Beaufort Ink and the Scottish Highlands

Beaufort Ink is a unique business that supplies kits and parts to pen makers all over the world. Back in 2018 I swatch tested their fountain pen ink range and commented at the time that I thought the colours had something about them that reminded me of the Scottish Highlands where they were based.

Several months passed when Phil Dart (Beaufort Ink) got in touch to say that they were relocating to Somerset and asked the question, could I create a painting using their inks as a reminder of their time spent in the Highlands? I explained that there was one colour missing for me to do that so he then sent me a yellow fountain ink that for one reason or another they never released. Click here to view earlier swatch tests.

If you’ve never visited the Highlands, you must! The mountainous glaciated landscape has a definite distinct colouring of its own. Some describe it as marmalade but I’d describe as scorched and burned. I began the process of trying to create these burnt ochre colours using all 7 inks but it wasn’t until I’d limited the palette to Roasted Red, Obsidian Black and the nameless yellow that I knew ‘we were in business’. You see, the Obsidian Black has a blue base to it and this was key as to how the painting developed as that hint of blue helped create the dark and dirty greens.

Working with a sketch of a scene from near Glencoe I used a watercolour brush and a rigger brush on a smooth surfaced Bockingford watercolour paper. As you can see from the swatch tests, the inks mix easily together, to create the unique landscape colour palette. The painting took circa 30 minutes to create and I learned a lot from this experience. Less definitely is more but carefully choosing your fountain pen inks and thoroughly testing with them beforehand to achieve unique colour palettes is something that I will be investigating going forward.

AND HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course ?

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