In spite of my absolute comfort drawing in the dark with a dip pen, I am petrified of using either of my two ink brush pens.

Trumpet Parts Number 19

I have owned two ink brush pens for over a year.  I bring them everywhere with me.  Today is the first day I put the tip of one to paper.  I uncapped the Pentel Brush pen outfitted with one of the black ink cartridges that came with it.  My intention was to use up the cartridges and refill them with some of my beautiful colored inks I receive each month through the Goulet Pen Ink Drop program.  However, though I had them with me all the time, I was afraid to use them.  My other ink brush pen is a Kuretake pen, also outfitted with a black ink cartridge that came with it. The tips are beautiful, promising controlled response to variations of pressure and light-handedness.

At one point, about forty years ago, brush and ink was my favorite media.  After several extraordinary figure drawings using brush and ink, I became over confident.  The next twenty or thirty drawings were disasters…. and so I gave up …. until today.  Odd, considering that I often use brush and watercolor with the same flowing line technique I used with ink.  The fourteen paintings hanging in the Bone and Joint Wing of the new St. Luke’s Hospital are all done in simple line with brush and watercolor.  Funny, and sad, how fear of failure stopped me from enjoying a media I once loved.  I’m ready to fall in love again.  These two pens are so handy, so portable and feel wonderful in my hand.

I am still petrified, but I will persist.

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I imagine that people with photographic memories have mental scrapbooks that are constantly recording entries and that in a short time the individual has an enormous library of shelved, yet accessible volumes.  I, on the other hand, have only one mental scrapbook.

Codington Woods, New Jersey

Somewhere inside my head I have both a black chalkboard and a scrapbook.  I use the chalkboard when asked to spell a word.  I write it out, then read the letters aloud.  Poof…. the word is erased.  I use the chalkboard to write lists that also are immediately erased after re-reading.  I use it to work out perspective, three dimensional images and compositions.  The chalkboard is something I use with intention.  The scrapbook, however, is out of my control.  The entries are made rarely and without my guidance.

The scrapbook began when I was young, perhaps around the age of five.  The first few entries were houses with towers or fascinating roof shapes.  The images from the scrapbook flash into my mind at odd times over the years, perhaps triggered by a smell, a sound, a feeling in the air.  A few of the other entries are:

Rusty pipes against an old brick wall, lit strongly by sunlight.

A dead tree against a strong blue sky on the trail to the base of the Grand and Middle Tetons.

Small yellow butterflies surrounding a large tree in Yosemite.

A thin, elderly man in pajamas and robe smoking a cigarette at the Veterans Hospital.

The pine forest at Watchung Reservation in 1969.

There are less than a hundred entries in this selective, mental scrapbook.  The latest entry is the berries and tree limbs against the blue sky at Codington Woods last Thursday.

Though I rarely work from photographs, I chose to get this image onto paper in more detail than I could by simply viewing my mental scrapbook.  I’m thinking it might be of interest for me to attempt expressing some of the other entries.  The idea of getting those images on paper is a bit frightening to me.  They have been with me for so long and I worry that I won’t do them justice.  I don’t have photographs to use for reference as I did for the trees at Codington Woods.

I’m curious …… Are mental scrapbooks and chalkboards common?  I assumed everyone has them.

Drawing: Drawn first with Waterman Phileas fountain pen filled with black ink, followed by watercolor.

Dave installed the conversion unit on our oil tank and turned the burner on yesterday at 3 pm.  We have heat!

New Furnace, ink and marker drawing

Dave surprised us yesterday by squeezing us into his busy schedule.  He installed the oil tank conversion unit, turned the burner on and left us with a burner purring in the basement as well as a small jar of Leak Lock to fix the two small water leaks in the copper piping.  Not only do we have a more efficient oil burner, we have a quiet house.  Ever since we had the tank removed from the backyard and a Roth double wall tank installed in the garage, we have endured the outrageously loud noise of the tank pumping oil to the burner.  We were told it was the pipes vibrating and all we needed to do was clamp them tighter to the wall.  Not true.  We hoped, if we had to sell our house, it would be during the summer months so that the buyers wouldn’t think they were buying a house next to a train track.  (I love the sound of trains and much prefer living next to a train track than listening to the oil being pumped into my basement.)  The conversion unit solved both the problem of the oil line filling with air and not sending oil to the burner as well as eliminating the horrid sound!  Thank you Dave!

Sketch: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Whalerman Sepia ink followed by two values of Ciao Copic Markers

While collecting paper scraps for painting tomorrow night at a Blues Jam in New York City I found this energetic little drawing.  It was just what I needed to raise my spirits.

Three Dancers, pen and ink line drawing

During one of my sort and trash moods I rejected this drawing and tossed it into the box of rejected paintings that still have one side left to paint on.  I’m not sure why I discarded it.  Tonight I find it quite acceptable.  The lines are varied and work well to create an illusion of three figures interacting with one another.  Energy flows out toward the edges of the paper and pulled back in toward the waist of the central figure … then pushed out again.  There is a pulse, a shared rhythm, a moment of harmonic movement of six arms and six legs.  It makes me smile.

This little drawing may find its way back into the box of scrap paper, but not for a while.

Drawing in black ink using a dip pen with flexible nib.

One more sketchbook completed. I am a little sad.

Early spring leaves on the rosebush

This sketchbook traveled with me to Mexico, Sacramento, Portugal, Barcelona, Florida and Seattle.  It is filled with moments of being alone and moments shared with family and loved ones.  I will miss turning to the next page in this blue and black, cloth covered sketchbook.

Drawing of leaves bursting out from the branches of the rosebush outside my window.  Drawn first with my Pelikan Fountain Pen followed by a few spots of watercolor.  Some of you will recognize this branch from an earlier post last June or July when I was recuperating from hip replacement surgery.