Followers of this blog (hello my lovelies) will have been informed by now of the indisputable fact that Nick Stewart is too talented and this is definitely because he is a witch who should be burned at the stake. Oddly, my regular assertions of this fact do not appear to have put him off being my friend, so I can only conclude that he’s very nice as far as evil sorcerers go. Anyway, in order to have a glimpse into this bizarre witchcraft, and in light of the fact that I actually live fairly near him, I gave him money and showed up at his place. For a workshop, I hasten to add. The trains were only once an hour, so I arrived in Rochester almost an hour early, walked around the shops (I swear Rochester charity shops are the weirdest ones on the planet), and then got lost and managed to be late: this is how the Cantatrice do.
The first thing to note is that Nick is a very nice man.
Him: Hello it’s so nice to meet you at last! I love your blog.
Me: Really? Because I have literally said that you are a witch who should be burnt at the stake on that blog. Several times.
Him: Haha I’ve had worse!
And now I want to know. Who are these strange, aggressive people who are so angry with a nice man who just wants the world to love bleach? Why are they so angry that they think a particularly painful execution is too good for him? I may never know.
The second thing to note is that he has a lot of ink.
I am definitely whipping these photos out the next time someone suggests I have an ink hoarding problem.
The third thing is that he’s very committed to what he does, and he has the enthusiasm level of a puppy on crack. He’s all PEOPLE OF THE WORLD CHUCK SOME INK AT PAPER AND THEN BLEACH THE HELL OUT OF IT IT IS SO FUN AND JUST TURNS INTO AWESOME ART EVEN IF YOU’RE RUBBISH AT ART. You have to catch this enthusiasm. You can’t fight it. He’s recently released his own range of CMYK(ish) inks for artists to mix their own colours with. As someone who has tried to use fp inks for art, and failed because they don’t mix in predictable ways, I have been waiting for this one for two years. WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG MY DUDE?
This whole thing was a tremendous amount of fun. It’s all based on a fairly simple principle: put some water onto paper. Put fountain pen ink onto the water. Put bleach over the top. But there are details in the process that make a big difference. My main reason for wanting to learn the ways of the Medway Witch is that I pretty much fell over sideways when I first saw his art, but then trying to replicate the technique at home produced frustratingly rubbish results. Obviously I’m not as good an artist, generally, as Nick is. But I’m not as bad as THAT. Grumble. It turns out that you gotta slap that water, ink and bleach on in certain ways. And on certain paper. And some inks are just rubbish for this.
I ended up being extremely annoying by repeatedly correcting his pronunciation of “Herbin”, “Tomoe” and “Edelstein”. I’m sorry. It’s like a weird tic I have. BUT IT’S NOT TAMO. HOW DID YOU EVEN READ IT THAT WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE? I am sorry. Sort of.
As the session wore on he mentioned in passing that he’d been given samples of the new Diamine shimmer inks so OBVIOUSLY I had to check them out. I did some Stewart-style swatching.
My conclusion is that the new shimmers are nothing particularly impressive, really. They are all quite close to existing Diamine shimmers. Last year’s new additions were gorgeous. I’m not really feeling it this year. But it was fun nonetheless to have a go.
In the end we three noble workshop attendees had to pack up and go home so that other things could happen to all four of us. I ended up finishing the best (well the one I’m happiest with) of my creations when I got home. Conclusions: Nick is a sweetie, toxic chemicals are FUN, and you should give him your money.
I drew a seahorse because they’re hella relevant to the novel I’m writing. And also because they’re cool. Inks used here are: Noodler’s Rome Burning, Pelikan Edelstein Olivine and Diamine Earl Grey. Additional details in Platinum Carbon.