Sunday, November 25, 2018

Tropical harvest

When I stayed with my friend Karen in southern California for a few days earlier this month, I was amazed that we could go out into her yard and pick all sorts of tropical fruit right off the trees that grew on the slope below her house. Every morning I had fresh grapefruit for breakfast and most afternoons we made use of the limes to mix up a yummy gin and tonic. (I needed some refreshment after all the sketching I was doing!) Here's the happy sketch I did of Karen's harvest one afternoon...

Ink & watercolor, 10" x 7" Handbook Field Watercolor Journal

I used a dip pen and DeAtramentis Document Brown ink for this sketch. It's been decades since I used a dip pen to sketch with, and I found it easy to get some nice variation in the width of my lines just by gently pressing on the nib as I drew. I was really enjoying the whole process until I inadvertently knocked over the full-to-the-brim bottle of ink, spilling half its contents in a dark brown puddle that spread under and around the fruit as I frantically grabbed paper towels and prayed that I hadn't ruined Karen's antique wooden table.

Luckily, she had had the foresight to put down brown kraft paper before we started painting (wise woman!) and the ink didn't even bleed through the paper. Whew! What a close call! I will NEVER use a dip pen again with a large open bottle of ink unless I sit it in a heavy flat-bottomed bowl to keep it from spilling.

At home I always use a set of  Dinky Dips from John Neal Bookseller for any dip pen work I'm doing (usually calligraphy). I fill them with ink, then set them in the wooden block that keeps them stable and un-spillable. Dinky Dips also come in handy for carrying small quantities of ink, masking fluid, and dish detergent in my travel sketch kit.


So take my advice and remember:
Open bottles of ink being used by a klutz...BAD
Dinky Dips...GOOD!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the scoop on these little dinky-dip tubs! I did the same thing recently...though luckily in my own studio & did have brown paper down on the table. cringe....what a mess & waste of ink :( I think these might come in handy for me, too!!

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