Filling My Half Pans With Paint

I had found a few empty half pan palettes sitting in my storage bin waiting to be filled with paint. I hate to see an empty palette not being used. I pulled out my 24-pan palette case and decided to fill them with my tubes of Daniel Smith colors.

Look at all the lovely colors!

I sorted through my tubes of paints and selected my must use colors. I took my empty half pans and labelled each one with the paint I was going to fill them with. Then I arranged the tubes of paint according to how I was going to arrange them in my palette case. I started with my primary cool and warm colors in yellows, reds, and blues.

My half pans waiting to be filled

I used the smallest Avery labels I could find and wrote out the color names using my Platinum Preppy with Carbon (permanent) ink.

I spent a little over an hour filling my half pans with paint. I tapped the sides and corners of the pans to get the paint to move around and spread out to the corners and edges.

The initial fill can be a bit lumpy
Tapping the sides and corners will spread the paint in the pan
The last sharp tap on the bottom of the pan smooths out the paint in the pan

I let my pans sit in the palette case to dry overnight. The paint will shrink along the edges and a few may crack as they settle into the pan and dry. I could tell that the first few pans I filled were not as full.

I pulled out a few pans that had shrunk quite a bit and filled them with a second layer of paint. My New Gamboge pan was a good candidate for another fill.

My pans requiring a 2nd layer of paint
The 2nd layer of color added and more tapping
Here’s a pan with a crack or separation in the paint
A quick fill and a few taps….
A few of my pans after adding the second layer of paint
My lovely 24 pans of color

To keep the dried paint from falling out of their pans later, I made sure the paint touched the corners as well as the bottom of the pan. That’s why I spent some time tapping the pans to get the paint to settle.

I started to notice some colors (e.g. Phthalo) will stain the metal palettes.

This palette has become a favorite of mine. It has generous mixing areas and I have the ability to swap around the pans to fit my painting style.

Yes, my 24-pan palette is a bright pink color! I plan on decorating it and using my Cricut Joy to add some personalized vinyl stickers.

Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors

Palette: Meeden 24-pan watercolor palette

Diamine Inks

Based on my personal experience, I find most Diamine colors to be wet inks. It’s more than likely based on the color choices I have made so far. I enjoy seeing how the Diamine inks react to water and they do make gorgeous ink washes.

I selected colors that were on my wish list. Some of them might be close to the colors I all ready have in the Robert Oster line, but are different. My gut instincts tell me that Diamine colors have a bit more punch in their ink vibrancy with a bit more character. They each have their own personalities.

I had a spare Pilot Prera available and I immediately inked it with Diamine Amaranth. This color reminds me of a vibrant raspberry color or a bright burgundy wine color. A gorgeous shading color with some sheen. The sheen looks a bit like brown-green.

I’ve read that this color is similar to Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. I’ve seen samples on the Internet and they look very close. I think this Amaranth color has a bit more character especially with the sheen. The Noodler’s ink looks a bit flat, but is still a vibrant color.

As I start using and emptying the inks in my current pens, I plan on filling them with the remaining Diamine inks I have here. I’ve been sticking to my goal of five maximum number of pens inked and so far doing a great job. From my swatches, I’m looking forward to writing and sketching with the Majestic Purple, Aqua Lagoon, and Kensington Blue as they appear to be very bold and bright colors.

Pen: Pilot Prera in Pink with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib. Automatic pen and glass dip pen for the swatching

Inks: Diamine Amaranth, Majestic Purple, Aqua Lagoon, Kensington Blue, and Pelham Blue

Journal: Stalogy 365 B6

Vinta Inks

I mentioned in my previous blog post about finding a new ink brand (to me) that took my breath away. It was three colors I wanted to start with that caught my attention immediately.

While I was waiting for my package to arrive, I was researching and looking at all the Vinta Inks color offerings. I had a good feeling about the three ink colors I had selected and was putting other colors on my wish list.

Vinta Inks are handmade inks produced in the Philippines. For every bottle purchased, they donate a portion to the Teach for the Philippines. Their goal is to provide quality education to all Filipino children.

After I received my package, I quickly swatched the ink colors (Lucia, Makopa, and Pamana) and was truly amazed at what I saw.

Lucia or Deepwater Blue, is a beautiful dusky medium blue with pink undertones and lovely shading.

