kingcups3.15 p.m., 50ºF, 10ºF, 85% cloud, 30.1 inches, 1022 mb: My first job this morning at 6 a.m. was to flip open the studio skylight window and emphatically bang it shut again to shoo off a pair of mallards who were tucking into the tadpoles in our back garden pond. Yes, I know that all of those thousands of tadpoles can’t possibly survive but I somehow feel responsible for them. As I draw these kingcups, I can see them constantly coming to the surface, so the ducks haven’t made much of an impression on their numbers.


I’M NOT FINDING pen and Indian ink a responsive medium as I draw these Kingcups by the pond. If I don’t press heavily enough on the paper I don’t get a mark but if I press too hard on the springy nib the pressure builds up for a moment and then – whizz! – the nib sets off and draws a straighter line than I’d intended!

Surely, if I keep at it, I can exercise some relaxed control over the recalcitrant medium. The ink soon goes claggy and even during this short session of drawing I have to pause to clean the coagulating Winsor & Newton black ink from the nib.

Is it the beautifully sunny but not sultry weather that’s drying the ink too quickly or is it the shrill excited scream every five seconds of next door’s children playing happily on a trampoline a few yards away that’s putting me off my stroke?

I think that I’ve been spoilt by the predictably flowing combination of ArtPen and Noodler’s ink. It’s second nature to draw with that combination, but I would like to experiment with different mediums, which create different marks.

Anyway, time to admit defeat, perhaps I’ll add some colour later when it’s a bit quieter!