Friday, May 29, 2020

Thoughts In Bloom

I just realized that we are near the end of May and I have not posted to the blog this month. I wanted to touch base here with some words of encouragement and some updates. I hope you are flourishing wherever you are in this world. One of the joys I have as an instructor when I present The Artful Flourish or any of my flourishing workshops is to explain the root meanings of the word Flourish. The word I want to focus on right now is "bloom". To translate that root word into the framework of offhand flourishing worked for me as I worked as a florist for many years. Essentially my offhand flourishes are in many ways like little floral arrangements on paper. Let me share a simple floral garland. This design can work as an informal border that gracefully arches over your calligraphic script.
I started this design by drawing my baseline for the word as well as a light guideline for the shape of the arch over the word. If it helps you to have a centre line through the word and the arch then by all means, draw one in. I tend to keep my garland designs more organic, so I don't try to centre the arch precisely over the work. I think this also is rooted in my training as as florist. Nothing was measured, everything developed in the arrangement through training your eyes to visually balance a design.
Once your script is completed, you can embellish it to add some visual weight to the bottom portion of your design.
Next, start with a cluster of florals near the centre of the top garland. I used bleedproof white, a Hunt 21 pen point and my straight holder on a periwinkle colour cardstock.

The cartouche designs that create the cascading shape of the garland are expanded from the centre outward. I usually work on the left hand side of the design and then turn the paper to work on the right hand side of the design.  When working on a flourish, you begin with your largest elements first. Accent strokes are added to flesh out the design and to balance the shape. Always think of your accent strokes as jewelry you are adding to enhance the design. They add a lot of visual weight to the design especially when colour is added. I used Fabercastell Polychromos pencils to embellish the design.
The final touches to give the piece a touch of sparkle were with the Hot Foil pen, a little bit of Diamond Stickles in the centres of the florals and my favourite Sakura gelly roll pen in Clear Stardust. 
These small designs take a few minutes to complete but they are such a good way to hone your pointed pen skills. You really learn to see the negative spaces in a flourish which translates to how you see the counterspaces in your script alphabet. Flourishing is the easiest of all of the pointed pen studies that you can attempt. It sometimes just takes someone to point you in the right direction with it. The practice is peaceful and meditative as you watch your paper bloom. It is a wonderful mental break for you and it brings so much joy in the journey. I encourage you to keep paper handy on your desk, cut to a reasonable size for a small flourish like 5"x7" and flourish for a few minutes. You will be amazed at what you produce. This practice really does free your mind from worry and stress as it is fully engaged in the process on the paper. Flourish and bloom dear friends! I will update the blog again shortly! As my travel is on hold for my teaching engagements, I am taking more students privately online. I will be launching a new online course very soon and will tell you about it shortly! In the meantime, I am here at if you need to chat. You can follow me or direct message me on instagram at heathervictora1. Sending hugs all around.