now am sorry I stopped,
as I used to write gratitude daily and it works.  I am forcing myself to do this again.
I do have many things for which I am grateful.
My husband — and that I am not walking through this alone,
which many people are, and that would be lonely and frightening.
My cats, who make me laugh with their antics.  Never a dull moment.
A job.  I may sometimes hate it but I am grateful for it.
My Buddhist practice… Having a spiritual practice supports me in so many ways.

Sometimes, I simply do “it” for the ones I love.

Whatever “it” is, like keeping a good frame of mind in the studio to help bolster Mitchell.
If I am drowning then of course I tell him, but keeping things positive for him is a way to keep things positive for me.  This also applies to cooking good meals,
and saying thank you when he brings me coffee in the mornings.

Celebrating memories.

In past, I have not paid attention to Facebook offering up memories, but these days I am looking at the memories as many are positive.  It reminded me that I have to take the time to remember good times, silly stuff, and crate celebration.  Luckily, all I have to do is look up on my wall.  Mitchell and friends send me things, and these cheer me.

Friends.

I shared my struggles on Facebook and here and have many public and private responses… knowing that others are struggling is comforting, even if I wish they were not.
My blogging buddies are the best, and art buddies.
I have a few friends from high school days, and that is nice too.

Ritual.

I’ve been creating ritual for so long I forget to talk about it…
but it is so important to our lives.
I work with the phases of the moon, building and releasing — as I publish this we are going into the Dark of the Moon, a releasing period.
And there are daily rituals around the cats, our work days, and divination.

Is this something you all might be interested in?

Forcing myself to sketch.  Anything.

Hardest one yet, but doing this over the weekend when I didn’t want sketch, it helped.
And shockingly, I am pleased with what I posted this week, a pleasant surprise!

What works for you?

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Delight

Lights!

I wanted to stay with objects that delight.
Lights are strung on our bookcases in both studio and home,
colorful, brilliant spots of twinkle that delight our hearts.

We both love color, and our choices of objects that sit on our bookcases are brightly colored and evoke strong memories and emotions:
photos of loved ones (cats and dogs and a few other  family members)
and deities and pieces of pottery and childhood objects and
candle holders though we rarely burn candles and never at the studio.
Right now I have a few things from my mom’s home,
as I try to decide what to do with them, to keep or let go of them.

Books! 

We love books, art books and Buddhist books and Vedic books and history books,
books on the all the god/desses  from many traditions, and sacred geometry.
They are sacred objects; I do not own an iPad and have no desire for one.
I love the smell and feel of a book in my hand, and some of these books have been with either Mitchell or I our entire adult lives.
The info within delighted us and fed us and transformed us
and grew us up into more conscious individuals.

“The ache for home lives in all of us. 
The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
~Maya Angelou

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Port Townsend Bowl

While writing about being stuck, I was inspired by a friend, Lucia Maya,
of Luminous Ceramics (beautiful pottery in Maui colors).
She published a quote (see below) that moved me, and came on the heels of me finding a small chip on one of our beloved bowls.  We love handmade pottery, and each piece we own has memories, and fills our hearts when we use them.

Trying to capture the lovely organic glazes on our bowl, which fits into my palms.
I was heartbroken to see a small chip in it,
though Mitchell will repair it so that it does not further disintegrate.
Repairing it and continuing to use it will now be part of the memories and charm…


Nicola Gillis is now a potter I also follow!
Both women create beautiful, simply stunning pieces, very different.

This is one of the first pieces I’ve done that was not part of Virtual Sketchwalk,
but meaningful to me and sketched in my sketchbook of memories.

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“Memory is more indelible than ink.”
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
“I think not….
Me… why I journal!

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Unwinding Stuck

I am trying to work my way out of a creative block and depression.  I am so stuck.
I don’t remember the last time I was stuck like this… weeks on end.  I was looking for images for something I am writing and went back through a few journals and cannot believe the difference between pre-2020 and post-2020.  I’d like to blame it on Covid but there is more.

Looking deeply, using all my words, I became overly cautious, lazy, critical, worried… I stopped sketching.  Part of this was exhaustion from the stress in our business due to Covid issues*, but I am also depressed.  I sleep like I did when I was a teen, and I feel hopeless.

Always risky to share journal entries, but this is important.  I went back to some earlier journals and Natalie Goldberg’s books on writing… and applied it to art.
Creativity is creativity, after all.

I identified — and that was easy — that the iffiness of income is stressful.  We have enough work in the business but clients are paying sluggishly, and that is difficult.  Also, the stress in the business due to Covid is handling procedures, and also difficulty in finding materials.  So many people have gone out of business, or if not, are on limited schedules so that we have to time calling them for orders.  The former also adds to our stress — when a great business goes away then you can’t help but look at what could happen in your own.  I think if we were younger it would have less impact but the hours added to our days just to try to stay on schedule is considerable and the best clients understand and then there are the others that simply add to our stress as our schedules have radically changed.

Setting all this aside, I moved to my personal issues with creativity,
writing through then, asking questions of myself then answering.
Writing it all down was the best thing I could do.

And through it all, I had to keep remembering to breathe, breath deeply, breathe often.  Are you aware when you hold your breath to steel against whatever is coming?
Breath-work is the way out of that anxiety-producing activity.


“I am too old now…” 
Wow that one runs through my head constantly!
Maybe some is this is for good reason — I am exhausted and feel old and worn out!
In the end I don’t think this has anything to do with how other’s perceive me but it is about being tired and lack of time… When you are young taking a year out is not as big a deal as when you are in your sixties…

Still, if it is a perceived lack of time then why am I not using all my spare minutes?

Depression.  Again, I asked, “Why?” and listened, writing.

