Sketching with My Lamy Ballpoint Pen

I set out to do an experiment with all the ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens I found in and around my studio desk. What did I uncover? I immediately eliminated the SWAG pens I received from various trade shows I’ve attended over the years. Their inks dried up fast inside the pen and were deemed unusable. They were basically disposable plastic pens. You know what I’m referring to.

I had a few name brand pens in my possession. I created a sample page where I sketched with the pens and then apply my fountain pen inks over the initial sketch. I also created sample lines and then applied water over the lines to get a better idea of how the ink reacted with water.

My gel pens and rollerball pens basically smeared when I applied water to the lines.

I was surprised to see my Retro51 ballpoint ink react the way it did with water.

My Cross, Parker, and Lamy ballpoint pens handled the water a bit better.

Here’s my Lamy ballpoint pen collection which includes the Al Star in Green, Vista in Clear, and Al Star in Cosmic.

My Lamy ballpoint trio

My Lamy writes smooth across the different art papers I use. So far, no skipping or fading. The Vista model has a thinner grip section than the Al-Star. I do like the clear body showing off my ink refill.

I keep my Lamy ballpoint pens in my art journal and in my art pen case. I can find my refills (M16) at most online pen shops. They come in Fine, Medium, and Broad tips.

My Lamy ballpoint pen is fast becoming my favorite cool tool for creating quick sketches with a fairly permanent ink. The pen colors they come in are really lovely.

Ballpoint Pens: Lamy Al Star in Green and Cosmic with Fine tip. Lamy Vista Clear with Fine tip.

Journal: Canson Mixed Media A5.

My BUJO (Bullet Journal)

I have a BUJO that I use on a daily basis. I started this back in August 2020. I would do a page a day of my to-do lists, reminders to drink water, exercise, declutter, organize, run errands, etc. I would decorate each day with stickers and add thin strips of washi tape around the edges of the paper.

That lasted a week. As my days got busier, I had less time for decorating. My detailed lists became brief and shorter.

As time went on, I continued to create my daily pages and tried out different formats that made more sense to me and my lifestyle.

My monthly calendar page changed from pre-printed calendars to a two page spread that I drew out with my fountain pens and inks.

My daily pages were a waste of space and I was able to come up with another configuration of putting all seven days across a two page spread. That made a huge difference in my ability to see the whole week at a time.

It was back in early 2021 that I started this monthly and weekly configuration you see here from the two pictures. As I have limited space, no stickers or washi tapes are used. I might occasionally sneak in a sketch or two.

The little red cups I sketched out are reminders to drink water throughout the morning and afternoon.

I also record the weather outside (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and the temperature for the day. This activity allows me to do a bit of sketching in my daily BUJO.

My Stalogy journal holds a lot of pages and can get chunky as a result of all the washi tape and sticker applications. It’s a lovely journal I can leave open on my desk and the pages lay flat.

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans with Fine nib. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide. Diamine Pink Glitz.

Journal: Stalogy 365 Editor in B6 with Navie Travels Journal cover

Some Progress and Getting Back to the Gym

I slept well and woke up with the alarm this morning. First thing I thought about was going to the gym. That was a huge step for me. On previous mornings, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I made an effort to swap my night clothes and put on my gym clothes and brush my teeth. Another step in the right direction.

I saw my Hubby off to work around 7am. I took a few minutes and walked around our garden and snapped a few pictures. I noticed my Hubby’s BFF, the squirrel, was feasting on seeds and nuts on our platform bird feeder. No time for squirrel chasing or dawdling this morning as I had a goal to be somewhere.

I made it to the gym a bit after 8am. I wore my mask in and was told I did not need it as long as I was fully vaccinated. Yay team! I was then told to step over to a tablet stand and get my temperature checked. I was normal.

I made my way over to the women’s locker room. They have tall and short lockers and all the short ones had tape across their doors. I reached for a long locker and wouldn’t you know it, I could not reach the hooks to hang my jacket. I dropped my gym bag into the bottom of locker and folded my jacket and laid it over my bag. Yes, I am vertically challenged.

I had pulled out my Master Lock and then it dawned on me. I forgot my combination to open the lock. I had spinned the dial a few times and three numbers popped into my head. It took a few minutes to get the right sequence of numbers to open it. Not too bad for not having any coffee.

Am I the only one who has this type of lock?

I started my gym time with cardio and completed 1.25 miles or 21 minutes on the treadmill with a combination of walking and jogging. I had to be careful as my added body weight has caused some issues in my knees.

The remaining 39 minutes was spent lifting weights and I was in my zone. I missed that part of my gym time.

This morning, my Fitbit was extremely happy to see me back and doing more than my 60 stomach crunches, 15 push ups and a couple of leg squats I’ve managed to do weekly. When I would remember to do them. I’m feeling spunky and my endorphins have kicked in. This is definitely progress!

An Update to My Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo FP

I received a package from Yafa. I was so excited when I opened the package to see a new replacement cap. Then came the disappointment. They sent me the wrong cap and it appears to be the regular size cap for their smaller Maiora Impronte pen. Unbelievable!

