Inky Entries


I am playing with ll my grey inks this month… Some inks call themselves grey and are not (see above).  Greys seem to lean purple or blue or red…

Graphite and Grey Lux are lovely inks, though the strong smell of vanilla in KWZ is a bit much!

I went back to two Robert Oster favorites, Purple Jazz and Sydney Lavender.  Purple Jazz was in the first batch of RO inks I ever bought…

All the inks on the left are Robert Oster but the Pecan, which is a Papier Plume ink.  I removed Chicago from a pen and switched to Wind — Fell in love that blue!

Robert Oster Eucalyptus
(shown right), Chocolate, and Blue Water Ice, above left, all have taken residence in my Moonman pens.


I also filled and swapped some
inks in my TWSBIs.
I love these pens.
I hear that some think they are
not great but I have so many of them,
they all write when I reach for them
(though if it has been a
couple months I may have to
put a drop of water
in the nib to start the pen).

They are workhorses for me,
sketching and writing!

I bought three new Robert Oster inks…
I wanted them all but had to budget to buy my three favorites from the Cozy Comfort set from Endless Pens.  Gads they are gorgeous!  Now to clean a pen for them!

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Tests in Journals


I test journals primarily for two reasons:
1) To see what a new ink or watercolor does,
or how a mix will look in a journal with which I am familiar;
2) To test a new brand of journal’s paper quality.

I test them on the back pages of the journals.
I LOVE it when journals use the actual paper as paper liners in the front and back pages —
Hahnemühle does this — and the image above is on that back page.
It gives me an additional test page at the back, and I use the front inner cover
to write about where I am in the month starting the journal….

Above, a fooling around page in a Hahnemühle Watercolour Journal …
Tests generally are a bit smaller and may overlap,
compared to the tests below of a new unfamiliar journal brand.


I was given a Goldline Journal to try out…
This journal has brown cover paper both on inside covers and a second sheet;
This is pretty much wasted because I can’t do much on it
though I wrote some notes on the brown paper.

Above, my first foray into the back of the journal.
I wrote in the two waterproof inks I use most often.
I commented how the nibs felt on the paper; the stub nib dragged quite a lot.
After drying, I tested many watercolors from my everyday travel palette over the top of the two waterproof inks, and while I expected this outcome, neither moved on the new paper.

Then I tested my new fude pens on the paper…
And some graphite, and the paper has nice tooth for “pencil”.

Finally I tested some mixes
I am using for a cat book
I am illustrating.
Possible cat colors were
also mixed with a few
Daniel Smith Primatek watercolors, to see how they fared on the paper but also in general…  And I had bought a few new paints in shades of grey, tested those.

I tested both watercolor
and hard prismacolor-type
non-soluble colored pencils
I might use for bits of
linework on the cat images.

In the end I was able to put together my “cat palette”,
which also can be used as a horse or dog or bunny palette…
The greens are eyes and the Quinacridone Pink is for noses and tongues….

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w16-watercolor-sq w15-inks-sq w16-9-24-pens-color-3-sq

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Tools: Making Concertina Sketchbooks


I am starting one of my
handmade sketchbooks and
thought to share my process
of making these with you.

I don’t make journals often…
I’ve wanted to, but frankly when I go to choose between making art and making books I always choose painting.
But I wanted to make some concertina journals partly to use some lovely papers I had left over, chief among these were the Hahnemühle calendars from many years, which I saved!

Top, you can see most of the elements that had to be prepared in advance, and tools to have on hand:  Front and back covers, clips, a burnisher, glue, Xacto knife, eraser, pencil, 72″ metal cutting edge, and two good clamps (to hold the metal cutting edge)…
I also found household (kitchen) waxed paper good for protecting the art paper when gluing, and a second measuring stick to use when the metal edge was clamped.
And paper. Don’t forget the paper!

I bought a GINORMOUS roll of Hahnemühle bamboo paper, top and left.  I had no idea how much there would be!  I took notes about the process in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, left, my favorite.  Yup, I’m a groupie; I love their paper products.

I started with old Hahnemühle wall calendars, second image above, because they are printed on lovely Hahnemühle watercolour paper and I can sketch on the backs of the pages as well.

