Friday, January 27, 2012

New Paper, New Palette, New Perspective

Still looking through the Ames Compendium with admiration for Ames' style and innovation. Just looking can bring in subtle influences. I wanted to make my palette for this piece slightly warmer and more of an old world feel. I purchased some of the new diploma parchment from John Neal and love the colour. It almost takes on a peach tone. Peach and blue are two colours that I don't visit often in my palette but wanted to use them this time. The McCaffery brown works like a dream on the new diploma parchment. It seems to be made for the paper. I did several moist brush applications of watercolour to the paper and it didn't buckle or feather at all. I did not pull any fibres of the paper. It takes gilding well. A very smooth paper. I do like it! The finetec gold performance on the paper was a bit of a surprise. It almost flowed too quickly. I had to mix it up to be a bit thicker than normal. Once I got the right consistency, I could achieve the fine hairlines. Diane Townsend pastels work really well on it as well. I definitely will do more work on this paper when I don't want a stark white or even an ivory page. Bigger projects on the go in 2012 as I work on the dvd and online course. I am also working on larger studio pieces so blog posting might be slower than normal.
I included my rough draft in this post. I am still working in my beloved Leuchtturm1917 journal but purchased one of the large ones for doing my sketches. The paper is wonderful.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Whole Arm Movement Flourish



I sat down this morning with pen and paper and worked on two European style offhand flourishes. The flourishing here is done with strokes that are thrown away from the body, much like the 18th Century practice of "striking". There is no finger movement used in these flourishes. The shoulder does the work with the pen held lightly in the fingers. I use a straight holder rather than an oblique for these strokes. Lots of fun to play with. I broke away from my favourite coloured pencils and tried the Prismacolor coloured pencils on the Fantasia piece. They are very waxy to use and prohibit ink lines being added on top but the colours are vibrant.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Ames Compendium


When I first began my offhand flourishing journey in 2003, I acquired two books to study. The first was Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy which is available as a Dover publication and the second book was The Ames Compendium.
I have had to replace my copy of the Ames Compendium twice. It's binding is prone to just disintegrate. John Neal Booksellers now sells it in a binder which is much more durable. This inexpensive book is one of my most cherished resources. Daniel T. Ames was just a bit different than his colleagues. His lowercase Spencerian Script is spaced rather tightly while his capital letters are quite delicate and simple. His Italian Offhand Capitals by contrast are incredibly ornate. His offhand flourishes contain gorgeous pen drawn florals, little cherubs and rich shadow work. His engrossed pieces at times border on the ridiculous. It is not unusual to see more than ten different lettering styles on one piece. He certainly isn't subtle but he is passionate in his work and I glean so much inspiration from him. As I continue to travel and teach The Artful Flourish and Enchanted Letter workshops, Daniel T. Ames plays an ever increasing role as I study his work. I hope to dive into more of his Spencerian Script as well as his engrossing techniques this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012!


May this new year bring you health, joy, peace and love.