Makopa or Malayan Apple, is a bold magenta color with a monster green/gold sheen.

Pamana or Heritage Brown, is a beautiful orange brown color with a peach/green undertones and a monster green sheen. It is shockingly beautiful! I enjoy seeing the peachy undertones and shading. I went ahead and ordered a full bottle so I can enjoy writing and sketching with this lovely ink color.

Here’s a page from my ink journal with the three beauties:

Let’s have a better look at each ink color up close. Beautiful, right?

After swatching the colors, I wanted to use the inks for my pen and ink wash artwork. Luckily I had two available TWSBI GOs ready to be filled.

The Lucia color is a new favorite for me. To me, it’s almost what I call a “sleeper color” in that it appears to be another light colored ink that’s borderline readable when writing in a journal. This is based on the samples I saw on the Internet. Lucia is a nice dusky medium color and it leans more towards blue than green which I think helps make it a readable color on paper. It really looks awesome in my pen and ink wash art as I enjoy seeing the pinky undertone color.

Pens: TWSBI GOs Stub 1.1

Inks: Vinta Inks: Lucia (bottle), Makopa (bottle), and Pamana (sample)

Journal: Stalogy 365 B6

Custom Fountain Pen – Tailored Pen Company

I’m an inquisitive type of person. I am always doing research on something that crosses my path and intrigues me. It could the latest gadget, watercolor brushes, or fountain pen paper.

I’m always in learning and information gathering mode. Many times I’m making comparisons with what I already know from experience to help fine tune or narrow down a decision. This is especially helpful when I can’t touch and feel the item in person.

Since the beginning of this year, a few independent boutique pen manufacturers kept reappearing and showing off their beautiful commissioned and available fountain pens. A few beautiful and available pens were sold quickly. Like within the first few hours of posting to the public. Many times within an hour. There were also posts showing commissioned pens that were absolutely stunning!

A few pen friends know I enjoy the beach and anything related to tropical or Caribbean themes. So naturally when I was looking for a custom pen I was looking for colors that reminded me of the beach and the water and all things in and around the water.

Tailored Pen Company

It took awhile and I finally found something a few months ago at Tailored Pen Company. I reserved my spot in the pen maker’s queue. In the meantime, I was pulling out my Col-o-ring ink swatch cards to match the colors I saw in the blank samples posted on IG.

The variety of colors that I saw in the blank samples

The pen blanks I saw had so many different patterns and swirls of colors. I knew mine was going to be beautiful. As I was waiting, Tailored Pen Company or TPC, kept posting on their feed, pictures of beautifully commissioned pens. One picture recently showed a pen blank with the material I had chosen. It was a macro-shot of beautiful swirls of color at the top of the pen blank. I started to wonder if that blank would turn into my beautiful pen.

I finally received a notice that my pen had shipped. That caught me off guard as I was expecting the pen at the end of May or beginning of June. It was arriving three weeks early. Wonderful news!

My pen box with the beautiful TPC seal that corresponds to the material I selected for my pen
My beautiful Coral Reef in the Churchill model

How does it look?

The lovely swirls of colors are beautifully done. There are so many colors that make up Coral Reef. There’s teal green, gold, pink, white, bits of turquoise, magenta, and olive green. Of course, this all depends on the lighting and angle of the pen.

TPC creates their own pen blanks. The resins are poured and cured in their own workshop. Each pen is crafted by hand with the exception of the nib and converter.

I selected the Churchill model which has a smooth transition from cap to barrel. There are several other pen models to choose from including faceted pens that are additional costs. My Churchill model has a slight raised tapered point at the end of the barrel and at the end of the cap. I can see the slightly tapered point, but when I rub my finger over the end it’s very smooth to the touch.

The section is curved and the length is what I call average.

How does it feel?

I selected the default “smooth” finish. My pen feels quite smooth and I love the slick feel. They do have something called “satin” finish which would look great with certain recommended resin colors. I would contact TPC to see their suggested resin colors with the satin finish.

This Churchill model does not post. The actual pen with nib, section, and barrel is well balanced in my hand.

I mentioned the curved section. It’s not too short and not too long. My fingers fit nicely and I noticed my grip is more relaxed while writing with this pen.

