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Archive for May, 2011

A while ago I decided to extend my Parker 51 family. Found one online and bought it without knowing anything of the nib. Once again using Parker51.com for identification I believe this is a Parker Aerometric because of the colour, called Teal Blue. The Aerometric is a later model than the Vacumatic. The gold-filled cap has five tapered lines merging together at the bottom, and a grey jewel. The black Vacumatic Demi presented more closely in the post called My first Parker “51” has an almost identical cap. The arrow on the clip is longer on the blue pen than on the black Demi, as is the barrel, which makes me think the blue pen is full-size, not demi-sized. The line pattern is more deeply ingraved on the cap of the black pen, just as suggested for earlier pens on this ninth page on different “51” caps by the aforementioned site. On page ten you can see the black demi vacumatic cap in the second pic. I can’t find an exact match for the cap on the blue pen (despite going through alla 14 pages on different caps. Ah, I love this hobby), which makes me think it is a frankenpen, with a demi-vacumatic cap on a later production aerometric model but a later model of the demi-vacu-cap than the demi-vacu-cap of the black pen. Eh. Did anyone except me read through that?

Both pens and the cloth I wipe nibs with as background

Just the nib, front

Just the nib, back

Luckily, it turned out to have a very broad, fat nib, just what I needed to complement my first Parker 51, which is an EF (extra fine – or even finer?). I find the images above really pretty for some reason. There is an aesthetic appeal to this nib. I am not sure if it is a B (B for “broad”) or a BB (?). It is rather wet. The line is sometimes uneven, I am not sure if this is because of the grain of the paper, or if it can be blamed on the pen. Maybe I am too light and irregular of hand. A writing sample:

Please excuse the grammar...

For a drawing made with these pens (and a brush), see the previous post “Evil Man Under Dying Sun (Wearing No Hat)”.

I haven’t decided if I want to keep the blue pen. On the other hand I’d like a set of four Parkers in black, blue, grey and burgundy. Hm, I have to think this over.

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I’m back and I’m full of inspiration. There is still some snow left here, but the grass is finally turning a vague shade of greenish gray. It’s awfully rainy, though, but it makes for a lovely view from my window, all great grey and white clouds simply falling down on the landscape. It looks dramatic. I have always loved the rain.

London was great, as usual. I brought about 10 kilos of Seawhite paper, watercolours (!), Aero mint chocolate (don’t ask) and several books with me home. We visited British Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria & Alberts, Kew gardens and lots of markets and shops. Also, I think I saw one of my favourite musicians Amanda Palmer at Heathrow (of course, being too stunned to call out “I love your work!” to her). More on all that later. Now, for today’s drawing:

Title: Evil Man Under Dying Sun (Wearing No Hat)
Size: 4×4 cm
Equipment: Parker 51 BB and Parker 51 EF (Yep, I found another one. More on that pen later) with Noodler’s black. The other inks are Daler-Rowney Acrylic white ink, Noodler’s Burma Road Brown and Diamine Sunshine Yellow. The yellow looks very dark, mostly because of it being mixed with the not quite dry Noodler’s Black, I believe. The Burma Road Brown were added days later, when the black ink was completely dry and permanent, another feature I like with Noodler’s Black.
Computer alteration: Scanned and cropped.
Paper: watercolour paper that time forgot (ripped the cover off years ago). You can see the grain in the paper really well. I actually prefer my paper a bit smoother than this. The paper is a creamy white.
Inspiration: a couple of weeks ago I was experimenting with pens, brushes and ink to make a bigger drawing. This is a part of that drawing. I had to crop it, otherwise I’d spoil the surprise.
Notes: The sun is a completely incidental small spatter of ink, but perhaps the part of this drawing that I like the most. This is a heavily cropped drawing for a reason, the rest of the drawing wasn’t very good. But it was an experiment laying the ground for other work to come, so not without merit. I am very satisfied with the hat as well as the sun. The whiteness overlaying the glasses is opaque white ink from Daler Rowney, my favourite wet white media (favourite dry white media being soft pastels). The glasses are a bit small and has too little detail to begin with, so I do not think the result this time was optimal, but the next time I draw glasses I will use this technique again, hopefully getting a better result. I like experimenting with different levels of opacity.
Important Notice: I want his hat.

