Your Values Matter


October Sunday afternoon,  Concord NH

The flowers at the police memorial sculpture in Concord were beautiful in the noonday sun, but by the time I got back over there at 2 o’clock the light had changed and most of it was in lovely shade. The mums are deep burgundy, bright purple, and lemon yellow, glorious with the cobalt blue sky and fiery leaves strewn about. I felt like the equivalent of a guest at the Four Seasons Restaurant on the first day of a self-imposed fast. Why, you ask?

My own fault of course. I recently finished up a sketchbook, and had decided to give my new square-format book a theme: “B-Plus”.  That means every shade of Black, plus only one accent color. And that’s the book I had in my bag.

The point is to practice getting the values right, consistently.

The ink I am using in my fountain pen is called ‘Lexington Grey’, and it offers me the silkiness of high quality ink, with a ‘color’ that is reminiscent of soft pencil marks. All in all a very sensual, gentle experience really. I have learned from studying Danny Gregory’s work (in Every Day Matters) that there is a strange tyranny in using pencil:

Erasers Offer The Siren Song of Self-Doubt.

With ink you can certainly make corrective second and third lines, but all prior lines are revealed too, making the final sketch more like a movie than a pristine snapshot. This style of sketch conveys more energy, more action, more ‘process’. I have grown very accustomed to this ink-first approach, and use a water-brush filled with watered-down ink for the grey shading.

[Tangential aside: Have you ever seen the Tracy/Hepburn movie “Desk Set”? It is a classic. There is a scene in it where Hepburn has gotten very drunk at a Christmas party, and she is trying to say, “Lexington Avenue bus.” It comes out slurred, sounding more like ‘Mexican Avenue bus’, which sends her into spasms of laughter including unexpected nose snorts. When I use this Lexington Grey ink I think of that scene and I grin. Another film review by Herron instead of Ebert.]

But I digress…I finished my sketching time with stiff, cold fingers and a craving for hot tea. As I walked from the Legislative Office Building Plaza to Main Street, I stopped at the little ATM room at the front of my bank and laughed, noticing the floor needed raking, not sweeping! All along the sidewalks on the way to the cafe there were dancing mini-cyclones of colorful crunchy leaves crashing and levitating with the enthusiasm of a Gene Kelly tap-dance. I paused and closed my eyes to listen as well, and heard an inland version of sea waves breaking on a pebbly shoreline. Tomorrow I will try to record the sound of these scampering leaves so I can play it back in my snug loft apartment during a February blizzard. I love autumn in all its glory, and it will soon give way to unknown, equally beautiful surprises. Stay tuned.



(In case you’re interested, Hand Book Journal 5.5″ x 5.5″ Square , Lamy fountain pen, Lexington Grey ink,  Pentel Aquash brush)

About Bobbie Herron

I live surrounded by watercolor brushes and paints, fountain pens, sketchbooks, and journals- often wanting more than anything to write and paint at the same time. If you like what you're reading, feel free to share it with others. If you see something that needs correction, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!
This entry was posted in Musings on Life, Pen & Ink, Sketchbooks, Watercolor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Your Values Matter

  1. Dana says:

    You’ve given me the push to full one of my pens with the Lexi Gray. Somehow it had fallen out of favor and it’s time to get it back into the rotation!


  2. Karen says:

    Beautiful! Thanks, Bobbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melanie Fisk says:


    On Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 7:22 PM, Aloft with Inspiration wrote:

    > Bobbie Herron posted: ” October Sunday afternoon, Concord NH The flowers > at the police memorial sculpture in Concord were beautiful in the noonday > sun, but by the time I got back over there at 2 o’clock the light had > changed and most of it was in yet-lovely shade. The mums a” >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s