Picture and Words Project: Limbo

This post should have two photos, a drawing I’m working on, and what I wrote on the back of the paper.

I started this particular drawing at the beginning of August. One of the key ideas about drawing that I wrote about and is important to me is the not knowing how the drawing will end up or look, and trusting the process and the mystery and enjoying it. That is one thing that connects this drawing process to the Altered Books I’ve been writing a lot about. You don’t know what will happen next, or if you will cover what you’re doing now or how things will end up. The book just unfolds as you make it, like with drawing…

Here’s what I wrote while continuing the drawing two months later:

” I started this drawing in August. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up a drawing from a while ago. I can’t get back in it, or I don’t know if it’s perhaps finsihed. This drawing is very unfinished and I felt like going back into it. Sometimes when I use a lot of colors and all different pens, I get frustrated with there being too much color. Then I cover it with a dark color to get it to feel less chaotic. For some reason, this drawing didn’t give me the urge to cover it. I got the urge to fill it up and started on the left side but jumped to the far right side. I haven’t used this paper in a while. It’s think. Also it’s not smooth so you sometimes have to press into it. This drawing still feels like it’s about freedom. Anything can happen next time I work on it. Do I fill up all the white space of leave some of it alone? Is it another cityscape? Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know. It’s a weird limbo. Maybe the title is Limbo. Then I look at it again and feel impatient. I want to finish it quickly. Then when I pick up a pen, I just draw and don’t care about it taking hours more. Would it look different if I spent 3 full hours on it instead of 15-20 minutes at a time? Not knowing is a big part of drawing for me. It’s none of my business how this will look. All I know is the now of drawing it.”

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15 Minutes of Writing

I wrote a post yesterday that I can’t access, so I’m starting over with another 15 minute writing exercise. I have found that using a timer is quite interesting and magical, in that you can see how much longer 15 minutes is than it seems. When you exercise, 5 minutes can seem like an eternity. I think writing and drawing for 15 minutes in the morning is like a kind of mental going to the gym.

I’ve been obsessed with various art materials over the years. I’ll discover or rediscover something and then use it a lot and get into getting more of them. I’ve been obsessed with pens for a long time, first Retro 51 writing pens, and more recently, all kinds of art pens. I usually get random art supplies thinking people who come to my studio for therapy or supervision or hang outs will use them. Sometimes I discover something because a patient picks it out to use. A few years ago I got a few paint pens. One night someone in my supervision group started using them and I was really impressed and thought, “How is it I had little interest in these? Look at the cool stuff this person is making!” So I copied them and started using the paint pens. Of course I needed more than just a few metallic and primary colors so I ordered more. Then I looked into other brands and also got into different size nibs. I mostly liked the medium nibs at the time because they get paint in them quicker and you don’t have to struggle so much with them. Getting into the paint pens got me re acquainted with metallic markers, the cheap ones I found at Walmart years ago that are better than Sharpie metallic markers. One time I was in a session with someone and they opened one of those markers and there was mold growing on the tip. That was the weirdest thing I encountered with a pen. I hadn’t ever seen mold on a marker.

I also bought a lot of gel pens because so many people like to use coloring pages in sessions. The Japanese jelly roll pens have always been my favorite because they really are great quality. Recently when I started drawing 15 minutes a day, I got re acquainted with very fine pens. I had tried them out a few years ago and dismissed them as being too annoying because they are hard to use and take a while to build up any color. Then I got some supplies from the Sketchbook Project. Once in a while they send free supplies with the sketchbook or with some other project. Recently I got some thin nib pens from them and tried them out in my 15 minute drawings and got hooked. The Sketchbook Project over a year ago sent me some pens and pencils and one of them was a Letraset Aqua marker. I used it a little and then left it for a long time. I recently picked it up again and got obsessed so I ordered a set of 12 in off colors, like peach, light lavender, light brown. These are great markers as they are a cross between brush pens and illustration pens. Like those, they have a dual tip, but one tip is fine but not really thin and the other looks tapered like a brush but doesn’t flex the way a brush tip does. Unlike illustration markers, they are watercolor like the brush pens, so they are kind of a paint pen and have a wash quality. They come with a blender pen and you can layer thinner pens on top of the marks you make.

I started writing about art making and art supplies in more detail a few years ago when I started writing personal narrative pieces about art and life. I’ve noticed that it seems like a good subject for my writing because it’s something I’m really into and writing about materials seems to bring up other interesting topics.

I recently got rid of a bunch of old canvases. I had made paintings in oil on them in the early 2000s.

Serially Lost: How many beautiful pens by Retro 51 will I lose?

  Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
Limited Batch 2003
Full-Time Flavor 2004-2012

“From the moment that this oatmeal went
There’s been no end to fans’ lament.
If you’d “sowed more oats” before the reap
We wouldn’t have buried it quite so deep.”

