Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday and a Pen

None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness, but we can try- Mark Twain.

Today is Cyber Monday.  I must admit that shopping in those Black Friday crowds was the last thing on my list of things to do.  So Cyber Monday is more to my taste. Cyber Monday and  Black Friday are consumerism as its finest.  
The adds in the paper were three times the size of a regular paper on Friday and my inbox is full of Monday deals.  Everyone has a special deal to draw you into their store or web site.  I think advertisers make half their money for a year on these two campaigns!  I know retailers make half their money at Christmas.  Is anyone immune?  Do we really need all this stuff?  The struggle is real!! 

If you came to my studio you would see consumerism in real life.  I have oils & canvas, pastels & papers, watercolors & every type of watercolor paper, many easels, many different kinds of palettes, every drawing tool known to man and a plethora of brushes, which seem to be a particular weakness.  And pens.  Ah, the pens. 
Artists all have their favorite tools.  Brushes, paints, easels, pencils, and pens...Who doesn't have and use a pen? What a fantastic tool!  You glide the point over pristine white paper and ink flows across the page, a deep black or blue, leaving a mark.  Your mark.  Marks can be made with quills, sticks or just about anything with a sharp point.  But I think the pen is my favorite tool for line work. 

And I have this pen. I bought it after taking an online class with Liz Steel at Sketchbook Skool. (google Liz-she's amazing, and so is Sketchbook Skool) It wasn't super expensive as fountain pens go, but it was an extravagance.  Sometimes those pay off.  Often I waste good money on a tool that I didn't need.  (again, come into my studio) Or I find that the cheaper version I already owned works just as well.  Who hasn't bought a new tool under the delusion that it will greatly enhance their art?  I know I have!  (again, the evidence is in the studio!) 

But this pen. Oh, this pen.  I love this pen.  I even like the name.  The Lamy Safari.  When it came in the mail, it was tested by someone who left me a note that ended with "write on!".  How perfect. At first I filled it with the waterproof ink I used with my dip pens. It worked for a short time, start skipping and then the ink would stop flowing. I did some reading, found it might be the ink so I bought some other waterproof  ink (I use it with watercolor, so it must be waterproof) and found it did the same.  I cleaned the pen after each failed attempt with a new ink and saw chunks of dried ink flush from the nib.  I did some more research and learned that inks containing pigment or shellacs should not be use with fountain pens.  There are special inks for the fountain pen. Well of course there are special inks for fountain pens!  A special pen must need special ink!  We learn something new every day.  Frustrated and feeling like I had wasted my money again, I bought some ink from the company where I bought the pen. (now we are into this pen for about $45 between the pen and different inks!!)  And wonder of wonders.  My pen worked.  And kept working.  And that special pen still works today.  Like a dream.

Using a fountain pen takes writing and drawing to a new level.  Why?  I don't really know.  My other waterproof art pens work very well.  But a fountain pen just feels different. Maybe it's knowing that fountain pens have been used for eons, so there's a connection to history there.  Yes, that's it.  Or maybe it's the novelty of using a kind of pen that most have given up in favor of the common throw away ballpoint pen.  I think that's it.  Or, maybe it's the line it makes.  I think it feels different to make a line with this pen.  It's more sensitive and so seem the lines I make with it.  That's definitely it! Maybe it's how it feels in my hand.  The weight of it...I don't know what it is.  But I just feel good when I use it.  Hey, maybe that's it?  I "feel" something when I use it!!

All I know is that whenever I use this pen, I feel like I'm with a friend.  It seems to make special marks.  It seems to make MY marks special. I use it for my best line work and for the mundane list.  I makes the ordinary, not so ordinary. And anything that makes that big a mark on someone (tee-hee) is worth every penny!

While cruising the internet for pre cyber Monday purchases for Christmas I happened to wander over to the Lamy site. These pens also come with a superfine nib. And who doesn't need a superfine nib?  I'm pretty sure I do and I'm also sure it will make my marks even more fun and creative!  And they have some super new colors like Copperorange and Neon Coral.  It helps anything you draw or write to be drawn or written with a pen in Neon Coral, right?? Happy Cyber Monday to me??  Write on!!   


  1. I love my fountain pen, too. It's extra special as the pen was a gift from my husband. I haven't used it for Art as yet, but my journal wouldn't be the same without it!
    Enjoy every stroke of your pen. It becomes part of you, I'm certain.

  2. Michelle, I have never tried serious sketching with a fountain pen. But I will do now. Thanks for your blog; I get a great deal of enjoyment and information from it.