Friday, February 24, 2017

Noodlers Ahab Flex Pen

Every now and then I've seen reference to pens called "Noodlers Flex" pens.  They seem to be made for calligraphers and fountain pen enthusiasts, but artists refer to them as well.  I finally decided to take a look at one for myself.  Looking on Youtube and various artist blogs really got my curiosity piqued so I ordered one for myself.  Fountain pens are notoriously finicky and often in need of adjustment and maintenance, but I figured it was worth a go.  It came today.
For lettering, this pen does pretty neat work.  I'm not expert at when to flex the nib and when to let up, but the possibilities are pretty amazing.
 The pen is beautiful.  It did indeed take some fiddling and adjusting, but worked the first shot out of the box.  My ink-stained hands are witnesses to my amateur status, but the lines glided onto the paper like a dream, notwithstanding my lack of experience in "fountain-pen-ese."  I think I can get the hang of this with more practice.  I want to, and that's half the battle.  I won't go into the technicalities of it here as there are dozens of well qualified demonstrators on Youtube.  If you're intrigued, you won't have any trouble finding plenty of information to answer your questions.  This pen model is well loved by pen people.
I had to add a page to my journal record of favorite tools.  This one is a winner!

Even though I spent most of the evening making lines and letters, it draws beautifully.  In fact, the flex bit is what attracted me in the first place.  The nib of the pen is split, allowing a thin line with light pressure and thicker ones with heavier pressure.  It flexes as you press down and the nib splits apart, making a wider line.  Pretty cool.  Although I won't haul this pen anywhere until I get it adjusted right- due to my worries about leaking ink- I will use it in the studio till I really get the hang of it.  All in all, a very useful tool.

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice

Monday, February 20, 2017

Making Change

The Lordsburg Hidalgo County Library, built in 1937 by the WPA.  Built of adobe, this historical building is an architectural treasure.
You know what I did?  Something drastic- I quit teaching school mid-year and took the job of my dreams.  Life is looking up for this old lady, although not without a twinge of guilt now and then for leaving my students.  However, when I walk into my new workplace, smell it, feel it and look all around me, the guilt fades substantially.  

Every work morning I walk in the door and look up at the foyer ceiling.  What a great start to the day.

Lucky, lucky me- as the new director of the local library I go to work looking forward to the challenges of the day with ideas flowing for how to grow the programs and services.  As the plans unfold in my head for the library, the creative ideas for studio work are beginning to happen again, too.  They seem to be happening in tandem as the stress of the past two years subsides.  There is joy inside of me!  While it hasn’t resulted in a finished studio piece yet, I know it will, and the knowing is easy in my mind.

Looking at photos today, working to generate inspiration for a new painting

Today I am spending time taking a new look at photos from my files, working to see them and their patterns in a fresh way.  As I look I ask myself what attracted me to each view in the first place, what stirred me there and why does it stir me still?  As I change them from color to black and white I notice the value patterns and the shapes contained in them.  It is as though my sight is awakening and beginning to cause me to think like a painter again and it feels like fresh air blowing through my mind. 

The old churches of New Mexico stir my creative imagination right up!
There are lessons in the past two-year struggle, lessons I hope I remember in the future.  One of those is, I can do a good job of a really stressful task, but not without a substantial cost to the creative part of me.  Another lesson: I don’t have to take every challenge and wrestle it to the ground.  (Could this be maturity??  We can only hope) These lessons are sweet now that they are behind me; I’ve often found that growth is painful.  But not today, this day is good. And I am happy.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice