Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trying to Find the Color

[The embedded sound clip of Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 in E Minor at the bottom may lend a faint breeze of color as you read the words below.]

Chopin is at the piano, quite oblivious of the fact that anyone is listening. He embarks on a sort of casual improvisation, then stops. Nothing will come… nothing but reflections, shadows, shapes that won’t stay fixed. ‘I’m trying to find the right colour, but I can’t even get the form…’ ‘You won't find the one without the other,’ says Delacroix, ‘and both will come together.’ ‘What if I find nothing but moonlight?’ ‘Then you will have found the reflection of a reflection.’ The idea seems to please the divine artist. He begins again, without seeming to, so uncertain is the shape. Gradually quiet colours begin to show, corresponding to the suave modulations sounding in our ears. Suddenly the note of blue sings out, and the night is all around us, azure and transparent. Light clouds take on fantastic shapes and fill the sky. They gather about the moon which casts upon them great opalescent discs, and wakes the sleeping colours. We dream of a summer night, and sit there waiting for the song of the nightingale…

Despite the appearance of the words ‘blue’ and ‘azure’ in this George Sand description of Chopin composing, I like to think that the ink blender at De Atramentis pondered this excerpt when he mixed the green called, Frédéric Chopin. The words seem to imply that the composer may have seen colors in notes.

Not the first time I have written about the Frédéric Chopin green ink from De Atramentis, but in the earlier post about green inks, a swatch was all that was offered of this distinctive shade of green.

At one point along the process someone tagged this ink with a ‘pine green’ label, but that isn’t what I see. Pine green suggests a color with a tinge more yellow and less gray or black. One quality of the De Atramentis famous name inks is the conjuring of exactly what you imagine that famous person would have in his or her fountain pen. The first moment I saw the Chopin ink I felt it reflected the composer.

J. Herbin’s Vert Empire is close to the De Atramentis green, but with more gray. I suspect the two could be confused without a careful comparison. In writing out the sample lines in the attached scan, I had to stop and start over two times because of smeared ink, so I would call it a slow drying ink. There is no feathering or bleed through, and minimal show through on Clairefontaine paper, and both saturation and shading are good. For my example, I filled a Platinum 3776 with Chopin green and the ink behaves beautifully in this pen. Excellent flow and lubrication and zero nib creep.

There are seventeen famous name inks from De Atramentis on my shelves, and the Frédéric Chopin green is neck and neck with my number one favorite, Charles Dickens. Strong recommendation for this composer’s special green.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely description by Sand of Chopin's composition. Thank you for it and the clip of his music, also lovely. All very well compliments this beautiful green.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America