Tuesday, March 06, 2012


We've had a few of these dark morning with the sun peeking between the passing grey clouds.
No sunny carpet spots for Miss Karma.
Woke up a couple of days to a dusting of snow...
...but nothing more than that--and it has been warm enough to melt a bit every day.
My Goulet's Ink Drop order arrived.
Funny--people kept asking them which inks sell the least. This month they had "Spring Cleaning" and sampled the best of the worst selling inks--LOL! They might be low selling because people just don't know about them. They look pretty enough in the vials against the window. We'll see. I have no empty pens at the moment, so I'll have to wait to test these.
The cat grass collapsed.
I decided instead of pulling it all out that I would just cut it right off and see if at least part of it might make a comeback. ;)
I get Cathy (Kate) Johnson's e-newsletters. [She a watercolor/sketch artist and teacher. I owned two of her books before I ever ran across her online.] Saw she was having a free class sponsored by Strathmore about watercolor sketching. Four classes held over the month of March--I believe about once a week.
The funny thing was that, as I read the supplies needed for class, I realized that I already had both the Strathmore Visual journals waiting in my cart at Dick Blick for my check to arrive in March. (I have orders this month from Amazon and Dick Blick arriving in several separate packages that I'll show you when they get here!)
Since I don't have the Visual Journal yet, I got out my old Moleskine watercolor journal and started with my first class assignments. Practicing washes (flat and graded).
Variegated washes with scraping practice.
The next part was to use a water soluble pen to make some quick sketches and then blend with water. Well, I have all these fountain pens filled with various inks but had no clue as to which of them were water soluble. I figured many probably were because that is usually the case with FP ink, but I wanted to find out.
First I took all the pens filled with ink where I actually own the bottles. I wrote down the brand and color and then immediately swiped it with a wet brush (water).
Next page--wrote them all down again and gave them several minutes to dry and swiped them again.
The only one I have that never bled at all was the Noodler's Kung Te Cheng. The Carbon Black ink was pretty solid with only faint bleeding. Noodler's Baystate Blue and Polar Brown you could still read if you spilled coffee on them, I guess. All the rest look like perfect candidates for play. Private Reserve Chocolat took forever to dry, though, compared to the rest of them.
So then I grabbed the drawer with the FPs filled with sample inks from Ink Drop. This time I did the immediate swipe on the right, waited several minutes, and then did a swipe on the left side. Every one of them is a candidate for sketching play.
The big question now is--where to start?! LOL! Class number two will be posted on the 8th, so I had best pick a few and play a little, eh? There are still a couple more parts to the first class for me to finish after this one. :)
I had already put in my Amazon order before I was informed that Melynda's book, Just Nonsense, is now out in paperback! You can find it here. Guess I'll just have to f-o-r-c-e myself to make another Amazon order in April--ROFL! [Obviously don't need much of a push, do I? LOL!]
Let's see...Dagan and Leah won't be coming over on Wednesday nights for a while. Leah and I were chatting (via email) and she is feeling overwhelmed with catching up around home. I know they usually have commitments almost every day of the week, so I suggested they stay home and clean and organize on Wednesdays till they get a handle on things. When they get to the office (and all the etsy stuff) I can go over and help with that part. A ton of stuff got shoved here and there after Leah's mom died last year and they had to empty her house. The whole downstairs is packed! Since they are hoping to move this spring they really need to go through all of it. I wish I could be of more help. :(
Speaking of them always being busy...Leah was answering phones on PBS again on Saturday. I forgot to try to get a picture for you this time. Bad me.
Said partly sunny today, but they were just joshin' about the sunshine. ;) Near 40 and melty, though. I think Karma has had spring fever. She asked to go out four times in a row this morning. I don't know what she was smelling in the breeze or what she expected to be different each time--LOL! Silly girl. :)
Well, I shall keep puttering and taking pictures. Caroline comes tomorrow. Supposed to be colder, but then back to slowly warming again. It felt good to get out the watercolors and have a paint brush in hand. Now I'm going to hold a pen and a paintbrush...what could be better than that. ;)
Have a good one!!
"I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me."
Hermann Hesse


TexWisGirl said...

sorry you're not getting much sunshine. you are sweet to let leah get caught up at home..

Intense Guy said...

That poor grass... about all its fit for now is smoking huh?

Shucks I missed Leah on TV. I would have called and renewed my PBS memebrship with her. :)

DJan said...

Yu are very much of a self-starter, Rita. I love all those blurred pen scratching, finding out which ones will be the best for the next iteration. So cool! I learn so much when I see what you are doing. Your pictures are always instructive. Give Karma a nice pet for me...

Karen Smithey said...

Oh, don't you just love Dick Blick and Amazon packages?!? Especially probably the art supplies...

You'll like the Visual Journals. The covers are nice--very sturdy and plain, with no writing all over them. And the paper is wonderful.

I love your ink tests! It looks like you have a LARGE supply of ink! I always think it's so great when what is usually a negative trait (such as smeary ink) becomes a positive trait! I suppose there is a life lesson in there--nothing is all bad or all good...

I'm going to do the Strathmore classes, too. I just finished the Traci Bautista one. She was at Art and Soul the one time I went, and the journals that her students painted and bound were amazing! I didn't take that class, though.

Thanks so much for your kind comments at my blog! And yes, the photos I get from my iPhone are truly amazing. It's exactly what I imagined cell phone cameras would be, when they first came out! And this phone is so easy to use--love my iPhone.

Time to go pick Jenny up from play practice--

Anonymous said...

Rita, I envy you to your commitment to your art projects. I guess I need go get some get up and go and go get my knitting bag out and start knitting again.

