I just turned 50. I was greeted with a bouquet of pink flowers from a dear friend to celebrate my day.
It feels like such a milestone and strangely weird. I find that birthdays cause me to reflect a bit more than New Year's Day does. It is a turning of a page and a new chapter to explore. I started thinking about my calligraphic journey. I started it in 2003...I was 36. Everything seemed an uphill climb for me. I was so awkward with the pen and so new to the supplies that I needed. Now I am surrounded with supplies and make the pens that are used in this kind of work.
I don't seem to do anything half-heartedly! I spent my birthday working on a vellum painting, that sadly needs to be scraped off and started again. This art form still holds so many mysteries for me. I could acutally feel my concentration level decrease as I realized that the vellum painting was going to require some correction. Rather than stop, I just kept painting. So a bigger mess to sort out but it can be corrected. I know there are people who are caught up with the word master...but after 14 years devoted to this calligraphic world, I don't feel as if I have mastered anything. I feel like a perpetual student, continually exploring and experimenting. Some skills have become refined but others remain elusive. I am still excited about the lessons that I can learn. These past two years or so, I have been exploring botanical art. It has brought a new challenge to me as well as an appreciation of subtle and sensitive lines. It has clarified some thinking and observation patterns for me as well as increased my sense of wonder with nature. I took it on to be able to add a botanical element to my calligraphic work, and I feel light years away from achieving that goal. But in botanical art, I found a kind of "portable peace' that can come with me on my travels. Each teaching engagement has me armed with my sketchbook, pencils and a leaf or a petal. The world around me can be noisy, rushed and cluttered, but the small leaf represents so much peace as I try to capture its nature in my sketchbook. I feel so grateful to be able to take time to study these techniques.
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.
Both of these worlds are still part of me. I flourish on a daily basis but lately Spencerian has taken a back seat to Italian Hand. This spring, summer and fall, I will be dusting off Spencerian as I prepare to teach a workshop in Toronto.
So I am spending some quality time with Spencer again. As I revisit his work and his skills, I am even more convinced that he was influenced by Italian Hand. I would never have seen this connection a few years ago. Once again, the mysteries and discoveries of the pointed pen world continue to mesmerize me and draw me in a little deeper each day. So my 50th year begins with continued wonder, mystery and new discoveries to be made. I hope to remain lost in that sense of wonder and appreciation for the world around me. I promise not to turn 50 again and get so reflective in a blog post!