Toyed with FW inks, last night:

I have a little time to write, here, but am not entirely sure of how much use I’ll be.

Yesterday, my godmother came over for a visit, so most of my waking hours were spent with her and M.  I did manage to get in some time to play with colors, but I ended up toying with the acrylic inks instead of dealing with jumping directly back into the watercolors.  (It’s probably because of the packaging, I’m not even kidding:  the FW inks kind of beg to be used in those little glass bottles.)

Taken in filtered daylight
Taken under fluorescent lighting









I have done a bit of an experiment, here, though, with the photography.  I took a bunch of pictures of my work (most of which isn’t up here, because all it is, is my practicing Japanese writing [mostly, the same sentence] in multiple colors and nib sizes), and realized today on upload that I used the wrong lighting setting.  I should have used the “Tungsten” setting instead of the “Fluorescent” setting, as the latter leaves a lot of cleanup work.  The former blues everything out, but it doesn’t leave a heavy orange cast over everything like the “Fluorescent” setting does.

Anyhow…I did the above play last night and was curious about what it would look like under daylight today, so I took a second set of photos.  Both of the photos above have had Levels adjustments applied to them in Photoshop, though surprisingly, the night photo appears a bit clearer in relation to color.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t take the daylight photo under full daylight?

In any case, these are FW acrylic inks, as mentioned above.  I started out playing with “Rowney Blue” (PB15) + “Yellow Ochre” (PBk7/PY1:1), then — if my memory is correct — expanded to “Dark Green” (PG36) plus “Brilliant Yellow” (PY3/PY83).  There is probably a definite reason to use Brilliant Yellow over Yellow Ochre, given that the former is a slightly more brilliant hue than the latter, and that I’ve read that PY1:1 is to be avoided, as it’s apparently fugitive.

But anyway, I was curious as to what would turn out if I started blending colors which were not adjacent on the color wheel.  Rowney Blue is the nearest FW ink I have to Cyan (though they do make a Process Cyan color) — that is, all the other ones are either more green, or less saturated.  What I did find interesting is how quickly the blue ink tinted to deep green on contact with the Yellow Ochre ink.  I’m not used to a yellow reacting so quickly, visibly and strongly with a blue.  My gradation in this respect is found in the marks which appear to look like a tail, in the above photos.

I also did find with these, though, that if you want a stronger green, you may have to pull in a different pigment.  This is why I started using Dark Green, as I could make some nice greens with the former colors, but they were slightly grayed out.  Dark Green added some vividness, and along with Brilliant Yellow, made some really high-key greens that are visible above the “tail” section, above.

I did find, though, that like acrylic paints, these things dry extremely quickly; and so if you want to get color bleeds like you can in watercolors, you have a very limited time frame (seconds) to do so, before the first layer sets (at top left in the photos, I was moving too slowly).

It’s surprising to me that I was able to get such nice greens out of these colors.  Usually when I think about colors like Hansa Yellow Deep, I don’t think of making excellent greens with them.  To my eye, the yellow leans towards orange; however, maybe my eye is a bit off? and orange-leaning yellows can make saturated greens.

Anyhow, got to go…


Giving myself a break

The time crunch is loosening up a bit.  I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve got some breathing room, now.  Tomorrow, I want to work with my watercolors a bit in the daytime.  I have that one abstract plaything that I never finished…

I’d like to pick this work back up again.  From July 5, 2017.

I was thinking about going off tomorrow to take a three-hour impromptu workshop on watercolor fundamentals, but realistically…well, there are other ways to get that information (and save the fee).

Also:  I just took a look at a different set of watercolor workshops, and the workshop I was thinking about attending tomorrow is relatively overpriced (about $23/hour?).  For $5 more I could get two extra hours of assistance, and not deal with being given supplies that I don’t need.  My major issue at this point is how to envision things that don’t exist, not how to copy things that do (although I’ve gotten the point that the latter may be much easier using blocks of color rather than line).

I also need to work on my use of positive and negative space.

I have a rough idea of how I want the above play to turn out, but the thing is, I could do a series of these and have them all be different.  That is, the patterning isn’t hemming me in, here.  And I can see some of the next steps, already (though granted, I saw some of the next steps a few days after reaching the point you see above).  The reason I stopped here?  I felt I might have been overworking things, and I ceased to be able to see what would come next.

Relatively speaking, the ability to “see” where to put my next mark is a bit frightening for me, but now that I have some study of creativity and the brain under my belt, I think that the issue is that I get into a “Flow” state and don’t understand it, so I tend to avoid it.  It isn’t necessarily that I’m being directed by something invisible (other than myself); it’s that I’m tapping into a brain-state that I normally don’t experience…which can lead to the explanation that I’m doing something metaphysically-based, when I may not be (or probably am not, but I’m leaving some wiggle room for the unexplained, here).

