One Subject and Two Different Art Mediums

Sometime last year I created two beach sketches. One was a watercolor sketch in my watercolor journal. The other was a pen & ink sketch created in a different art journal.

This year, I thought it would be fun to create another one. This time I used one sketch book to create the two art samples.

Here’s a side-by-side view using the two different mediums.

The left side was created using my fountain pens and inks. The right side was created using my watercolor pans of colors.

I have several watercolor palettes in my collection and I chose a palette where I thought the colors would be similar to the fountain pen inks I used. During my watercolor session, it was amazing to see how close I could capture the colors I used in my pen & ink sketch.

My pen & ink sketch took less than an hour to create. I used three layers to build up the colors and contrast.

My watercolor sketch took a few hours to create. I started with the lightest colors first and built each layer using a darker color. I also had to wait for each layer to dry completely before I could paint additional colors. That is why it took so long to finish this piece.

I love working with this watercolor paper. It can handle the brush strokes and all the water I lay down on this paper. There is hardly any paper buckling and no bleed through on the back side of the paper.

Pens: Platinum Preppy in 02 (extra fine nib) with Carbon ink. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, & Black Ivy. Robert Oster Thunderstorm

Watercolor Paints: Art Philosophy Confections Palette: Apple, White Mocha, Pistachio Cream, mix of Blackberry and Pecan (grays), and a mixture of Key Lime and Blueberry (teal)

Journal: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor VN

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF

New Paint Palette and Another Turban Shell in Watercolor

The month of January has flown by rather quickly for me. I had plans (goals) to create some artwork, spend time with my Cricut Maker, sit through some online courses, and publish a few blog posts. I managed to do a little bit of everything and at the same time not a whole lot.

I thought I would end the month with another sea shell sketch. Oh and I might as well write about it here and include a new paint palette I used to create my artwork.

Sometime last year, I kept seeing some beautiful watercolor sketches appear on my social media feed. It was the paint colors that made the sketches appear to pop off the paper. I ended up acquiring two sets of palettes in different color themes: Currents and Tropicals.

Today’s post is about a new palette of colors from the Art Philosophy Confections series called Currents. This palette has some beautiful blues and greens and everything in between. The colors are gorgeous straight from the pans. I’ve also mixed a few colors to see what other color ranges I could create.

Here’s my latest creation of a Turban shell. Look how bright the colors are!

I found the Art Philosophy paint colors to be quite opaque. At first, I was not too sure how I would like using them. After working on a few pieces of artwork, I found I enjoy painting with this type of paint. The colors are bold and bright as you can see from my swatch of colors.

Art Philosophy advertises their Confections palettes to be “artist-quality” paints and highly pigmented. So far, I find their colorful paint pans to fall somewhere in between student-grade and artist quality paints. There’s no chalky look or feel to this paint so I would not classify it as student-grade. Plus there is quite a bit of pigment in their colors. I’m sure I’ll have a better description/classification for their palettes the more I use them.

There’s plenty of mixing space in the metal case. Clean up is easy and certain pigments will leave a slight stain.

I had to roll up some paper towels and place them strategically around the sides of the palette to keep it from sliding around inside the case and banging against the edges of the case.

The journal cover and watercolor journal I’m using are from Franklin-Christoph. This dark denim cover is called Vagabond and is similar in size to the normal Traveler’s notebook cover. The F-C watercolor journal came out late last year and well, I had to give it a try. I like this paper a lot. For watercolor sketches. I’m still on the fence with using my fountain pens and inks on this paper. I’m working on a future post on how this paper handles various art medium.

Watercolor Set: Art Philosophy Watercolor Confections – Currents

Brush: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Travel brush in size #4.

Pen & Ink: Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine with Platinum Carbon ink

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF (natural wood fiber) Notebook cover in Dark Denim

Watercolor Journal Paper: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor Paper refill (100% cotton). Vagabond/Traveler’s notebook size.

Pumpkins & Acorns in Watercolor

I finally finished my watercolor painting. I know from my previous post I was rather vague or did not show a complete picture of my artwork. I was testing out a new watercolor paper (journal) from Franklin-Christoph and wanted to see how well the paper held up to the copious amount of water and paint I used. Here is my setup from this morning:

The last few layers of colors involved adding the shadows underneath the objects. Before my pumpkins looked as though they were floating on the paper. Now, they should look a bit more grounded. That’s what I was hoping for.

