Still life #7: “Fountain Pens”

parker schafer sm

Strangely enough, the picture here (on my screen, at least) is larger than life size. It looks better on my website or on instagram (@rauhauser). It looks pretty good in person, too….  At any rate, these are two pens I once used daily. One was a gift from one of my old bosses (a great guy). The other I purchased because I became addicted to fountain pens. However, as someone who likes to sketch with pen and ink, I have always been disappointed with fountain pens because their nibs are stiff resulting in unexpressive lines. For drawing I always use a dip pen.

A word about the background colors: the blue is manganese blue from Vasari Paints in NYC (the only brand of paints I use). Real manganese blue pigment is no longer produced because the byproducts of its manufacture art much too toxic. What Vasari has, if they still have any, will be their last.

The black half of this painting is a mixed black using phthalo blue, burnt siena and alizarin crimson. A few years back I needed the darkest, richest black I could find, but it wasn’t available straight from the tube. Ivory black is just a bit too flat and dull. In making my own I found I could vary the depth of the color by changing the ratios of the three constituents. It is a beautiful thing. The only problem is controlling the color day after day if you need to keep remixing for large areas or touchups, but nothing is perfect!

This is painted in oils on a 7” x 5” panel.

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