Monday, July 14, 2014
Sometimes it just takes one moment to completely change your perspective. Tasks of late have been overwhelming but out of the blue I got a phone call from a member of the Calligraphic Art Guild of Toronto. A month ago, I taught my Italian Hand class there and she called to tell me that she had been practicing daily since that class! She had accepted my 6 week boot camp challenge and not a day has gone by when she didn't pick up the pointed pen. I couldn't be happier!!! This piece was created just after that phone call. It reinforced the importance of spending time in practice. This weekend, I put aside some tasks, met with a student for a private lesson, went out for a coffee and did a piece of work just for me. The "Rejoice" piece is done on Canson drawing paper with Robert Hurford's homemade walnut ink which is a gorgeous rich brown!
Monday, July 7, 2014
Without question, I am asked to create artwork around the word Breathe more than any other word. I have lost count over the years. My most unusual request was to create a tattoo design! My most precious design was created for Trish Taylor, my beautiful friend who has just undergone a double lung transplant. Operation Deep Breathe. Many people have contributed to help fund her transplant and I have included a link here to Operation Deep Breathe. Today's design made me think of dear Trish and all that she has gone through leading up to her transplant and now as she recovers from the surgery. Sending her a huge hug as I am mindful of the blessing of being able to breathe no matter how cluttered the days become.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
I wanted you to peek at my morning ritual. I try to guard my solitude in the morning before officially beginning my day. The time with pen in hand outside is very healing and sacred to me.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I have been up early this morning to work on place cards and catch up on correspondence. But my husband Chris was up even earlier and has already started his workday. Working quietly in my studio, I was struck with a thought about how intregal Chris is to my work. This past weekend he was on the road with me as I taught Italian Hand. He stayed for two days with our merchandise, politely answered questions about nibs and paper, adjusted penholders and visited with the calligraphers. They kept wondering if Chris was really a practitioner of the art form. He did try his hand at it but sadly, it was just not his idea of fun. Today as I wrote with a very special penholder that the two of us made together, I wanted to pause and be thankful for all that he has done to help me on this calligraphic journey.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Giving Special thanks for my dear friend Don Marsh today! Over the past 2 years, he has helped me with advice and insight as I prepared for a March workshop in Italian Hand. On March 1st, I soft launched this workshop to 22 participants from the Royal City Calligraphy Guild. The results were amazing as people who had not handled the pointed pen before became as intrigued as I am with this gorgeous hand.
Monday, June 9, 2014
I am long overdue in updating my blog!!! This is an understatement, but life has been busy. I am still playing catch up on commissions I received in December! Thankfully, I still find moments when I can share my work with someone who just needs a little lift.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
" We have only this moment...." I am trying to remain conscious of each precious moment while being fully absorbed in this busy season. So thankful for the pen and ink. No matter how hectic things get, I am taking time to clear my writing desk each night and put some playful strokes on paper.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
In 2011, I embarked on a year long project with my dear friend Dana Cochran of A Fine Line Studio in Asheville, North Carolina. Dana and I have been friends since meeting at The Spencerian Saga in Ohio back in 2005. There has scarcely been a day gone by that we don't email each other! You can read all about our year long project together if you follow my blog posts from 2011. Dana's work followed a botanical path. She would take an elegantly drawn Roman capital and embellish it with a beautiful botanical water colour. My journey started with traditional illumination techniques which I quickly got bored with. I wanted to design letterforms that could work with script lettering. I did not want to copy traditional illuminated letters. I wanted my designs to be unique and a reflection of my taste. I took traditional gilding techniques but throughout the year, I developed ways to make the letterforms more flourished. The resulting study year with Dana turned into The Enchanted Letter workshop. I was taking bookings to teach the workshop before the project was completed. Since 2011, I gave been delighted to travel to many locations to teach The Enchanted Letter. This past weekend, I spent time in Pontiac, Michigan at The Goldner Walsh Nursery teaching the class. One of the attendees sent me some pictures and I am delighted to share them here. The workshop starts with an exploration of the influences that came together to create the letterforms. I start with Medieval and Renaissance illuminations and how they shaped my thinking. I also introduce my students to the work of my illumination teacher Debbie Thompson Wilson and my favouite Victorian Illustrators. Each letterform is designed by the student.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
There are some things you can never know until you start to go through them.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Having a wonderful day studying Italian Hand.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I never ceased to be amazed by the mediative qualities that a simple pencil can bring out.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Busy has been my default setting lately! I am making it a habit to find time for practice and for play even though my daily agenda is filled. I try to keep up with my handwritten correspondence and I am working on some very large projects at the moment. But in between the projects and the busy schedule the illuminated miniature has been a haven of peace. The sketch begins in my journal with a quick pencil drawing which is transferred onto my paper or vellum. The sketch usually takes me about 30 minutes and once I have laid down the gold size, the painting process takes about 2-3 hours for this small size.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
January 23rd is a special day for those of us who love handwriting! Today I worked on a small batch of letters and got them ready to be posted. No matter how many or how few words I put on a letter to be mailed I can't help but feel connected to the people I am writing to. The process is peaceful and meditative for me. I sat down to write one letter, but ended up writing seven!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
From start to finish, my project took 41 days! I started with the desire to really enter the working methods of the Boucicaut Master, an elusive and anonymous French Illuminator from the 15th Century. My portion of the border is far larger than the original. I worked at a size of 2 1/4" By 10 inches and I dramatically enlarged the image I found online to study the details. The purpose of studying this way and copying this manuscript was to see what I could absorb of the Boucicaut Master's attention to detail. I was not disappointed! By enlarging the original, I could see every detail. From the individual seed pods in the acanthus leaf centres, to the veining drawn on the stalks of the cornflowers to the curls and the part in the angels' hair! I learned how the shading was applied to the acanthus leaves. I could see several shades of lavendar and blue in the violets and I could see that how he painted the curves of the violet leaves, in fact he painted a ruffle on the violet leaf!
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Wishing all of my friends, students and colleagues a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for all of the encouragment and inspiration. Hope this holiday season is filled with peace for you all. The video reflects my usual practice time...with Oscar either perching over top of my work or very close by. Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
There are mornings when the thought of writing wakes me up and I have to get into the studio to play. This morning as the sun rose slowly, I found a blue/grey piece of Canson paper and a Tennyson quote that has been rolling around in my head. The house is quiet in the morning and I can work in peace. I mixed a new batch of ivory ink and wrote the words.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
I have spent my first week with the Boucicaut Master. I have spent 7 hours this week in the underpainting stage of the image. The underpainting stage consists of a light wash of the colours of the design. Traditionally, I paint the foliate features first but I started this miniature with the two features that will cause me the most trouble, the angels! Remembering that I enlarged this image quite a bit, I marvel at the skill of the Boucicaut Master. The first surprise that came to me was the angel at the bottom of the border. Without a doubt he is painted with a pug nose!