Tuesday, June 28, 2016
I have been working on my calligraphic hands since 2003. I rarely delve into the edge pen, but when I do, I usually choose German Text. My source material is an old booklet that is crumbling but it has one of the nicest German Text hands I have ever seen. The book was penned by L.H. Hausam and contains several alphabets.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
I have come across some of the writings of John Ruskin in my studies of Kate Greenaway. Kate and John corresponded for years. John Ruskin was very encouraging of her work and some of his comments and critiques of her work are quite remarkable. This month I have been working on leaf studies in botanical illustration and Ruskin came to mind. One of his quotes... "PAINT the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world." has inspired me for many years but I feel like I am just beginning to understand it. There is a world of patience and understanding to find in a single leaf. I am still working on vellum and watercolour and will post more about that soon. But I have been diving into the world of Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils and finding a lot of lessons to be learned. Learning to tone, and layer colors and really see light and shade is mesmerizing. I stop and look at leaves on the shrubs and trees as I go on my daily walks. I am truly mesmerized. I am overwhelmed with the beauty in our world even in a single leaf. Today I worked on a sketchbook page and I look foward to expanding these pages and my studies.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Where has this month gone? Seems like I am full swing with teaching workshops and finishing final touches on my Enchanted Meadow Workshop which launches in August! So happy to be able to present that course and share the techniques that I have been honing for years. I created this little blue bird miniature
Monday, May 9, 2016
Last year I worked on an Illuminated page of the Armenian Alphabet
Thursday, May 5, 2016
This week I recieved a very precious gift from a wonderful artist. Kathleen Rollick is a talented calligrapher that I met at IAMPETH a few years ago. When I was president of the organization in 2014 she gave me a beautiful piece of her artwork that she had made into a necklace. I was so touched by her generous spirit and felt so privileged to have a piece of her artwork to wear. When I received a package in the mail from her this week, my heart skipped a beat.here. Her prayerful process of the painting the eggs and and creating them for a specific person was so touching and heartwarming. I never dreamed I would have one of my own. She enclosed the fragile egg carefully in a tea container and sent along a very special note along with a key of the all of the symbols she used to paint the egg.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
A is for April.... It's been a strange month here in Canada. After an unusually warm winter we were hit with a cold, icy and snowy spring. But slowly the garden is awakening.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
April is starting out pretty chilly here in Ontario. Lots of snow on the ground, a brief ice storm and another blast of winter. But Spring will come! As I continue to navigate the time struggles I encounter each day, I am getting more balanced about time spent on the computer. I find it a necessary part of my daily routine as I respond to email, prepare for each new workshop with all of the necessary travel correspondence, work on new projects and updating handouts. It seems the artist gets delayed while the adminstrator does all of the necessary work. I am experimenting with a schedule change in my own routine, where the artist works first and then allows time for the adminstrator to take care of her tasks. I am reading through the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey and it is encouraging to see the time struggles of so many others. Interesting reading, but bizarre in spots.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Diving into different forms of studies to help augment my calligraphic work has been an eye opening experience. There are so many layers to peel back and discover. Whether I am studying a butterfly specimenRory McEwen. His work is fascinating. Much of his work is done on vellum. Many paintings are a simple leaf
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
It happens every Spring. It must be seeing all the Spring decorations in the stores or a touch of Spring Fever. I always start painting rabbits.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
My vellum studies are still in process. The current assignment is small round subjects on vellum. After a disastrous encounter with trying to paint a walnut, I switched over to a Mission Fig.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Early on when I began teaching in 2010 I had a dear friend question me about doing so. Why would I teach? Why would I share? Why not just keep it to myself? The only reason I teach is to give someone else the joy that the process of creating gives me. Back in my embroidery days, one of my first teaching engagements was to teach silk ribbon embroidery at a women's shelter. The women had been abused and many of them had fled their homes without anything other than their clothes. The director of the shelter wanted the women to make something pretty that they could hang on their wall or put in their room to add a spark of beauty. The class wasn't long. Just a few hours. But that's all it took with Silk Ribbon embroidery to make a little bouquet to hang on their wall. For those few hours, stress was relieved. Pain was gone for a little while and their minds were free. Now, when I teach calligraphic art, I know I meet people from all walks of life. Each has their story and many have incredible hurdles and stresses in their lives. The artforms I teach are therapeutic. Not overly complex. Hopefully the classes spark joy with the student and they go on to create their own artwork putting their own unique stamp on their work. That is why I teach. Every workshop I teach is a result of a personal process. The Enchanted Letter class is the result of personal study and exploration. I create every one the same way...starting with a detailed pencil design. I never rely on an initial that was previously created even if the client points to previous design as the one they want. I work it out carefully in pencil and then commit to the painting process. These days, I add more gilding and swarovski crystals than my previous work. This design was created for an upcoming child's baptism. A work of joy to share from my heart.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Many of you know that for years I spent hours of my time doing Victorian embroidery. Once in awhile, I still miss the the bright embrace of that wonderful artform. In the dead of winter one of my escapes is to visit antique shops. Every time I see a piece of lace or hand crocheted doily I stop to look at it. I have rescued dozens of vintage laces, handkerchiefs and doilies. I take them home and gently restore them to their brightest form. I seldom pass them up. I always feel a connection to the artisan who created the original piece. I want to give their work a life again. This little round doily was originally from Paris.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
January 23rd is National Handwriting Day!
