Touch up Furniture Repairs with Coloured Pencils

Posted March 28, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Creativity

Tags: , ,

We have an old maple washstand with towels bars at the side. I use it for magazines and my stereo and over the years the towel bar on the right has broken off twice.

This time when my husband repaired it, he used wood glue, wood filler, and a screw to repair it, leaving some lines and a filled hole in a cream colour. I have found that stain won’t colour this although sometimes if I mix a bit of stain into the filler beforehand, it will blend in.

For these repairs that have already been filled and dried, I decided to camouflage the lines and filled holes with coloured pencils. I used these four colours from Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils:

180 – Raw Umber
187 – Burnt Ochre
283 – Burnt Siena
177 – Walnut Brown

It did a pretty good job and you have to be close up to see the repair. In these pictures the camera flash made the hole look lighter, it’s more golden in reality and thus more camouflaged than this. I started with one colour and blended over, feathering the colour out and filling in repeatedly for the wood glue lines.


It’s certainly better than having a spot of cream-coloured filler winking at you from across the room. You can tell it has been repaired but it looks fairly normal.

After putting a non-yellowing satin urethane over the coloured repairs, I realized how badly the rest of the piece needed a coat of urethane. Another job for another day.



Mixing Waterman Tender Purple and Absolute Brown Fountain Pen Ink

Posted March 13, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Writing and Journalling

Tags: , ,

I have not been completely happy with the Absolute Brown so thought I’d try mixing it with the purple to get a rich, dark colour. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen but I like the results.

I was using a separate vial and pipettes so this wasn’t exact. I liked the 1:1 ratio. When I did more mixing I got a bit too much brown which results in an aubergine or eggplant colour. I filled my Parker 51 pen and I’ll use it up. For the next fill I have put two small spoons of purple back in; that should be just right.


This was fun but I can’t see myself doing it too often, because I like the Tender Purple as it comes from the bottle. It’s a good way to use up the brown ink though. It’s nice to have the option of mixing colours a bit to get something different without buying more ink.

Another new thing learned!

The Brain and Cursive Writing (Why Your Fountain Pen is Useful)

Posted March 13, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Health, Writing and Journalling

Tags: , , ,

I was a bit surprised when I got my vintage fountain pen cleaned up and operational in January that my cursive writing abilities seemed to have gone awry.

I could write but got confused with certain letters, how to form them or how to join them, and I had forgotten how to write some capital letters. It took me about 2 weeks to remember how to write an upper and lower case “z” in cursive because it was like the memory was there but the movement wasn’t accessible. I’ve been printing for years for clarity and since e-mail took over correspondence I rarely use my cursive writing. Big mistake.

According to these articles, not only fine motor skills but also neural pathways can atrophy (or never be built in the case of children) if you don’t use your brain for cursive writing. What a revelation!

That really spurred me on to a regular practice of cursive writing. My writing has gradually improved as the memory of the movements came back but I still find I have to slow down on some words to make sure I’m joining the letters properly. I sometimes find it hard to remember to do the third loop on cursive “m” because of course in typing it only has two loops. The join between lower case “b” and other letters sometimes is hard for me to remember. I still can’t believe it, can’t believe something that was once automatic has to be thought about so carefully to get it right.

Cursive writing with a fountain pen is so enjoyable though, amazing how it makes a difference. I am enjoying using the new Rohrer and Klingner Alt-Goldgrün ink I bought for the Pilot Metropolitan pen. Even with a fine nib like that it shades very prettily.

I bought a nice new journal, another one from Peter Pauper Press but slightly larger than my other one.


New Ink and Fountain Pen Order

Posted March 7, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Writing and Journalling

Tags: , ,

I was disappointed that the Waterman Absolute Brown didn’t look the way I wanted it to when I applied water for washes; it was too pink. I’ve been looking for a green water soluble ink for my Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen and finally found one colour I loved by Rohrer & Klingner called Alt-Goldgrün (Old Golden Green.) I’ve been looking for a green ink for years and this one is very different than the usual greens from other manufacturers.

I’ll be using it to write with in a journal but I saw someone online using it in a flower painting and it looked good so you never know, I might be able to use it in sketches and wash it with water.

Since I was going to pay $8 shipping anyway to get this from a specialty store (Wonder Pens), I decided to buy some waterproof ink and a specific pen to use it in. I don’t want to switch between soluble and non-soluble ink in my pens. I’ve been dithering about this forever but feel good to have made a decision.

Unfortunately the converter (to fill the pen from bottled ink) has to be bought separately which is another expense but I wanted to try this and my Dad sent me some money recently, so it’s a small treat.


I know, I know, I caved and joined the trending hipsters.

I like the look of the grey ink instead of black for pen work. I find black a bit too harsh. Here’s hoping this will work out…

(Update: and it did–great Lamy pen and Noodler’s ink, works well with watercolours and the green is superb for writing, flows well.)

Cut Your Own Zentangle Cards

Posted March 6, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Artwork, Books, Creativity

Tags: , , ,

My arms have been bothering me for weeks with tendinitis and shoulder pain. So I’ve been pulling back to making small things.

On my sketching blog I hauled out some zentangle books because the human bone and muscle I was drawing seemed to suggest patterns. I enjoyed that so much that I thought I’d try to work in pieces of art and pattern.

I bought three additional books. They aren’t expensive and I suppose I didn’t really need more than one but the creative inspiration appealed to me. I’ve had an idea for a large watercolour with a galah bird and beetles for years and this might work in there.

The book The Beauty of Zentangle is an attractive book and shows many examples of the method applied to regular art. Doing squares never appealed to me but this does.


Two weeks later I was speaking to someone about mandalas and meditative aspects of zentangle work in the round and bought these two. They are to augment my other three books on mandalas. Zen Mandalas is more of the same but she has some interesting things on colour and design.


I thought this one was quite different as it encourages drawing things like cats and using a theme with that and adding mice and fish, whatever you feel goes there. It’s more about drawing themes and symmetrical composition, with examples of spreading out into borders and various colourations.


Zen Doodling Mandalas leaves all the baggage of “certified” teachers and “correct” or proprietary patterns and official die cut shapes, bought from official teachers, and the constraints inherent in such systems of correctness, and encourages you to create your own patterns and drawings. It also has more pages, 128 rather than about 50 found in the official zentangle books, and costs about the same.

The circular die cut cards for these are small and cost (including shipping) something around $40 to $50 depending on what set you buy. Some of them are pre-printed with linear strings to fill in. Not terribly inspiring for me at least, and only 21 cards.

I’ve been trying circles on different paper. The official zentangle cardstock is Fabriano Tiepolo which is 100% cotton printmaking paper, weighing about 140 lb or 290 gsm. If I buy a sheet I could potentially cut 20 to 30 circles for 1/4 to 1/2 the price depending on the paper.

I can’t buy that paper in Canada so I’m trying:

Strathmore 300 Bristol 100 lb / 270 gsm
Arches Hot Press watercolour paper – 140 lb / 300 gsm
Rives BFK Printmaking – too light, think I have the lighter 65 lb / 175 gsm.

I could try a heavier Rives BFK or a Somerset printmaking paper which is $6 a sheet. Or I could buy a sheet of Arches 260 lb hot press paper which is $15 but yields a versatile paper for more projects. I tend to like heavier paper. As long as I can cut circles with a pair of scissors it’s not too heavy. I have already made a template and if you cut carefully the shape is actually neater than the die cut examples I’ve seen.

Buying a sheet allows me room to also cut larger dimensions for larger pictures. I’ll have to get down to Curry’s at some point so I can feel the paper. The grams per square inch (gsm) conversion with Imperial paper weight in lbs is a bit tricky and depends on the paper, which is why anything that isn’t 140 lb watercolour paper needs to be felt by the hand.

I needed to pick up a few odd sheets of Canson Mi-Teintes for experimenting with gouache, so I’ll add a sheet of art paper too. Sometime in the next couple of weeks.

My paper tests (click to enlarge):


Rather surprisingly, the Rives performed much better. The Arches paper is the natural not the bright white paper so the colour was softer. It did fine with the Micron pens, but the Rives did better with both. It does have a bit more tooth but not as much as cold press watercolour paper.

The Micron pens did not work well with the Bristol because they took much longer to dry and thus smeared. The colour was more subdued. For coloured pencil it would probably be fine but not with ink or watercolour.

If I can get the printmaking paper in a heavier weight I’ll get that. Actually I might get two types, the Somerset and the Rives in different weights. It’s handy to have extra paper and I’ve never tried the Somerset before, it has a satin or textured finish, so I need to see it.



Rue and Strider Shop for Shoes

Posted February 16, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Dolls

Tags: , , , , ,

After several years of lying undressed and shoeless, Strider has insisted that he get some shoes. Rue volunteered to help as she is stylish and due to owning her own boutique, knows several local shoe store owners.


After some consideration in various shops, they are buying these shoes. Strider likes a nice boot.


Hey Strider, Rue is all dressed up, maybe you could lose the casual look? There’s sporty and then there’s menswear letdown.

Sigh. You can’t tell these independent guys a thing.



Fountain Pen Ink and Water Test

Posted February 15, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Artwork

Tags: , , , , ,

This is my weekly sketch from my other blog. I got fed up with perspective and angles and traced the house. The dog wasn’t traced but because of the way I outlined it, it looks like it.

The Pilot Metropolitan pen is fantastic, I love it. I love the Waterman brown ink too. The mistake I made was in wetting the ink it for shading. It is too small a picture and ended up looking muddy and blobby. I also found that sometimes I got a brownish wash and sometimes a pink wash which wasn’t what I wanted.


I forgot to take a picture of the ink alone, the dog was better like that with just the red ball in its mouth. Although I did like the wash under the ears and top lip, I went on and ruined it by working the other ink. I also needed to have some variation in line for the outline so it doesn’t look as regular as it does.

The house is just a mess. I think leaving the pen and ink drawing and applying some tinting with coloured pencils would work better.

If you’re doing huge, splashy leaves or something similar, washing the ink would work better. I enjoyed the inking though, and will try more of it without water. It’s challenging to find a way to shade with ink. Cross-hatching works well on dark areas, but I need to practice some other linework to see how it shades.

Time to haul out the books Line and Wash by Wendy Jelbert, and the super comprehensive classic Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill.




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