I removed all the wire bindings and cut off the calendar readings at the bottom (and saved, though I don’t know what I’ll do with them).  What I was left with were the images printed on Hahnemühle paper.

(I might make teeny tiny little journals from the leftover.
2-4 inches, but who knows.  I throw out nothing but true scrap!)

I started by choosing a cover blank to work with.  Some had writing on them in the middle I might not want, even on the back cover. Also, I like to have a flap to pop bits of ticker stubs and such into (right) and so I considered this when laying out the cover blank.

I wanted to make most journals in the 7-9 inch range, not bigger — but even that changed as I made these journals.  By working with the calendar cover blank first, I could determine what size covers I could create.

I cut my Hahnemühle bamboo paper.  I could get about 7 folds out of the 51-inch roll for 7″ square pages plus a bit to fold under and glue.  I drew the line I wanted on the bamboo paper, and laid the 72′ metal cutting edge down.

Using clamps at both ends to secure it to the table was important so I didn’t have to try to hold it while cutting!

With that held in place, I could cut the long strip with a NEW Xacto blade.

2 Notes:  Make sure you square off the paper — don’t trust that it is already squared.  And, use NEW Xacto blades, and replace them frequently.  You will regret it if you don’t! 

With the bamboo paper of the concertina book cut, I finalized my cuts on the cover blanks.  1/2-inch was added to covers of the square journals to allow for the glue down, making the front & back covers at least 7″x7.5″.

If I had room on the cover blanks and wanted a pocket, I cut them 7″x10.5″, allowing up to 3″ for the pocket.

I folded my front covers, using the extra 1/2 inch to be the glue down edge.

I folded my back covers, doing the same, but if I had the extra for a pocket then I created the pocket by folding the extra 3-inches and laying a little glue top and bottom.

Note: I did a mock up (above right) to make sure before gluing!

Everything was ready to assemble!

I had my clips ready, and laid wax paper down to protect my sketching paper and cover.
I can’t shoot images and glue down, so no pictures.   I ran a bead of glue (don’t over do this) along the edge flap of the front cover, and carefully laid down the glued edge, clipped and laid to dry.

I did the same with the back.  Then I let them sit and cure.


After a half hour, I took the clamps off and the journal was completed, above.
To protect them, I popped completed journals into a plastic bag and weighted the bag so they could continue to conform over time and stay clean until I wanted them.


The first day, what with figuring out all the issues, I made the books above in the
following sizes based on the parameters I discussed above:
three 7″x7″ journals, two 9″x9″ journals, one 7″x9″ journal, and two 7″x5″ journals.

The next day I made 10 more!  Woot!

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 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

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Lifting Paint


I’ve heard of lifting paint but never tried it.
I didn’t like the looks of the heavy gouache on the nose of the Pinto Pony,
and so I thought I’d give it a try.

I carefully and gently used a waterbrush and a Kleenex tissue, putting a small amount of water over the top of the offensive gouache, then laying the tissue, not moving, just laying it onto the wet spot and allowing the tissue to soak of the paint.  Slowly, slowly, it lifted, and then I allowed it to dry before I used watercolor to add color to the nose.

It’s not perfect, but so much better than it was!

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20th Anniversary

Why is it harder to sketch when the subject is “important”?
We were married 20 years ago in a sweet colorful ceremony.

When I wanted to draw our ceremony I am afraid my poor people drawing skills kicked in and I drew two people I don’t recognize.   Mitchell thinks I am crazy and likes it but boo, not very good!

Our fingers are encircled by oms engraved on our rings.  A rabbi married us under long life Buddhist prayer flags, with Vedic chanting and music.  The entire ceremony was eclectic, reflecting us!  It was the best day, and the beginning of so many wonderful moments with my loverman.

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VSW: Porto


The colors and textures of the buildings drew me to the image.
Middle of the night from images of Porto, from Virtual Sketchwalk on FB.

Omigoddess I have never overworked any image like I did this one…
I just kept not liking it and throwing more of this or that and even went over the top of watercolors with diluted inks (which oddly worked when done VERY fast so not a bad experiment!


