Tale of a Vandal Ink User: Just a Little Mix-Up

How are you all getting along, my friends? Do you have what you need? Here’s hoping you’re wearing a mask, observing physical distancing, and taking good care of yourselves mentally, spiritually, as well.

Here, we’re good. My beloved is baking bread and tasty things while also making good trouble here and there in a remote way.

At last I’m back in the writing groove, again. My deadline to be finished with the “final” draft of the novel is mid-August. We’ll see. Interruptions happen—more masks to be sewn, rain barrels to overhaul, stucco to patch and paint. If you want to get on my mailing list, it’s here. Be among the first to get any news about my writing, ay?

The Pandemic has hit our dog the hardest. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go bounding across the street to love on all the neighbors. Well, she didn’t understand, but I had a talk with her, and she’s reluctantly  accepted the fact that the humans are trying to prevent the spread of a virus.

We do our best to give her early morning hometown adventures, new parks to visit, new places to walk and sniff. The excitement she exudes when she realizes we’re off for an adventure is always worth the journey.

Cultural Notes

Best poetry book I read last month: Richard Blanco’s How to Love a Country.

from HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY by Richard Blanco

Meanwhile, I finished Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I loved each and every one of her sixteen novels. There’s an arc about police corruption that’s fascinating, and the series explores what it means to be a decent human being. Imagine that.  Of course crimes are solved along the way. Can’t wait for the next one.

I’ll read all these authors eventually, but I’m having trouble deciding which PI series to start next—one by either Walter Mosley, Naomi Hirahara, or Rudolfo Anaya. Often I rotate through a few books at a time, especially nonfiction, but a series requires focus and commitment. So it seems. What fiction are you reading these days? Some of my friends, I know, are having trouble reading anything right now.

A film that’s stayed with me since we watched it last month:  I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary about James Baldwin. Or rather, a film based on his unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. When you consider Baldwin died in 1987, it hits home how very, very, VERY long Black Americans have been telling the world how bad things are for them; clearly and consistently. Even as someone who thought she was aware of racism and social injustice, actively working for change, my understanding has been challenged and expanded so much more in the last several years. I continue to keep listening, working to understand more, and to turn all that education into helpful action as an anti-racist.

I Am Not Your Negro, if you haven’t seen it, streams on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes.

Ink Updates

Not too long ago, my spouse said, “I find myself thinking about buying things. I think that’s because we can’t go anywhere.” Very insightful, I thought. Even though when we travel, we don’t buy things. We buy experiences (meals, plays, museums, stuff like that).

We’re both good about not buying just because something screams, “me, me, buy me!” Occasionally we lapse. Maybe me more than her, honestly.

I’m certainly susceptible to the marketing that touches on people, places, and things I love. Thus, I succumbed to Sailor’s latest ink series. Possibly an overly ambitious undertaking,  Sailor’s releasing an ink color for each of the United States.

I bought “California” from the States series. What can I say? The ink had “California” on the label, and I’m a sucker.

It’s a fine Sailor ink, a kind of dark teal. Here’s what Sailor says about California:

It’s not really a color I automatically associate with my cherished birth place, though. I love the Pacific Ocean, but that choice feels a little cliché. California’s a large diverse environment, encompassing the ocean, the desert, farm and ranch lands, and the Rocky Mountains. I think more of the golden hills than I do the ocean.

At first, I thought Sailor California was similar to Sailor Sei-Boku, but California’s more green, and much darker on the page. No matter what nib I use for California, the ink comes out very dark. Again, YMMV.

Sailor State Series “California” and Sailor Sei-Boku

Here’s a bit of paper towel chromatography where you can see the green and blue clearly in California:

Four State inks have been released as of this writing:

  • California – deep teal – inspired by the Pacific Ocean.
  • Colorado – purple – inspired by the petals of  Rocky Mountain Columbine, the state flower.
  • New York – blue-black – inspired by the NY Yankees.
  • Texas – brown – inspired by “leather goods” made in Texas.

Ummm… Go figure.

This series… well, it doesn’t really seem necessary nor very inspired. Anyone feel differently? While Sailor makes great, smooth writing inks in gorgeous colors, they’ve released so many inks, it’s difficult to keep up with them anymore.

Thankfully I’ve got a set of Platinum Mix Free inks. Since day one with PMF, they became my favorite inks to use. Not the nine colors a PMF set contains, but the colors you can create with them. The inks have silky writing properties. There’s a golden brown I’ll have to explore in a Platinum Mix Free recipe as my California.

New Mexico, my adopted home state, should be a nice red-brown for the land, but given Sailor’s short list so far, Sailor will likely use turquoise. New Mexico’s home to some of the oldest turquoise mines.

With Platinum Mix Free I’ve made only a handful of colors. Landing on a color I like, I tend to stick with it. I’m not an artist nor trying to impress others with my cool handwriting. I just want ink to write with—sometimes in a color other than Pilot Blue-Black (my dominant ink). PMF has been very satisfying. A long time ago, I created a color I call “Olive Oil.” It’s my signature ink. Still loving it!

Thinking about New Mexico, I came up with the following color, “Santa Fe Brown.” I like it, but for the next iteration I may try a touch more red and less yellow.

PMF #13 Santa Fe Brown on Maruman Report Pad W

PMF #13 Santa Fe Brown on Hobonichi Weekly paper

PMF #13 Santa Fe Brown

There’s not a lot of people sharing their Platinum Mix Free recipes. Diamine and Noodler’s ink people mix and share their ideas far more often. Interesting. Well, almost.

Sharing my recipe below, not because it’s oh so extraordinaire, but just to encourage other dweebs. The ink wasn’t well mixed at first—see the big ? mark in notebook below. The ink feathered using a Nakaya Soft-Medium nib on the Franklin-Christoph Notebook (below), and on the Maruman Notepad (above), but didn’t feather elsewhere (Hobonichi Weekly above). The same ink using a Platinum #3776 Medium, and a Pilot VP nib, didn’t feather on any of the same papers. Now that’s interesting!

I used Write Gear’s “Martian Dust” recipe as a base.

Process of getting to PMF #13 Santa Fe Brown

My handwriting’s atrocious, and I’m okay with that.

Stay safe and well, my friends. Kind and curious, too.

See you anon!

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Platinum Mix Free Recipes