The Violet Smudge

Finding my way: Back

When I discovered pen and ink my artistic output was transformed. I was 10 or 11 years old. It was instant gratification, the dip of the pen nib into the India ink bottle and a few strokes gave me instant line and form. No waiting for the work to dry, like oil painting, no color mixing, just refined line work. For those who remember it, the India ink was pure black, had a peculiar aroma, left my ring finger with an almost permanent smudge and after the ink dried it had a brittle sheen. It took little time to find out the results of ink over watercolor was exactly what I was looking for. Always on the lookout for cool new tools, I found out about the technical pens used in drafting departments. They worked fairly well, and they needed cleaning and refilling, but the lines were consistent and generally performed well. I am a meticulous artist and like my tools in tip-top shape. I heard some complaints about the pens but continued to use them for many years. Eventually Rotring improved the technical pens by adding a vacuum sealed cap and pre-filled cartridges.

I am not sure why, but this week I had a strong desire to hold an ink pen and dip it into a bottle of ink and make marks on paper. I was in the vicinity of the local art store and bought a set of nibs, 2 pens and 2 bottles of ink, violet and green. The work shown above is the first work started in the small sketchbook I purchased for this task. The color and texture were most important, the white is soft and creamy with a slightly pebbled texture.

The violet smudge is already in place…

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