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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Come Join The Fun On An Imaginary Trip To SW France!

I've always heard about the gorgeous light in Paris, but I never imagined that all of France (well, the parts I visited anyway) would have that same light! At times, it seemed pearlescent or iridescent...and so very clear.

It was a delight to walk around medieval towns and villages to sketch and paint (and take photos) because of that light. But I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the subject matter of said sketches and photos...delightful visits to so many small towns, parks, rivers, castles, gardens, and cities made this trip worthy of being made into an ImaginaryTrips.com' online class!

I hope you'll join me for the Imaginary Trip To Southwest France and Le Vieux Couvent! We'll explore the lovely convent and its gardens, where we stayed as well as some of the most intriguing small villages (Saint Cirq Lapopie and Beynec), larger cities (Sarlat) and some off the beaten path destinations (Castelfranc).

There is something for everyone! I will be sharing my sketchbook and the pages I created while in France and I'll also show how I create a more finished look to those pages once I'm home.

Class starts on April 18th and will feature four assignments. There is an interactive class as well as self-study class option available.

To join in and get registered today, please click here for more information!


I am going back to LVC in September this year and would love to have you join me for the 10-day travel and art workshop! It's not to be missed! The convent was originally built in the 1600's and has been lovingly refurbished into an art retreat complete with secret gardens, a koi pond and lovely courtyard. The classroom and art library are both huge and available 24/7.

This is a true immersion experience as we will get out to explore, sketch and paint the Dordogne and Lot Regions each day! We'll make use of the classroom to finish our pages in the evenings and during any inclement weather.

And I have to say, the people of LVC make this place truly magical! From the wonderful meals they create from local sources to the care they show in everything they do, this is one of those rare workshop opportunities that transcends the words, "travel art workshop!"

I hope you can join me for this awesome experience!

To learn more and get registered, please click here!

I hope to see you in France!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ink Spots!

Well, not really ink spots!  But I'm always on the search for The Perfect Ink for my purposes.

I'm still looking.

What I want most often is an ink that dries waterproof (or at least water-resistent) in a relatively short time, so I can use watercolor over it...and that's tricky, in most fountain pens.  I've tested dozens and usually go back to Noodler's Lexington Grey, which seems to perform best for me, given my usual "requirements."

Often, we blame our fountain pens for not feeding well, but it may be the ink instead.  (And of course some pens write wetter and some dryer...meaning some make a finer more delicate line, and some really flow readily.   My original Namiki Falcon is like that, somewhat juicy.)

I'd love a dependable brown that doesn't clog my pens, but so far except in RARE cases, that's been tough to find.  (My Carbon Desk Pens, the TWSBIs, and my inexpensive Preppies seem most amenable to brown ink, and the brown that works best for me seems to be Noodler's Brown #41.)  But for the most part, Lexy Grey is my go-to ink.

GouletPen.com has a lovely sampler set of browns to try out!  (And come to think of it, there ARE some "ink spots," someone leaked!)
I used Noodler's Brown #41 in my Materia Medica, in a Carbon Desk Pen you can read about in this post.

I was really excited when I heard about DeAtramentis Document Inks, and some people are finding them PERFECT for their needs, not a bit of trouble; my dear friend Liz Steel loves them!  (The inks seem to work perfectly in many of the Lamy pens, which, unfortunately, I don't care for.)

And I just paid a professional to clean my vintage Sheaffer--I couldn't get it to work even with Goulet's pen cleaner, which is normally magic!  She recommended that I either change to water-soluble ink or flush it about once a week!

(My favorite Noodler's Creaper pen that I only write with is always filled with a water-soluble ink that hasn't failed me once in almost 3 years...it's De Atramentis, a dark green-black, and I love it!)

NOTE: There's a big difference in dye inks and pigmented inks.  The latter is much more likely to be water-resistant, but also more likely to clog since pigment particles do tend to clump.  That's why some cartridges, like the Pilot Namiki, some with a tiny ball-bearing inside that keeps the particles more evenly distributed.  Some of my converters have that option too... 

I recently bought another Noodler's Konrad pen, which holds more ink than the Creaper, and was amazed when it quit working after a few weeks.  I'm not, any more.  That's its feed and nib, on the left, in the first picture below.  The other is my normally dependable, foolproof Hero M-86 nib.

Yeah, that's the new Konrad's feed...almost totally clogged.

This is the Hero nib, likewise--but it had been in the pen considerably longer, so not as surprised.  BOTH took a nice bath in pen cleaner and got a good scrubbing with an old toothbrush, though...

Just for the heck of it I put the Hero under a magnivying glass...yuck.  I'd be reluctant to work too if I were clogged like that...
So will I continue to use my De Atramentis Document inks?  Of course.  But I'll be much more mindful of cleaning and flushing my pens and nibs, and use them in my juicier, more dependable pens, at least the inexpensive ones like the Preppy and Metropolitan, definitely not the vintage pens!  And they're great with dip pens.

Obviously this is not an issue only with the De Atramentis Document inks, either...many pigmented inks can be challenging to use.  I'm careful with Platinum Carbon Black and other similar inks as well.

And of course you do NOT want to use India Ink or one of the acrylics in a good fountain pen.  They dry hard!

It is more than possible to draw with water-soluble ink, and wet the lines for halftones...it's a lovely and often luminous effect, just not one I go for often!  I may have to branch out a bit...

Soooo...what works for you, in which pens?  Water soluble, water resistant?
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