Review: Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Here’s another Robert Oster ink from a batch of samples sent by the nice people of Everything Calligraphy. It’s called River of Fire, and at first I was surprised because I was expecting something blue, then I realized that the name is “River”, not “Sea” or “Ocean”. It’s a deep, rich, forest green color, sometimes leaning towards blue green, and a nice red sheen. It’s quite an attractive color, especially in person. It reminded me of Sailor Tokiwa Matsu, except the base color is a bit lighter than Tokiwa’s which is sometimes hard to distinguish from black when used with wet nibs because of how dark a shade of green it is. This ink is highly saturated green, but it not too dark as to make it an ambiguous shade.

Robert Oster River of Fire

As is the case with many dark-colored inks, the shading is not too expressive, though there’s definitely some shading there. What’s more noticeable is the red sheen. It really gives the color a nice contrast. That dark but shimmery halo that makes the lines almost luminous under certain kinds of light.

I would put the flow of this ink at a hair over medium with a stub nib. I’m happy I decided to use a stub nib for this review because the personality of this ink really shone through with a wet, stubby writer. Like the other Robert Oster inks I tried, it has a very nice flow that is a touch over moderate without being watery. It dries to a darker shade that is still vibrant and really eye-catching, with the red halo becoming more pronounced. Under natural light, it makes the ink looks like its edges are on fire.

The ink isn’t water proof. It’s not very water-resistant as well, so people who like to do ink and wash artworks will certainly enjoy this aspect of the ink’s characteristics.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample on Tomoe River paper:

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Overall, I enjoyed trying this ink out! The flow is pleasantly wet, the hue is gorgeous, and the red sheen gives it that wonderful look on paper.

Robert Oster inks are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

The wonderful people at Everything Calligraphy sent over a few samples of Robert Oster Signature inks, and I’m eager to try them all out! It’s very noticeable that Robert Oster make beautiful blue inks, so vibrant that the color jumps out at you from the paper. I was expecting a “Blue Denim” ink to be more on the blue black side, but this is a brilliant blue, much like turquoise. It’s a beach-y color that looks so happy, you can’t help but smile when you look at it. It’s also nicely saturated, so it’s not difficult to read. It looks like a great standard ink for daily use. In person, it has pronounced shading.Here’s what it looks like in my Elias pen and ink journal:

Robert Oster Blue Denim

There’s a slight red sheen on it, not too pronounced, but if you use a wet nib you can see the halo around some parts of the letters. I love ink with subtle sheen like this. It makes your strokes on paper look more like painted-on letters. The contrast between light  blue, dark blue, and red sheen on this ink is just beautiful.

I would put the flow at a medium to wet. It’s not extremely wet, but it does take a little over 20 seconds to dry on Tomoe River paper, using a medium nib. There’s very little water resistance here, a few seconds after letting the water droplets sit on paper, it all but washed away most of the ink. Leaving a very pale blue outline. It makes for nice pen and wash drawings, though.

Here are a few close ups of the writing samples:

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

I love that even after sitting a few days, the ink doesn’t look dull after it dries. It remains vibrant on paper, close to how vibrant it was after writing. I used to dislike blue inks, but after trying a few that are interesting to look at, I’ve become a fan of the color. Robert Oster’s blue inks is a great place to start if you’re looking for interesting, great-flowing blues.

Robert Oster inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Coffeehouse Mysteries


Here’s my journal entry about my latest literary junk food, the Coffeehouse Mystery series. It’s a series of novels that centered around the main character, Clare Cosi, who managed a landmark specialty coffee shop in New York. It had coffee and murder mystery, so that was pretty much a no-brainer for me. It’s easy and light reading, a comfortable break from my usual books.

As a coffee fan who is just beginning to find my way around the wonderful world of coffee, this series is quite fun to read. This isn’t the kind of mystery novel that is drawn out and is an intricately-spun world on paper. This is more like a mature version of Nancy Drew on caffeine. Simple, straightforward, easy. I love all the references to food and coffee, but I can understand that other readers might find it a bit repetitive and tiresome. The coffee tidbits don’t exactly fit naturally in conversations the way it was written, and these parts tend to be too wordy. I enjoy them though. I wouldn’t call it too well-written; the main character isn’t really well-developed and isn’t too likeable, many of the characters are either cliche or trying too hard to be different, and the stories are just too short for any significant character or plot development. Still, they’re fun to read.

I’m on my 5th book now. Every time I read it, I can almost smell roasted beans. I love the combination of Yamabukiiro and Lie de The in my journal entry. An earthy yellow and the color of tea dregs. In person, the combination gives off a warm vibe, and looks really beautiful on the page because Yamabukiiro complements the yellow undertones of Lie de The quite nicely.

Autumn Leaves


I took a short break from my Coffeehouse Mystery binge yesterday to practice a bit of watercolor. I realize I haven’t really sat down to paint for several weeks already, things have been quite busy. I’ve always found the color of autumn to be quite beautiful, so I made autumn leaves.


