Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 7 (The End): De Atramentis Johannes Brahms

Today's ink is another beautiful De Atramentis ink, named after the famous composer Johannes Brahms.  Many ink manufacturers make inks named after famous people, and most of the time it's not clear (to me at least) what the relationship is between the person and the color.  That holds true for this ink as well.  What relationship is there between Brahms, who composed at the height of the Romantic period, and this reddish/salmonish/melonish colored ink?  Who knows?  However, it's a great color of ink and (like most of the De Atramentis inks) fantastically well-behaved, even if I can't exactly decide what that color is.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

One sad note -- this ink appears to be gone from the market now.  Not available from Goulet Pens, certainly -- I must have bought it as a closeout -- and not even listed on the De Atramentis website.  Oh well.  I will enjoy my sample until it is gone, I suppose.

So I was thinking about Brahms, and his music, in connection with this ink.  I am not familiar with very much of Brahms' work, but two of his works -- the German Requiem and his Symphony Number 1 -- are among my all-time favorite pieces of music.  The fourth movement of his German Requiem, "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place," is especially fine.  If you have never heard it, you are missing one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.  So, thanks to the magic of YouTube, I would like to share this with you.

Here we are at the end of the Week of Ink, and I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have.  During this week, I have learned a few valuable things:
1. Always take the plunge and order the bottle of an ink that you like, because there's no guarantee that ink will be available forever.
2. I really like using a different color every day, or at least much more frequently than I am used to.  And it takes just a couple of minutes to flush a pen and switch out inks.  It's not that hard, if you have the right tools.
3. I like using colors, period.  This little experiment has made me much more comfortable using all kinds of colors of ink.  If you are one of my penfriends, there's no telling what color you will see from me in my next letter!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 6: De Atramentis Magic Druid

Today, a very interesting ink.  "Magic Druid" appears to be part of a "Myth and Magic" series that De Atramentis produced a couple of years back.  These inks are no longer available at Goulet Pens, where I got my sample, but a quick Internet search turns up some bottles still available out there.  However, this is one of the most important lessons I have learned from my Week of Ink -- if you like an ink, you should buy a bottle of it as soon as possible, because most inks eventually go off the market, or get their formulations changed, etc.  So when it comes to ink, carpe diem!

This ink is nice, but really too light for me.  Plus the scent is a little off -- the ink is probably supposed to smell like a deep, dark pine forest where druids are holding their mysterious rituals and doing all kinds of magical deeds.  Unfortunately, the ink scent reminds me of Pine-Sol.  Pleasant, to be sure, but not mysterious and magical.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 5: Private Reserve Foam Green

So by now we all know I like green ink.  Yep.  Probably at least a quarter to a third of the samples in my ink sample box are greens of one sort or another.  But all greens are NOT created equal!  Exhibit A: this very pretty (but way too light for me) Foam Green ink from Private Reserve.  I like Private Reserve inks a lot -- their Sherwood Green is one of my all-time favorites.  But this ink is definitely a miss for me.  Oh well -- during Ink Week there have to be some inks that don't make the cut!  (Cue dramatic music.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 4: Diamine Evergreen

I love green ink.  There.  I said it.  Even though green ink is traditionally associated with slightly unhinged people, I love it.  But it has to be the right shade of green.  I don't want an ink that looks like I smeared a bunch of leaves around on my paper.

Today's ink, Diamine Evergreen, is a perfect dark green ink -- almost a green-black, perhaps, although this photograph does not bring out those qualities.  Definitely a candidate for a bottle purchase!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 3: De Atramentis Chocolate

Either I have a lot of DeAtramentis scented inks in my ink box, or I need to go play the slot machines or something.  Calm down, we are NOT taking a trip to the casino (at least not today).  A while back I splurged on samples of just about every scented ink DeAtramentis makes (samples purchased from the supreme Goulet Pens, don't you know), and so my ink box is a little skewed in that direction.  But I don't mind!

Today we have a Chocolate ink that really does smell like chocolate.  But only in the bottle.  And even though it is a beautiful ink, it's a little too reddish for my taste.  This is definitely not milk chocolate.  In my book it would do pretty well not as a brown, but as a deep dark red.  It may be just the color for you, however!  Give a shout-out below and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 2: Lamy Turquoise

It struck me yesterday that I have been thinking about this week in my head as "Ink Week," which puts me in mind of "Shark Week."  Then I got to thinking -- there ought to be a cable channel just for pen and ink enthusiasts (why not? There's certainly a channel out there for EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE PLANET), and then we could have "Ink Week" and nobody would laugh at us.  Much.