Hahnemühle 100# Cotton Watercolour Book,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
Sennelier, Holbein and Daniel Smith Watercolors.

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VSW: Galway Blue


The deep blue of the water drew me to the image in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.  Fast sketch in the middle of the night from images from Virtual Ribble on FB.

Hahnemühle 100# Cotton Watercolour Book,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
Sennelier, Holbein and Daniel Smith Watercolors.

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30 Posies: 24th Avenue Camelias

This was a little bit of urban sketching, a little virtual sketching….
sketched on a walk with watercolors added in the middle of the night!

Above, a detail of the line drawing and the finished camellia watercolor.


24th Avenue is where our post office is, and we walk by these houses often.
The camellia bushes are in high bloom, begging to be painted!

The double page square spread was a nice way to work in the house the big bush belonged to while still committing to the square pages being all about florals; this is in a square journal that is only floral images.


I used a diluted waterproof brown ink under the watercolor in areas of the camellia buds so that the green in the blooms might be tinged as they should be.

I rarely mask but used masking fluid in the center
of the camellias to keep the yellows clean.

Three reds went into the camellias: Daniel Smith Carmine and Perylene Red, and MGraham Quinocridone Rose.  Four greens created the foliage, detail below.
A liberal splattering enlivened the image!

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Roe V Wade

Maybe I’ll lose some followers…
Maybe I’ll gain some followers…
but I support a woman’s right to choose.

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Inky Thots: Robert Oster Dragon Night

It is no surprise Robert Oster inks my favorite inks.  Dragon’s Night is such a gorgeous sketching BLURPLE ink it has a permanent home now in my purple leopard Pilot Metropolitan.  I art journal many nights with this one, a passionate color!  Dragon’s Night might be an ink that you could get away with as a business ink in more relaxed environments… It is not a screaming purple!   (Sorry lawyers and accountants everywhere who are not in that category!)

Above, even in the samplings, you can see the changeling nature of this ink in the light, much more dramatic than other inks I’ve reviewed.  It glows in bright lights!

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 Dragon’s Night:

This ink is well-behaved, and like other Robert Oster inks, 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.  I see NO sheen, which is appropriate for a dark Dragon’s Night!  The ink separates into beautiful blues when hit with water, right.  When hit with water it moves easily with no resistance or ghosting.  It is not water resistant.

It is a lovely ink with which to portray a night sky.

Above, watercolors that should be comparable to Dragon’s Night.
I really don’t have one in my arsenal… I’d be mixing paints!  I’d try Imperial Purple with a Phalo Blue to begin.  I show watercolor matches because sometimes you want to use an ink to sketch and then fill the object with the matching watercolor, and usually I can offer a possible match!  Anyone else have a great watercolor match?

Above, showing Dragon’s Night next to several
Robert Oster purples for comparison.

I love the ink for silly journaling, above.

In a Hahnemühle Watercolour Journal I tested Dragon’s Night, above in a starless night which is my idea of a dragons night!  Perhaps reading too much Tolkien?
Like the test below posted earlier, Dragon’s Night tends to appear quite different in bright lights (left) versus normal daylight (right).

On smooth paper in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, above and here,
I created a fire breathing dragon… First time drawing a dragon.
I now feel compelled to try my hand at an entire dragon!


Again in a Nostalgie Sketchbook, wild lupines are perfect for the blurple
of Dragon’s Night, with a little help from his other inks!
Drawn with a Platinum Carbon pen with waterproof Platinum Carbon ink, then ink-painted using Robert Oster Dragon’s Night ink, Hot Pink ink, and Vine Leaf ink,

Many images were drawn with a Pilot Metropolitan with Robert Oster Dragon’s Night ink on various papers, then the lines were touched with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush to move the ink.

MOST water soluble ink companies do not yet pay attention to lightfast properties because most artists who use ink are making prints of their work; Robert Oster to date is no different.

His non-toxic inks come in 50ml plastic bottles that are environmentally friendly, using recycled plastic. They can be tippy, so I usually place the bottles in a short glass when decanting, left.  On the plus side of a tall bottle, many can be stored on a shelf!  The ink bottle mouth is wide, and all my pens fit easily into the bottle opening to fill.