It’s a lightweight pen and comfortable in hand. Typically, I find the lightweight pens are great to use for long writing sessions. I enjoy feeling the smoothness of this resin pen as I write.

How does it write for a Fine nib pen?

This JoWo #6 Fine nib writes beautifully. I looped the nib and did not find any issues at all. It’s writes smooth with a touch of feedback. A true Western Fine nib and not too wet.

Here it comes! Brace yourself! That nib unit! I can swap it out and put in one of my lovely Franklin-Christoph nib units. Yes, I’m smiling ear-to-ear.

How does it compare with the other independent manufacturer pens I have?

I currently have experience with Franklin-Christoph, Birmingham Pens, and Bone Crusher Studios. I put Tailored Pen Company right up there with Franklin-Christoph.

I think F-C has better prices for the variety of pen models and sizes they carry. I would definitely recommend them to a fountain pen newbie who is interested in trying out an independent pen manufacturer and looking for a low cost pen (pocket pens).

Based on my experience, I think TPC has the best overall fountain pen selection. They have a huge variety of in-house manufactured resins and a variety of pen models to choose from. My custom order shopping experience was wonderful. I was able to select the resin and the pen model/style. There are two styles to select from which include round or faceted. The round style is included in the cost of the pen and includes the following models: Churchill, Cigar, Cylindre, and Westminster. The faceted style (Ascher and Trillion) adds additional cost to the pen.

When I selected the round style I also had the option to include a clip or not. There is an addition cost to add a clip. I selected not to for my first pen.

I selected nib size I wanted which was a Fine nib and also with the polished steel nib finish (versus gold plated).

Worth the price?

I believe it’s worth the price if I can select the pen material from the a vast selection of available offerings. Also to have the ability to select the pen style (cigar, tapered, transition style from cap to barrel, etc) and have the option to add a clip added or not. This overall experience was well worth it.

I’ve read that TPC can be flexible when customizing a pen. All one has to do is ask them.

Tailored Pen Company’s current queue is around 8-10 weeks for the normal round pens. For their faceted pens the wait is around 20 weeks.

My currently ink everyday writers or EDWs (l-r): Estie OS Gold Rush in Dreamer Purple, Visconti Rembrandt in Azure Blue, and my lovely TPC Churchill in Coral Reef

Tailored Pen Company also carries a limited number of available or in-stock pens on their website. Their in-stock pens will ship within 2-3 days. The available pens do sell out fast.

Pen: Tailored Pen Company – Churchill model in Coral Reef with Fine nib

Ink: Rohrer and Klingner Alt Goldgrun


Pulmonaria Flowers (Watercolor)

I’m challenging myself to paint flowers. Especially, flowers I have not painted or sketched before. I had a picture I took of some Pulmonaria (Lungwort) flowers from our garden. My Hubby had planted them years ago along our walkway. I enjoy these smallish flowers as they give a pop of color along the edge of our garden.

I selected three main flowers from my picture and created a quick sketch using my graphite pencil. I mixed different shades of purple paint from pink-purple to blue-purple using Quinacridone Pink with Cobalt Blue and another version with Quinacridone Pink and Prussian Blue.

To make the pink-purple color, I created a wet mix of Quinacridone Pink and some water to make a puddle of color. Then I added a bit of Cobalt Blue and mixed the two colors. The end result should look like a purple color leaning towards pink.

For the blue-purple color, I created a wet mix of Prussian Blue and some water to create the second puddle of color. I added a bit a Quinacridone Pink and mixed those two colors together. My goal was to get a purple color that leans more towards blue.

My first layer that I apply to the object is alway a light wash of color. I will sometimes leave a bit of white showing to represent a strong highlight.

I kept applying layers of color and adding darker colors for shadows and shading.

Erasing a few rogue pencil lines with my kneaded eraser

I decided at the last minute to create a background of muted green colors. I started with a light wash all over the paper and let my painting dry. Then added a few more layers of color.

I’m leaving my painting alone for now. In a few days, I will look at it again and decide if I need to do anything else with my painting.