I also added a bit more color to the curve of the objects to make them look rounded and give more depth.

To keep a consistent feel in my artwork, I used my favorite yellow color called Nickel Azo Yellow to mix the final paint colors. I mixed that yellow paint with Alizarin Crimson to create a soft orange color. I mixed the same yellow with Cascade Green (fave color) to create a pretty olive green color. I do enjoy mixing colors together to see the cool surprises I can create. Like creating the olive green color.

You can see in my middle pumpkin I used the orange with a bit of green (colors used from the other two pumpkins) to create a bit of harmony in my painting. While I was thinking about this, I also added a bit of orange to the green pumpkin.

For the acorns I included both orange and green colors since they sit in between the orange and green pumpkins.

For the shadows, I used Neutral Tint in the darker areas and added dabs of the associated pumpkins colors to show a bit of its reflective color. I use this technique quite a bit in both of my pen & ink and watercolor artwork.

Another composition item I think about while planning my artwork is numbers or quantity. Odd numbers make an artwork look visually pleasing. It also forces your eyes to move around the artwork. I also think about odd numbers when I take my pictures.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time using this watercolor journal. There’s over a dozen layers of colors and the paper has held up well. No noticeable ripples on the backside of the paper. Love this bound watercolor journal concept with 100% cotton paper. It fits nicely in my Franklin-Christoph VN Vagabond NWF Notebook Cover or a normal traveler’s notebook cover. This journal size is about 4.3″x 8.25″.

Remember I mentioned the epiphany I had in my previous post? It was about using less water in my watercolor paintings. This made a huge difference especially when using this new journal paper. I did notice when I used too much water, the paper would produce spots in the overly wet areas. You can see it on the orange pumpkin (far left).

My favorite watercolor paper is Arches and I’ve never had any issues with that paper brand. I wished Arches still created a journal with their papers. I have one from early 2000 that I stumbled across and will eventually use it (when I get better). In the meantime, F-C’s journal is perfect for my practice and to take along with me on my travels.

In regards to using this paper with fountain pen inks, I have done a few test sketches and I’m not too happy with the results. I might need to spend another week and perhaps change up my pen & ink techniques to see if this paper changes my mind. I will definitely be back to share my thoughts on this and also a few pictures and let you, my readers, decide how to use this journal with pen and inks.

My paper thoughts: Does a decent job with watercolor paints

Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors

Brushes: Cheap Joes American Journey Round #2, #4, and #6

Palettes: Art Toolkit by Expeditionary Art Folio Palette (large) with paint pans and Pocket Palette (regular) with mixing pans

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph VN Vagabond NWF Notebook Cover

Watercolor Journal: Franklin-Christoph VN Watercolor Refill

Watercolor Epiphany!

I’ve been struggling with watercolor painting. I was not getting the instant gratification like I would receive when I completed a pen & ink sketch. My watercolor creations were just mediocre and appeared lifeless. I felt as though I was in an endless loop of creating some paintings and then never completing them. I would also fall back to creating my artwork using my trusty fountain pens and inks.

Today I had an overwhelming desire to do a watercolor painting. Several things came into play with this desire. First, I had received the new Franklin-Christoph watercolor journals and could not wait to try this paper out. This new journal can be used with watercolors, guache, and pen and inks. I thought I would start out testing this paper with my watercolor paints and then do another test using my fountain pens and ink. A review will be forthcoming later this week.

Second, I had just completed a few pen & ink sketches of pumpkins and acorns and I wanted to see what I could do using my watercolor paints. That would require some color mixing techniques as well playing with different colors which I enjoy doing.

I spent less time thinking about the process (a good thing) and just started sketching with my pencil. Next thing I knew I was mixing paint colors and then applying paint to paper.

Somewhere along the layers of paint I was laying down, I experienced a huge epiphany in what I was doing. I used smaller round brushes like #6 and #4. I used less water in mixing and wetting my paper. My painting came to life.

Here’s a sneak peak from this morning’s session. I know it’s a partial shot of my painting. It’s still a work in progress.

