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

Just Three Pens for Now and Other Things

We are just a few days away from the month of December and I have something brewing in my studio. Well not literally brewing, but it’s something that is sitting inside a brown box and waiting for December 1st to arrive. I ordered this at the end of August and received it at the end of September. So for two whole months the excitement has been building up. That’s all I will say. For now. 😃

I’m also contemplating doing a sketch/drawing a day in December. We will see how that works out as I’ll need to allocate two hours a day depending on the art medium I use. Lots of ideas and very little time to do all of my favorite hobbies. Sigh!

I wanted to share my three currently inked pens: Leonardo, Pilot, and Visconti.

I would classify these three pens as the oldest pens I have in my collection. I purchased them when I first fell into this fountain pen rabbit-hole. I thought it would be a great time to bring them into my pen rotation. They are amazing and fine writing tools. They write beautifully on all types of paper I use including plain notebook paper.

I had three bottles of ink sitting on my desk and it was easy to figure out my matching pen and ink scheme. As I’m typing this post, I’m wondering if Pilot will ever come out with other pen colors in their 823 model. I could easily enjoy an olive green or a copper colored 823. That would be so cool!

Earlier this week I was dabbling with Urban Sketching. Mostly from photographs I’ve taken. It’s a different style of sketching for me and basically learning to look and sketch quickly. I’m learning to loosen up and not worry about the details or shapes too much.

I’m hoping to take this new sketching adventure outside and in the public areas. Since it’s around 40-something degrees outside, learning to sketch quickly would be most beneficial. Now that I’m thinking about it, sitting in a warm car and sketching sounds even better. 🤣

Pens: Leonardo Momento Zero Pietra Marina (Fine). Pilot Custom 823 Amber (Fine). Visconti Vertigo Orange (Fine)

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Tamar Pinot Noir and Eucalyptus Regnans. Robert Oster Aussie Brown.

Paper: Rhodia


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

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

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.

Missing Sketching Mojo…Found

For the last few weeks, I have not been able to sketch anything. I had my watercolor palette and brushes sitting in my studio waiting for something to happen. I also had my pouch filled with TWSBI GOs (16 of them) inked and ready. Nothing. I carried my art bag around the inside and outside of my house. Just in case some inspiration surfaced.

There are times when many artists go through this mind boggling lack of creativity/motivation period. For me, it’s okay to go through this. I recognize it. I know better than to try and force myself to sit and create something while staring at a blank piece of paper or a page in my art journal.

I have been working on something else. My handwriting skills. Since the DC Pen Show, I’ve been practicing my handwriting skills daily. With the help of my new Stylosuite flex nib pen, it’s been easier for me to write something daily than to draw. I will save this writing experience for a future post.

For now, this was a sketch I created last week while sitting outside and looking at one of the plants Hubby brought home from the garden center. I felt like using my creative license and changed out the pot style as well as the color.

Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Faber-Castell Hexo Blue with Medium nib (Velvet Storm). Pilot Falcon with <SE> nib (Carbon ink).

Inks used: Robert Oster Saguaro Green, Eucalyptus Leaf, Honey Bee, Velvet Storm, and Thunderstorm. Private Reserve Copper Burst. Platinum Carbon ink.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 5.5″x8.5″

Day 1 at the Pen Show

I wanted to share this bit of information. I was able to empty a bottle of Robert Oster Thunderstorm. My first empty fountain pen ink bottle. A milestone for me!

Now to get back to my normal post.

It was a gorgeous day to travel to the 2021 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. The temperature was in the low 80s with hardly any humidity. Normally, the whole month of August makes me “glow” and my hair is the first sign to go flat against my head. Not today and most likely for the remaining week and weekend. Traffic was light as I made my way over to the Marriott. The hotel was kind enough to have my room ready when I arrived. A good thing as I had a lot of bags to unload from my car and I wanted to get settled in the room before Hubby arrived.

Several trips later and my car unloaded, I quickly sent a text to Hubby. He was joining me later in the early evening. In the meantime, I was happy to see a long desk/table in our room as I had to spread out all of my workshop supplies and organized them so I could grab and go for each session.

I made my way to the main ballroom of the hotel to see if there were any fountain pen and ink activities I needed to be aware of. I went to the registration desk, introduced myself, and met the wonderful pen show managers, Barbara and Jeff. I received my badges and a bottle of Monteverde Bob’s Blue Ink. Bob Johnson passed away last year and his sister Barbara and his nephew Jeff took over the responsibility of running the DC Pen Show.

I reconfirmed the meeting room I had for the next few days and I was off to go exploring. The show tables in the main venue were setup and arranged in long rows. A few Exhibitors were starting to setup their assigned tables. At the right side of the ballroom wall and in the far corner I could see the Franklin-Christoph staff setting up their tables.

Along the left wall and center is the Kenro (e.g. Esterbrook) table which I was able to visit later in the show and try out Gina’s Journaler nib. More on that in another post.

Hubby texted me to say he was out front and not sure where to park. The front of the hotel has a small turnaround area with limited outdoor parking. There were folks who were waiting in line to unload their boxes of supplies for their exhibits.

I did not realize how hungry I was from all the running around I did from the time I left home until I unpacked my car at the hotel. Yes, I have to include a “foodie” picture of my gluten-free meal: Fish Tacos! I took a bite into my first taco and was so enamored I could have a meal that tasted close to normal. It was that good! I let Hubby take a bite of my delicious taco and he said I was not getting that one back! Hahaha! Good thing I had two more tacos to savor and not share with him.

I was not too worried about counting my calories for this long weekend. I knew I was going to get in a lot of steps and my Fitbit would be extremely happy with me. I made sure I was getting my protein and drank plenty of water.

A Sketching Prompt for This Weekend

I’m back to writing on my blog again. For the past 2-1/2 months I have been busy working on a workshop program for the 2021 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. What started out as an idea for one workshop immediately multiplied into three. I wanted to provide an opportunity for those attending any of the three show days to attend my workshop. I was busy creating several workshop outlines and figuring out the best way to show and share my passion for fountains pens and inks.

For those of you who participated in my workshop, thank you for attending. There was a lot of information and experiences we shared and I personally had a wonderful time seeing each of you develop your own creative pieces of art.

As promised, here is this weekend’s prompt: DESSERT

To help you out, here’s a sketch I did a few weeks ago when I was thinking of cake and ice cream.

What is your favorite dessert?


  1. No death grips!
  2. We have 358 days until the next DC Pen Show!

Pens Used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks Used: Robert Oster Whisper Red, Sydney Darling Harbour, African Gold, and Thunderstorm

Something Fun – Stickers

I have been radio silent for the last 20+ days. I mentioned I had a few projects I was working on and it involved creating some artwork and of course, promoting it. The month of July has gone by quickly for me. A lot of work has been involved and I’m having so much fun seeing everything come together over the last few weeks.

One of the cool things on my “to do list” was having stickers made from my artwork. It was hard to narrow down the pieces I had worked on. I finally selected my duck boots and I’m more than thrilled with the results.

I had created this piece when Hubby and I took off for a weekend trip earlier this year and I took my TWSBI GOs filled with shimmering inks. We were expecting to have rain showers all weekend and I thought some sparkling inks would help brighten a cloudy weekend. Also, I find I’m more creative when I’m sketching with pens filled with shimmering inks.

Duck Boots sketch and sticker

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Cocoa Shimmer. Robert Oster Heart of Gold, Melon Tea, Saguaro Green, and Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta