Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. Confucius

Visiting an art store gives us an array of items to experiment with, but there is usually a learning curve, and we have to be willing to be a novice before we master the skill we set out to learn.

This week I bought dip pens and ink. I’ve bought fine-tipped paintbrushes over the years but they never do what I want them to do, and I think I know why. A paintbrush is not the tool I’ve been looking for, the tool I’ve been looking for and didn’t know it is a dip pen that will give a sharp line. There is a huge variety of dip pens available for drawing and writing. I have purchased a few nibs and can’t wait to see how they work with acrylic paint.

We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s hard to believe it took me this long to figure this out. I have a book on painting with pen and ink, it has sat on my bookshelf for years.

Note about inserting nibs into nib holders. There are helpful videos explaining how to insert nibs into the holder. I mangled my first nib holder because I wasn’t inserting the nib into the correct place.

When I got my Speedball Sketching Pen Set home I found a broken nib, yesterday I replaced the broken nib and purchased a Calligraphy Pen set which includes what some reviewers suggest is one of the best writing nibs. These dip pens are going to make creating an Illustrated Journal more fun and creative, and I’m looking forward to enhancing my illustrations.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar

We all make mistakes and one of the biggest ones we make is trying to do something without the right tools. When we look at what someone else can do and think they just have more talent than us, sometimes they have better tools, and they know how to use them. If we can get those tools and learn how to use them our work will improve.

But often we think we are lacking and we don’t explore what is out there that would help us improve. We are our greatest critic; we are the one that holds ourselves back the most. We compare our worst to someone else’s best and find ourselves lacking. We think if we don’t have the proper credentials we can’t do something we want to do. There are many self-taught people that do great things.

One of the best attitudes in life is to be a willing student and learn from everyone we meet. If we accept we will never know everything and are willing to learn, it is amazing where we might pick up insights that improve our lives.

We may think, if we’d learned this earlier it would be better, but we’ve learned it now, and we can do with it what we can. There are early bloomers, late bloomers, and repeat bloomers in life. It isn’t true that it’s never too late, there comes a time when it is too late, life has run its course, but until that time comes, we can learn and do more things.

We have never had so much access to information; we need to pick and choose from what is out there. I’ve always thought I wasn’t interested in marriage advice from someone who wasn’t married, child-rearing advice from someone who doesn’t have children, or life advice from someone not living a good life. Sorting what is good from what is not good is a feat in itself. But, we’ve always been told, “You’ll know them by their fruit.” If we focus on the good and the beautiful, those who want to build instead of the ones who want to tear down and destroy, we can sort through the maze of those who want to instruct and inform.

Life is what we make it, is there something new we would like to learn how to do, change, or experience?

It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning. Claude Bernard

A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life. Chinese Proverb

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. Antisthenes

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