I just seem to be one of those people who enjoys using their creativity, but is always scared when embarking.  For me, in a sense, it’s like skydiving (not that I’ve skydived, but):  it may be exhilarating on the way down, but I’m scared to get on the plane and I’m scared that my parachute may not open.  Even though it’s been OK, pretty much every time so far.  And I’m not going to die if I can’t solve a creative problem during whatever time I’ve allotted myself to solve it.

My actual problem seems to be in using my creative faculties to whip up reasons not to use my creative faculties.


In other…arenas, I took a sketchbook with cheap paper (which I had been journalling within) to work, today.  I felt a little disappointed with myself when I started practicing kana with my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen instead of designing a block print, like I had intended (although I realized I again lost offhand memory of some of the kana — though I would probably recognize them if I read them)…but then I started writing a new journal entry to myself.  That book has been with me for years — the better part of a decade, I’ll say — and the entries are sparse but intriguing (to me, at least).

I’m not sure what the draw to language means, if it means anything.

And the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is vastly better for Japanese writing than is the Sakura Pigma Micron Brush Pen.  The former has bristles; the latter…I’m not sure, but it’s stiffer and squeakier, with less line-weight variation.  The big drawback to the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is that it is so incredibly sensitive that you need a light touch and almost need to hover over the page (though there is still some tactile feedback of the bristles).

I should get out of here and get ready for bed…

Update (after a while)…kind of long ^_^;;

Really?  I finished my work early???


By Friday night/early Saturday morning, I had finished my classwork.  The weather forecast had put our temperature into the high 90º F’s for Saturday and Sunday daytime temperatures, and I know from experience that my computer doesn’t like being on, when it’s that hot.  I scheduled some offline time, then, even though I didn’t know what I would do with it.

Right now it’s a bit more comfortable, but still warm.

Because I finished my work early, I basically had 1.5 days free.  Yesterday, especially, I had a hard time deciding what to do, with no demands on my time.  Although my memory of what I did for most of the daytime is hazy (I can guess that I slept), I do remember that I finished the kana workbook associated with the Kluemper text, last night.

Japanese reading and writing…

I’ve also realized why it was difficult for me to get back to facing katakana:  I have a hard time writing a good 15 out of 46 of the katakana syllabary, because it’s hard for me to remember what they look like.  (Comparatively, I have a hard time recollecting 2 out of 46 hiragana:  “se” and “nu”.  Though hiragana “nu” [I would write katakana “NU” in capitals; katakana are used for emphasis like ALL CAPS or italics] does remind me of a Japanese dog [like a Shiba Inu or Akita] with a curly tail [“inu” = dog].)

I do have the Japanese for Busy People Kana Workbook, however, and I can work through this in order to build vocabulary and word recognition.  Writing is included here, too, though sentence structure isn’t emphasized in the workbook — meant, as with the Kluemper text, to be completed possibly before one starts in reading kana in the first book (though there are two versions of this text:  one in romaji [Roman letters; i.e. English letters], and one in kana).

I opted for the latter because romaji are misleading where it comes to pronunciation, and basically almost useless if one wants to read in Japanese.  They’re a stepping stone, but lack much of the obvious grammar, etymology and sentence structure conventions associated with kana (syllabary) combined with kanji (imported Chinese character) use.

It will at least give me more words to practice with — even though the Japanese for Busy People series does seem as though it should be titled Japanese for Business People (a reason I picked up the Kluemper and Hasegawa texts in Honolulu [both published by Tuttle], when I had the option.  [The Kluemper texts are meant to be used as high school AP Japanese textbooks; the Hasegawa texts are meant to be used as first-year University Japanese textbooks, or for self-study]).  But that’s just me.

If you’re in the area of San Francisco, though, Kinokuniya Books at Japan Center has a very wide selection of Japanese-learning texts; much broader than the Barnes & Noble in Honolulu (which I am told is one of the few bookstores on Oahu).  The major disadvantage at Kinokuniya is that the books are just generally sold wrapped in cellophane — meaning that you will very likely get a very clean book, but there may not be a display copy available for you to read, in order for you to see if you actually want it.  (Sometimes people buy the display copies.)

I’ve never asked to see if I could open the packages, and don’t really know if there is a protocol in place that says when it is OK or permissible to do so.