At this point, I’m really happy about what I uncovered and I feel as though I can move forward in this creative adventure.

I had another realization this morning. I was mixing my watercolor paints and creating colors that I currently have in my TWSBI GO fountain pens. I am having too much fun!

Another Van Dieman’s Ink

You might have noticed that I’ve been accumulating several bottles from the Van Dieman’s Ink brand. They have some gorgeous and vibrant ink colors that I could not pass up.

Here is Black Tongue Spider Orchid from their Wilderness Series line.

This is one gorgeous deep magenta & pinky purple color! Beautiful shading with a bit of dark sheen that almost looks black to me. This is a wonderful wet ink that I’m sure will be lovely to sketch with.

I have three other colors from this Wilderness series including Azure Kingfisher (a gorgeous shimmer), Eucalyptus Regnans, and Devil’s Kitchen. Devil’s Kitchen might sound familiar as I wrote about this ink color a few days ago.

In all, I have around 15 bottles from this brand. That clearly shows how much I enjoy using Van Dieman’s Ink for writing and journaling.

I’ve been filling my TWSBI GOs with the my new Van Dieman’s Ink. So far, I’ve been using three colors in my pen and ink wash sketches: Eucalyptus Regnans, Beetroot Relish, and Devil’s Kitchen. They’ve been performing beautifully. Lovely wet inks.

I’m hoping to dump use up my current inks in my remaining seven TWSBI GOs and fill them all with Van Dieman’s colors. I will have to keep one TWSBI filled with Robert Oster Thunderstorm (my fave) to use for base shadows in my sketches.

I enjoy seeing an ink plan come together and I can’t wait to use these vibrant and stunning colors in my creative journey.

Pen: Esterbrook Estie OS Dreamer Purple with Franklin-Christoph 14k Extra Fine Flex nib

Ink: Van Dieman’s Ink Black Tongue Spider Orchid

Paper: Rhodia

Another Pen & Ink in Rotation

I have another ink to show off. I had this bottle of Robert Oster ink sitting in my queue waiting for some action. I can’t tell you how many bottles of blue ink I have in various shades and tones. Let’s just say I have a lot! I’m sure some of you are in the same boat.

This one particular blue ink color has really caught my attention. It’s called Midnight Sapphire! I think this would be perfect for an everyday blue color. It’s vibrant and has a bit of character.

Here’s my writing sample and swatch. I have my lovely and beautiful Turnt Pen Co Pynchon PM4 pen filled with this gorgeous blue ink.

Midnight Sapphire is a dark blue ink that leans a bit towards purple. When touched with water, this ink color leaves behind a pinkish undertone depending on the paper used. It has some lovely shading and a bit of sheen. I’m trying to figure out the sheen that I’m seeing. Depending on the angle of my swatch card and lighting, I can see a dull copper-pink sheen along the edges.

This ink would be lovely to use in a pen & ink wash sketch. It feels a bit on the wet side. You can see from my mini swatch to the left of my swatch card how well the color pulls across the paper with water. I know my fellow workshop friends will understand and enjoy this bit of information.

My Turnt pen has fast become my favorite writing pen. It now has a slight edge over my Franklin-Christoph pens and closing in behind my Esterbrook Estie pens. I have to admit I keep twirling this pen and enjoy seeing all the lovely colors.

Pen: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 with Franklin-Christoph #6 HPS Fine nib

Ink: Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire

Paper: Rhodia Swatch card: Col-o-ring

My Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo – the Good/the Bad

Update (05/24): I have received a package from Yafa. They sent me the wrong cap and it appears to be the regular size cap for their smaller Maiora Impronte pen. Unbelievable! I contacted the online pen shop and the solution is to return both (my defective OS cap and their regular replacement cap) to Yafa along with a nice letter. It looks like it will be sometime in June when I’ll get to use my pen again. Not a happy camper right now.

Update (05/22): In a few days I will be receiving a new cap from Yafa Brands. I cleaned my pen and have been patiently waiting to use it again. I can’t wait to see what this new cap looks like. Stay tuned!

