Amusingly enough, I'm using more of my stores of my cheaper, mildly lower quality papers, first; but I got out the good ink sticks (having given the others away and thrown out the old bottled ink) and my good brushes (again having given the others away to avoid temptation to go back to old tools), and have been finding myself enjoying the results ever so much more.
Since that time, I actually have thrown out that bottle of ink. I find that it's just better to not have the temptation, and I bought a very good stick of ink and gave away my medium-all-right stick of ink, and then my mother gave me two gorgeous sticks that are all embossed with real gold leaf and it's bemusing to grind it and get tiny glints of gold in the paintings.
The things one can do for beauty.
Still, it hasn't run yet, and I should back it to see... one cool bit of news was that my mother really, really liked how I'd backed one of the chrysanthemums I gave her. So I now know that my backing technique is good. Those two flowers I did with the stick ink as it just felt proper to do an all-ink painting with the stick ink rather than the bottle, and I'm now very, very glad I did. I still need to put together that tutorial somewhere.
I need to go through it again and see if I can use less water and get the glue to stick better or something. I had a little trouble with that last time, but the single shuen's always harder to mount as it just soaks everything up so readily.
I'm finally mastering water control on orchid blossoms, as they're such small strokes, but they have to show all the color variation from a dark tip to a light root. Plus, the "happy dots" of the stamen and anthers are such a big deal as they're the only accent to the flower itself that is perfectly clear. I had fun trying to get the stems to work, and the leaves, as always, are something of a joy and trial. Yes, there is one weak stroke in each of these, and I had to just leave them be. *laughs*
They're a little exhausting because the leaves have to be done with full confidence and a knowledge of how the weight of the brush will make each leaf flow.
The cherry blossoms aren't quite right yet, and I'm having a lovely anatomical discussion of the bits that make a cherry a real cherry... from the longer "stem" that goes from bud to tree, the fact that there are bunches, and that the flower petals have the little notch in the edge! So I get to try this again, the closeup detailing to make it right is amazing for what's possible. I also probably need to find some sized paper, as the exercise of outlining and then washing in the colors is actually, traditionally, done on a sized (blinks mildly at finding sized silk and the *possibilities go boom*) (ahem) paper called "glass" paper. It's extremely detailed work and almost takes me back to drawing... *thoughtfuls* Which I should probably be doing more of anyway.
Still. It was a fun exercise with what I had. I may as well just use the heavily sized watercolor paper I have for my next try with it, as it'll do what needs to be done without the cloud of color from the washes.
I love the idea of it still being beautiful even if it's broken...
Anyway. It was fun.