Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Can’t get around much anymore

Life is much better when I am engaged in several ongoing projects simultaneously, each of different nature.  I find the ensuing clutter and busyness of the studio invigorating and conducive to work.  Unfortunately clutter has tendency to get out of hand, behaving almost biologically by asexually reproducing itself, and if unchecked, this eventually leads to stasis and inertia on my part. 

I am currently working on 3 commissions, 2 works on canvas and panels, and one watercolor, plus the Paducah Portfolio, and this is readily reflected in the state of the studio. 

The canvas is 36x48” and easily handled by one of my easels.  The panel is a  heavy 45x60” and requires a temporary easel easily configured with an A-frame ladder.  The downside to all of this is that the studio is a maze, and I can no longer go from point A to point B without wandering through points C and D.  I’ve been doing a lot of bobbing and weaving lately as I move about the work place.

 The flat surface seen to the left of the ladder is where I worked on the watercolor which is now finished.

Using the mobile carts to hold the different supplies and brushes makes it easier to move about when things get this crowded.

I enjoy doing commissions; because I know when I’m finished I won’t have to worry about finding a place to show them in the gallery.

Friday, September 6, 2013


I have had a long-standing fascination with the fountain pen.  When I first began to experience those teasing thoughts about art replacing medicine a Parker 45 pen was my constant companion, plying its trade in both my sketchbook and my journal.  Over the years I have acquired a modest collection of pens; with the exception of those gifted to me by my dear wife, each of my pens have cost less then $100.00.  I say this because serious collectors will pay thousands of dollars for a pen.  Currently I have about two-dozen working fountain pens.

Parker 45
I recently logged on to eBay to see what was available under “writing instruments”, and was amazed at the selection of pens available.  What really caught my eye was a fountain pen from China for $8.00 with no shipping charges.  My experience with pens has taught me that an $8.00 pen will probably provide $8.00 worth of performance, but I was intrigued, and was willing to pay $8.00 to satisfy my curiosity.  I placed the order (it was a “Buy It Now” offer) and about a week later my Hero arrived, Hero being the name of the pen.


It was small, very light, and had a fine nib that produced an even, crisp line.  I was surprised and delighted with my $8.00 treasure.  But the joy was short lived; about 2 weeks later I dropped the pen and damaged the nib beyond repair.  To ease my grief I returned to eBay and ordered another pen from China, this one for $12.00, with no shipping costs.  And once again I was the owner of a wonderful writing instrument with the brand name, Hu.

Mr. Hu

You can probably guess what comes next.  I’m back on eBay looking to make another China connection, and feeling a little flushed, I spend $39.00 for a very elegant looking Janhaio that writes like a jewel. 


I am now thinking very highly of myself, and am allowed to do so for a few weeks before the fountain pen gods intervene to take me down a few pegs.  Writing in my journal with my new best pen, the dreaded fear of all who write with fountain pens, especially pens under $100.00, becomes a reality as the Janhaio suddenly deposits a blob of ink on the paper.  I quickly continue writing on a piece of test paper and find that the ink leak occurs only after I’ve bee writing for several minutes, and then it writes normally until it happens again.  And thus we arrive at the title of this narrative.

Being a tiger, I am, at times, fearless and willing to face certain risks to pursue the work I am called to do on my own terms.   I have chosen to use the Janhaio in my journal, judging the safe time I have, and stopping before the leak occurs.  This challenge adds an entirely new dimension to journal writing.