Paint: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor

Paint Palette: Art Toolkit Pocket Palette

Porcelain Palette: Home Goods or Tuesday Morning

Brushes: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Travel #6, #8, & #10

Paper: Strathmore Series 500 Premium 100% cotton 5″x7″

More Ink Swatches – Ferris Wheel Press

I first came across Ferris Wheel Press (FWP) when I was looking at their beautifully designed round bottles with a brass lug nut cap. A small number of their inks were available at a few online shops and selling fast. I managed to get a bottle of their stunning teal ink called Bluegrass Velvet.

Impressive packaging for a bottle of ink

Their round bottles of ink and packaging are quite unusual. A lot of thought went into their design including their FWP fonts and logos. Branding is important to them. It brings to my mind quality, upscale, uniqueness, durability, and desire. That is desire to have a bottle on my desk.

The caps on their bottles are made of brass. I actually enjoy opening a bottle of their ink. Even with my joint issues, it’s easy to wrap my fingers around the lug nut shape and twist.

Sometime last year, I came across the Ferris Wheel Press kickstarter campaign #2. It was my first time involved with a kickstarter and FWP provided wonderful information about their process, what products would be available, how to order, and a brief timeline on when their products would be shipping. They included in their kickstarter smaller bottles of ink and a new set of colors.

Three months past their target ship date, my order finally arrived in late Fall.

My inks arrived in a large shipping box with very little cushion

The smaller bottles are beautiful, but I was a bit underwhelmed with half of the colors I chose. I suppose it did not help that I received my new inks in the late Fall season while I was into the darker ink colors as well as shimmering inks.

The FWP bottle designs are beautiful and look gorgeous sitting on my desk

Now that we are into the Spring season, I decided to revisit the ink colors by swatching them in my ink journal.

Swatches of FWP inks
My extra jam jar came in handy

I had a fear to knocking the flat round ink jars over on my desk while swatching. I found an extra glass jar that I used to clean my fountain pens. The FWP bottle fits nice and snug into the paper towels bunched up in the my jar.

A silicone disc keeps the ink in the bottle and the cap clean. Clever!
The flat round bottles have a label on one side with the name of the ink color

As I was swatching my ink colors, I started to change my mind about the FWP ink colors I had selected. The colors I thought were underwhelming, started to grow on me. That was a good sign!

I’m still on the fence with two colors: Definitely Peachy and Lady Rose. I should use them in my pen and ink sketches and see if I change my mind.

Beautiful colors!

Bluegrass Velvet is still my favorite within the FWP ink colors and followed closely with Double Raspberry, Pink Eraser, Jelly Bean Blue, Mirror Mirror of Moraine, and Three Steamboats.

Some sheen appears in the two ink colors

Looks like it will be a great time to pull out my empty TWSBI GOs and fill them with my FWP inks. So far from my swatching, they look like they would do well as ink washes.

As part of the kickstarter campaign, they offered a special edition shimmering ink.

Dark blue color with a bit of shimmer

Timeless Blue is a deep dark blue ink color. It’s darker than Jelly Bean Blue.

Beautiful sheen and shimmer!

During the open weeks of their kickstarter campaign, I changed my ink color selections. I trusted my gut instinct and decided against a few colors that appeared unsaturated and extremely light ink colors. I’m happy that I selected a good range of colors. Even the two I’m still on the fence with.

Unfortunately, I have no plans on taking part of future kickstarters with FWP. There were a few issues and decisions they made along the way after the campaign ended and while I was waiting for my inks. For me, the way they handled it gave me some bad vibes.

I would definitely purchase another FWP bottle of ink as long as the color was vibrant and saturated. If their “charger set” is available, I would recommend starting out with their glass vials of inks to see if the colors or ink appeals to you.

Pen: Glass dipped pen and automatic pen

Inks: Ferris Wheel Press

Journal: Stalogy 365

Swatching Inks in My Journal (KWZ and Jacques Herbin Inks)

I thought I was dealing with allergies last week which turned out to be a head cold that Hubby shared with me. I’m slowly feeling somewhat normal and I’m hoping my creative juices will come back this week.

This morning I decided to continue with swatching some inks colors from KWZ Inks. Oh wait. I’m back to swatching fountain pen inks instead of playing with my watercolors? Yes. Shifting gears for a few hours today. Plus swatching colors seem to be the most creative thing I feel like doing at this moment.

In my previous ink swatching posts, I’ve been using my Col-o-ring swatch cards for the last two years as my primary method for swatching colors. I love having the ability to swap and re-organize my cards around in the ring. I’ve also been playing with my ink colors in my fountain pen ink journal to see how the inks react to water.