The new cap (right) is smaller
It’s quite evident the new cap does not fit

I contacted the online pen shop and the solution was 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.

Both caps in the plastic case: sent back to Yafa

For now, my Maiora looks a bit naked without her cap. I placed her safely in one of my unused Levenger pen cases. I’m documenting this here because when I finally receive the correct replacement cap, it’s a guarantee that I will forget where I put my pen for safe keeping. Hahaha!

Watercolor Ramblings and What’s on My Fountain Pen Radar

I’ve been busy creating a few watercolor sketches. Practicing different techniques and learning to control my mixtures of water and pigment and using different paper brands (100% cotton). I’m also using and trying out different paint brushes. Learning about the different synthetic hair blends and which ones hold more water and which ones hold a really nice point. It’s been crazy fun for me.

For several years, I have used Cheap Joes Golden Fleece brushes and got myself into a “groove” with these brushes. Okay, let’s call it a comfortable habit with using my Golden Fleece brushes. Now that I have blocks of time to devote to watercolor painting and experimenting, I’m finding I need a few different brushes to handle my painting needs and requirements. I am almost finished with my research and will share my findings in my future blog posts.

I have a few fountain pen related items that will be showing up over the next few days, weeks and possibly months. First, I’ve been asked to provide a review on some new fountain pen paper. I believe they are new as I have not heard the name before. I’m also trying out two (new to me) independent pen manufacturers. I’m also waiting to receive a purple Diamondcast pen that I pre-ordered. I also have another automatic pen arriving in the correct size for my ink swatching and to use for a future calligraphy font I wanted to try. Whew!

Colors in my custom pen order
Swatch cards that may or may not represent my purple Diamondcast pen

More product reviews are in the works. I just have to remember to take the pictures!

Stay tuned!

Swatching My Way Back into Watercolors

I know I’ve spent some time talking about my fountain pens and fountain pen inks. Okay, it’s been a few months of pen and ink ramblings. That’s because I’ve made several new friends in the fountain pen world and wanted to share with them my experiences, research, and pen & ink artwork. Also my creative mojo has been going full speed ahead which means I will be venturing into my other creative hobbies.

It takes a bit longer for me to create a painting versus doing a quick pen & ink sketch. There’s a bit of “setup time” involved with watercolors since I do not have a designated space for painting. In my tote, I have my palette of colors, my porcelain mixing dish, my travel/portable brushes, my sketching tools, my collapsible water container, and small sheets of watercolor paper. When I’m working with pen & ink, I only have to carry my fountain pens, a water brush, and my journal with me.

In a previous post I mentioned about swatching the dots on my Daniel Smith dot sheets into rectangle shapes of color. I decided to take it a step further and created color swatches in my watercolor art journal. So here are the 238 colors in my journal pages:

Look how bright the yellow colors are!
I love the two pages of earth tone colors
A close up of the shimmering paints

As you can see, I created the blocks of colors without any guidelines and tried my best to keep them straight and almost lined up. Creating the swatches helped get me back into the watercolor frame of mind and getting reacquainted with my brushes, paint, and paper.

I started a small painting over the weekend and I will be back to share a quick picture in a new post.

Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors (Dot Sheets)

Brush: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece #8

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta Spiral Bound

Squirrel Shenanigans

I’m taking a break from my hobbies and decided to write about funny things that surround me. Hubby and I are always laughing about something. Stories we share of funny things that happen while he’s at work or for me while at home.

So I grabbed my camera. Oh. That’s a hobby. I suppose I’m not taking a break after all. I saw our neighborhood squirrels gathering around. Looking for something to eat. Naturally, they stopped in our yard.

Here’s a picture for you to create your own caption/thought:

What was the first thought that came to your mind when you saw this picture? Something funny, right?

Squirrels are clever. They are silly too. Some are bold and wait for me to come within inches before they run off. Hubby gently says to me “you know, they might jump on you”. Now he tells me.

This one is clever. He can’t get to the food source at the center of this bird feeder. He does reach across and “scoops” the remnant pieces of seeds close to his mouth. At least he’s getting some exercise.

We have several bird feeders scattered around our yard. This will be our first time feeding the birds through the winter months. I’m looking forward to seeing who shows up and getting some photo ops. In the meantime, squirrels will have to do.

I had a funny feeling that we were playing a game of “red light, green light” and when I pointed my camera, he just “froze” in place. Hahaha!
Poor guy! He’s frustrated that he can’t get to the caged feed cake, while his buddy decides to climb up to the open platform feeder.
He’s finally figured it out, but not for long. The squirrel eventually pushes from the bottom and the feed cake moves up and away from his reach.
I enjoy watching them go up and down and getting a good workout.

Eventually the squirrels get frustrated/tired and leave. A few minutes later, the birds arrive.

Coming in for a landing!
I think this one is having a bad hair day.
The smaller birds feel safe inside this wide cage.
This one likes to “grab and go” with his seed selection.
I see you!

This slim feeder is a favorite for the larger birds (blue jays and cardinals) and it’s also somewhat squirrel proof. When the heavy squirrel grabs the wire cage, the cage slides down and covers the openings.

I’ll be back later with additional pictures. Enjoy your day!