Archive for Artist Inspiration

Summertime Travel Necessities

Rhodia Pencils Case R Pad

For many, summer = travel. Trips to the beach, kids at summer camp, the cabin at the lake, camping in the mountains or perhaps a drive through the desert.

Regardless of where you are spending your time, I know that many of you would never leave home without first packing a few essential tools for the inevitable creative urges that free time can inspire. Will you share your favorites? Is it a notepad,  journal or sketchbook? A few favorite fountain pens or a handful of colored pencils? How about a travel sized watercolor paint box?

Big Gay Dragon

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Andrea over at Big Gay Dragon (what a great name!) is using Rhodia Webbies for some of her daily doodles this year.  To me, the doodles can be whimsical, spiritual, meditative–or all three.

Thank you, Andrea.

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Flexible Nibbed Pens: Yay or Nay?

I for one, am a huge fan of any writing implement that can create a line of varying width. I have a sweet little Parker Debutante Vacumatic in need of a new sac that has a really nice flexible nib and I don’t know why I haven’t had it repaired yet…

Have you ever tried a flexible nibbed fountsin pen? Any favorites? I’ve always wanted to try a “wet noodle” myself. (A very flexible nib)

Eversharp Symphony and Noodler’s Ahab shown above, image courtesy of Ed Jelley. Vist his blog at www.edjelley.com and follow edjelley on Instagram.

Check out Brain Sizemore’s demo on this vintage Wahl “wet noodle” fountain pen. Many more on his You Tube channel as well. 

Creative Prompt: Write a simple letter

ivory_ocean

Who doesn’t love to receive a handwritten note in the mail? I know I do! My challenge to you this weekend is to write a simple letter to someone you think could benefit from a bright bit of human kindness in their mailbox.

Don’t know what to write? How about writing out your favorite poem- or maybe a recipe for you favorite chocolate chip cookie?

Image courtesy of S. Jane Mills – be sure to visit her blog, Sketches and Studies Art & Life by S. Jane Mills

Which of these books on creativity have you read?

birdbybird

After seeing this post on Buzzfeed: 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading, I noticed that I’ve already read several and will probably want to eventually read them all. Do you have any favorites from this list? #25 is an all-time favorite for me.

3. Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott: Read this a long time ago. Remember it being sweetly encouraging.
4. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon: Read recently. Good info, but nothing that was really new to me
7. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron: This is a classic. Excellent info to be found here. Do the work if you want to experience transformational growth in your life. (It’s not just about art)
15. Just Kids, Patti Smith: This has been sitting patiently in my Kindle for over a year…
19. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White: Great info. “Omit needless words” is a classic.
21. Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland: I’ve never read it cover to cover, but every time I crack it open and read a few pages I find something totally relevant.
22. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards: Just recently bought a copy.
25. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield: One of the BEST books I’ve ever read. It’s about resistance. You do not have to be an artist to get a lot out of this book. It’s tiny – read it in an afternoon.
29. On Writing, Stephen King: I owned this a very long time ago. Can’t remember if I read all of it. The one thing that sticks with me is his mantra of “Write every day:”

Who Still Uses Parchment Paper?

640px-Permennter-1568
From Wiki: Parchment is a material made from animal skin; often calfskin, sheepskin, or goatskin. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. Parchment is limed, scraped and dried under tension. It is not tanned; therefore, it is very reactive to changes in relative humidity and will revert to rawhide if overly wet.

While the term parchment refers to any animal skin, particularly goat, sheep, or cow, that has been scraped or dried under tension, vellum refers exclusively to calfskin.

The heyday of parchment use was during medieval times, but there has been a growing revival of its use among artists since the late 20th century. Although parchment never stopped being used (primarily for governmental documents and diplomas) it had ceased to be a primary choice for artist’s supports by the end of 15th century Renaissance. This was partly due to its expense and partly due to its unusual working properties. Parchment consists mostly of collagen. When the water in paint media touches parchment’s surface, the collagen melts slightly, forming a raised bed for the paint, a quality highly prized by some artists.

Listing our Legacy

Rhodia Stack with Yellow Safari

“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”

In a 2009 Spiegel interview with Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher and novelist states “The list is the origin of culture.” And what does culture want? “To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.”

I’ve kept my own book of lists for over a decade by contributing several lists per year of material either relevant to the time or from memory of things past.

Do you keep a book of lists? If not, would you ever consider it?

 

Geometric Doodles on a Rhodia Graph Pad

kaiser5081

Charles – could this be one of your old graph pads?

Last week, Charles Barilleaux voiced his preference for our dot paper stating, “The grid doesn’t work for me, as I wind up spending meetings filling in the squares.”

Anyone else enjoy coloring in the squares like this?

(This image actually belongs to kaiser5081 on Instagram.)