Thursday, January 7, 2016
I don't intend to be preachey all of 2016 but I feel the need this first week of January. Bear with me for now! When I want to convey something cheerful in script writing my default setting is English Roundhand. From the minute I picked up a pointed pen, my natural tendency was to produce rounded letterforms with weighted shades on the downstrokes. English Roundhand was not the first script I attempted. My first love of writing was Spencerian Script! My introduction to Spencerian Script came in 2003 at the IAMPETH convention in Cleveland, Ohio. That is where I had my first class with Michael Sull and my journey and love affair with the pointed pen truly began. I attended my first Spencerian Saga in 2005 and attended several more over the years. The Spencerian Saga continues to flourish under Harvest Crittenden and her directorship and I recommend the Saga experience to anyone who wants total immersion in the Geneva On the Lake experience of Spencerian Script in the setting of Platt Rogers Spencer's home base. It will not be forgotten. I worked with Spencerian Script alone for many years. It was my correspondence hand and worked well with my style of flourishing. But when I was exposed to the work of George Bickham in The Universal Penman, my heart skipped a beat! This is my worn and battered copy. I had the spine of it removed and a heavy duty coil binding added so it would open flat on my desk. It remains my most used resource in my studio along with Tomkins and Milns Ornamental Penmanship. Both of these monumental works are available as Dover Reprints. If you don't have copies of these I recommend you run to get them!!! Inside the books, I was mesmerized by the content. The forms are voluptuous and elegant. The lettering brings me so much joy. Both volumes contain not only fine examples of English Roundhand but also my beloved Italian Hand which has become my favourite lettering style. In the back of Bickham's book you will find pages with various styles of lettering. Terminology is a weird and scary ride in the calligraphic world. I have witnessed divisive and derogatory behaviour over terminology. I don't dwell in the land of division. My hope is to build bridges and encourage the lovely art form. If you are an educator or artist who is promoting the love of lettering and sharing your skills with others, I applaud you. As an educator I feel that part of my calling is to bring others into the joyful relationship that can be found with the pen. My personal love is the pointed pen. That being said I see work being done with the broad edge that is positively breathtaking. I love the beauty that can be found with that remarkable tool. Most of my time though is spent with the pointed pen as I flourish, practice English Roundhand, Spencerian or my beloved Italian Hand. Yes... Italian Hand is my runaway favorite and I will be commenting more about it in future posts!!! For anyone interested, I will teaching Italian Hand at Binders in Atlanta this coming March. I still consider myself to be a relative newcomer to the calligraphic world. Lettering holds surprises for me every day and I am still filled with the same sense of wonder and awe that I had when I first picked up the pen. It didn't take me long though to encounter opinions and ideas that some people found superior to others. I remember being taken aback at some heated discussions and opinions arising over the word copperplate. I didn't understand it then and I try to avoid the division over it now but I don't shy away from discussing it. I did dive into years of research over the term and I came across a variety of ideas and opinions. One book pointed to 'copperplate' as the reason for the decline of Western Calligraphy. I don't share that opinion and choose to elevate this script lettering as one of the most graceful and elegant styles that can be created with a pointed pen. I recognize that others think differently but see no reason to divide over vision of a script hand. Maybe I am missing something, but I think if we love lettering, we are on the same team and all do our parts in promoting the lettering arts. Each of us adds our own chapter to the story and we bring with us the ideas and experiences that shape our opinions. No one taught me or told me to use the term English Roundhand, I just landed there. I remain there because for me, it is the most descriptive and accurate term for the style of script that I want to emulate. This is just my opinion that I have arrived at through my own personal reasearch. I recognize that there are many incredibly talented script artists who have arrived at the conclusion that the best term to use is copperplate. I still love and respect their work. Despite all of us having our love of lettering, we will all possess diverse opinions. That is to be celebrated and encouraged but never feared.This plate from Tomkins and Milns explains it best for me. "Beauties of Writing exemplified in a variety of Plain and Ornamental Penmanship. Designed to excite Emulation in this Valuable Art." That says it all!!! Free the caged bird! Learn what you can from others but never think that is the only way to learn. Never shy away from original research, if your opinion is different even from someone you respect, its ok to express yourself. Never underestimate what can happen when you study for yourself. Take what has been printed before with a grain of salt..including this! You will come to conclusions that no one else can lead you to. Love what you do and do what you love!