Tag: landscape

A fountain pen I really enjoy, and some drawings I made with it

Since April, I’ve been using the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon black ink. I originally heard about this pen through an art facebook group that I’m a part of. I used the ink cartridge that came with the pen and I’m on my second cartridge. I haven’t yet tried the converter. The ink cartridges and converters come with a small ball bearing inside to agitate the ink and prevent clumping, which is quite unique.

pen and ink landscape pond
©2019 Carolyn A Pappas, Hopedale Pond (June 2019). Platinum Carbon ink in large moleskine.

An interesting hack I found online is when Cathy Johnson used a hacksaw to remove the pointy tapered end of the pen so it would accept the cap. I personally don’t mind if I can’t cap the end of the pen, but I think this is a very creative solution.

All summer, I’ve been making pen and ink drawings of various places that I’ve visited for day trips and small getaways. It’s been the longest time that I’ve worked in one medium without deviating and so far I haven’t lost interest. This is the closest thing I’ve done to a series in fact. Some of these drawings are duds, of course, but I will have to collect my favorite ones and find an interesting way to display/publish them.

I made these drawings from photos I took at the Hopedale Fairy Walk in the Hopedale Parklands. Here is an interesting story I found about the history of the pond and how women gained the right to go swimming in it in the early 1900’s. I always like to find out little tidbits about the history of the places I visit.

pen and ink landscape pond trees
©2019 Carolyn A Pappas, Hopedale Pond in Portrait Orientation (June 2019). Platinum Carbon ink in large moleskine.

pen and ink landscape lake pond tree
©2019 Carolyn A Pappas, Hopedale Pond with Overhanging Tree (June 2019). Platinum Carbon ink in large moleskine.

John Hanson Project album art

Back to Art in the New Year

John Hanson Project album art
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Wilderness River. Pen and ink with watercolor, 8 x 8 inches. Album art for John Hanson Project.

I had so many plans for my art in 2018 but things did not work as planned. I sorely underestimated the mental and physical energy that working full time as a new nurse would require. I was working more hours than a normal 40 hour workweek with odd shifts and a very irregular sleep schedule. For the last three months of the year, I didn’t pick up a pencil or a paint brush even one time and I felt so out of sorts. I’ve since taken some steps to remedy that situation and I’m looking forward to having more time for artwork in the coming months.

I have no formal goals for this year, but I just want to have fun and concentrate on making art daily or as close to daily as possible. I also want to focus on sending out my newsletter every month–I neglected to send that out for the last few months of the year and I regretted it. My January edition will be going out within the next few days (click here to sign up).

I’m looking forward to what 2019 will hold for me and I hope that everyone reading this has a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead.


Above is an illustration I completed for the cover art for the self-released album by John Hanson Project. I’ve known John for several years and he is an extremely dedicated musician who has been working tirelessly for years to realize his musical dreams. I highly recommend that you check out his new album Go On.

pen and ink mountain sketch

Explorers’ Sketchbooks

Although I have taken some memorable trips in the past, I am more of a homebody and prefer the comfort of my familiar environment. I do love to read travelogues and travel vicariously through other people’s photos though.

I recently found the book Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure by husband and wife Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Hebert. It is a thick book (320 pages) and features photos of artists and sketchbook spreads from 70 different explorers’ sketchbooks, logs, and nature journals.

I haven’t had a chance to read all of the profiles yet, but I’ve been enjoying myself by reading one or two essays at a time in spare moments. I really like how there is a mix or photographs showing the book in its entirety (tattered pages, crumbling spine, etc.) as well as details of individual drawings and photos/drawings of the artists themselves. Another thing I appreciate is that the featured sketchbooks are from modern day explorers as well as those from the more distant past. Although many of the sketchbook pages shown are beautifully illustrated, there are also some utilitarian pages included with lists of figures, diagrams and penciled in comments.

I think my favorite sketchbook so far is from Edward Norton. He had some majestic mountain landscapes featured, as well as closeup studies of plants. His quote below reminds me of something that a modern day plein air sketcher would say.

“I sketched feverishly, my water freezing as fast as I put it on the paper, as also my fingers.” -Edward Norton (1884-1954)

Clearly this book was on my mind when I came across some of my late great uncle’s photographs while organizing through my reference photos on the computer recently. I couldn’t resist making an ink and watercolor interpretation of this mountain scene as if I were on location. Unfortunately, my uncle didn’t label or organize any of his photos so it is a mystery as to where he was when he took the photo.

If you can recognize this scene, or can suggest any similar books featuring the inside of sketchbooks, please leave me a comment below.

pen and ink mountain sketch
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Exploring (4/6/2018). Noodler’s Luxury Blue and Lexington Gray ink and watercolor wash in large moleskine.
gnome art

Gnome in the Woods

gnome art
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Gnome in the Woods. Ink and watercolor, 4.5 x 5.75 inches.