This is all in the context of my misplacing things a lot, and, it seems to be very particular things. The Retro 51 pens are the most crazy. I discovered this pen many years ago when another pen enthusiastmily in my fa gave me a couple of them on different occasions. At some point, I got excited about them. At that point I had an old red marbleized one, a cork pen and matching cork pencil, and a very pretty bubblegum pink one. Then I found a leopard print one and started to get obsessed with these pens. the design is simple, retro and beautiful, and they keep coming up with cool patterns and textures for them. The first one I lost was the bubblegum pink one. I got that one when my gifted gave me a shiny red one. I didn’t like the red color and already had a red one, so I went to the Fountain Pen Hospital, cool pen store down the street from me and exchanged it for this great pink one. I remember losing that one mostly because I remember frantically looking on the internet for a replacement one as I loved the color so much, and it had become my favorite pen. I snagged one probably on Ebay and payed around 28$ to replace it. I had my head on with that one, as I at some point decided to leave it in my studio and use it there. It is in my studio and with the leopard print one it stays there, the only place these pens are safe from being lost.

I now cannot find a photo of it, but here is a photo of the cork ones, which I never lost, mostly because I forgot about it for a few years and only recently got it out with it’s pencil partner when looking for several other ones in a frantic attempt to find a few of them: This pen now resides in my studio, and the pencil is precariously traveling with me in my bag, in great danger of getting lost! This is an old set, and they are of course out of stock, so I luckily have a rare set that I have yet to lose

http://www.monstermarketplace.com/pens-and-leather-executive-gifts/retro-1951-tornado-deluxe-vino-pen-and-pencil-set

Coninuint my saga of my growing relationship with Retro 51 pens, a few years ago, I found a really cool Limited Edition “Bloom” pen, which I gave as a gift to my Retro 51 family member; I liked it so much, I ordered one for myself. I think I lost that one twice; I have memories of frantic searches and snagging a replacement, but get this: I lost the replacement one. I can’t even remember when or how I lost it, but I was so annoyed with myself; I had to give up. By then I had expert skills at trolling the internet and knew all the pen stores and pen blog sites,so I gave up. Recently I found the Retro 51 blog and commented on a post. The guy from the company actually gave me a phone number to call, so I called them, still a year or so later desperate to find this beautiful red pen with flowers on it. A person from the company actually called me back and did a search for me to no avail. I then confess that about two weeks ago, I texted the family member I gave it to and described it, asking her if she wanted to trade it for a different one. Rightly so, she said she likes it and wants to keep it. I’m the fool who gave it to her and then gave myself two copies of it! Here’s a photo of this pen that feels like The Pen in my life; the one that got away…
There are only 500 of these that exist, so I am very jealous of the 498 ones out there and the two that I lost:

Continuing my ridiculous saga of this pen obsession, which you can understand more when you look at their website: this company has something cool going on with their retro look. Limited Editions have become a big thing in the past few years. I’ve actually gotten obsessed with the concept of the “limited” edition. Ben and Jerry has Limited Edition Ice cream flavors. I still remember one of them that I got obsessive about finding and figuring out which places still carried that flavor. Ben and Jeryy actually have a “graveyard” filled with their Limited Edition flavors, what a great idea to have a “graveyard” for objects that are purposefully “ended”, as a way to torture the consumer and make the obsessive collector happy they have something special! This week Target had a crazy crash on their website due to the new designer they are collaborating with,; it was similar to the 2011 fall Missoni for Target, which was very limited. I confess to loving Missoni, and I scored on that one as I was very crazy, went online the moment it came out, and even as late as a year ago, found a pair of gloves from them under the 20$ or so they charged just by looking on Ebay. I was happyy to read about this craze from a distance, and to not have had any interest in running to Target or their website for this round of Crazy Designer Collaboration. Here’s the Ben and Jerry graveyard: the little poem at the top is about the flavor I obsessed about for a few years of its existence! They not only have the graveyard with tombstones of ice cream flavors, they have a separate link to the most missed flavors. They have a great flair for feeling the enjoyment of the Limited Edition: There is something almost sexual about this whole idea of tasting something, or having something, that then becomes extinct and gets taken away, that only a select few get to keep!
http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/flavor-graveyard

