Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oddment Sings the Blueb's

It's October! Time to curl up & hide!

Okay, not really. I love October-- the crisp weather, the leaves turning, Halloween*-- also, it's always my month to host Book Club, which I thoroughly enjoy. It's actually not until November that I start to feel tinges of those Winter blues, drifting toward the "discouraged, morbid & ill."

Truth to tell, today's experiment was a bit discouraging too. I tried blueberry ink for the first, & probably the last, time. I had some "blueb's" that were beginning to go mushy, so I picked out the bad ones, smashed them up with a bit of white vinegar & salt to preserve color & prevent ickies, & strained them 3 times. Then I tried to concentrate the color in the microwave. Having made jelly in the past, I should have known better!

Due to the sugar & pectin in the fruit, it was very hard to get the ink dark enough to be more than faintly visible without having it gel up. I never did achieve a strength & consistency that satisfied me. Also despite using a super-fine strainer, there were little dark flecks in the ink that were a bit irritating. But oh well, the pallor, spottiness & stickiness sort of fit the gloomy theme. And experiment, successful or not, is part of the idea behind Her Odd Materials. (This is H.O.M. No. 6.)

Pencil, blueberry ink & white gouache on found paper, with some Photoshop tweaking.

The background of this one is a page from Reading Character At Sight, Seven Simple Lessons by Katherine M.H. Blackford, M.D., ©1922. The book is hilarious reading, purporting to psychoanalyze strangers instantly, using such vital clues as the fineness of their hair. It seems to be aimed mainly at salesmen. It was of course a Fleam Find.

*Fellow Halloween enthusiasts might be interested in, a blog that rounds up blogs with an October focus on Halloween. I'll be participating in this year's countdown!


  1. Ah, too bad about the blueberry. You did get a lovely color after all your trouble. The beast though, is the best part. What a grumpy thing. Or maybe petulant would be a better word - I fear someone's hurt his delicate feelings. Very adorable and expressive. :)

  2. Despite all your difficulties with the blueberry, I think this illustration turned out great! I really like it!

  3. I love the blueberry stain. Maybe I love the story behind it just as much. I've been playing with black walnuts lately, so maybe I'm mostly glad I'm not the only one looking for alternate art supplies? Always love your critters :)

  4. I like your Blueberry experiment . I tried some berries as well, but the color in the sun disappeared. But tea works fine on get nice "old-fashioned" look . But frankly told, it makes more sense if it is my stomach ...:)

    No wonder that the animal on the picture looks very "uncomfortable" : he is carnivorous !

  5. Thanks, everyone! It was definitely a learning experience. ;-)

    Cindy, I do think the poor beastie is sulking.

    Linda, tea is next on my list!

    Art, he does look a bit like my sons when there were too many vegetarian dinners in a row, ha!