Tag Archives: review

Marker Love


I’m a marker girl. I own a box of pastels, a couple sets of colored pencils and a carousel of gel pens, but markers are my medium of choice – and I have A LOT of them in water-based, permanent, and alcohol inks. Unfortunately, my VERY favorite set (a nondescript package of generic alcohol markers purchased for half price from Hobby Lobby) are running out of ink, and what is doubly unfortunate is that the store doesn’t have them anymore. (Imagine the outcry of indignation and sorrow!) Thus, I set out to find an affordable set of double tip markers to replace my beloved coloring companions. After looking at plenty of markers in local arts and crafts stores, I settled on a set of 72 Bianyo 8606 markers from Amazon.


These arrived in a soft sided case for $39.99, which works out to about 56 cents a marker – a bargain for sure. (My former favorites were 69 cents each on sale.)


I immediately liked the squarish shape of the barrel which made the markers easy to manipulate and comfortable to hold. Since I have arthritis, the fatter barrels are much easier on my hands.


Each marker has a fine and broad tip along with the color number on both ends, so it is visible in the case no matter which end is up. I’m always happier when the company puts a number on the pen so I don’t have to!


Whenever I get a new set of markers, I always start by creating a set of color swatches because I just don’t trust the hues on the caps. A set of swatches allows me to choose the exact color I want (or quickly see that I’ll need to blend a couple of shades to get it). Since the markers were not separated by color in the case,  I sorted them into color groups and arranged them by number before creating the swatches.


Each swatch consists of two passes with the chisel tip and the color number written with the fine tip of the marker. These pages get stapled together and stored with the markers so the swatches are easily accessible whenever I use the pens. (I used to put all of the swatches into a three-ring binder, but found it too cumbersome over time.) This set is listed as “classic colors” and has a nice variety of both cool and warm grays, blues, yellows, greens, and reds along with a sable and a blending pen.


After creating the swatches, I put the pens back into the case by color (sort of), which brings me to my only complaint about the set – the case. In the ordering photo, the markers appear to be in a stiff-sided case that holds them upright and in order. (Okay, I’m probably OCD about these things, but I like my pens sorted by color and number.) However, the case is unstructured so the markers don’t go in rows (which would make them easier to organize) and they start to fall over when several are removed at a time.


That said, I liked them every bit as much as my “old favorites.” The colors dried quickly, and once dry they did not bleed when touched by a new color / wet ink (which is one of my pet peeves with water-based markers). In addition, the fine tip easily managed the small spaces on this coloring page from Creative Cats by Marjorie Sarnat (Dover: Mineola, New York) and the chisel tip filled in the backgrounds without streaking. (I tend to turn the page and color in different directions, so the fact that the ink blends into itself is a real plus.) I would give these pens a five star rating for color variety, value, and feel. But, I’d only give the case two stars, because I find it unwieldy and annoying. It provides basic storage, but it doesn’t help me organize the markers or quickly find the one I’m looking for. If that doesn’t bother you, I would definitely recommend these markers.


So Much Art


Recently, Lochinvar and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the 2018 Santa Fe Contemporary Art Show. Our frequent trips to museums and galleries did not prepare me for the overwhelming number of pieces we viewed that night. Nor did I have any idea that so many of the artists would be so forthcoming about how they created pieces, their materials, their time, etc. Frequently galleries and museums seem quite stuffy, with people wandering somewhat aimlessly and speaking in hushed, reverent tones. So, the laughter, conversations, wine and nibbles were not at all what I expected. Walking through the doors, we were greeted by over 100 artists who had multiple pieces on display in a labyrinthine grouping of partial walls filling the main hall of the Santa Fe Convention Center.

While I cannot enumerate how many pieces we quite adored, there were a couple of artists who stood out. Ibrokhimbek Ikromov is a young man from Uzbekistan whose precision and eye for detail astounded me.  His paintings are quite small – the size of a several hundred year old book page (on which they are painted). You can see more of his work in his online photo gallery.


I also spent a great deal of time looking at the oil paintings of Marcella Rose. I am frequently enthralled by paintings of women and/or dance, so her work immediately grabbed my attention. Rose also had some lovely animal-themed works, and (bonus!) she was just fun to talk to, having moved around a good deal. Check out her website to see more of her beautiful work.


It is impossible to discuss the many pieces Lochinvar and I viewed, so here’s the list of exhibitor’s for this year’s show. You can see a sample piece, read a little about the artists, and follow links to their individual websites. (I have spent a good deal of time surfing through them!)  Art Santa Fe Contemporary Art Show 2018 exhibitor list.

And, if you’re interested in attending (or exhibiting) at next year’s show, those plans are already in the works.