Razor Sharp

Razor pencil

My artist friend Angie Snyder-Lande uses a razor to sharpen her pencils and for some reason this always amazes me. A razor seems like a good idea, even though the potential exists to hack a pencil to bits until one learns the right amount of pressure to apply to each cut. I’m guessing that once you get the hang of it, a lot less of the pencil would be wasted to sharpening. (Where to dispose of the shavings… maybe a small Altoids tin?)

Do you prefer to sharpen with a knife or razor? Please share your process.

I own at least a dozen pencil sharpeners but can never find one when I need one. I’m wondering if a small pocketknife might be easier to keep track of.

Razor pencil

Frank Bettendorf’s Trip to the Channeled Scablands

Schoolhouse-Road---Govan

81 year old urban sketcher Frank Bettendorf was super excited about the new landscape Webbie notebooks so we sent him one to try out on his recent trip to the Channeled Scablands - a barren, relatively soil-free landscape in Eastern Washington. Click on any image below to view the full gallery. 

I’m back home after seven great days recording my trip to the Channeled Scablands and I’m eager to share some of the experience with you. I shot three rolls of slides, two rolls of black & white, and did 27 sketches. I thought I’d send enough so you’ll at least get some feel for the trip..

Continue Readering »

Just for Today

Bleu Ocean

Whenever I come across a saying or quote that I wish to integrate into my daily thought process, I will often use it as an excuse to pull out some art and or writing supplies. In this case, I’m using the Japanese phrase “Kyo Dake Wa” which pretty much translates as, “Just for today” which I think is a nice reminder to live more in the moment.

By doodling with a dip pen, J. Herbin’s Bleu Ocean Anniversary ink, and a few colored pencils in this loose and playful manner, what may have been limited to quickly scrawled words on a post-it note, has engaged me for an hour or so of playful art-making with the added benefit of being able to actively focus on the message itself.

Do you have a favorite saying that you might consider turning into a simple piece of art like this?

Montreal Calligraphy Exhibition May 21st-June 1st at Galerie Mile-End

Calmars2014

TRACES FRAGILES… INDÉLÉBILES is the the 6th exhibition for the group, Les Calmars.

This calligraphy exhibition combines gestural marks, flowing ink, rhythm and movement as explored by the eight calligraphers of Les Calmars. Lorna Mulligan’s piece shown below, (part of a collective work) is done with brush and inks (sumi and J. Herbin) and represents an open book in which we see the dialogue between a page of text and a page of landscape imagery. The text says  ’Je suis le calm entre deux sons” (I am the rest between two notes) – Rilke.

Lorna-Open-Book--Landscape

Lorna Mulligan is an artist and calligrapher. She received her degree in Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and also studied at the Banff Centre. She teaches in Montreal at the Visual Arts Centre and at Dawson College in the Continuing Education Department. She also does Culture in the Schools workshops through the Quebec Ministry of Education. Lorna Mulligan has exhibited her mixed media artworks across Canada and in Europe. Visit Lorna on the web at: www.lornamulligan.com

Kamei pen

The text on Lorna’s open book piece was created with her favorite pen: the Kamei brush pen.

Tracing Paper

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a product that hadn’t been on my radar until I needed to purchase some for a workshop I attended last fall. It’s purpose is simple yet multifaceted. It can be used to “test” potential changes to a drawing without altering the original. It can be used to isolate individual elements from a series of sketches and also allow you to play around with composition. With a little effort, tracing paper can also be used to transfer a drawing onto another surface. Watch the video below to see how this is done:

Have you ever tried black paper?

Clairefontaine black paper

We recently received an e-mail from a Rhodia fan requesting black paper with light grey dots. Is this something you would be interested in? I know I would. I’ve been using black paper for years… 

Once I fell in love with black paper (mostly for art making) I became obsessed with finding the most opaque media to use in combination with it. White gel pens are good, as are grease pencils, (aka China Markers) some colored pencils, gouache watercolor paint, acrylic paint, and one of my favorites, the highly pigmented Neocolor artist crayons by Caran D’Ache. 

I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of black paper and most of what I’ve used would fall under the category of art papers. (Colored papers are a particular favorite for pastel artists.)  Most common are construction type papers which are thin, tear easily and not always fade resistant, smooth card stock type papers, and the laid (textured) papers typically used with pastel.

If you can’t find a black papered notebook or one that you like, you can make your own book using loose sheets of your favorite black art paper. Another option would be to apply black gesso (an acrylic based paint primer) to your favorite white papered sketchbooks – a time consuming, expensive & messy process that creates a pretty amazing surface to work on.

Rhodia Cover Doodles: What does yours look like?

cover doodle

Rhodia fan Chris sent us this cover doodle with the suggestion that our logo should look like this. What do you think? I like it! Now I’m just trying to figure out what mountain this might be…

Mont_Blanc

Perhaps Mont Blanc in the French Alps?

I’ll be adding Chris’s image to our Cover Doodle Fan Photo page. Have an image you’d like to share with us? Send it to me: Stephanie at RhodiaDrive dot com.

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Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.