April is burgeoning here in Ontario. Tulips and poppies are starting to emerge from the soil. The backyard gazebo is back up and after a brief jaunt as it catapulted into the neighbour's yard during a windstorm, it seems ready for spring. A huge project in the backyard is underway. It will change the way I work if all goes well with it.
I just returned from my teaching trip at the Ink Academy in Berkely, California. The Berkeley City Club is a gorgeous building. I don't remember ever bonding with a building before. But it had so many touches that were completely endearing. Acanthus overload!
As I got back into the routine here at home, I was overwhelmed with my workload. Commissions remaining incomplete and hundreds of emails needing a response. Website issues now need sorting out as well. I need to be quiet for awhile and work a bit more slowly as I sort through all of my upcoming projects. Don't let the seasons pass you by without stopping to notice the small things. Be delighted by your surroundings. Take walks. Observe. Enjoy the peace. Happy April!
Thursday, March 16, 2017
I just turned 50. I was greeted with a bouquet of pink flowers from a dear friend to celebrate my day.
When I started my journey in 2003, I was drawn into the calligraphic world through my fascination with the pointed pen. I wanted to explore Spencerian Script and Offhand Flourishing.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Monday, February 6, 2017
The studio needs a good clean up at the end of every day. But days get rushed and I often "misfile" a lot of my work in the interest of saving time. Not a great strategy for the long run. So often, I will have to devote weekends to doing a deeper cleaning of the studio. This weekend, I sat with several cups of coffee and went through stacks of files that had accumulated on my shelf. I always have good intentions for keeping files, but I definitely needed to turn my attention to this task. Over the course of the weekend, I found a lot of buried work in the files. Pages I had started to work on, even gilded, but then gave up part way through. Often I start projects for fun, but work demands take over so pieces are left unfinished. The view of these unfinished pieces takes place with fresh eyes. I feel differently than whan I started the piece so I am able to reflect from a new perspective. It's like looking at someone else's work. I can either see where I was going or not and from that perspective, I choose whether or not to keep the work. Lots went into the recyle bin but some were filed again to be completed as the mood takes me. I found a lot of drawing and older illuminations in the files. All of it was work that was just practicing a technique but it was wonderful to visit it again. It helps to see the work again with new eyes. What looked like failure pieces are really just part of the process of learning. The florals I worked on while trying to figure out strategies for using Duralar.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Today is National Handwriting Day.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
This past holiday season, I was overwhelmed with so many cards coming from all over the world.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Waiting to turn a new calendar page.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
This year has been a whirlwind. Lots of travel and tons of studio work. I have left many things undone that I wish I had accomplished this year but I will move them onto the 2017 agenda. I wanted to highlight some new favourites for me that became a big part of me this year. I spent a year drawing in coloured pencil with Wendy Hollender and her year of Botanical Drawing that she launched online. It was by far my best experience with online claasses. There were monthly deadlines to complete projects as well as critiques that happened in the online community. These two elements combined perfectly for me and kept me accountable to the deadlines. She also had a live monthly meeting where we could all connect online and ask real time questions and get answers. It was an amazing experience and one I am so glad that I had. My drawing skills are still novice but I learned much more about Botanical Illustration. I highly recommend her book Botanical Drawing in Color
Monday, December 5, 2016
One of my favourite holiday tasks is filming a little Christmas flourishlink.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Where did November go? It seems like the time keeps flying faster every day. So many things to take care of here! But even in the busiest season, I love to take time with my Christmas cards.
Friday, November 4, 2016
We are having a beautiful November here in Ontario. Many of the autumn leaves are still on the trees. The birds are busy at the feeders. The days are getting a bit cooler and we have had some frosty mornings. In my studio, I am busy from morning to night. Catching up on so many painted pen orders to be able to ship them out in time for Christmas and working hard on my last two teaching workshops of the season. I will be in Birmingham, Alabama next weeked giving a crash course in Italian Hand and The Festive Flourish.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
I was recently asked about what drew me into the calligraphic world. I remember being enticed by the world of offhand flourishing and the beautiful creative patterns that I saw in The Ames Compendium and Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy. I was hooked just by looking at the images. Skill came slowly and was hard earned. I practiced for hours a day and made very slow progress. I broke pen nibs, ran into trouble finding the correct pen point to suit the skills that I had in my hand at the time, paper surfaces challenged me and I wanted to use colour but didn't know what would work in my pen. I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons. My daily practice included writing letters and decorating envelopes to mail out to friends and family.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Canadian Thanksgiving always brings changes. Store displays are very differnt. Full of bright orange pumpkins, scarecrows and Ontario's harvest. Flavours change to darker, richer, and more robust than the lighter fare of summer. Sounds change in the garden. There are different birds at the feeders, their chirps filling the air differently than in spring and summer. And light changes. Mornings bring a different type of light to the garden.