Year End Thoughts for 2021

So I ran out of time to do a pictorial collage of all the things I was involved in this year. One could say I was all over the place. Sometimes the mood or an idea would hit me and I would switch gears on the fly. This month had been an extremely busy time for me as I had to take care of year end tasks and long to-do-lists . I also had 30+ blog post entries for the month of December. Yes, I had a lot of inks to chat about as well as share a few pieces of my artwork.

I started the year creating lots of pen & ink artwork. That was mostly because I had too many fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and I had the overwhelming urge to just sketch with my fountain pens. It also helped that I sketched my pens dry. Used up more ink!

I also entered an art contest over at Pen Chalet. I received honorable mention for my Sedona sketch using the three Robert Oster Exclusive Pen Chalet ink colors: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky. They used my artwork to create some stickers.

I also started 2021 with a lovely Benu Euphoria called Bora Bora that Hubby gave me for a Christmas present at the end of 2020. I also ventured into and acquired a few unique fountain pens made by a few boutique pen turners.

I played around with pointed pen calligraphy and tried out different flex nibs. I attempted to do my daily calligraphy practice until I got bored. This hobby likes to come and go throughout the year.

I did a few reviews on fountain pens (Esterbrook, Franklin-Christoph, Pilot, Opus88, SchonDSGN, Maiora), inks (Vinta Inks, Birmingham Pen Co, Private Reserve, Rohrer & Klingner, Van Dieman’s), papers and journals, graphite pencil holders, watercolor paints, paint palettes, carrying cases/pouches, and art tools that caught my interest.

Let’s not forget my fiber arts where I remembered to squeeze my yarns and fabrics as they were feeling neglected from the lack of attention. This was the result of having too many hobbies and therefore no blog posts were created in this area.

I was invited to teach a pen & ink wash workshop at the DC Pen Show. The one workshop turned into three workshops. I felt blessed to be able to share what I know about fountain pens and inks and how to create art with these tools. Oh and use up more ink! 😂

I had some time to get back into my Cricut hobby. I created lots of stickers of my artwork, personalized many water containers, mugs, coasters, journals, and accessories. I also ventured into engraving acrylic (future blog post).

In my artwork, I tend to see too many details and want to sketch everything I see. I made an effort this year to practice sketching loosely and quickly. I just focused on the main shapes and what was important to show on paper. This way of sketching is something I’ve always wanted to do well with and this will take me into another adventure in the new year.

Here is my last artwork for 2021. This morning I spent a few minutes with “drawing my day” or DMD which I will refer to in my future blog posts. My theme for this morning was what I had for breakfast. My hope is to do a daily sketch of my day. Practice sketching techniques and develop my muscle memory. Fill up a page or two. Write a description. Tell a story.

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 (F-C Fine nib) and Peacock (Esterbrook Medium nib). Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with Extra Fine nib.

Inks: Rober Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine: Seize the Night, Winter Spice, Candle Light, Party Time, & All the Best. Van Dieman’s Ink: Morning Mist, Parrot Fish, and Devil’s Kitchen.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal

Another Gnome Sketch

This past weekend I created this Gnome sketch using several different ink colors from the Inkvent calendar. I had to wait until today to do a blog post as there were a few inks that were yet to be uncovered and opened.

Inks: Various Diamine Inkvent Calendar inks

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI Eco with Stub 1.1 nib. Esterbrook Estie with F-C Stub 1.1 nib. Conklin All American with Stub 1.1 nib. Conklin Duragraph with Omniflex nib. Pilot Prera with CM nib. Pilot Stargazer with Medium nib.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Gnome #1 Created with Diamine Inkvent Inks

I was feeling extra creative and decided to try sketching a gnome. Here’s my first attempt using a few of the ink colors from my Diamine’s Inkvent calendar.

I used my Platinum Preppy filled with Platinum Carbon ink to draw the outlines of my gnome. For the hat I used Winter Spice. This is my top fave ink from the calendar. For the rim of the hat I used Vintage Copper. The nose required just a dabble of Party Time. The beard is made up of random wash lines using Ash. As you can see, the Carbon ink did not budge or smear when water was applied on top.

For the body I used Subzero and finished with the shoes in Festive Joy.

Inks: Diamine Ash, Winter Spice, Vintage Copper, Party Time, Subzero, and Festive Joy.

Pens: TWSBI GO Stub 1.1. TWSBI Eco Stub 1.1. TWSBI Swipe Stub 1.1. Pilot Prera CM. Esterbrook Estie Stub 1.1.

Journal: Stillman & Bern Alpha

Another Pen & Ink Sketch

I’m enjoying my blocks of “artwork time” and using my Inkvent inks to create some quick sketches.

My intent is to post a new sketch every few days to break up my Diamine inky blog posts. It’s also to share what can be done with the ink colors that may or may not appeal to you. So far, I’m enjoying all the ink colors including one or two I was originally on the fence with.

Here’s my snowman. There’s still one ink color that many of you have not opened the door for. I will be back to post the remaining ink color I used. 😄

Inks used: Diamine Ash, Tempest, Winter Spice, Candle light, and Raspberry Rose. Platinum Carbon (permanent).

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Sketching Frame of Mind

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with my December Inkvent Calendar. This is my first time doing a daily ink swatch and writing sample and then posting it daily on my blog.

I started out opening one door each corresponding day. I developed a system that includes taking the appropriate pictures to go with my inky activities. That lasted for three days. It’s now the weekend and I’ve decided that my inky process works well enough for me to keep opening a few more doors ahead of my daily schedule.

I’m sharing this with my blog readers as I have other hobbies/activities/projects that are requiring my utmost attention. I would hate to miss a day and then try to catch up. That’s how my mind works. Planning ahead and maximizing my time.

