DuranteRecently my husband made a comment about Jimmy Durante. Yeah, it came about while he was looking at my wonky cat with the big nose.

“Does anybody even know who Jimmy Durante was anymore?” he then asked.

“Probably not,” I replied. I doubt if folks from outside my generation have ever heard of the schnoz., which means his well-known line of “Inka-dinka-doo” probably isn’t familiar to very many people these days.

Of course, I’ve had that song in my head ever since, especially since the current “live lesson” project at The Virtual Instructor involves ink wash.

Ink and I have never gotten along too well as far as art goes. For writing, I love ink, and I’ve always been one of those who does everything in pen, including crossword puzzles. I adore old-fashioned fountain pens and once learned calligraphy, although I was never very good at it.

Last December I started the Pen and Ink Experience course at The Virtual Instructor, and I was nervous about it from the start. After a few weeks, I gave up the class. My ink drawings were awful. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Since starting the current ink wash project, I’ve come to appreciate ink slightly more. I’ve enjoyed doing ink wash paintings, but I’ve been disappointed with the results once the ink has dried. I’ll keep working with ink, and in fact, I’ll probably do a little exploring and see what different types of inks are available.

I’ve also been looking back at my original work from the Pen and Ink course. It’s surprising, actually, to see that much of what I did was actually good. Take a look, for example, at this practice worksheet. The download sheet consisted of blank cubes. It was my task to “texture” each cube as directed. After completing the first six, I added a cube and invented a texture of my own. I wasn’t too good at drawing the cube, but all of my textures looked good.

Ink Exercises

Well, maybe not the sponge cube so much. I didn’t have any examples to follow, so I was just guessing on what a sponge cube might look like.

Ink Drawing 2015I didn’t care much for my first pen-and-ink drawing at the time. Again, looking back, maybe it’s not so bad as I once thought.

I’m referring to it as a drawing, although it used both brush and pen.

The most fun I’ve had with ink has come from what I call “blob exercises”, where you simply start with a blob of black ink and see where you can go from there.

Ink Drawing WaterfallI’ve never been able to go very far. This scene with mountain, trees, and a black ink waterfall was probably my most successful attempt.

Now that I’m getting a little more comfortable with ink and have learned a little more about both painting and drawing, it might be fun to go back and do this exercise again just to see what I might come up with.

That’s how my fanciful “Ghost Ship in the Moonlight” ink wash painting came about although it all but faded from the page once dry. I have a lot to learn about using “washes” of diluted ink.

I’m glad, however, that where I once dreaded doing any artwork with ink, I can now enjoy the process and even have a little fun with it. In fact, I’d like to invite all of my friends to have a little fun with me!

On June 28, I’m going to post another ink wash made from this creativity exercise:

Creativity Exercise with Ink Wash

I’m inviting each of you to do the same. All you’ll need is black India ink, watercolor paper, a brush, and if you want to also use ink pens in finishing your drawing, that’s fine, too. We have so much talent in our online art community, it will be incredibly fun to see what everyone comes up with.

June 28 is next Tuesday, so I’m hoping that will give everyone time to try out the exercise. Please leave me a comment and let me know that you’re going to take part in my “Inka-Dinka-Doo Day”.






  1. You and ink seem to get along just fine. I had fun looking at the boxes and the different textures. I thought your blob picture turned into something nice.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I won’t be home to do it, I got my camping trip I’m leaving for tomorrow and I won’t be home till late Monday night. When I get back I will look around for supplies because I don’t have those either.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, yeah, I forgot about your camping trip. I’ve been so busy trying to get my Perfectly Posh business going I’ve hardly had time to keep up with art blogs 😦 Have fun! And if you ever need any Perfectly Posh to pamper yourself with, let me know 🙂

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  2. I forgot to mention that I do very much remember Jimmy Durante…I seldom forget someone who has made me laugh 😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the unforgiving nature of pen and ink can be a bit intimidating at first, but I think (like with most things) once you get past the lack of control and just embrace the journey/process. You start seeing results and you find the enjoyment of creating.

    I love the floaty, dream-like feel of your ink-blob environment. The simplicity of it reminds me of the Japanese zen watercolor paintings of mountains. Very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. You’re exactly right. Ink can be intimidating. I’m starting to enjoy the process a little more now, so that’s one of the reasons why I want to try the “blob” exercise again. I’m sure it will be more fun than it was before. 🙂


  4. I love ink, used with the brush! its such Fun!
    and yours was so free and joyful and Sensitive. I really enjoyed it, I am so glad that you said you’re going to do more of these!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your pen and ink exercises, Judith. Another new thing I learned today….adding texture. The only thing I know how to use india ink is when I practice calligraphy but I’ll look into the link you provided and see if I can participate.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve watched the video four times since this afternoon and I think come what may, I’ll be brave to share what I make by Tuesday. Will experiment on it this weekend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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