Vegetables and Experiments

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Still having fun drawing the produce of the local farmers markets.  This last couple of weeks has seen the addition of Bok Choy and I just finished the Cumquats yesterday.  I have been snuggling down on the coach with my heater and little Hannah as company as the rain comes bucketing down outside.  You can tell she is working hard and clearly having a bad hair day.


Hannah supervising the writing of the post

Experiment 1

I have been experimenting with different waterproof inks for my Lamy safari pen.  I had been using Noodlers black ink, but it isn’t as waterproof as I would like.  These two drawings were done with Platinum Carbon Black.  I did notice an improvement with this ink, it is smoother in the pen and is much more waterproof.  The down side is that it does have carbon particles in the ink and they might block up my pen, (though it hasn’t done so in the  three weeks it has been in there and I haven’t used it every day, I don’t want to mess up my new pen).  I have just ordered some De Atrementis black archive ink which is also supposed to be good so I will see how that goes.


Cumquats Ink and water-colour pencils


Experiment 2

I have also been playing around with gessoed boards to try to find some different ways to present this work.  I love working on paper, but I am not as happy with framing and putting the work behind glass. I would like to find a way to present the work similar to how oil paintings are with thick sides that can be hung on the wall.

When I did the  pieced patterns, I covered them with a varnish that had UV filters.  I am conscious of the fact that some colour pencil colours are not as light-fast as needed and that water-colour pencils are worse.  These UV filter coatings are getting very sophisticated so I am confident that the combination of varnishes from Golden will give me the dust and UV protection I will need.  I used Golden Gel Topcoat w/UVLS which I brushed on and Golden Archival varnish with UVLS which is a spray.  I used a combination of Gloss and Matt as the gloss gives a stronger finish and the matt top coat stops it being too shiny.

There is no doubt that these varnishes change the way the work looks and gives it a slight plastic finish and I haven’t decided if I can live with that yet.  I will take some photos of the process as I go along with these different experiments and of course share the outcomes with you.




16 responses to “Vegetables and Experiments

  1. OH! I love your bok choy and cumquats! really masterful drawings. I like reading about the materials that you using too. I struggle with some of the same issues that you are writing about.

    I’m thinking about trying my hand at egg tempura. You might think about this medium. Non-fading, good to use on thicker panels.

    • Thanks Paula. I have often thought about tempura, I like the look of it and its history is amazing. I would be interested to see how you go with it if you decide to use it. So many art materials, so little time!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiments with us. I find it opens my mind to possibilities, things I had never thought of. I do like to experiment, but it can be a little daunting as most new things need a lot of practice. I lack patience when it comes to branching out! Hannah looks a little love.

    • It is so much fun to hear about how and why people make choices in their art. It is a bit daunting but I get bored quickly once the main challenge goes out of something so I am always looking for new things to try.

  3. Hey Karen, you are experimenting with inks already!

    I have used the Noodler’s Lexington Gray with watercolour, and it seems waterproof. I have a feeling it might be the paper you are using. The Noodler’s has to bond with the paper, so perhaps certain kinds of paper don’t work with it? I am using a sketchbook with 110 lb which is about 180 gsm or more (a guess since it’s impossible to know unless the manufacturer says in gsm.) It feels a bit like HP paper, rather smooth.

    I absolutely LOVE your Bok Choy.

    • Hi JJ, I bought a sample pack of waterproof inks from Goulet pens to try some out. A bit disappointing as they were mostly Noodler, but working my way through them. I just love trying out new art supplies. For some its shoes, me definitely art supplies. I have used a cold pressed 180g watercolour/ etching paper which works ok, but still bleeds into the pale colours even days later with Noodlers. I just have the black not the bullet proof type which may be the problem. Glad you liked the veges

  4. Oh for sure, it IS because you didn’t get the bulletproof type. Many sketchers use the Bulletproof Black and the Lexington Gray and they both work well as long as you let them dry for 5 minutes or so before splodging watercolours on.

    If you look at my sketchy blog you can see pictures where I’ve used the Lamy Safari with the Noodler’s grey and watercolour in Weeks 11, 13, 14, 18. Because it’s grey, the watercolour tones it down which is a look I like.

  5. Yes, love the Bok Choy!!! Love all your work…love your style! Funny, I have been absolutely in love with my Lamy safari…fine nib…not extra fine, and noodlers ink…., it just says Black, I guess it says Bulletproof in very small print…bulletproof on cellulose paper….water based ink, always ph neutral…..but I have not any issues with it running when using watercolor…maybe I am just lucky….and haven’t used a problem paper yet.

  6. Your bok choy has such a presence! Just lovely. I was afraid to put waterproof ink into my Lamy safari, thinking that if it dried at all it would be impossible to clean out, but maybe I will give the bulletproof a go. When I bought it, I hadn’t realised that the standard Lamy inks are water soluble, but there are times when a little controlled bleed is nice, but not all the time. I will look forward to more of your experiments!

    • Anna, I will send you some samples of ink you can try and then see which ones you like, I have loads. I haven’t had any problems with leaving the waterproof inks in the pens. I watched some great YouTube clips from Goulet pens called fountain pens 101 which gave great tips on using and cleaning fountain pens.

  7. Lovely pieces and how interesting about your experiments. It is a pain to frame under glass isn’t it. But the plastic-y look – hmm – you’ll know one way or another what looks better to you. If only we could show our pencil work straight!

    • It would be great to show them straight and I understand your hesitation with the plastic varnish. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and with my more graphic style I think it might work, but I will have to see how the experiments turn out. Always fun to push the boundaries!

  8. How delightful! A painting of bok choy! Finding the beauty in the everyday. Love it.

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