In my journal, I used to just dabble ink on a page and take a water brush and swipe the color. There was no rhyme or reason to my method and I would end up with a mishmash of colors on a page.

A sample page from my ink journal

I thought I would bring some organization to my ink journal. Here’s what I came up with:

A sample page with my KWZ Inks and new swatching format

While I’m sharing my sample ink pages, I might as well share my thoughts on KWZ Inks. They have some beautiful ink colors. Amazing sheening and shading inks. As you can see from my samples, they are also wet inks.

I have to mention that KWZ Inks have a slight vanilla-ish odor. When I bought my first bottle last year, I was overwhelmed with the this scent in a pleasant way. After I filled my pen with ink, I looked forward to uncapping my pen and have this subtle scent surround me. Some folks might be ultra sensitive to this scent and I just want to share this bit of information.

Sheening and shading inks

With this new format, I can see the sheening and shading characteristics of each ink color.

KWZ Sheen Machine!

I gathered up my bottles of Jacques Herbin shimmering inks and created another swatch page. Jacques Herbin has the best shimmering inks. There I said it! I have not had any clogging issues with their shimmering inks in my pens. Their inks flow beautifully.

A sample page of my Jacques Herbin shimmering ink

The Vert Atlantide is my favorite color. It has gold and silver particles and that green color is gorgeous.

I wanted to add that I let this page dry completely. Then I remembered I needed to add the water wash. That’s why there are hard edges/lines in the samples below.

Showing just the right amount of shimmer particles
Beautiful intense colors

I wanted to mention that KWZ Inks and Jacques Herbin shimmering inks create some of the most beautiful and stunning color washes.

Pens: Automatic pen. Glass dip pen.

Journal: Stalogy 365 B5

My Favorite Green Watercolor Paint

I enjoy seeing what colors other artists are using in their palettes. One color that surprised me was Daniel Smith Cascade Green. I read and heard about this fantastic green color. Little did I know that it would become my favorite green color.

Wow! Look at all the colors in this single tube of paint!

The specs on this tube of paint says this Cascade Green is made up of Burnt Umber and Phthalo Blue (GS). Having a curious mind, I decided to mix these two colors to see what color I could create.

Love seeing the two colors intermingle with each other

I’m sure if I spent more time mixing, I could eventually come up with a close match.

I am currently under the weather dealing with allergies and it’s preventing my creative juices from flowing. Have a wonderful weekend!

Paint: Daniel Smith Cascade Green

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta

Spring Cleaning and Spring Colors

I did not want to go a whole week without posting an entry on my blog. I’ve been busy with Spring cleaning in my studio and tackling other rooms in our house. I have also been creating several pieces of watercolor artwork that are taking some to finish as I need to let the paintings dry between the layers of paint I’ve applied.

I have also been enjoying the warmer weather in our area and getting into the change of season. I thought it would be a great time to start taking a few of my fountain pens out of rotation.

Earlier this week, I ended up cleaning about a dozen pens. Many of them I used for my pen and ink artwork. Most of my pens had a few drops of ink left in their barrels and I wanted to replace the darker colors with lighter and brighter colors. For now, the pens will remain empty as I’m focusing on my watercolor skills.

I needed a few pens to use for journaling and for setting up my BUJO (bullet journaling) for the month of April. Here are my three currently inked EDWs (everyday writers) that I could not wait to share. They happen to also be my three favorite fountain pen brands.

My Spring trio of pens (L-R): Platinum Century 3776, Franklin-Christoph #31, and Pilot Custom Heritage 92

It worked out that my Platinum and Pilot pens were a perfect match to go with my Candystone pen from Franklin-Christoph.

Cleaning out the old ink from Candystone

When I received Candystone a few weeks ago, I had filled it with Sydney Lavender. The previous picture shows the section with nib and feed sitting in a glass stuffed with paper towels. The colors in the paper towel confirms why this ink color is a perfect match with this pen. I went ahead and refilled my pen with the same color.


  • Platinum Century 3776 Nice Lilas (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Red Lipstick
  • Franklin-Christoph #31 Candystone (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Sydney Lavender
  • Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Transparent Blue (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Tokyo Blue Denim