If you’re in the South SF Bay Area, I think there is also a Kinokuniya in San Jose’s Japantown, but I’ve never been there, so I…really don’t know much about it!

Anyhow…I did finish the kana sheets last night, though I am finding that very often I have to make a conscious decision to do something other than go to bed.  This was not an exception.

Wanting to restart painting

I also want to start on a painting — I just am not entirely sure what size canvas to use, which I know isn’t the greatest reason not to have started yet.  🙂  But I’m thinking of going back to the 30″x30″ canvas, even though I know I don’t yet know what I’m doing.  Or I feel like that, anyway.  The thing to do would be just to push myself to start it, even if I’m uncertain or feel unprepared.

The first step, if I were being careful, would be to prime the 12″x12″ canvas with a mixture of gesso and Phthalo Blue.  Then I would go in with white pastel and try and make a loose drawing of the photo I gained from so long ago at the State Fair — which will be much easier on the gigantic canvas than on the small one.

My major hangup is that most of the main colors which I want to use — violets, roses and blues (with yellow highlights — maybe something like an Expanded Complementary palette) — are largely transparent colors (except when mixed with more opaque colors like Titanium White), so I might trip myself up if I do something wrong which I then can’t cover.  Which, in turn, is the reason to start on the small canvas, first.

But what’s the worst that can happen?  I dislike it so much that I gesso over the canvas and use it for something else?  I waste time that I could be using to sleep?  😛

I’ve also got to be aware so that I don’t block the drains with acrylic paint (easy to avoid, with disposable palette sheets), and avoid getting the paint on my hands…and getting pastel dust on the floor.  Maybe I should just use vine charcoal, instead.  That sounds workable…I have become a bit wary of pastels, particularly since that Titanium Dioxide scare a few years back (with free nanoparticles leading to concern over carcinogenicity…nothing of the sort with vine or willow charcoal).

But if I use the tiny canvas, I can see if this works, first, before using the big one!

I just don’t want to get sick of it in the small version and then never go on to the big one…

If what I can predict will happen, happens, though:  I’ll probably have ideas on where to take Version 2 that won’t be apparent until after I’ve gone through the process of completing Version 1.

And I do really want to paint, again.  I want to make something colorful and pretty.  🙂  And I can’t do that if I’m too intimidated to approach my easel (I did get an easel, a while back:  it was the only thing my Studio Art classes had, that I didn’t have.  Well, besides company, and a mentor).

And work on…Bullet Journaling?

I also have my little dotted notebook here (it’s from a company called Kyokuto)…and it’s weird? but I don’t want to stick to any rigid format for its use.  I’ve been looking over the Bullet Journal website, and…I’m thinking that it really isn’t like me to follow directions to get to a predetermined endpoint.  Maybe I can use the principles behind the Bullet Journal system, but really…heavily tweak it, so it turns out being something that’s mine.

And I really wish I knew how many pages were even in this notebook:  I don’t.  But it is really elegant, and I want to use it.  My problem, I think, is planning and attempting to look ahead at what I’ll have to do (when I don’t fully know, yet).

I also…think maybe I’m throwing out the baby with the bathwater on this one, and — looking at a past post — maybe I do have some idea of what has to be done.  Maybe I just forgot, because I didn’t look at my notes from before.  🙂  (Why do I blog, again?)  I think that something like a Bullet Journal could seriously help me organize my time when Fall Semester starts, and I’m carrying nine units, again — in addition to possibly having a new job.

I found it a little odd that my creativity would be circling back around to language (particularly writing), stories, and books, but I guess I am planning on being a Librarian, so…maybe I’m just overlooking the obvious?  😛  Learning to write in Japanese language is one of those things that ranges into calligraphy (or would, in an extreme case — right now it’s just “learning to make things look correct”).

Fiction progress

Writing in English…has stalled a bit, but it’s interesting to see what my mind does when it’s let loose like that.  🙂  It actually isn’t stressful for me, anymore!  It can be fun, because I actually have complete control over the situation (relatively speaking) — which I did not sense, before — and I can make things as serious or light as I want.  I’m very, very new to “light” writing!

But it’s nice to know that I don’t have to dive into my history of trauma every time I try and create a narrative.  I think my main character is helping with this, as well — I’ve started the narrative about 2/3 of the way through the story, and added a couple of extra layers which are helping things along, I think.

It’s also really nice to not absolutely know where the story is going to go, or all the facts that are associated with it — it leaves things open for experimentation and adjustment.

