As we set off on our cruise I planned carefully for my daily art projects; before we left I hit the art supply store and bought some new pen holders and a couple of nibs to complement my existing supplies, plus two new bottles of ink. After we got on the airplane heading for Rome, after dinner, I hauled out my sketchbook and pens. But when I fished in my carry-on for the ink, it wasn't there. I searched. I searched in the other carry-on. No luck.
TSA must have seized the ink -- even though each bottle was well under three ounces, and they were sealed in a regulation-size baggie. Usually they will tell you when they confiscate your stuff (I sometimes think they really like that part of the job) but I figured it happened while I was tediously taking off my orthopedic boot to be separately screened and even more tediously replacing it. I cussed and muttered, and found some gel pens in my art box to do that day's writing. I fretted about how nasty it was going to be using just those two pens for a whole month -- and one of them was already starting to run out of ink.
The next morning, after we got off the plane I googled "art supply stores in Civitavecchia" and found one within (long) walking distance of the hotel, but it turned out to sell housepaint, not artist things. I cussed and muttered. But then I happened upon a stationery store in the same block as the hotel, and they had a big display of pens. I bought half a dozen (and later wished I had bought even more).
On many days I would write many layers of script, so densely packed on the page that you just see color rather than words.
Other times I would revisit my old "cascading letters" drawings.
About halfway through the cruise I had a brainstorm -- I brewed up three teabags in about a half-inch of boiling water, and after it got good and dark I stashed the cup in a drawer to evaporate and, I hoped, get even darker.
Several days later the tea was getting dark and sludgy, but it seemed too gooey to use with a pen. But wait -- here's a brush in my art supply box!
The first couple of days, the ink was still pretty pale.
P.S. When we got home last week, what did I find on the kitchen counter but a little ziplock bag with two bottles of ink.