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Robert Oster 1980 - Clearwater Rain

robert oster 1980 clearwater rain cyan-blue blue

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#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 12 February 2020 - 18:50

Robert Oster 1980 - Clearwater Rain
Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. With this mini-series he gives us a conglomeration of colours inspired by the anything goes world of the 1980s. The inks include muted pastel-type colours along with some eye-popping disco-style hues. Definitely an interesting series.
In this review I take a closer look at Clearwater Rain - an eye-popping electric cyan-blue, reminiscent of the blazing disco-lights on a 1980's dancefloor. To be honest, this is not my type of colour, but I will do my best to give it an honest review. For a Robert Oster ink, this one feels well-lubricated, and it lays down a wet and well-saturated line, even with my dry-writing Lamy Safari test pens. No complaints there - this ink works really well for writing, even with the finest nibs. If you like your inks vibrant with popping colour, this Clearwater Rain certainly fits the bill. You can't go much more vibrant than this ;-)
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. As you can see, Clearwater Rain is well-saturated at the light end, and becomes a darker cyan-blue on the most saturated parts. The ink doesn't have a very broad tonal range, which already gives a clue that it is less suited for single-ink drawings.
Like most Robert Oster inks, Clearwater Rain has zero water resistance.  Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography. The chroma clearly shows the blue & green components of the ink. I wouldn't call it a teal though, cyan-blue is a better term. Personally, I would describe this as the result you get when you move a sky-blue cerulean-type colour towards the green - not a scientific expression, but that's how I consider this Clearwater Rain.
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:
  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib Lamy Safari fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib Lamy Safari
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Lamy)
Clearwater Rain is a well-behaving ink on most paper types, with no visible feathering. The ink dries quite quickly around the 5 second mark (with the M-nib Lamy Safari), which surprised me because it writes really wet.  With Moleskine paper, there is a tiny bit of feathering, and a fair amount of see-through and bleed-through. Saturation and contrast are really good across all paper types in my test set. The ink also shows some nice shading, even with finer nibs. All in all a very pleasing writing experience.
This is my first ink review for 2020, and with a new year comes a new set of quotes. The quotes below come from Terry Pratchett novels. If you love English tongue-in-cheek humour, you can't go wrong with Pratchett's writings. I'm a big fan of his Discworld novels !
Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen: a wet-writing Parker Sonnet with M-nib. As you can see, Clearwater Rain has no problem with even the finest nibs, exhibiting good contrast, saturation and shading with the EF-nib. This excellent performance remains across the complete nib-range, making it a really fine writing ink.
Related inks
To compare Clearwater Rain with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. 
Inkxperiment - row, row, row your boat
With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. Limiting myself to one ink allows me to showcase its colour-range nuances. It's often quite a challenge, but always great fun. For this drawing I used 300 gsm rough watercolour paper. I painted in the sky with heavily water-diluted ink. The boat uses pure Clearwater Rain, drawn in using the tip of a cotton-swab. I then added the waves and the sun with a Q-tip, using multiple water/ink ratios. The resulting picture gives you an idea of what can be achieved with this cyan-blue as a drawing ink. The limited tonal range of this ink made it a difficult one for drawing. I personally appreciate it much more as a writing ink.
Robert Oster 1980 Clearwater Rain is an eye-popping cyan-blue, that works really well as a writing ink. It is well-saturated, provides great contrast with the paper, and shows prominent shading even with the fines nibs. Personally I'm not a fan of the colour, but if you happen to like it I'd say go for it!
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types

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#2 5Cavaliers


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Posted 12 February 2020 - 19:29

Outstanding review, as always!  Thank you taking the time and effort to do this ink review.  


While I do like the color, I prefer a bluer shade more like Omi Osun.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today




#3 Uncial


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Posted 12 February 2020 - 23:15

Thanks for this. I find it very appealing and really like a lot of the icy blues from Oster

#4 inkstainedruth


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Posted 13 February 2020 - 02:12

Not a color for me.  But thanks as usual for the comprehensive review.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#5 ethernautrix


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Posted 13 February 2020 - 02:26

Pretty! Especially the chroma!


etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

#6 LobsterRoll



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Posted 13 February 2020 - 23:22

Thank you for this review! I like the color. I also like how the inkxperiment came out. Nice quote choices, too.

#7 jandrese


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Posted 02 March 2020 - 15:39

Impressive review. I note a stark contrast between the RO depiction of this ink at the top and your experience. 

#8 amberleadavis


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Posted 15 March 2020 - 00:43

Your reviews are so detailed. Thank you.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).


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#9 cgreenberg19



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Posted 19 March 2020 - 19:36

Great, very detailed review! Thanks for sharing!

#10 Parc Monceau

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 22:48

Wonderful review. Love the drawing! Thank you.

I find this a very attractive color.

#11 WLSpec


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Posted 01 April 2020 - 23:54

Very nice color!

#12 Misfit


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Posted 02 April 2020 - 02:29

I thought the color looked familiar. Thanks to your similar inks, including Kaweco Paradise Blue, I saw why it looked familiar.

Excellent review.
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