I brought back a couple of palm tree paper sketchbooks from Mexico for Nicole and Alexis.  They were wise to leave them unopened and to eventually give them back to me.  I haven’t found a medium yet that adheres well to the odd paper.

Trumpet Parts No. 45, India Ink

I thought India ink would stick to almost any kind of paper.  Already Sharpie markers, watercolor and fountain pen had failed miserably.

Trumpet Parts No.46, India Ink, Ciao Copic Marker, Gouache and Casein

I’ll try acrylic paint next.  Maybe that will work.  I don’t give up easily.

Sketchbook drawings: India Ink using Kuretake Ink Brush.  Bottom Image has combination India Ink, Gouache and Casein followed by a few ink lines drawn in with a fountain pen.

Fortunately, Tom allows my trumpet parts to remain on the table during dinner.  I had moved the trumpet slightly to make room for a platter.  The light was right, the angle perfect, my eye level even with the three empty valve casings.  The trumpet balanced, silhouetted against an illuminated sky.

Trumpet Parts No. 32

Eating dinner was a challenge with such a fabulous abstraction in front of me.  By the time the plates were cleared, the moment was long gone.  This morning I attempted to recreate that moment.  I’ll try again, giving more emphasis to the open valve casings. I want strong contrast between background and trumpet while still indicating form in the darks.  The value scale is critical in the drawing I see in my mind.

Drawing:  Drawn first with fountain pen followed by Ciao Copic Markers.

My tax preparation is complete , I think.  Regardless of my level of organization, important details slip through the cracks.

Trumpet Part posing with Sculpture

The freedom I expected to feel hasn’t made its presence known yet.  Fortunately, I grabbed my sketchbook rather than work on something serious.  After completing this playful sketch of a trumpet part posing with Alexis’ abstract sculpture of a figure I started a more detailed contour drawing / painting of a trumpet part.  The drawing went well enough.  The watercolor washes left a lot to be desired.  Two disasters later, I created a third version by making a collage of the first two.  I’ll post it on Creative Color tomorrow morning. (Link to Post-It’s Only Paper)

Sketchbook Drawing:  Trumpet Parts No. 28, drawn first with ink followed by Ciao Copic Markers.  I kept to a middle range value scale.

I don’t dry dishes.

Dishes in the Drainer

I draw them instead.  The Ciao Copic Markers make it so easy to indicate values quickly to test the strength of the composition.  They are portable and fun.  Combine them with a fountain pen and you can sketch quickly without worrying about drying time … ignore the pun.

Drawn first with a fountain pen filled with a mix of red and black Noodler’s Inks, followed by Copic Markers for value.

Late at night before I drop into bed I enjoy ending the day with a contour drawing.  Ciao Copic Markers are great for quickly adding values to the contour drawing.

Rotary European Style Telephone

This phone has lived beside my bed for the last sixteen years.  It was one of those things I always wanted.  Okay… I’ve had enough of it now.  For the last five years it has been a nuisance and I am now done with it.

Drawing: Drawn first with Noodler’s Flex Fountain Pen filled with a mix of green and black inks, followed by Ciao Copic Markers

Six decades ago my father fought forest fires in Idaho.

My father's boots

He and his lab partner, Merle Bunker, hitchhiked to Idaho from Indiana, stopping along the way to invest in a good pair of boots.  We found my father’s boots in the attic in Martinsville when we cleaned out the house in September.  Why did he keep these boots long after he stopped wearing them?  Why do I still have my Super Guides hanging from a nail in my own attic three decades after I stopped mountaineering and ice climbing? Hmmmmmmmm.  Maybe I should draw those, too, so that I can let go of them.

Sketch: Contour drawing drawn first with Waterman Phileas fountain pen filled with black ink followed by Ciao Copic Markers.

The pin oak tree in my backyard creates dramatic patterns, especially in the morning light.

Pin Oak and Morning LIght

I can’t put off attempting to capture some of its majesty even if it is only selecting a few of the shapes that delight me.

Sketch: Drawn first with Noodler’s Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Bad Belted Kingfisher blue ink, followed by Ciao Copic Markers

Goulet Pens has asked for feedback on the ink sample sent out this month.  Here are my test strips.

Rohrer and Klingner Ink Test Strips, January 2012

Ink Drop members where sent different sample inks this month so that we could share our experience with the colors. My ink samples are (from left to right) Cassia, Smaragdgrun, Alt Goldgrun, Morinda and Blu Mare.  The colors shown above are pretty true to hue except for the Smaragdgrun.  It is more of a turquoise green than it appears above.

I test each of my sample inks in five ways.  Using a dip pen I scribble a set of two lines, a single line, another set of two lines, skip a space and two more lines.  I immediately brush a bit of clean water across the first single line to see how it will respond to either a water wash or watercolor soon after the line is drawn.  I then dip a brush into the ink and brush it, full strength into the skipped space.  Halfway across the space I clean the brush in water, shake out the water and draw the full-strength ink across to see how it appears when diluted with water.  I let the strip dry overnight.  In the morning, using purple and yellow watercolor, I test the permanence of the ink when totally dry.  Over the bottom two lines I use a light value and a mid value copic marker to test if the ink will bleed when the marker is applied.

For my sketchbook drawings as well as the ink & watercolor paintings I do at the live Blues Jams, I use only inks that dry quickly with minimal bleed. Of the five samples, all of the inks are suitable for the next step, testing them in my sktechbook and during a live painting session.  The Blue Mare bleeds more than I would like, but the color is far to gorgeous to leave at home.

I’ll post sample sketches over the next couple of weeks.

The house is quiet.  Children have all returned safely to their homes. I sit in the blinking light of the Christmas tree, reflecting on the years gone by and dreaming of the years yet to come.

Chocolate Treats and cell phone

My replenished supply of dark chocolate bars is hidden away in one of my drawers.  Foil wrapped Godiva Gems, Hershey pieces and liquor filled chocolate bottles fill bowls scattered about the living room like animal traps capturing my willpower and keeping me from the bowl of delicious Emerald City Kale Salad in the fridge.  I stayed up too late last night drawing these bits of temptation and woke up too late to go to the gym, such a vicious cycle.  Already I look forward to tonight’s ration of dark chocolate and red wine.

Along with feeling thankful for a loving family, fabulous friends, good health and my art supplies, I am thankful for dark chocolate and a good, dry red wine.

Drawing: First drawn with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Nikita ink, followed by ciao copic markers for light, middle and dark values.

In 1956 I gave this candle to my mother as a Christmas gift.

Crayon Candle - 1956 Christmas Gift

The candle was made from melted crayons in Mrs. Morecraft’s First / Second Grade Class.  We took a month to hand dip the candles.  I found the candle, never having been burned, wrapped in tissue paper in a cupboard when we cleaned out the house in Martinsville this fall.  We lit the candle first to repair Tom’s broken wax angel that had belonged to his Great Grandmother.  It fell while decorating my Tim Burton Christmas Tree last week.  We then used the candle for our Christmas Eve Dinner centerpiece.  The awesome candlestick holder was a gift from my sister, Louise, several years ago.

Sketchbook Drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Nikita Red ink, followed by ciao copic markers to create patterns of light, middle and dark values.