I am the least musical person in the world. I cannot carry a tune. Singing voice – well, let’s just say a bit – lots of bits – better is to be desired.
I can read music. I took piano lessons. When I practiced the piano, the dog would sit at the back door and whine to be let out. When my sister practiced, he would curl up in a ball under the piano bench – if he had been a cat, doubtless he would purr along.
However, despite my own inadequacies in the music department, I really like music. When I was a child, a family friend, Boris – who fled Tsarist Russia after the October Revolution (being a prince) – was a wonderful musician. He played the balalaika and sang melancholy Russian songs. A balalaika, a song bird. Here is to music in all its forms!
This morning I did a quick sketch of a kingfisher using iron gall ink using a dip pen. As you can see, there is a bit better variability in lines than when drawing is done with a quill pen (see yesterday’s post). Both have qualities I really like – expressiveness, boldness, delicacy. As I am used to using fountain pens, a dip pen is no problem once I learned how to control the amount of ink on nib. What must be remembered is how to load the nib, and as nibs are all different, a bit of testing on scratch paper helps.
At present, I am deciding if I want to colorize this drawing – which is why for now, it is not! If I do, I want to use very dilute but vibrant colors. It is my hope that the ink will shine through the paint without my having to re-ink parts of it.
Even though I am trying to be a good patient and wear my splints all the time, it just isn’t possible. I am still limping around, too, so I am not doing much hiking as my knee still hurts from the fall. Rather, I am on the patio in the warm afternoon sun, away from those dangerous dogs! I had a few pictures, a bit of imagination, and some watercolor pencils. I decided to try them out in some rather different ways to learn how to better use them.
Above is a Black Phoebe. They live in the trees around here. Their feathers are darker om the head, and their faces are not quite so fat. I tried to get in line detail and then used a fine brush. Darkest blacks were from an ink brush.
Next, just a simple Japanese maple leaf, no lines, only pencil and water. I laid it on pretty thick, but it is still paler than what I would like to see.
Finally, Queen Anne’s Lace. Here I wanted to draw into negative space, so what better subject than white flowers? I used ink, and for the paler flowers in the background, I dipped my brush in water and took color off the pencil tips before painting onto the paper.