“I’ll never sell anything.”   Crap.
That is about the massive rejection I’ve had, and so that is a hard one to fight.  I actually have been turned down constantly for anything art related.  Not so architecture or writing.
I have a goal of moving to augment our living with my artwork, but it seems futile.
Okay, I will work on this little ditty that runs through my head.

I took a break and sketched a bit and will share that later.  Then…


This came up as I was sketching:  “Am I an artist or am I a teacher?”

Yes I can be both but where is my interest?
Teaching, it has always been teaching, with art/writing coming a close second.
I am never tired when teaching, and this is probably why I keep a blog.

I also can paint or write for hours without tiring, and am eager to return to it.

This is all a good start and btw, writing this down instead of having it swirl in my head is a step toward climbing out of this hole in which I am sinking!

*Note: we do not have Covid…
and…
One of my great pleasures is writing with Chesapeake Pen Company’s pens.

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VSW: Cathedral of Saint Basil’s, Moscow


I’ve started this study very late
on a weekend night.  The building is
the Cathedral of Saint Basil, AKA Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, AKA Cathedral of the Intersession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat (image right from Wikipedia).

Or, CIMHTM if you like acronyms!

Magical turrets and bubbling rooftops created fairy-tale building imagery that is so so different from our buildings in the USA… I have to believe that Disney saw Russia before creating Disneyland.

I started again by blocking the onion domes in pencil.
Is there anything harder to freehand than swirling diminishing stripes?
Truly wonky sketches!

Then I began in the center of the motifs with detail, moving outward,
inking with a Platinum Carbon fountain pen in Platinum Carbon Waterproof ink.


Watercolor took much less time, and it felt a little too color-by-numbers to be fun.
I know I have actual gold watercolor that shimmers but can not find it!
If I have time for one more I may do the next one in a
fantasy manner, adding magical colors as if the building is a fairy building,
as they sort of lend themselves to bright color!

The images I used were provided by Aniko Szedlak;
In a rare instance I thought you all should see the entire building, hence the Wiki pic.

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Middle of the Night

Nighttime has been a wholly different time with my not sketching much.


A friend has just had their first baby, a sweet little girl that may be a teenager before
I get to meet her… I know that babies get lots of baby items, and I succumbed to
clothes found online by accident because, well, irresistible!
But the blanket I am making I imagine will be for her when she is walking…
hanging with dad watching sports, curling into mom for a nap…
I made them a big blanket for their wedding… now she will have her own!.
This is an uplifting item to work on in the middle-of-the-night during this crazy sad time!

I painted my pattern!


Izzee is a very bad cat… Incorrigible!  Untrainable!
(Thankfully she has many sweet qualities so she is also lovable.)
She climbs on some dangerous shelves that she should not
and does this in the middle of the night!
NO amount of squirting her or scolding her or even giving her a time out has deterred her.  She is stubborn and willful!!!!  What to do!?

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USk: Fire


Many weeks ago we had a big fire downtown…
Sketched it from our studio window
in Robert Oster Toffee Ink with a Sailor Fude pen.

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Inky Thots: Birmingham Independence Grey

Birmingham Pen Company Independence Grey ink is named in honor of the Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia, PA.  I drew the Liberty Bell on my test page with a PENBB pen on cold press watercolor paper and touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.  This was a 30 minute layered sketch with water movement… The lines stay visible but also release ink; which means the ink has water resistance.

I was able to layer inks for shadow which is not possible with highly soluble inks.


I show several greyed and blue inks, above, sent to me by Birmingham for review.

I am a lover of grey inks,
and tend to use them often
in my calendar for work.  Independence Grey is the
most like a graphite grey of
this batch of inks, leaning just slightly blue, and behaves
well on Post-its and in my
daily journal, left,
without feathering.

I also have reviewed Slag Grey, and Coking Coal.

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

Properties of with Birmingham Independence Grey ink:

 It is a well behaved ink which dries relatively quickly. It performs well in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal, and on watercolor paper with a dip pen, right.  When scrubbed, right and above, it shows quite a lot water resistance; 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, nor is it  a strong shader.

The hue online is true
to my experience of the ink,
above left.

On the paper towel you can
see carbon and blue pigments
that pull out of the dark
writing ink.  Looking at
watercolor comparisons,
I offer colors below.

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities and at this time Birmingham makes no claims.

 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.

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Fears: Write It Down


I have so many pages in my journal now of just writing, no images…
Pages of fears, worries, losses, upsets.
Sometimes I jot down a good recipe…
It is a little hard to share the journal pages, but I finally decided to share them —
I know that others must be feeling this way and
hope it will calm you down to know that someone else is freaking out!


I am so attracted to blue inks right now… And bright orange!

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VSW: Cathedral of Christ Savior, Moscow

I’ve not had much time
to sketch but so love the
images from our Virtual Sketchwalk in Moscow
I finally started very
late on a weekend night.

Magical images with
turrets and bubbling
rooftops created fairy-tale
building imagery that is
so so different from our
buildings in the USA.

I was intimidated by them…
and surprised at that!


The building is the Cathedral of Christ Savior,
which is the seat of the Orthodox Patriarchy in Moscow..

I started by blocking the building in pencil —
I am sorry I didn’t take a picture of that for you but if I get to do another I will.
then I began in the center with detail, moving outward,
inking with a Platinum Carbon fountain pen in Platinum Carbon Waterproof ink.

I drew it a bit to big so it sort of floats on the paper —
I meant to give it context to the buildings around it and the street below,
because it is not plopped down on the street level — there are stairs.

Watercolor took much less time, and I may do the next one in a
fantasy manner, adding magical colors as if the building is a fairy building,
as they sort of lend themselves to bright color!

Image provided by Aniko Szedlak.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, review, sketchbook, virtual sketching, watercolor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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