I bought Robert Oster Dragon’s Night at JetPens.

Other Robert Oster Inks reviewed in this manner to date can be seen here.

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 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

 

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Shells


I have a beautiful soft
green Roseville bowl of
my grandmother’s that
is filled with shells.
Some are found,
years of beachcombing
as a kid, but some are from
a trip my mom and
I took to the
Monterey Bay Aquarium.
After that trip,
I went back any time I was
in Carmel or Monterey
or Salinas, so close!!

It is also a nudge to work
to save our oceans.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen
the shells decline on
the semi-private beaches
I walked in my youth.
It is one of the reasons I
believe in private beaches,
because frankly, if you’ve
seen what the public that
visits but does not live
in an area can do to
decimate the environment,
you would understand too.

Some of the destruction is done by accident, but some is because people simply don’t care what they are doing.

A semi-private or private beach (the former meaning there is public access but you have to FIND it) tends to be cleaner because the people who frequent it keep it clean and even pick up the trash of others.  This helps to keep the destruction of the adjacent tide-pools to a minimum.

It used to be easy to find olives and small cowrys and abalone and turbans…
But as the environment has polluted, the variety of life is declining and shells are scarce.

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Spicy Ginger Teriyaki Chicken


I have a recipe watercolor journal I work in but sometimes I don’t take the time as that one is a bit special.  Ginger People’s Spicy Ginger Teriyaki Sauce is a great shortcut for a different taste, and works best when the chicken is cut into pieces (but is not as sketch-able).

I chop some fresh ginger and add it to the marinade so it is even more gingery — we LOVE ginger — and marinate it overnight.  Before I popped it into the oven to bake at 375-degrees, I used a little salt and pepper on it; cooked it for about an hour, but made sure to pull the wings and drumsticks out a bit earlier so they didn’t overcook.

I sketched this while it was cooking.  Served it over rice, yummy.

BTW, our meat, when we have it, is Certified Humane and we buy brands that
have good practices for the feed and the raising of animals.
When possible (it is expensive) we buy organic chicken.
Costs more, we eat way less meat than we used to, and it goes a lot farther.

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Laguna Beach 1950

 
Inspired from an old postcard from the fifties,
and I wanted to do it because my mom and dad honeymooned in their second marriage
(a looong story, not interesting except to family) but in a nutshell
married, three boys, divorced, remarried.

This is a pretty bad sketch — everything is off, and
it was not done in the field,
so no excuses!  I didn’t lay
out basic horizon lines
nor the vanishing point…
I lost a whole chunk of the Hotel Laguna, a landmark.  Like it should be twice as long… SERIOUSLY.
Oh well, perhaps this is one I will redo at some time.

I love the idea of it, and wish I’d seen it in the fifties when it was not overpopulated.
I live in Oregon largely because I as a fourth generation Californian I cannot take what is happening in my home state, the trashing of the natural environment.

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 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

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Tools: Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

My new journal is an A5 landscape Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book,
and it is not only a new journal, it is a new brand from Hahnemühle!
I’ve had it for a bit and been testing it out.  I LOVE it!!!

The journal itself is strong and everything you would expect from Hahnemühle.  The book is covered in the nicest dark black canvas, very sleek, very architectural.  When it opens it lays flat.  The back has no pocket but it is the easiest thing for me to add a pocket: I use a sentimental envelope so every time I see it ai have a lovely memory.

But of course, the star of this
show is the paper.


The natural white 250 gsm fine grained 100% cotton rag paper is sturdy.
It can take heavy wet on wet painting.  And it is, simply, beautiful. 
Both front and back of each of the 30 pages shows off the brilliance of watercolors in a way that makes me want to ditch all my other journals.

I always start a journal by painting my Current Palette (follow that link) to test the paper and to record my palette at the time.  The paper was not too toothy for my fine nibbed fountain pen (Platinum Carbon pen and ink) or my stub nib, shown below in lettering.  The jewel tones and rich earthy colors popped off the page, above.

