Gratitude Journal: Discovering New Tools and My Old Nature

My fascination with pen and ink goes way beyond addiction to art supplies.

Not that I can’t be pulled in that direction.
W HORSE STRADDLING YELLOW BALL_2 DKPI have used mostly acrylics for my 30 years painting as an adult.
I loved them, and love the way I can create textures and layers and
they dry fast so I can continue to work all day with no breaks.


However, unless you like paying a lot for little itty bitty tubes, or buy cheaper acrylics
(and I have learned my lesson there) they take up a LOT of space.
Moving to Portland nixed my ability to have that kind of space, as our studio
requires us to move things around to accommodate the work that pays the bills.


So I stopped painting for several years.
Then I picked up watercolors because I craved visual creativity.
The watercolors led to pen and ink.

Oh My.


Took me back to my young architectural self, but older and freer,
and certainly uncaring about what “they” all thought and judged.


Took me back to my love of drawing, and that love is what led me to
quitting architecture altogether — I hate what computers have done to the craft.
I don’t mind them for working drawings (what good is drawing the same core a dozen times in a high rise or drawing the same door jamb everywhere) but I believe that the average architect is less creative now.  They don’t pick up pen and paper, doodle and think creatively, and they have lost something, becoming so mundane and boring that I barely  look at a new building anymore unless it is in disgust.  And I look at creative architects whose work I am not found of with admiration because at least there is a dialogue happening between artist-architect — the DESIGNER — and the built environment.


But I digress.  I have wandered back into pen and ink with a new love of colored inks and linework.  Watercolors are the sideshow for the drawings, and they are a creative meditation.  I can de-stress by turning around at my studio desk and picking up the same Pentallic HB pencil I used years ago and begin a layout.  I can get lost in the thin lines of the Platinum Carbon pen.  I admit to loving not having to clean and fuss with the Rapidograph pens, though I pulled mine out and may pick up some new ink.

I give thanks.  Thanks for the Japanese designers and German designers and
anyone who has made these amazing improvements in inexpensive pens!

W15 7 19 GRATITUDE JOURNAL 016Finally, a quickie review.
If tomorrow I could only take three writing instruments with me to where-ever,
I would take the Pentalic HB woodless pencil, a Platinum Carbon pen, and
a .5 Preppie pen.  No fuss, no muss, they work even if left alone for a week.

Moleskin 8×11 watercolor journal, Pentalic HB woodless pencil,
De Artramentis Document and Super5 ink.


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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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15 Responses to Gratitude Journal: Discovering New Tools and My Old Nature

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I use a computer drafting program for planning furniture projects and home improvements, but I think I share your complaints. My wife and I laugh at some of the houses being built where a dormer just appears to pop out without any relationship to the rest of the house. My wife calls them “drag and drop dormers” because they seem to be there just because someone could put it there. I love your drawings


  2. Laney says:

    Lovely pen and watercolor drawings!


  3. susanissima says:

    Beautiful, especially the last page. Nothing like a gratitude journal to enhance one’s perspective. One time, I believe a gratitude journal actually saved my life. Fine work, Katie!


  4. Brilliant. I am just falling in love with the sketches and drawings you make and show us.


    • Thank you pathbreakingwriter!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome 🙂 So, did you do any courses for this or it just comes to you naturally? I loved to do sketches during my school days, now I am no more brilliant at it. Haven’t sketched anything for last 10-15 years.


        • I made art as a kid; became an architect back when you had to draw or perish. I’ve been an artist since I quit architecture, but recently picked up watercolors — about 18 months now. There are some wonderful online classes however, and I recommend Craftsy’s because once you buy them you won them for life. Marc Taro Holmes, Steven Reddy, Shari Blaukoft are all good classes.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. melisnorth says:

    So interesting to hear your take on modern architecture and how it’s approached, I honestly think there are so many fields that could benefit of bit of sketching to expand creativity. And isn’t it coming back to old tried and tested tools just the best? Love that you found your joy in these 🙂


    • Yes. I think that art in schools would help ALL fields. And kinesthetic kids could benefit from hand-mind work such as sketching and creating with clay. If they would only make me Queen of the World.


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