This uses Sennelier 300gsm, 100% cotton watercolor block. I really love this paper. It has a way of making the color pop, the paint remains brilliant and vivid on it after it dries. I also love the texture of the paper, it makes creating textured paintings a lot easier. My watercolor block’s a bit small, though. After finishing this, I wanted to practice more kinds of leaves, so I opted for a slightly bigger watercolor block, my Hahnemühle 200gsm rough paper.


I do like the texture too, although it looks more like lines of little squares. Sennelier’s texture feels more organic, somehow. It takes a bit more work to make the color pop. After the watercolor dried on it, the colors looked dull so I had to apply more layers to brighten it up. It was pretty difficult to achieve a result close to what I got with the Sennelier WC Block.

I still had fun with it, though, and I learned a lot in the process. Mostly about being patient and working on values.

Colors used for these paintings are all by Sennelier:

  • Indian Yellow
  • Venetian Red
  • Raw Umber
  • Warm Sepia
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Payne’s Grey
  • Ivory Black
  • Pthalo Green Light

Review: The Bait Of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense

The Bait Of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense
The Bait Of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense by John Bevere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the books that have truly made an impact on my life. The lessons and biblical principles on forgiveness and unconditional love (among others), shaped my life in such a way that helped me in my relationships. I have watched the series on video too. Wonderful, life-changing message.

View all my reviews

My First Calligraphy Spot Meet

Calligraphy Spot Meet (6-17-2017)

Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to  brave the (infamous) EDSA traffic and attend a Calligraphy Spot meet. I’ve been an admin for this wonderful FB group for a while, but I have not been able to attend any of the meets until last Saturday. We made quite a happy mess at La Creperie Shangri La, spreading out our papers, writing implements, watercolors, and other fun art stuff over their tables, in between delicious bites of crepes, salads, and pasta.

It was a wonderful experience, hanging out with people who so obviously have fallen in love with the written word and all the different kinds of art forms that celebrate it. I conducted an informal sit-down class about Baybayin (oftentimes incorrectly referred to as Alibata), a pre-colonial way of writing from the Philippines. It was an interesting experience, teaching the basic principles, but the group was eager to learn, and so they were Baybayin-literate by the end of it. The basic principle is quite easy to learn. Recognizing the characters will come with time and practice.

What’s more interesting for me was how each person’s creativity shone through in any kind of calligraphy they do. After teaching them how to read and write in Baybayin, we each applied it through writing using our own styles and preferred tools. We used brush pens, quills, parallel pens, automatic pens, brush pens, watercolor brushes, and more.

After the class, we puttered around and talked about art. Some were doing watercolor paintings, sharing artworks to take home afterwards. I enjoyed looked at other people’s output. I especially enjoyed looking through one of the members’ visual journals. It’s an A6-sized Hobonichi that contains little drawings and paintings and small notes of what went on each day, including what meals he ate. It was so cute, and each page seems so alive and vibrant.

I’m usually quite shy in social situations, but in any meet that involves a common love for art and art tools (such as calligraphy meets, pen meets, artambays), I feel quite at home. You’re not pressured to be anybody you’re not. You can be as socially awkward as you are, nobody minds. The common love for artistic expression is like a supersized welcome mat that invites you in and makes you want to stay.

I’m hoping to join the next Calligraphy Spot meet, and I’m especially looking forward to a meet in the South area soon. 🙂

Kobo eReader! What Fun!

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I’ve always been curious about Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers, though not enough to actually try any of them. I figured that I could read ebooks anyway on my tablet if I wanted to, and I didn’t really like ebooks that much. I liked the feel of real books, the smell of real paper. I loved making notes on borders and highlighting with different colored inks. It’s a bit difficult to lug my books around, though. So for the first time in years, I actually seriously considered getting an eReader. My husband bought me one as an early anniversary gift a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, I am enjoying it a lot. Nobody’s more surprised than I am. I opted for a Kobo Glo HD rather than a Kindle as I was originally planning.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

As a super-duper late adopter, I’m surprised at how different the reading experience is on an eBook reader compared with my tablet. I can read for hours without suffering from a headache after because of the screen’s glare. It’s still no substitute for paper, of course, but it’s the closest approximation to an actual page that I have ever seen. I was like a kid, delighted that when the sales lady showed me the unit, I thought the Welcome screen she was showing me was printed on paper. Ooooh, so this is what e-ink looks like.

There’s not much option for sharing on social media, but I guess that’s part of the charm. It’s an electronic device that’s designed to mimic the analog experience as much as possible. Sure you can import ebooks, make annotations, review your annotations, make dog-ears (bookmarks) on pages, sort your books by collection, but it has limited sharing capabilities, only linking to Facebook. You can’t copy texts either, just like you can’t hold down and press “copy” on a page in an actual book. So it does connect to the internet, but it also doesn’t distract you with too much “connectedness”.

I love that it has Pocket integration. I can save articles in Pocket (which is something I already use via Chrome plugin and on my mobile phone) then manually sync my Kobo or schedule a sync at a certain time of the day so I can read the articles later. It’s quite fun. I’m re-reading some of my favorite books lately, and discovering new ones too. I haven’t been able to figure out how to convert the books I bought from Google Play Store through Caliber, but I’ll look into it soon. So fun. Much wow. ^_^