Retro 51 have a series of Limited Edition pens. Since the “Bloom” pen incident, I have bought a few more of these pens, mostly in the past six months or so. The next one I remember getting was the Pinball one, called a “Popper” pen, this one is “Flipper”. I think the Popper series is one of Limited Editions. So this one is still hanging out on Amazon and in other stores. There are 750 of them, of which I have now bought two.
http://www.amazon.com/Retro-51-Flipper-Tornado-Rollerball/dp/B00M18XETI
I got this one a while ago, very excited as Pinball itself is a very vintage retro game that I loved playing in college. I manage to keep this one for a while, during which I discovered another “Popper” called “Splat” Snapper. It immediately seduced me as it is a comic book graphics design. There are 750 of them out there. I resisted buying one, as I felt guilty about my recent purchase of the Flipper, so I decided to ask one of my relatives to give it to me for a holiday present, which ended up being a late birthday present that i just recently scored. This cool pen which you actually push down to open instead of rotating the top, I have managed to take with me on my spring vacation and kept in two different bags without losing it. Since losing the Flipper one right after my vacation, I put this one in my studio. IT’s there right now, and I think I need to leave it there until I learn how to hold on to these pend hns.

These limited edition pens are their Pop series and have a history which they explain on their blog, if you’re actually crazy like me to want to know about this idea of torturing people with a 500 or so limit!
The Tornado POP Series
Right before getting the Splat gift pen I had suddenly realized I lost another pen recently purchased. This one is from another Retro 51 collection named “Vintage Metalsmith”. I bought the “Roosevelt” when I was obsession about trying to get the Bloom Popper and failing; it was meant as kind of a replacement pen, some device I invented to feel less guilty about spending so much time and money on these pens and losing them constantly. I’m not sure how long I had the Roosevelt, as I actually lost it but did not even notice I lost it until a while later by which time I had no ideaa where it was. I had taken it on my week off in December I think but it disappeared at some point. Meanwhile I found out about the “monochromatic” ones. As an artist, this appealed to me that the pen is dipped in color and the whole thing is that color. OF course I got the bubblegum pink one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_vintage.html
By the time I had my spring break upstate a few weeks ago, I had spent a frystrating time looking for the Roosevelt and the flower one and getting those last two. So I brought a bunch of pens and art supplies on my trip, including the Pow, the Flipper and the monochromatic pink one, as well as my newly dug up cork pencil; I knew I was tempting the Fates. Could I hold on to that many Retro 51s and carefully use them?

The answer was no. I got home and as usual, had “forgotten” about “checking” that I had them all until some time last week when I realized I had lost my Flipper pinball pen. I was so enraged at myself that I shared my loss with a patient who has a lot of so-called “anger management” issues; the share was about me being annoyed at myself and super frustrated and feeling angry right before seeing this patient, who I’m sure was amused to see me so pissed off because he commented on it.

I then in secret proceeded to find one of the 750 online that I think cost a few dollars less than the first one I got. I received it in the mail this monday at my studio and it has not left my studio.

I am happyy to report that i have refrained from getting the following other Retro 51 pens that tempt me. The bamboo one: that was hard; I almost bought one but managed to stop myself!
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_bamboo.html
The “stealth which is kind of monochromatic black one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_deluxe.html

And I now almost lost this whole post, which I better save or I will go nuts!

writing this post caused me to really look at their whole website, and I discovered just now that they have started making tiny little pens, so cute. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will just check how much they cost…
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_elitebpandpc.html

Worst of all, going to the blog post on their website about the Limited Edition Popper series, I saw the very first ones, so pretty and floral, and now I’m thinking, where the heck could you find one of those?

Luckily the pen industry seems to have no graveyard, no place to get second hand pens. Ebay sells Retro 51 pens, but only the ones that are recently out. No pen collector seems to want to part with their old Retro 51s.

So anyway, now I am trying to hold on to the lovely pens I have, the pink, the leopard print, the cork pair, the old red one I left in my house, and the special Flipper and Splat. I am attempting to keep the monochromatic pink one in my bag with the cork pencil. Who knows how long I can hold on to them, but I like to draw and write in my just found journal with these writing implements, so I will carry only one or two on me, and keep the rest safe. I will attempt to avoid purchasing any more for at least six months. Let’s see if that lasts…

Q&A with our Fans #2

Art Materials: I love them all and I am obsessed with pens! I’m a big Retro 51 collector, but I don’t have a huge collection. This person does!

The Retro 51 Blog

This is the second question and answer blog post with some of our fans. We met Deb through a Facebook contest. She won a contest and in talking with her we found out she was a serious Retro collector!

Name: Deb Hays

How many Retro pens and product do you own:
I’m not sure — but over two hundred pens

IMG_20150330_085423_929

Which Retro was your first one? Was it a gift or purchase for yourself?
I honestly don’t remember which one I got first, although I’m pretty sure it was a Tornado, probably one of the lacquers.  I bought it for myself.

What characteristic about our products are you drawn to?
The pens are a superior quality for a very reasonable price.

Do you have a favorite or a top five favorites?
Not in any particular order:
1. Swish – I bought the “Swish” for myself and my son to add…

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