Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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Refilling a Pentel Color Brush Pen

May 8, 2018

In the above image I’m showing two Pentel Color Brush Pens. The one on the bottom is brand new, but the one on the top is an old one I’ve taken apart. The way Pentel sells these pens is that the bottom section can be replaced with another handle that is already filled with ink. That struck me as wasteful, and I figured out a long time ago how to fill it with new ink of my own choosing. Also, their old pens only came with dye based inks. They now sell a pigmented ink option, which is in the bottom pen here.

To refill these pens (this method works with the new ones too,) You have to disassemble everything. You carefully pry off the plug (D) from the handle (B), and then remove the two tubes (C) attached to the plug. I use a 1ml syringe to fill the handle with ink. It holds about 7ml of liquid. Don’t fill it completely full, so that there’s a little bit of air to push the ink into the brush top. Replace the plug on the handle without the tubes, and screw the brush top back on. On the new brushes, you are supposed to leave off the spacer ring (F) for the top to screw all the way down, but on my old one I needed to keep the ring between the top and the handle to make a good seal. Gently squeeze the handle until the top fills with ink. It will take a long time for the ink to fill into the brush, so I do this a few hours ahead of time. Replace the cap (E) to keep the brush from drying out. There are different size brushes available, too, including a flat style. I’ve seen other brands that have different sizes of flats, also.

You can refill these with any type of ink, but I would recommend not using a type that is waterproof, such as shellac or acrylic inks. These can dry inside the brush top and make it useless except possibly as a dipping brush. It is possible to use those inks if you give the brush a good cleaning after each use, but that can be tedious, and the inside of the top is hard to get completely clean. You have to fill the handle with water, screw the top back on, and squirt it through the brush a few times. Sumi inks work very well, and are available in a limited range of colors. Since they’re not waterproof, you don’t have to worry about leaving the ink in the brush. Fountain pen inks also work well, but are not pigmented.

Pentel also sells another similar style tool called a “Aquash” brush. I’m showing one here filled with sumi ink that’s been slightly diluted. This is mainly sold for watercolor painting, but will work with ink the same way I’ve described above. However, for watercolor painting you only fill the handle with water, not paint. This allows you to dip the brush on your palette and use different colors as you would with a regular brush. The water in the handle keeps a constant flow of water on the brush. To refill it you just unscrew the top, and add the liquid in the handle – no plug or tubes to deal with. When refilling it with ink, don’t press the syringe tight against the rim of the handle. Instead, leave a little bit of an opening to let air in, so the ink will flow inside properly. If your syringe has a needle, that won’t be necessary, but needles are a little harder to clean.

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Improving My Watercolor Strainer Frame

April 11, 2018

The thumbtacks I used in my simple frame for the last painting worked okay, but I wanted to go back to the sturdier method of using binder clips as in my larger frame. I decided to just glue some wood strips to the sides of the frame.

This shows the back of the assembled strainer. I cut 4 thin strips of scrap chipboard to 1.5 inches wide, and glued them to the sides of the frame with contact cement. Now I can use the binder clips to hold the wet paper tight. Ready for another painting.

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A Drawing in Imagine 2018 Exhibit

March 3, 2018

Tonight was the opening event of a local art show, Imagine 2018, where one of my recent drawings was entered, “Lashonda Florescent.” This was the 10th year of the show, and I’ve been pleased to have work of mine accepted into each of them. It is always a big event for this area, and tonight was no exception. Here are a few photos I took this evening. I wish Lashonda could have been there, but she’s moved back to England. The show will be up at the Texas State Extension campus in Round Rock until May 4th, so please drop by if you can.

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Paul Clemons, Rest in Peace

February 14, 2018

As I mentioned awhile back, I have been dealing with a family matter, and as I’ve dropped behind a little on posts of late, I wanted to show why with a small tribute. My older brother, Paul, recently passed away. This is a photo of him taken by my Mother in his younger, rock star days. “When your pants are tight, you’re gonna be all right.”

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Considering Selling the Casein Paint I Make

January 20, 2018

I continue to be wrapped up in a family crisis, so I haven’t yet gotten back to my painting, but hope to tomorrow. In the meantime, I made up some more casein paint yesterday. This time I made some yellow ochre.

It came out very good. The paper shows a thin wash, and an undiluted sample painted over a black sharpie ink marker. I decided to use my last empty 45ml tube instead of the new 37s I got recently.

All this paint I’ve been making has got me wondering if anyone would be interested in buying some tubes of paint from me. Right now I have a bunch of burnt umber, titanium white, red oxide, and this yellow ochre. I have a few small jars of other colors, but can easily get more. I could put together a “basic set” of six tubes, such as what Richeson does with their caseins. I’m sure I could affordably sell it for $15 to $20, and possibly individual tubes as well for $3 or $4. That would be much cheaper then Richeson. Not sure how I would market them. Perhaps an Etsy page, or a Go Fund Me project would work. Does this sound like something any of you would be interested in? If so, please leave me some feedback.

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Empty Paint Tubes Arrived

January 15, 2018

The empty paint tubes I ordered arrived on Saturday. I got 24 37ml tubes for $20 including shipping from Cheap Joe’s. I used one of them to hold the red oxide paint I made a few days ago. I’ll need to make up some yellow ochre soon, I think.

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Making Red Oxide Casein Paint for New Painting

January 7, 2018

As I’m starting to work on the background of the new painting, I noticed I was too low on the red oxide paint that I wanted to use, so I needed to mix up some more.

I also wanted to test out the package of Bob’s Red Mill milk powder I bought recently to see how well it works for making a casein binder. 1 quart of rehydrated milk gave me a little less than 6 ounces of casein when I added 1/2 cup of vinegar. That’s the separated milk liquid on the right. I’m used to seeing the milk coagulate into a large ball after I add the vinegar, which I then tear it into small pieces so it will dissolve better. This milk forms small clumps of casein instead, as seen here, so that saves me an extra step.

I added about 2 teaspoons of Borax diluted in 1/2 cup distilled water to this casein, and let that sit for about 24 hours to form a thick smooth gel. This will be my paint binder.

The red oxide pigment was purchased from Camden Grey. A one pound bag cost me only $3. It makes a lovely dark red burgundy color that mixes very easily with my binder. I’m waiting on an order of empty paint tubes to arrive, so I’m using a one ounce jar in the meantime.

Here’s a scan of the paint on a piece of watercolor paper. I painted it over some black Sharpie marks to show how opaque it is. It also thins down nicely. Now I’m ready to get back to work.