April, 2011 Archives

OK, there’s a few repeats, lazy editing on my part. Just trying to catch up with the backlog of studies over the winter. The drawings in the 3rd row across are from a new sketchbook, A Veterinarians Daily Record. The blue pages are in fact that color. The book alternates blue and oat colored sheets every several pages. Odd thing about the blue pages, they barely register a white grease pencil. I thought they had enuff tone for me to pop a highlight but the effect is dismal. The fountain inks look good on the paper and are easy to smudge before they set up.

Went to Phoenix last week, the city where I was born in 1954, for a National Art Materials Trade Association show. I left Phoenix at the age of 2 and returned having been away for 54 years.

I was in Seattle in the middle of March and took advantage of a Dr. Sketchy’s session while there. Quite a fun night of drawing, the model was the fantastic Quynbi Ada and some considerable drawing talent showed up. While the atmosphere was loose and plenty campy, the poses and lighting were first rate and the energy in the room was very focused. Just the right amount of motivational competition.The event was held at Julia’s restaurant and all photos were taken by David Rose. To see more pictures of the goings on, google Dr. Sketchy’s Seattle. I always get some weird looks when they see I draw in Quo Vadis planners and other journals. Just love that Clairefontain paper.

Getting caught up on posting drawings from the last 4 months. Most of these were drawn at the Palette & Chisel in Chicago, however, the drawings on toned paper of Amanda were drawn at Trapeze studios in Seattle. All drawn with the usual suspects, India ink, Pitt Artist Brush Pens, fountain pens, China Marker for the white highlights. The pink drawing of Jessie is done in Iroshizuku Yama Budo fountain ink. The toned paper is from a recycled, acid free sketch book by Utrecht. And the drawings in the date book are Clairefontain paper in a Quo Vadis planner.

I renewed an interest in fountain pens perhaps a year and a half ago and have been drawing with them about 50% of the time. My first flirtation with them some 25 years ago was discouraging because I didn’t understand their mechanics, and improper care, combined with the wrong ink, bollocksed up a few pens. After trashing a semi-expensive Pelikan I moved on. But I always thought they had an elegance to them and had seen fountain pen script that produced an interesting line. Capable of lines both thicker and thinner than ballpoint, they also produced a wetter, thinner flow that could vary in tonal density from the start to the finish of a line or flourish. There was a noticeable “pooling” of pigment when the speed of the pen stroke slowed significantly or as the nib would come to a full stop. And while they seldom had the flexibility of the tines in a dip pen such as a Copperplate nib, some of the stub nibs had directional variance in line width and by virtue of an ink reservoir called a cartridge or a converter, the fountain pen had the distinct advantage of not being tethered to a bottle of ink. As you may have gathered at this website, I like to draw on buses.

Since it is also evident that I like to draw in previously used ledger books, I was always encountering numbers and script done in various medium. After looking at what was evidently fountain pen ink, I decided to give it another go. One frequent visitor to BND, who had been complimentary in past viewings expressed unvarnished disdain for my use of the fountain pen. Apparently tormented as a youth in school by the required tool, they had no love for the boring line produced by this writing instrument. I’ll note here that I got similar responses 35 years ago when I traded in my pencils and charcoal for a ballpoint. And having tried all the beasts on the shelves in art & craft & writing stores I often found myself struggling with an instrument I hadn’t mastered or by it’s very nature was ill suited to sketchbooks and ledger books. Often, that was the point. To see what would come of a new tool and to take some of the control and predictable flourish away from my hand. So just as I contend there are no bad poses, I don’t like blame coming to exclusive rest with the materials. Attributes can be found in unsuspecting places if you’re alert, no? A ballpoint that bled like a stuck pig and would most likely find itself in a waste basket, gave me a wide and juicy line as distinct from the brittle line produced by the well behaved accountants’ Bic fine point.

The very watery nature that is integral with fountain ink allows me to dab it while still wet and stamp ambient marks and smear the ink to get swaths and hazes that expand the vocabulary of the tool’s signature.


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