Maiora is an Italian fountain pen manufacturer based in Naples, Italy and is managed by former co-founder and president of Delta Pen Company, Nino Marino. Maiora also produces fountain pens under the Netunno brand. I have to mention here that the other former co-founder of Delta was Ciro Matrone. Ciro and Salvatore Matrone (Ciro’s son) are the brain child behind Leonardo Officina Italiano Pens. To me, the Maiora pens remind me of my Leonardos and look a bit similar, but are quite different.

I saw a few Maiora Impronte OS pens on my social media feed. Someone had posted a picture of their Posillipo pen and the colors reminded me of the Caribbean waters. Yes, I’m a sucker for island and water related colors.

My Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

I did a bit of research to find out the meaning behind this color’s name. Posillipo is a town located near the coastal region of Naples. This pens’s blue and green flecks represent the surrounding waters and the rolling hills of this coastal town in Italy.

I’ve had this Posillipo for a couple of weeks and I wanted to share what I love about this pen, the good and the bad.

The Good:

The pen is made from hand turned solid resin bars and the pen’s clip is machined from solid brass and then hand polished. The pen has a curved grip/section which is made from the same matching resin as the barrel and cap. It has a really nice feel and my fingers rest comfortably in the curved section. I’m starting to prefer this kind of grip.

My Posillipo with silver clip and ring trim

I was happy to see the Maiora uses a threaded converter which is my favorite type of converter. This one is designed beautifully and well made. I had a lovely experience filling the converter with ink. That says a lot about the quality. Similar to my Leonardo Momento Zeros, there’s blind cap at the end of the barrel that allows quick access to the converter knob. The blind cap threads are metal.

Maiora uses JoWo #6 nibs. Swappable nib units? Yes! That means Franklin-Christoph, Esterbrook, Edison, Opus 88, Retro 51 and other pen manufacturers who use JoWo #6 nib units are swappable in my Maiora Impronte pen.

I took a picture of my pen disassembled. Notice the curved grip, the nib unit unscrewed and sitting in its section, the blind cap, and the lovely converter.

The nib is engraved with the Maiora logo and the converter has the etched name

Another nice feature of my Maiora pen is it can use the short or long standard international ink cartridges. I mentioned before I have a few boxes of the Jacques Herbin, Pelikan, and Waterman long ink cartridges that I like to use.

My Fine nib needed a slight adjustment as the tines appeared to be a bit off and I could feel the nib drag a bit on the paper (scratchy). After I realigned the tines, the nib wrote smoothly with just a tad bit of feedback. A lovely feeling for a Fine nib. It writes slightly wet and I filled my pen with Diamine Enchanted Ocean to show off all the shimmers.

The Bad:

Yes, there is a big issue with my Maiora Impronte OS. It’s with the cap. There’s a small opening where the clip attaches to the cap. That means air is flowing inside the cap. My beautiful Fine nib dries out in between writing sessions and overnight.

Picture of the opening where the clip is attached

There is also a floating rubber disk sitting inside at the end of the cap. It’s not secured and I’m not sure if it’s suppose to be there. When I twist my pen into the cap, the tip of the nib rubs against this rubber disk. After the first night when my pen sat on my desk, the tip of the nib (iridium) had developed some crust and the nib was covered with ink. It wrote for a bit and then I decided to clean off the gunk. It took several attempts to wipe it off and then I ended up dipping the nib into some water. I did the dipping into the water about three times before I could remove the ink completely from the nib and the iridium tipping was shiny again.

I sent this picture of the inside cap to the pen shop

After spending some quality time writing with my Maiora, I sent an email to the online pen shop and included a few pictures of my pen and my sample writing where I documented the issues. I received a response that included some options: request a new nib and a new cap. I provided additional pictures of the cap include a gap/opening where the clip joins the cap. I actually blew some air into the cap and sure enough the air came out of the cap.

I went ahead and requested a new cap. I did not request a new nib as my Fine nib writes beautifully and I have no issues with the nib. As a few of my pen friends know, when a beautiful writing nib is in my possession there is no letting go. My only problem with the pen was the cap and its two apparent issues. The pen shop is waiting to hear back from the distributor, Yafa Brands.

Why didn’t I return the whole pen? There were too many positive and feel good qualities I was experiencing with this particular pen. Besides checking off all of my pen requirement boxes, this nib writes beautifully. Plus the pen feels comfortable in my hand after several long writing sessions. I’ve become one with this pen minus the cap. Hahaha!