My next sketches were floral, of red Indian paintbrush (right) and pink eucalyptus blossoms, bottom of this page.


I did a sketch of Mitchell when we were out getting our boosters, above.
A simple sketch with watercolors done on-site at Walgreen’s.
I had no doubt that the paper would be lovely to sketch on in these situations.

Ink loves the
Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book,
evidenced in my chocolate bunny sketch in Robert Oster Chocolate ink, above, and lupines, below.
For the bunny I used a Sailor fude pen and Pentel waterbrush to move the ink onto the paper.

All Robert Oster inks except for
the Platinum Carbon waterproof inked linework
.

 In a third Wild Test (follow that link) I layered Sennelier Shellac ink, gouache and colored pencils.  I’ve never had that much luck with colored pencils over a painted surface but the did well on this surface!

  I’ve already placed an order from Wet Paint
for another A5 and a larger A4 landscape!

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

 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

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VSW: Guildford Town Hall


DANG DANG DANG!

I forgot to take a picture of the bare line drawing….
And it was such a nice drawing of this lovely Art Deco building in Perth AU!

Guildford Town Hall, part of our Virtual Sketchwalk in our FB group around Perth, AU; we are always open to new members.

I finally am starting to record some of my favorite mixes on the opposite page;
roof tiles are one of those that I use so often… no more rethinking!  I may even make a mix in a palette square for real ease!

Hahnemühle 100# Cotton Watercolour Book,
Lamy Joy with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
Sennelier, Holbein and Daniel Smith Watercolors.

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USk: MPFC Finish Studio


Every so often I
like to sketch
our studio rooms.
This is primarily
my finish room, where
I work conserving objects.
I use our own mixed
shellac and (primarily oil)
paints to bring
back dead finishes.

You can see one of the first sketches I did of my then “new” finish room,
from 2014 right!  I’ve loosened and gain confidence!


Images I painted of my family members a couple of decades ago are on the walls,
so my California ancestors (fourth generation) keep me company.
And the occasional goddess, either Buddhist or early mother-Celtic goddess.
I am shellacking a tabletop under my painting, above,
and the small bedside table to the left had water damage to flower decals
on the tabletop from a leaking room , which I restored using oil paints.
They were pleased, which is always so nice.


Now I sketch looser, faster, but still have lots of detail in my images,
though I could have kept going and maybe everything should have been drawn…
But this was on a break while shellacking, so there you are.

I was shellacking my own family’s Eastlake table above,
and the cabinet on its back is a Buddhist altar from a client.
Pieces of colorful Mason Monterey are around the room.

Look back to the last time I sketched this room:
USk: Labor Day in the Finish Studio is from 2017, and I sketched roughly the same view…
I had lots of painted Monterey furniture in the studio then
and still do, though different pieces!
Now the table in this sketch sits outside my studio door.
The old sketch showed the furniture levitating!  AAACK!

Look back to the last time I sketched this room:
USk: Labor Day in the Finish Studio is from 2017, and I sketched roughly the same view…
I had lots of painted Monterey furniture in the studio then
and still do, though different pieces!
Now the table in this sketch sits outside my studio door.
The old sketch showed the furniture levitating!  AAACK!

Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook,
Lamy Joy with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
Sennelier, Holbein, DS Primatek and Daniel Smith watercolors.

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Lupines


Dragon’s Night is such a gorgeous sketching BLURPLE ink!
In a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, wild lupines are perfect for the blurple
of Dragon’s Night, with a little help from his other inks!
Drawn with a Platinum Carbon pen with waterproof Platinum Carbon ink, then ink-painted using Robert Oster Dragon’s Night ink, Hot Pink ink, and Vine Leaf ink (I think)!!

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 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

 

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Echinacea

Pink echinacea from a photo…

And a lovely quote to remember from Ani Pema Chodron:
“We can  make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong.
The amount of effort is the same.”

We can also make ourselves and others happy!
I LOVE sketching flowers!

PS someone said my images were BIG but here is the thing,
I don’t like it when artists post teeny tiny images and I can’t see any detail
‘cuz the devil is in the detail, as my Mimi used to say!

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