Archive for the ‘Miscellanea’ Category

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Playing With Color

02/14/2016

Color is seductive and playing with it mesmerizing. Ink and pen are wonderful tools for exploring the possibilities. However, in recent weeks, transparent watercolors have monopolized my playtime.

Watercolors are rated transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque and opaque. This kit is comprised of transparent colors only and will get months of modification and winnowing to a smaller, more manageable number.

Yesterday, I accidentally discovered that Quinacridone Rose and Quinacridone Gold can be combined to make a flesh tone that is perfect for distant figures in landscapes. Such a valuable mix is like discovering gold. Note that in this kit both Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Burnt Sienna can be diluted for flesh tones, but Quin Rose with Quin Gold has a little more depth.

Another recent experiment, this time creating neutrals, was equally productive and confirmed that Burnt Sienna belongs in all of my palettes. Combined with Phthalo Blue or Ultramarine Blue, it produces neutrals with dimension and subtlety as did Transparent Pyrrol Orange with Phthalo Blue.

Yesterday, I paired an unexplored color from Daniel Smith called Mayan Red with a variety of transparent paints to see what would happen. The resulting brown and some of the orange colors were especially attractive finds.

The point of all this is that making your own colors whether with paint or ink is a mini-adventure worth the time and effort. Though not looking for anything in particular, some good things certainly turned up. They are reminders to think in new terms and be playful with my toys. Second childhood anyone?

 

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If You Haven’t Seen This Yet

02/01/2016

Be prepared to by charmed by Sloan…

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You Should Get A Second Opinion

12/11/2015

Yesterday, Gourmet Pens posted a review of the Conklin Duragraph 1.1mm stub. I was surprised that the review, while not negative, was not as favorable as mine.  The points made are valid and worth considering if the Duragraph interests you. Two reviews, two perspectives.

My pen reviews tend to be slanted toward the nib, pen performance and comfort because they are more important features to me than appearance or the aesthetics of the box. Build quality ranks just below comfort because I will compromise that to an extent for the sake of a brilliant nib. My reviews will reflect my preferences which is a good reason to read more than one review.

If you can’t find reviews of the pen in question, try one of the message boards where opinions abound. Lots of other things, too, but we won’t go into that here.

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New Acquisitions And Adventure

11/09/2015

Have you become leery of taking risks? With all of the opinions to be read online, there seems to be limited willingness to make less than perfect purchases. Adventure has been diminished giving way to a need for protection against disappointments and mistakes. Where’s the fun in that?

Certainly, no one wants to waste money on bad products like pens that don’t write or ink that doesn’t flow. However, using reviews and online debate to make “safe” choices eliminates the surprise of discovering something that is a perfect fit for you if not for others.

Thanks to some very generous suppliers and friends, my ink collection grew significantly this past year. Even so, I purchased a few bottles including colors about which I knew nothing. With the exceptions of Stipula Calamo Saffron, and Diamine Meadow and Marine, none of my choices were exceptional. Not disappointing, but they just weren’t exciting. Of the eight pens I’ve purchased in the past year or so, only half will get regular use. However, in future one of them might get combined with just the right ink and paper and make it to my list of favorites. Ever the optimist, eh?

On the reverse, too often an ink or pen that got raves elsewhere did not earn accolades from me. In no way does that disparage the product or reviewer. It is simply that my experience, expectations and needs were different.

So here’s the deal. Be intrepid. Take some chances. If you want someone to pave the road ahead, new acquisitions can be rather bland. However, if you can become less risk averse and take a few chances with purchases, you might discover something special. True of inks and pens, but life as well. I love pen folk and would be delighted to learn about your great finds even more than my own.

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Customer Service And The Booboo

11/07/2015

Have you bought a stinker? Not a product that was vaguely disappointing, but one that was defective or at best poorly executed? Too often we just chuck the offender in a drawer rather than return it to the seller or manufacturer. That acquiescence begs for more abuse rather than contributing to the creation of better products.

When an item isn’t worth the effort and cost of return, it is still valuable to let the retailer or manufacturer know that you were dissatisfied and why. Some company representatives are sincerely interested in how they can make use of customer feedback. That might be just the thing to make me try their products again.

Others explain how great they are and that they couldn’t have done anything wrong.

Oh, yeah?

Just lost a customer since my experience was not as perfect as the rep insists it was. Few products are available from only one source, so the competition just earned my future business. Plus if the item gets reviewed, guess which retailer won’t get mentioned?

Which brings me to a related point. Whether your experience has been positive or negative with a product mentioned or reviewed, your comments will, with rare exception, get published here. Wanton bashing might get deleted, but otherwise, go for it. Your opinion is valuable and welcome.

 

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Just One Luscious Link

09/13/2015

Only one link this week, but it is sure to make you drool.

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Pen World And An Inkophile

08/21/2015

Recently, Pen World invited me to write an article for the August, 2015 issue. The topic of overlooked inks was proposed by the editor, Laura Chandler, and it proved to be a very good choice for an inkophile.

It didn’t take long to come up with the initial five, but that expanded to ten with no effort. Frankly, it could have been a lot more. Despite new colors, revamped lines and even the occasional new ink maker, all  news worthy of note, there are hundreds of inks already available that are amazing and delightful to use.

The next time boredom sets in or your rotation seems stale, go to the back of your shelf and look for an ink that hasn’t seen a pen in ages. You might be surprised by one that fell out of favor or worse, never got its due. Usually, my ink didn’t find a good mate though a more recent pen might suit it perfectly. Perhaps a new brand of paper brings out shading or makes the pen glide across the surface in a most satisfying way. I’ve resurrected some inks with little thought other than the color suited my fancy at the moment. Isn’t that simple?

Whatever the reason, giving an ink a second chance to make you love it is worth the effort. Aren’t “cheap” thrills the best?

Thank you, Laura, for asking me to write for Pen World. It was fun to collaborate on a project and I hope we can do it again.

A final thank you to Tessa Maurer who shot the photos. It certainly helps to have a talented photographer in the family.

Here is a PDF of the article for those who didn’t see it in Pen World. If you didn’t, consider a subscription. There is nothing quite like ogling gorgeous fountain pens depicted in four-color glory. If you are a pen nut, Pen World could be just the place for you.

Pen World Article 8-2015

 

 

 

 

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