Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Gifts

M+R pencil sharpener - Photograph by Tim Irving
Gift Number 1
I received not one, but two perfect gifts in my Christmas stocking this year. To be honest I'd be very disappointed if I hadn't received at least one, because I've been dropping hints and leaving clues around since last October. Gift number one is an M+R pencil sharpener.

I've long admired the brass M+R pencil sharpeners and always envied the owners of these beautiful objects. It's one of those items that although not extortionately expensive, would make me feel a touch of guilt if I bought one for myself, which makes it a perfect gift. My sharpener is so heavy that at first it feels alien, no pencil sharpener is as heavy as the M+R. The blades (there are two), are hardened steel, so sharp they make fine continuous shavings with ease. And it has a unique cut away design so the lead never breaks.

M+R pencil sharpeners have been made in Germany, by the same family since 1908. In that time the products have evolved and improved to the extent that now they make the perfect pencil sharpener. Rest assured my pencil sharpener has been busy over the holidays, every pencil I own is now pin sharp.

Michael Harding paint tube - Photograph by Tim Irving
Gift Number2
My other perfect gift is a tube of Michael Harding, titanium white oil paint. I use a lot of white paint, about one tube every two months (a tube of cobalt violet lasts me 10 years). My current favourite is Blockx, which is very, very opaque with a buttery smooth texture. However Michael Harding's paints are recommended by the gods of painting, so I can't wait to give it a try.

I did get a few more gifts, one of which is a Nexus 7 tablet. I've installed SketchBook Pro on it and will let you know my thoughts on it when I've done a few more drawings. One thing that does already impress me is how cheap and easy it is to purchase the apps. Sketchbook Pro cost $2.99, that's a lot less than a decent pencil sharpener. I did the sketch below in thirty minutes, sitting in a cafe opposite the college. Don't worry, the irony of pencil sharpener and tablet computer isn't lost on me.

Drawing with SketchBook Pro - By Tim Irving
Trinity College Cambridge - My first sketch using a tablet

1 comment:

  1. Your Christmas was merry and bright, so happy to know it! Even without pencils, I'd still crave that little brass sharpener. It's shape, size and color bring to mind foil wrapped candy, foreign beads, and treasures in grandad's coin dish. And knowing it's of good weight and well made. Ah, I want to hold it in my palm. The sketch is charming and has that 1950's "sitting in a cafe" feeling about it. Even if you'd received coal in your stocking, I'm sure you would have treated us to a superb charcoal sketch!



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