Today -- a beautiful turquoise ink from Lamy.  One of my new favorites.  Makes me think of sun, sand, and the beach.  Mind you, I don't actually LIKE sun, sand, and the beach very much -- I just want to think about them.  And write with this ink!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Week of Ink, Day 1: De Atramentis Shiraz Wine Ink

First up in the Week of Ink: Shiraz Wine ink by DeAtramentis.  Yes, it looks like wine AND smells like wine!  A highly recommended and beautiful ink.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Week of Ink

Anyone who has been my penfriend for any length of time has likely heard me moan and groan about not being adventuresome enough with the ink colors that I use.  And this timidity is entirely my fault, since I am a member of the very excellent InkDrop service of Goulet Pens.  (I highly recommend this service -- you really should try it if you never have.)  Every month I get five fascinating fluids to put into my pens (otherwise known as "inks," but I just couldn't resist the alliteration), and yet I stick with the same boring blacks, blues, and browns.

My ink sample box.  It's a little like a hidden object game -- can you find the Pilot Varsity pen that somehow made its way into the box?

Ink-wise I am at the same stage of color maturity that I was when my wife and I were first married.  Back then I insisted on dressing almost completely in earth tones, but I assure you it wasn't in order to make a fashion statement, unless the statement was "I am a very boring individual who thinks his head will explode if he tries on a green shirt."  Luckily, my colorful wife soon took me in hand and now I am (mostly) comfortable wearing almost any color.  In fact, I was wearing yellow shorts just this morning.  Outside.  In daylight.

But I digress.  Suffice it to say that my ink color adventures lag far behind my clothing color choices.  So here's my solution.  For a week, I am going to try a new random color of ink from my box every day, using the same pen (my trusty Kaigelu M nib pen) and the same paper (Bloc Rhodia No. 16) just for consistency of experience.  I will handwrite a mini review of each ink, just for reference.  At the end of the week, I expect to have found some new favorite inks, and I will have (hopefully) become more comfortable with using some of the wealth of ink colors available to fountain pen users today.

Let's have fun with ink!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Little Experiment

I have been reading a new book on lettering, called Creative Lettering, and if you have an interest in lettering and calligraphy, you must get a copy!  It is chock full of ideas and I am enjoying it immensely.

One of the artists in the book did a piece where she lettered the alphabet onto a piece of watercolor paper using masking fluid.  Then after the masking fluid dried, she layered washes of color onto the background.  The last step is to remove the masking fluid, and you have a very striking piece of calligraphy.

I saw this and thought, hey, I can do that!  And here's the result -- not great, but good and fun for a start:

Years ago I used to paint in watercolor and really enjoyed it -- maybe this could be the start of a new venture?  I'd welcome your thoughts or ideas in the comments!

Monday, April 15, 2013

OK, How About 2 Winners?

I have not heard from Pamela K yet (oh yoo hoo, Pamela!!), so I am going to pick another winner for the giveaway.  However, Pamela may just have forgotten to check back to see if she won, so I am going to hang on to her prize and give it to her in case she shows up later (especially since it kind of doesn't exist yet...).  And in the meantime, I am going to choose another winner.  Drumroll, please!

And the second winner is... Ria!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tick Tock...

... time is fleeting.  Specifically, since I have not heard back from Pamela K (Oh Pamela, where are you!?!), I am going to put a deadline on redemption of my calligraphy giveaway prize. If you know Pamela, please alert her that time is running out!

If I don't hear from her by Monday, April 15, I will choose another winner from the list of commenters on the original post.

And maybe one day soon I'll post something else interesting for you to read!  Stranger things have been known to happen...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Calligraphy Giveaway Results

I was very gratified and flattered by all the nice comments concerning my calligraphy and the giveaway (see this post).  So, as promised, today I am picking a winner.  There were 11 total comments, so I numbered them and consulted the Magic 8 Ball Random Number Generator, and here's the result:

And that means that Pamela K is the winner!

Pamela, you have a Blogger profile but I cannot find an email address to go with it, so you will have to email me.  Congratulations, and I look forward to creating something special for you!

I really appreciate all the interest and kind comments of everyone else, however, so I have a surprise: there's a consolation prize!  Everyone is a winner!

The above is a piece that I wrote as an "all-purpose" piece of clip art that you can use on stationery, notecards, stickers -- however and wherever you would like to use it.  I personally am going to start with using it on stationery:

I am not quite sure how to make this freely available, however.  If you click and try to save the above image, it will not be quite as high resolution as the original (but it may still be OK for your purposes).  Email me (at the link above) and I will send you the original file post-haste!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, and look for another one when the blog hits 10,000!