Last Day! Jinhao BOGO at Goulet

I needed more ink… specifically De Atramentis Document Black, and Goulet Pens has it on sale through midnight tonight.  Goulet also has this BOGO buy one-get one sale on Jinhao pens.  Buy one regular priced Jinhao that’s NOT an X750 Shimmering Sands and get a FREE X750 Shimmering Sands.  I’m usually not a sucker for these things but I looked.

OMG… they have an ORANGE pen!

Did I ever tell you how much I love orange?


Yes… all mine.

I bought the ORANGE Jinhao 159 for the grand price of $12.50 and got the sparkly Jinhao X750 Shimmering Sands for free.  The photos don’t do it justice… it’s lovely.


Here’s a visual comparison.  From the top… Pilot Metropolitan, Jinhao X750 Shimmering Sands, Jinhao 159, and Lamy Safari.


Both the Jinhao’s are quite heavy (twice as heavy?) but even with my small hands I’ve enjoyed using them for drawing.  Both come with medium nibs installed and I’ve found they’re really smooth… haven’t had one skip since I’ve inked them up… De Atramentis Document Black is waterproof and the pens have handled it well.  If you find you’d like a finer or broader nib it’s possible to exchange the nibs and put in a Goulet Nib.  Both are #6 and from what I can see are easily exchangeable.  As you can see, the #6 nib is larger than the nib on the Pilot Metropolitan. I’m going to play with these a while before I decide.


I know I’m not giving you much time to mull this over… offer ends at midnight.

Just thought you ought to know.

Photo Friday – 31 July, 2015

Tradescantia virginiana.  Isn’t that a mouthful!


They just hang out in the back border just doing they’re thing for months… only a few are still putting out blossoms, each bloom lasting only a day.

Their common name is Spiderwort.  I never thought it was a lovely name but I guess it’s apropos……


Who’s there?

Tradescantia-4Immature Crab Spider.

Saint-Gaudens Paint-Out

I consider myself fortunate to live near to two of New England’s small jewels in the National  Park Service. Both Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site are easily within reach. Saint-Gaudens in particular is a favorite location for my plein air group on a beautiful summer day.

We met there a few weeks ago and each one of us, although close in proximity, chose to sketch and paint a different view. I chose to sketch the Hermes sculpture standing along the edge of the garden, a particularly suitable spot for the god of transitions and boundaries.

As I started in I realized he wouldn’t fit on the page and I abandoned this page only to return to add the blooms and frame out what I had captured of dear Hermes.

Saint-GaudensNHS-1I fared better in my second attempt. Not only did he fit easily on the page, but I managed to capture his surroundings as well. By the end of this session I was quite hot from sitting in the sun, perfect timing to stop and see what my compatriots accomplished. Besides, it was time for lunch and I knew they would be off in search of nourishment.


I got all the way back to my car before I remembered I hadn’t stamped the S-G National Park stamp in my journal. It’s become habit and I certainly didn’t want to break my streak. So… back I went. But the stamp wouldn’t easily fit on my previous pages and… I was getting a second-wind. After my landscape outing at VINS I was eager to try my paint only technique at capturing Ascutney Mountain.

Saint-GaudensNHS-3I’m quite happy with the range of values… getting my darks dark enough has always been a weakness.

But… still no place for the stamp! …just had to add another page to my day.

Saint-Gaudens7Saint-GaudensNHS-5Now there’s plenty of room for journaling and those coveted stamps.

Success… time to head home!

Ottauquechee River Touch-Up

Just over a week ago I was able to spend a fabulous day sketching with 2 friends I found through Sketchbook Skool. We met at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to sketch together and catch up on all our various travels, classes and workshops.

We enjoyed the raptor visitor program and toyed with the idea of sketching the eagles but instead, we settled on painting the lovely view of the Ottauquechee River just a short walk from the main exhibit area. Landscapes have never been my forte so I jumped at the chance to practice, especially in the presence of my friends who are both more comfortable and more proficient at capturing the terrain.