One hobby that has been on the side lines was my pen & ink sketches. I had a goal of creating a sketch a day for the month of December. I was stressing out a bit over this goal and decided to let it go. For me stress and creativity does not work together.

Today, I made sure I had a block of time to create some pen & ink sketches. I have a bunch of TWSBIs filled with the Diamine Inkvent inks and thought it would be a great time to create some artwork.

The green ink color is Diamine Garland. The other two I can’t say until those two days/doors are opened in the coming week. I will say they are beautiful colors! đŸ„°

I’m happy to have this creative break. It’s an opportunity to practice sketching and to also use up some ink.

Pens used: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1. Conklin Duragraph Rainbow with Omniflex nib.

Inks used: Diamine Garland, Candle light, and Raspberry Rose.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

I’ve been intentionally staying away from my computer today and avoiding the pen sales that are popping up everywhere. That’s why I’m late in wishing my fellow fountain pen friends a Happy Fountain Pen Day!

I thought I would celebrate by sharing a sketch I did from last year. Lovely pens and wonderful writing experiences.

Here’s my currently inked pens. Yes, only three filled with ink. I’m doing well in managing this goal. Easier to clean three pens versus a dozen or more.

I still have a few Van Dieman’s Ink swatches to share with you. When I was playing with my new inks a few weeks ago I took some pictures as a reminder to update my blog. At that same time, my watercolor mojo was found and needed some attention. This is what happens when I have too many fun hobbies fighting for my time in my studio.

I have to say I did spend a few minutes checking out the fountain pen deals. I allowed myself to put one in a cart and then removed it five minutes later. I’m getting good at this. Hahaha!

Hope you are having a fantastic Friday! Enjoy your weekend!


In the early evenings, Hubby and I have been sitting outside and watching our neighborhood birds visit our bird feeders. The wrens and the finches enjoy sitting inside our caged feeder while the wood peckers, black caps, cardinals, and blue jays like come and go. Grabbing their food and flying away quickly.

Our weather this week has finally changed and it’s quite a bit cooler in the late evenings and early morning hours. I’ve started to notice an additional sound outside.

Our neighbor has a huge oak tree and the acorns are dropping. They are especially loud when hitting the pavement and sometimes getting it just right and hitting the top of their car. Hahaha!

This morning I felt inclined to sketch something fall related and acorns came to my mind.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I’m still trying to use up the remaining Robert Oster inks in my GOs. My Van Dieman’s Inks are patiently waiting for their turn. Can you tell I’m enjoying the Eucalyptus Regnans ink color? It’s showing up in many of my pen and ink artwork. Gorgeous green color.

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Eucalyptus Regnans. Robert Oster Honey Bee, Toffee, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta A5

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal in brown


Here’s a quick pumpkin pen and ink sketch I completed this morning. It’s been hard to get into the Fall season when the outside temperatures have been in the high 70s and low 80s.

I’m currently working with a limited number of ink colors in my TWSBI GOs. I’m a bit late in transitioning my Summer sketch ink colors to Fall colors and I still have a few bright colors left in my GOs that I wanted to use up. This resulted in my pumpkins looking a bit lively and bright.

For those of you following me (including my fellow workshop friends), try and create a few pumpkin sketches. Use your imagination and try out different pumpkin shapes and colors.

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Eucalyptus Regnans (Wilderness series). Robert Oster Toffee, Melon Tea, Honey Bee, and Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta A5

I’m Here!

It was 28 days ago when I last wrote an entry on my blog. Since then I’ve been radio silent and you were probably wondering what I’ve been up to. Right? Maybe? Hahaha!

For the whole month of September I felt like I’ve been running non-stop. I had appointments, projects, and deadlines to take care of. I had out of town relatives stop by for a visit and ended up needing my assistance and staying a bit longer. As always, it was great to catch up and spend time with them. The next thing I knew September came and went.

On the creative side of life I have been keeping up with my artistic hobbies.

I have been busy practicing my not-quite Copperplate handwriting using my Opus 88 Omar with the lovely Stylosuite EF Xwing Harpoon nib. I’ve noticed my hand and arm movements are more free flowing and not as jerky as before. I’m now dabbling into creating my own style of writing and adding flourishes.

I’ve been keeping up with my pen and ink wash art. I’ve been practicing and creating sketches of grapes. For some reason grapes have been tripping me up. In the past, I’ve started my sketches and never finished them. I decided to break down my “grape picture” I’ve been working on and just focus on a few grapes versus huge clusters of them surrounded by vines and leaves.

Here’s my pen and ink wash version:

While I was on this “grape” adventure, I decided to break out my watercolor paints and see what I could do. It’s still a work in progress and I need to tackle the leaves.

My watercolor grapes took a few hours to create as I was working in layers of colors. Each layer had to dry completely before I could add another layer of color on top. I love watercolor painting, but I rarely have blocks of hours to devote to a painting. I think that is why I enjoy using my fountain pens and inks for sketching as I can quickly get bold and vivid colors and instantaneous results.

Before I forget, I found a new toy. I managed to snag a fantastic deal on a Cricut machine. So now my baby Joy has a big sister the Maker.

I procured some sample paper packs and I immediately created some stickers from my artwork. This is still a work in progress as I’m testing out different brands and types of papers. Can you tell? I’m having way too much fun!

I’ll be back with more artwork, new inks, and other interesting finds that I forgot to mention. Be well and stay safe!

Blueberry pen & ink sketch: Robert Oster Tokyo Blue Denim, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Thunderstorm

Grape pen & ink sketch: Robert Oster Sydney Lavender & Melon Tea. Van Dieman’s Ink Beetroot Relish and Eucalyptus Regnans. Jacques Herbin Amethyste de l’Oural and Vert Atlantide.