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Every third to fifth year or so, I stumble upon something that really catches my interest BIG time. Learning about it is like standing before an opening dam of knowledge armed only with an open mind (and mouth). It’s a wonderful experience, breathing in knowledge like that. The subjects I fall for have been impossible to choose in any way. I’d like to have chosen my university subjects (even though one of them is tickling enticingly in my mind, wanting to perhaps be explored in the future…). I’d like to have chosen philately, folk music, instrument building, flamenco or pottery since those are interests of my family and I’d love to share those interests with them in a deeper way than I do now. But as I said, I have had no choice. I even had a (thankfully short) sejour with being obsessed with makeup, something rather odd since I almost never use makeup and mentally withstanding the concept of buying it just to collect it was probably what ended that particular infatuation.

When I’m done with the frantic stage of obsession I generally continue to study the subject for a while, sometimes years. Intermittently, I get small, lovely revivals of the frantic stage, spending hours almost in trance, just learning. After a while I become content with my span of knowledge, satisfied by the acquisition of a new area of expertise to to enjoy at times, although not in the same burning way as in the beginning. Often, after “overcoming” a frantic stage, the subject will be dead to me for a while. Sometimes I rediscover it, sometimes I forget about it. I’d like to liken it to a series of infatuations that sometimes graduate to passions that seldom but sometimes graduate to true love.

Since one of these obsessions is tropical orchids, I read the book “The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean almost immediatley when it got published. It is several years since I read it now, but I remember being fascinated by this written portrait of people like me, being written by an author on the outside looking in. I think it is a wonderful book on the nature of obsession and well worth reading even if you are not interested in orchids. They made a movie based on the book, called Adaptation that is sort of a meta-movie about making a movie of the book. Thus, the movie is interesting but not really a true adaptation of the book.

Presently, my love for orchids is in hibernation. Living above the Arctic Circle and planning to travel a lot in the years to come does not go very well with orchid collecting. The infatuation I have at the moment is, of course, inks and fountain pens. Also, drawing. I hope to continue delving deeper into that in the months and years to come. Maybe combine them and learn more about scientific illustration, a subject that has nagged my mind for a while.

Now, off to London! Upcoming: a post about the trip, of course. And one about eyeballs.
I am leaving you with this photo I took a couple of weeks ago travelling to Narvik in Norway. Inspiring, ne?

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This link leads to an interview with author China Miéville in The Believer Magazine.

Funnily, the interview is held (sic) by Lou Anders, who has to be the same Lou Anders who edited the short story collection I recommend in this post. Coincidences, huh? Here is my favourite quote from the interview:

“I love this stuff. And when I write my novels, I’m not writing them to make political points. I’m writing them because I passionately love monsters and the weird and horror stories and strange situations and surrealism, and what I want to do is communicate that. But, because I come at this with a political perspective, the world that I’m creating is embedded with many of the concerns that I have. But I never let them get in the way of the monsters.”

He is gloriously, perfectly right and how could anyone not agree with this?

Probably one of the (many) reasons I like the writings of China Miéville is that he seems fascinated with a lot of things that relate to my own personal obsessions. In Perdido Street Station there is a sprawling, twitching city, birdlike monsters and dreams. In The Scar there is sea monsters, deep sea emptiness and gore. All these things among masses of other monsters, fascinations, surrealistic juxtapositions, strange phenomena and a language that almost drowns the synaesthetic parts of me in floods of colours. It makes me very happy.

Why do I do this?

For the love of monsters.

Details about the drawing: (more…)

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Pen: The Noodler’s flex pen became a great success when released as it provides good flex for a modest price. There isn’t really any other modern pen in the same price-bracket with flex like this. I was eager to try one for myself. Actually I ordered two of them from Gouletpens, a red/green and a demonstrator (clear/see-through). They smelled a bit weird at first. The nib is slit vertically almost in half, which gives a good degree of flex although the metal in the nib itself doesn’t feel as soft as in vintage flex nibs (it’s like comparing apples and llamas anyway). There was some flow-problems in the beginning, but as I have used the pens and adjusted the feeds and nibs in the sections I believe I have reached a happy equilibrium and the line is seldom broken. For a writing sample see the “Five Reds“-post.

Why I like it: I like to be able to bring a modern, inexpensive flex pen with me everywhere and know that I can buy another one if I lose it. As of now the pens are all sold out though, so maybe I should be careful anyway. I like that the nib is very fine when not flexed, as this is good for drawing. I am especially fond of the demonstrator as I like seeing the ink inside the pen. Also, I’m satisfied with how the modification turned out on my particular pen. The other colours of the pen are nice as well, I think I’ll get a couple when they go back in stock in the middle of May.

Modification: I wasn’t satisfied with the surface finish of the pen (too glossy and some scratches inside of the barrel from the turning machine) so I decided to modify it a bit with really fine grit sandpaper. Unfortunately no “before”-picture. Here is the result:

The ink is Noodler’s Red Rattler.

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