Claudia Goes to Pittsburgh

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Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.

To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.

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.)

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.

Clairefontaine dot? Quo Vadis dot?

Clairefontaine grafit dot

Other than the up and coming Clairefontaine dotGrid Graf-It pads, dot ruling is exclusive to Rhodia.

If you prefer Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis or Exacompta papers, would you like them even more if they were available with dot ruling? If yes, please tell us which specific product- including anything in the Rhodia line that isn’t yet available in the dot format.

Weaving a 4 Strand Braid

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About a hundred years ago, after much teasing from my two older cousins that I couldn’t make a simple braid, my great aunt Evelyn sat me down on her bed with a bag of shoestring licorice and proceeded to teach me how to make a three strand braid. (Which I got to eat once completed.) 

While I never held much interest in knitting or crocheting, I do enjoy using different weaving techniques like braiding, twining and knotless netting in my mixed media art projects and can never walk past a yarn shop without going in. Yesterday I happened upon the gigantic sale tables of yarn at a local store called Conversational Threads in Emmaus, PA where I bought myself several skeins of pretty colors that I thought I might eventually use when I make dream catchers.

After balling up the yarn this afternoon, I was curious how these three colors might look braided together. I decided that I wanted to do a 4 strand braid but needed a refresher – so I looked to YouTube for assistance and found the following video:

This isn’t the way I remembered making them but I thought I’d give it a try and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

4 strand braid

This was made with a total of 12 strands loosely woven which resulted in the braid being flat and wide. While this was only an experiment, a braid like this could be used as a simple wrapped bracelet, necklace, belt, headband…

For all of the Dad’s out there – you’ll win super mega bonus points with your little girls if you learn to braid their hair like this.

Permission to Doodle

butch_gordon

Are you a doodler?

By allowing yourself to be creative in a way that is not dependent on any particular outcome, you can focus on the process itself and simply appreciate your hand moving the pen across the surface of the paper.

The next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or when picking up your children after school, I’d like challenge you to reach for a paper and pencil and allow yourself to doodle. If this is something you don’t normally do, I think you might be surprised at how calming and meditative the process may be.

Image courtesy of butch_gordon on Instagram

 

The Silence of Smooth

_leisurely_

As a writer slash artist, I have a lot of different kinds of paper on hand for writing, drawing, sketching, painting, etc. The major differences (IMHO) between these papers is the surface. (Weight also plays a big factor) Drawing and sketching papers typically have some degree of “tooth” which helps to enhance the appearance of dry media like pencils, charcoal, or pastel.

When working on paper that isn’t smooth, there is an audible sound as the writing/drawing implement is moved across the paper. I don’t mind this when I’m making art but sometimes find it distracting when I’m writing – especially when using an extra fine nibbed pen on a toothy paper.

Have you taken notice of the sound your pen/pencil makes on paper? Do you choose specific pen/pencil and paper combinations to enhance or avoid the sound?

Image courtesy of _leisurely_ on Instagram

 

Link Share Friday: February Edition

laurazigman

Rhodia Meeting Book at Office Supply Geek

J. Herbin Encre Rouge Ink Review at The Pen Addict

Preventing Hand Fatigue During Long Writing Sessions at Pentorium

More on Finishing Notebooks at Notebook Stories

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – White Body, Black M Nib at No Pen Intened

Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker at A Penchant for Paper

Quo Vadis Exatime 17 (personal size Filofax compatible) 2014 week + notes diary insert at Plannerisms

Review of the Clairefontaine Calligraphy Pad at Life Imitates Doodles

15 Quick and Dirty Writing Tips at Writing Forward

Faber-Castell brings two new colors to the affordable Loom lineup at Fountain Pen Geeks

Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing at Brain Pickings

Review: Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad at The Well Appointed Desk

Sketchbook Exercises at Nordljus

Responsive ‘Hexi’ Wall Ripples and Wobbles Based on Nearby Motion at Colossal

Family Connection — Another Reason To Write Our Memories at Writing Through Life

Faber-Castell Loom Fountain Pen at Write to Me Often

Intro to the Monteverde Impressa Fountain Pen at Ink Nouveau

Rotring 800 0.5mm Pencil Review at Ed Jelley

Image courtesy of laurazigman on Instagram

 

What ink properties are most important to you?

Rose Cyclamen

In Tuesday’s blog post, I asked what colors you would most like to see added to J Herbin’s “Jewel of Inks” line. Several of you, (me included) suggested more saturated versions of existing colors which made me wonder… If J. Herbin offered highly pigmented inks, (somewhere between this line and the 1670 Anniversary inks) what particular characteristics do you think would need to remain the same for them to still be uniquely Herbin inks?

What is it specifically about J. Herbin inks that you like? The flow? The shading? The smell?

New Year, New Pens? Show Us!

maiechinatsu

I can only imagine all the wonderful new pens that our fans were gifted over the holidays. Willing to share? Snap a pic of your favorite new pen and send it to Stephanie at RhodiaDrive dot com to be added to our “Favorite Pens” Photo Page. Do you have a short story to tell about your new pen? Let us know and we’ll also consider sharing it here on Rhodia Drive.

Image courtesy of maiechinatsu on Instagram.

 

Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and Rhodia

chicambition

There was a time when I was trying and buying practically every kind of drawing pen I could find – especially if I could buy them individually as opposed to having to purchase an entire expensive set of colors I wasn’t likely to use. The Staedtler Triplus Fineliners  shown above have a super fine 0.3 mm nib which makes them great for writing or drawing and they have a triangle shaped barrel which makes them easier to hold over long periods of time.

Have you ever tried these? Do you have any other brands of drawing pens/markers that you recommend?

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Top image courtesy of chic ambition on Instagram. Bottom image by Stephanie.

Artist Review: Decoupage and Collage with Decopatch!

Decopatch test and Review

It always makes me happy whenever I have the opportunity to play with new art supplies. Shown above is a variety of Decopatch products (paper, brush & varnish) that Exaclair distributes within the US.

Decopatch test and Review

Decopatch papers are specifically designed for decoupage: (Per Wiki) “the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and so on. Commonly an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cutouts from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers. Each layer is sealed with varnishes (often multiple coats) until the “stuck on” appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish. This was known in 18th century England as the art of Japanning after its presumed origins.” Continue Readering »

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About

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.