I spent the better part of the DC Pen Show eyeballing this bottle of Robert Oster Viola ($17 for a 50ml bottle). There were only a few bottles of it but for some reason it was like a siren song calling to me. The color was something different. It’s not the same wild, crazy sheening blues and teals that everyone is going gaga for but something a little different. Some of my favorite Oster inks aren’t the Fire & Ice and Lake of Fire inks — though they are lovely, don’t get me wrong. I love Caffe Creme, Australian Opal Mauve, and Melon Tea.
What lured me to Viola was that it was a dusty purple with a bit of a soft pink undertone that did sheen blue. It was light but not too light to be legible and the blue sheen gave definition to the edges of the letterforms.
Last year, I went on a hunt for a plummy purple color and I bought a ton of inks. I wanted a complex color. I wanted something that wasn’t too royal purple or too bluish or too dark and I found some lovely colors but not THE one I was hoping for. Viola, I think, was what I wanted. It reminds me of faded velveteen. There’s a powdery quality to the color.
To compare it to some other inks, J. Herbin Poussière de Luna is much darker and both R&K Alt. Bordeaux and Oster Australian Opal Mauve are more reddish, more raspberry.
To conclude, I know that this color is probably not for everyone as it fills a very unusual color gap but if you’re looking for a more unique color, something softer but still legible that reminds you of flowers, this is definitely worth consideration.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 7mm guide sheet
- Pens: Empire vintage traveling dip nib holder with Zebra G titanium nib ($33.50 per 10-pack), Esterbrook #2442 nib in a Shawn Netwon custom nib holder
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Cards
- Brush: Silver Black Velvet #6 Round 300S, Escoda Prado #2 Round Travel Brush ($16.50)
- Ink: Robert Oster Viola (50ml bottle for $17)