Having decided against using my trusty fountain pen, I loosely and lightly sketched the rough outline of the marsh before pulling out one of my travel watercolor brushes.  Sorry, I can’t remember which one; I only know I felt as if I was walking a tightrope without a net. Definitely out of my comfort zone!

1ottauquechee-preStillman & Birn Alpha 9″ x 6″, Daniel Smith Watercolors

The time just sailed by and only too soon we were saying our good-byes and scheduling our next get-together.  Once I got home and really studied my spread I saw a few flaws that I thought were “fixable” using a few of the hints I gleaned during the day.


You can see that in my zeal to capture the reflections I totally neglected to draw the mountains that were reflected!  Sheesh… what was I thinking!  The other hint was to paint in a smudgy layer of color at the base of the rushes. Two small things that made a big difference.

Is it perfect? … far from it, but I’m pleased.  I only know I have more practice time ahead of me… and with my friends encouraging me, I’ll enjoy every minute of it!


Photo Friday – 17 July, 2015

We’re in that betwixt and between season… only the daylilies are blooming here.


Catherine-Woodbury-CloseHemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’.

Hall's-Pink-CloseHemerocallis ‘Hall’s Pink’


Originally I planned to use only peach and pink daylilies but as the years pass I see other colors sneaking in.  If you look closely at the upper right you can see a yellow bloom… hmmmm… who are you?

Photo… Saturday – 11 July 2015

It’s time for Photo Friday… ooops! I mean Saturday!  Here’s part of what’s blooming in my garden today.

HappyReturnsDaylilyThis is Hemerocallis Rosy Returns… a lovey reblooming daylily that lives just outside my front stoop.  Fragrant too!daylily2I am a victim of poor record-keeping, self-inflicted of course… I think this is Hemerocallis Heidi Eidelweiss.  She’s a tall girl and looks fabulous against my dark brown house!
ParsleyI should have pulled this volunteer parsley plant when it first appeared but I have a weakness for their Queen Anne’s Lace-like blooms… shown here arching over the Hakonechloa.

So… I’m sorry I’m late but I was out and about yesterday, sketching and painting with two delightful artists… now friends… I met through Sketchbook Skool!  More on that later!

Have a great weekend!


Photo Friday – 03 July, 2015

It’s the first Friday of JULY!  Oh my… the weeks are going so fast!

Here’s my Endless Summer Hydrangea with blooms in various stages of development. I’m taking this as a sign that this’ll be a good year.  Some years it turns out to be more of an “Endless Bummer” as my friend says… she’s had horrible luck with hers.EndlessSummerHydrangea1 EndlessSummerHydrangea2 EndlessSummerHydrangea3


It bloomed better once I learned to prune back the dead stems only after the new growth had started… looks ugly ’till then but it pays off in the end.

The Astilbe are just starting to bloom too.  I have them in a range of colors but the pinks are always the first!

PinkAstilbe1 PinkAstilbe2 PinkAstilbe3

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!

Canada Geese Convention

Today I joined our plein air group at Lake Runnemede in Windsor, Vermont. The plan was to paint the expanse of waterlilies against the distant mountains… that’s Ascutney in the distance.

Don’t you love the cloud reflections in the water?

Lake Runnemede1There’s a resident family of Canada geese and after some discussion they decided to form a conga line directly across the lily pads.
Lake Runnemede3Lake Runnemede2


Freezing Time

After Monday’s post I kept thinking of why I keep my sketchbook-journal and remembered this piece of wisdom from Julia Cameron I wrote on the page where I played with my watersoluble inks.


So much of the adventure of the life we lead rushes past us in a blur. Velocity is the culprit. Velocity and pressure. A sketchbook freezes time. It is an instantaneous form of meditation focusing us on the worth of every passing moment. So often the great adventure of life lies between the lines, in how we felt at a certain time and at a certain place. This tool will help you remember and savor the passing parade.

 —Julia Cameron, Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity