Pewter Inkwell, or Distortion in the Morning

This morning I was feeling restless and unfocused while I was drinking my morning coffee.  I wanted to do something, but have felt all scrambled this week, partly because routines have changed in the later part of the day and are rather disruptive of the normal routines.  So, something mindless.  Then I saw my ca. 1810 pewter inkwell with its ceramic insert.  The decision was to draw it using the dip pen sitting nearby.  Well, grogginess and a general inability to draw circles are the result – ovals are even harder – and perspective?  Well, the results speak for themselves!

Retrospective

I was rummaging through the files on my desk, and came across a collection of sumi-e ink, ink and color, and watercolor or acrylic paintings I did a long time ago.  Some of these are “aceo” size, which measure 2×3.5 inches, and others are other papers.  I used to sell these on Ebay, too.  Maybe I need to go through and scan some more – it’s like tea and madeleines – memories and reminders.

Bee & Borage – First Colors

I did this first layer of colors in the gloom of the evening, after work.  I was tired but had played out some of the painting earlier in the day in between whatever I was doing.  I used a small brush and deliberately tried – and will continue to try – a delicate approach.  Both the bee and the borage have a lot of fine hairs which I want to express and preserve.  Looking at the scan shows a need for contrast in the center of the flower, along with on the bee’s back, behind the eyes.  In these areas, I will be working on glazes to create better contrast, and I hope a better sense of depth.  As it stands now, the whole painting is rather flat and nondimensional to my eye.

 

Bee & Borage – The Sketch

I am trying to do something everyday when it comes to drawing or painting. Some days only allow for morning time, and that is when I did this drawing of a bee in a borage plant. Today, I used a dip pen, my ca. 1810 pewter ink well, and iron gall ink. I have never drawn a bee before, and using a dip pen and focusing on the shapes, rather than what I think I see (thank you, Sharon, for that great advice!), produced fairly decent results. I’m rather afraid to draw anything that requires a bit of realism as I really doubt my abilities to do this. Practice is needed here!

Borage is a lovely plant, covered in fur, with beautiful blue flowers. If I recall, it is an invasive plant, and one best kept contained in a pot. I had some in my dog free zone (DFZ) this summer amongst the lilies.

As an aside, I’m getting used to using a dip pen, which is really a rather nice skill to have as I don’t have the big blobs I used to get; I know when to refill the well and dilute the ink with water. Something we don’t think about in this day and age of non-dip pens.