Heh — I think I’ve written enough (?!?!) — and…I see it’s now after midnight.  Well, that was a good 3-4 hours spent here (?!?!) …but not wasted.  I feel a lot better now that I’ve logged what’s happening — writing nearly always helps me get my thoughts together.  I’ve also noticed that a lot of people I follow have been quiet, recently, so here’s to adding one more leaflet to the Reader pile!  😉

Finally done filling the palette.

I wish I had the skills to make a graphic which would provide tooltips on mouseover.  It would just make things so much easier!  In the meantime…the palette is filled…just…OUT OF ORDER!!! D:  😉

Blues and greens, starting at top right, and moving down:  Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cobalt Turquoise, Indanthrene Blue.  Middle row:  Winsor Green [Yellow Shade], Winsor Green [Blue Shade], Sap Green.  Left row:  Indigo, Prussian Blue (Daniel Smith), Cerulean Blue Chromium (Daniel Smith), Winsor Blue [Green Shade], Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine.  Payne’s Grey is also in there with the Earth Tones and Blacks.
These are the colors that I…FINALLY…put in the freakin’ palette.

The right side of this set of swatches is at the top of the photo…after I started getting “weird” colors (like those), things really got interesting.

For some reason, I have less of an aversion to Cobalt colors than I do to other toxic colors (particularly the Cadmiums).  Maybe I’m just familiar with Cobalt through my work with glass beads…(Cobalt provides a rich, deep violet-blue in glass.)

Right now I’m watching out for this, but mostly the routes of cobalt uptake seem to be through ingestion and inhalation — neither of which, I have to worry about.  (I’m relatively fastidious where it comes to after-work cleanup, and I don’t use an airbrush.  If transdermal exposure were more of a risk [there is still some risk], it would be different.)

I do have a large number of Cobalt colors here.  It’s a mystery to me just how one can get so many different colors out of the same metal.

(Cobalt colors range from Cobalt Violet, through Cobalt Blues, Ceruleans, Teals, and Turquoises, to Aureolin, or Cobalt Yellow.)

I am right now just hoping that I can keep all of these straight…I’m getting kind of tired of painting color chips.  I can see why people use the modular pan setups, now:  because sometimes you really want to shift the placement of colors around, after the fact.  Ideally, Indanthrene Blue would go in between Dioxazine Violet and French Ultramarine, here; I would put Indigo over with the Earth Tones on the right side; and Winsor Green [Yellow Shade] would switch places with Winsor Green [Blue Shade], so that the Yellow Shade would be closer to the other yellows and further from the green-blues.

I’d still be at a loss as to where to put weird colors, though (like the two Cobalt Turquoise paints).  🙂  I got those because I wanted to be able to paint warm greens, as versus cool ones:  I think I’m off to a good start on this.

And…yeah, I did break down and get Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton).  I mixed up a batch of Phthalo Blue and Permanent Magenta, as suggested on, but I think the fact that I had Phthalo Blue [Green Shade] (as versus [Red Shade]) caused my mixture — a nice, inky blue-violet — to dull a little.  The Indanthrene here is slightly more vibrant than what I mixed, that is.

The Cerulean Blue Chromium is actually a really useful color — I used it a bunch in my last still-life study.  It’s blue, but not violet enough to take the life out of greens.  I also ended up using Hansa Yellow Light and Deep to good effect, in the last still-life.  From before, I remembered to dull colors with their complements, so violet would grey out yellow, for instance.  And then there were the highlights (save the white space) and the shadows (add an adjacent deeper-valued color).


I think it’s time I get some rest.  But before I go, I wanted to mention one thing that I need to remember, the next time I fill this palette:  stir the paint with a clean toothpick until it’s smooth, before it dries.  I stirred a few of these, which universally look better than what I did not stir.  In particular, Vermilion Deep, Prussian Blue, and Burnt Umber all cracked pretty badly as they dried, with Burnt Umber actually separating from the well — see below.  (Burnt Umber was, I suspect, the first color to fall out of the lid of my Mijello Silver Nano palette, prompting me to get a palette where nothing was stored in the lid.)  I think that if I had stirred these paints to evenly distribute the gum arabic and release air bubbles before they dried, I would not have had this problem.

Above, I didn’t stir any of these paints except for Burnt Sienna, in the lower right corner, which had separated.

Another problem I’m having is dust and lint collecting on top of the paints when I leave them out to dry after a painting session.  I’m not sure what exactly I can do about this — I don’t want my paints to mold, but getting lint stuck in them is also not ideal.  Maybe if I used a piece of paper as a permeable membrane…

AND…the Mijello 33-well palette is, I’ve found, prone to getting stained, as regards the removable white tray.  I have modded mine to make the wells easier to lift out (tabs of Artists Tape will do the trick), opening up a potential mixing area in addition to the lid and the removable tray, but I haven’t yet tried to mix on anything but the latter.