I will be back to post additional updates and the solution to this major cap problem.

Pen Comparisons:

I wanted to include a picture that shows my Esterbrook Estie OS and my lovely Maiora together. They are both “over sized” pens and look somewhat girthy, but they are extremely comfy pens to write with.

My Esterbrook Estie OS in Dreamer Purple and my Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

Since I’m displaying my current favorite pens, I thought I would add another favorite to the mix from Franklin-Christoph.

For comparison: Franklin-Christoph 31 (Candystone), Esterbrook Estie OS, and Maiora Impronte OS

After looking at this picture, I realize that my Candystone pen contains my favorite colors and it also incorporates the colors from the other two pens.

Tips/Additional Comments:

  • My Leonardo Momento Zero pens have friction fit Bock nibs. Leonardo included the Bock #6 nibs with their pens until earlier this year (2021) when they switched to JoWo #6 nibs. The JoWo nibs in the Leonardo pens are also friction fit meaning you can pull the nib and feed out to change the nib. The nib collar unit is still secured into the section. No unscrewing of the nib unit/collar on the Leonardo Momento Zeros.
  • I have no issues with using shimmering inks with a Fine nib as long as the feed and nib can handle it. Most of my JoWo nibs (Extra Fine, Fine, and wider nibs) do well with shimmering inks. If I can see daylight between the tines and through the tip of the nib, I know the shimmering ink will flow. I mostly use my Diamine Shimmertastic and Jacques Herbin shimmering inks with my Extra Fine and Fine nibs.

Pen: Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo with Fine nib

Ink: Diamine Enchanted Ocean

Currently Inked

Here are my currently inked pens. I’ve been doing well in keeping my goal of having a handful of pens inked at one time. Sometimes a pen friend will ask a question and I’ll immediately ink up a pen to show the writing experience. So far, I’ve managed to keep variety of different ink colors available for my personal writing.

Here’s the list of ink colors:

The Rohrer & Klingner inks are fast becoming one of my favorite ink brands. Their ink colors are vibrant and stunning and they make beautiful ink washes.

Happy Wednesday!

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.

Pens/Inks:

  • 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

Candystone!

That’s the name of my beautiful fountain pen from Franklin-Christoph. I was looking for a pink and turquoise pen and saw this in their Stock Room. For me, the additional colors included in the pen (eggplant, indigo, rose, and teal) are extra bonus colors. I knew I had to act fast when I saw this one and I also knew I wanted another Flex nib. I selected a nib upgrade and went with their HPSteel FLEX Extra Fine nib.

Look at the beautiful colors!

During my research adventure, I had looked at several pens that came in swirls of pink and turquoise colors and even a few sparkly diamond cast resins, but they did not speak to me the way this one did. This beautiful pattern of colors reminded me of rock candies.

Colors used in my sketch: Diamine Enchanted Ocean. Robert Oster Rose Gold Antiqua, Blood Rose, Sydney Lavender, Tokyo Blue Denim, Blue River, and Carbon Blue

You can see how well the colors are distributed in this resin. Other pens I have looked at (especially the swirl resins), the colors are not evenly distributed and sometimes one side of the pen looks better then the other side. Not this one. Even the section is beautiful!

Here’s a close up of the F-C FLEX nib

From my picture, you can see the nib sits a bit further into the section. They call it a recessed nib. From my experience, it does not hinder the writing experience in any way. The other F-C pen model that has this recessed nib is their Model 20. I should mention this Model 31 encompasses some features from their other pen models.

Franklin-Christoph did an exceptional job with their packaging. With this special Flex nib, I received a writing sample from Audrey. With each pen purchase, they included a warranty card that guarantees lifetime warranty against mechanical defect. F-C also included a zippered pen case to protect my pen.

The writing sample from my nib and warranty card signed by Audrey

NOTE: I just looked at their Stock Room and this pen is now sold out. It looks like they will eventually make other pen models with this colorful resin. It’s a matter of waiting patiently. That’s what I had to do. Keep checking their Stock Room.

Pen: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 Omni in Candystone with HPSteel FLEX Extra Fine nib

Ink: Robert Oster Sydney Lavender

Paper: Rhodia