This is a small pen and ink and watercolor that I did last winter while I was on semester break, halfway through my nursing program. It was drawn partly from life and partly from my imagination (obviously!). Two weeks ago, I finally graduated from school and I am looking forward to huge changes for 2018. I am feeling relieved, excited, and a little scared all at the same time. In terms of my artwork, finishing school will mean that I will have more time to paint, draw, and do other creative projects.

I hope everyone had a relaxing festive season. I love this time between Christmas and New Year’s—it is when I review my past year and strategize for the upcoming one. Over the next few days, I will be posting all the remaining work from this year that I haven’t posted yet, along with a review of 2017 and some of my art goals for 2018.

landscape sketch

Lost and Found Artwork, Part 1

My three week summer vacation went by way too fast and now I am back to school and pushing through my last semester. Although I did a lot of drawing on my vacation, I have gotten out of practice and don’t have a lot of work to show for it. I did find some artwork from 2016 that I never posted before. Here they are and thanks for visiting.

landscape sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Windy Day (5/14/2016). Pen, watercolor and rubber stamping in large moleskine.
weeping katsuratree
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Under the Weeping Katsuratree. Pen and ink and watercolor wash on 5 x 7 inch greeting card.
watercolor garden sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Watercolor Garden Sketch (December 2016). Watercolor in large moleskine.
mexican pond painting

Painting from Other People’s Travel Photos

mexican pond painting
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Exotic Swimming Hole. Ink, watercolor, and Inktense colored pencils, 7 x 5 inches.

A friend of mine took a trip to Mexico a few years ago and gave me permission to make a painting from one of his snapshots. I have been planning to make this little painting for ages now, but never got to it until now. I haven’t traveled in the past several years, but someday I would like to visit some beautiful locations and make some paintings like this in person.

I used a Pigma FB brush pen and went over it with juicy watercolor and some Inktense colored pencils. I removed all the people and buildings from the picture because I wanted a more peaceful and natural looking scene. This little painting was a lot of fun!

lake horizon sketch

One Year Ago Today: Nothing to do but Relax

lake horizon sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Slow Sketch (5/10/2016). Ink in large moleskine.

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? -E. M. Forster

I’m looking back into my sketchbook from one year ago today. I made this little sketch while sitting on the wall by the shoreline looking out over the lake. The weather was very pleasant and I remember taking my time making the individual marks with the pen. On that day I had no commitments and nothing special to do. It was lovely.

tree lined path drawing

Pliny’s Allée

tree lined path drawing
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Pliny’s Allée. Copic sepia fineliners and watercolor on blank greeting card, 4 x 6 inches.

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

It’s actually feeling pretty spring-like today, but there is still snow on the ground. I can’t wait until it is consistently warm and sunny outside.

For this piece, I used my new set of sepia Copic Multiliner Pens. I really do like them and they offer a nice alternative to black. The only downside is that I wish they were just a tad darker and that the nibs were not so fine. I usually gravitate toward the thinnest nib in the set, but for some reason, these pens were especially fine.

winter landscape

Winter in Wales

winter landscape
Carolyn A Pappas, Winter in Wales. Ink and watercolor, 4 x 4.25 inches on blank greeting card.
I found myself inspired by this instagram photo by Michael Nobbs, who is based in Wales. He allowed me to use it as a reference and I came up with the above pen and ink and watercolor piece. I usually only work from my own photos, but in this case, I didn’t mind and I enjoyed myself in the process. Taking my time on the drawing was a nice distraction from school and everything else going on in my own world, as well as the bigger world.

watercolor landscape painting

Twitter Art Exhibit: Stratford-upon-Avon

watercolor landscape painting
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, The Wachusett Reservoir. Watercolor, 3 x 5 inches on a 4 x 6 inch card.
This morning, I mailed my submission to Stratford-upon-Avon, UK for the seventh Twitter Art Exhibit. The organization that is benefiting from the show is Molly Olly’s Wishes, which supports terminally ill children and their families. Over the years, I have really enjoyed participating in the project, as it has given me a feeling of being a part of something greater than myself. I hope to continue the tradition in the future.

About the painting:

I based this watercolor sketch from a snapshot I took this past July from a hilltop at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. It shows the Wachusett Reservoir and Wachusett Mountain/Mount Wachusett in the background. In 1842, Henry David Thoreau traveled from Concord to Mount Wachusett on foot over four days and wrote about it in his essay, A Walk to Wachusett. It’s a really interesting read, especially his comments on the Worcester accent, which apparently was a thing even back then.