Produce market fun

My brain isn’t working too well with words right now (a good reason to resort to art), but I’ll try and get out anything that comes to mind.  We went to the produce market today…I picked up some things to draw and paint…these are all miniature versions of produce, though.


The bananas are Manzano (Apple) bananas…which oddly enough, do taste like apples!  (These are maybe 4″ long?)  Then there is a little squash and a Bok Choy Mue.  I’m not sure what “Mue” translates into, but basically this was a tiny baby bok choy.

I think I was more successful with the bananas than with the other things… ^_^;;

And…yeah, I don’t want to write right now.  Hopefully I’ll still be able to do my classwork…

“Little squares”…this could be the beginning of a series…

Hmm.  I’m thinking that I want to play around with negative space more, here.  But this is…the first actual attempt at “painting” that I’ve done in a while.

I had intended just to start out with another attempt at cataloging green mixes, then realized that I did not have to stick expressly with squares.  Then I realized that I did not have to confine myself to mixtures of just two colors — so I can adjust any two with whatever else I need to get to the point at which I want to be.

“Little squares,” WIP.

I think that vivid green in top center is Cobalt Turquoise Light + Hansa Yellow.  I think.  I’ve also had some success with mixing greens using Hansa Yellow Deep as a component (which surprised me, because it seems to lean orange).

I’m actually kind of amazed at the depth this image provides me.  I’ve decided to stop for the night, in case I’m overworking this.  I’m planning to look at it again tomorrow and see what I want to add to it.

🙂  But yes — this patterning could turn out even better if I can pay attention to the shapes of negative spaces…and maybe try and not lock myself into a pattern, so much…

Difficulty switching modes…

After a day or so of fully working for as long as I have been awake, it’s kind of difficult to shift back into a mental space where I have options, and time.

Today was mostly spent asleep; yesterday…I can’t remember much because I was that exhausted, and M wouldn’t let me fall asleep during the day.  Accordingly, I lay down at 7:30 last night and slept nearly all the way through to 11:30 this morning.  I guess I was TIRED.  Then I got up, ate, fell asleep at about 1:30 PM, and slept again until 5 PM.

To my credit, I did get work done on the Japanese language acquisition — although it’s frustrating to have to re-learn kana (Japanese syllabary) again.  I have most of the hiragana memorized to the point where it’s easily recognizable and retrieved, although I still may mis-write if I move too fast; katakana is another story.

When I was first taking Japanese-language classes, katakana were mostly ignored; we were told to learn this set of kana on our own.  Due to both this and the relative rarity of their use (when compared with hiragana and kanji), there are a number of katakana that I don’t easily remember.  Today, after having finished the hiragana handbook, I started in on katakana and realized that this was going to be much harder for me, than the former.

I’m thinking I’m experiencing a bit of caffeine withdrawal as well, because I’m really irritated at this, right now.  I’m also tired, again.

Also, though, I was able to sit through what I had to for this week in UX (User Experience) and finish reading the incredibly light reading assigned for this week (four pages).  Which is kind of irrational, when compared with all the work I had to do over the weekend, and the fact that I just had to read two books over two weeks.

But anyway.  I did have the option of working with watercolors, today, but I just really didn’t feel up to it.  One of the new colors (Cobalt Turquoise Light) I have, is one I intended to get about two weeks ago, but someone had put a regular Cobalt Turquoise in its slot (they aren’t the same color!), and I neglected to check the label before purchasing it.

Now I have the Light shade, but my toxin anxiety is acting up, and I’m hesitant to use it.  (It was likely stimulated by finding a beautiful yellow paint which was made with an antimony-containing component, on my last trip to the art store — this is W&N Naples Yellow Deep, PBr24.  On looking up antimony toxicity, I can see that I had a bigger shock than maybe this warranted, but still…)

The other new color is Phthalo Green:  Yellow Shade, which I have wanted to compare to Phthalo Green:  Blue Shade (I’m hoping to get warmer greens), but for some reason, I think I did not want to waste (or “waste”) watercolor paper on this.  Which isn’t a really good excuse, because I have enough watercolor paper, and have discovered that the paper I’m using isn’t really all that great, anyway.  And I can’t learn if I don’t practice.

So I have been practicing kanji and kana, and I think the reason for this is that it’s easier for me to switch back into a studying mode than an art mode, when I’ve been locked in “studying mode” for a while.  Art…is much less structured.

And speaking of structure, I have to work tomorrow, so I should see if I can fall asleep, again…