Take care; I hope you get some rest tonight.

Anonymous said...

I signed up for those classes too but haven't felt good enough to work on them yet. My friend Sue Cole told me about them. I've had a really rough couple of days. We are having a blizzard with tons of snow. The snowflakes are so huge. They are at least the size of a nickle or that is how they appear to me. It is actually warmer outside (about 20 degrees above) but I think the changes in weather are what cause my fibro to flare up. I have been having horrible pains in my legs, hands and shoulders and can't even concentrate on anything. Tomorrow I'll probably have to cancel my art class but I refuse to cancel the first class of my gardening class. I will just suffer though as best I can. I really want to learn how to make my garden turn out better this year. Well, the sunshine didn't turn up over here so it must be somewhere in between I think. Hopefully it shows up soon. It is too depressing to look at grey skies for long.

AliceKay said...

We've had a few cold days, but tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid 50s with temps on Thursday to tease 60 or so. Can hardly wait.

The inks look colorful held up to your window. I'm sure you'll work magic with them once you try them out.

The grass won't grow back after being cut. They're oats and/or wheat, I believe, and both only have one growing season. Once cut, they won't grow a second time. (there is a package coming for you in the mail, tho...i sent it yesterday) ;)

It sounds like Leah and Dagan have a lot going on. That's a great thing Leah does volunteering to raise money for PBS. :)

Have a good day tomorrow. *hugs*

Queenie Jeannie said...

Great to hear from you! You didn't mention how you were feeling/sleeping though! I hope very well!!! That's so cool that you can find all these online classes to participate in! Go you! I know you will miss seeing the "kids" for a while, but that was generous of you to tell them to wait for a while. Enjoy all your puttering!!!

Desiree said...

Absolutely love the Herman Hesse quote, Rita! Where do you find all these marvellous quotes?

You are one of the most upbeat people I know. You have an amazing ability to entertain yourself and find pleasure and joy in everything and, in addition, your enthusiasm is really quite infectious. Today, I'm sitting here wishing I had all your inks and brushes and pens. Better still, I'd love to be able to join you for a morning of fun together. You'd need to be the teacher though, because I don't have a clue how to tackle all the projects you make seem so easy.

I think just the fact that you gave Dagan and Leah the freedom to use their Wednesday evenings to get their life in order is an incredible gift of selflessness and, really, all the help they needed. So many others would have clung to that time together, selfishly, yet you are so generous that even though it means you won't see them and we all know how much you love seeing them both, you are willing to sacrifice that precious time together. That is true love and shows how very, very deeply you care. What a wonderful person you are!

Your light dusting of snow looks pretty heavy to my untrained eyes! And, I think cutting back the cat grass should work? All grass responds to a good haircut, so why should that be any different?

As always, I love visiting with you. Thank you for sharing your days and for always being such an inspiring soul.

Serena Lewis said...

I'm taking Kate's Strathmore class too. I'd mentioned it on my Facebook profile but hadn't on my blog as yet. Kate is a great teacher and so helpful.

Loved your ink tests!

Poor Leah and Dagan...it can feel quite overwhelming when things get too hectic. I'm sure she will appreciate having a few Wednesdays to organise things at home.

Enjoy the rest of your week ~

Love and hugs,
Serena xo

Toriz said...

Just don't get so wrapped up in the enjoyment of pen and paintbrush that you forget to take breaks!

Karma... Make sure you ask to go out regularly to make sure your human takes breaks, OK?

tammy vitale said...

such patience trying all that out...I'll have to check out the Strathmore class - I know I worked with them last year a lot. Signed up this year and then forgot about them. Focusing on clay...but a deviation now and then can't hurt!

Gwen said...

I had to laugh at your collapsed grass..sooo funny.
The skies are gorgeous. I love those opalescent skies, we get them a lot round here...nice inks!
Keep busy....that art course sounds fab....I have heard of Strathmore many times before in blogland:)

Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

You have such an amazingly detailed mind! I love seeing your evaluation of your inks and how meticulously you go through them all - so wish my mind was that organized!!

I'm hoping the weatherman get's it wrong down here as well. I have a (large) family get together planned for this weekend - OUTDOORS - and this morning the weatherman says we have a 50% - 60% chance of rain all weekend. I about cried :-(

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! You have been busy ~ great post with lots of info ~ good to hear you are doing watercolors and ink ~ looking forward to one of your creations ~ hugs to you and Karma ~ enjoy the day ^_^ Carol

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

Such a neat process! Oh and how cool is that about the supplies for the class ;)

I hope the cat grass will make a comeback ;)

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

oh no...nothing like freezing snowy weather with NO sun!! i'll send some your way!! but at least you have lots to keep busy with...and even if you didn't have new inks and pens to try out...you'd have karma...who could provide you with much entertainment i'm sure!
stay warm! feel good!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Booger...no sunshine...eat more chocolate...it fixes everything!!!


Have a blast with your art class sweetie!

God bless and have an incredible day!!! :o)

Desiree said...

Well even though the inks were not great sellers for them they sure d look pretty! Hope they turn out nice for you!

Hope Karma is surviving some snow blues, I know she is missing her sun bathing!

I will check out that free class, too bad I cannot get all the classes I have paid for even done. I am so bad :S But I am working on the copic one and digital journal one semi diligently.

I hope the kiddoes get moved safely and soon, I hope that works out, I know that will be a blessing for them, and you are doing enough! :D

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Looks like a lot of fun with the ink tests. The colors are so bright and vivid - just perfect for spring. Reminded me of all the pretty spring flowers that will be blooming in a month or so.

The ink tubes against the light look beautiful.

Will enjoy seeing what you create with the watercolors and inks!