Thursday, January 14, 2021

Knowing and Understanding

 This weekend I taught my Notes for the New Year course online. I had so much fun sharing the my insights into Victorian Scraps and I see so many beautiful letters of correspondence being creating. I am overjoyed to see the work. To see how a student will interpret what I teach and transform that idea with their own vision is just so inspiring. Dear students, keep up the wonderful work as you share your notes with others around the world. I have enjoyed the process of sending a few more cards and notes than I usually manage to send.

One of the advantages of preparing courses for students is the ability to spend time in research and study. My mentor Brian Walker always encouraged me to study. He would insist that time observing, thinking, reading, crafting, and time studying was as important as the time that I was working putting pen to paper at my desk. He always stressed that there was a difference between knowledge and understanding. As we continue this year of strange and unprecedented times, it appears that we may be in our homes again for long periods of time. It means we will have so many study opportunities if we want them. Let me stress that as you take in knowledge, also take some time to absorb what you are learning. Progress from the infill of knowledge to truly absorbing and understanding what you are doing. That does not mean that you will suddenly be able to do all of your artistic and calligraphic work flawlessly. But you will be always inching closer to refining those skills that you have been chasing. Be patient with yourself. You are right where you should be on your journey! If your studies take you down a rabbit hole of seemingly of artistic pursuits that make you is ok to dive in. I truly believe that so many of our creative pursuits have a deep connection that can relate to each other. So if you don't feel like putting ink on paper one day and want to play with your paints, go ahead and enjoy! If you feel like knitting rather than drawing, indulge the knitter inside you. If your script writing is stressing you out for a day or two, just put it aside and do something else. Lately, I found myself looking through my old embroidery books and being inspired by their gentle designs.  More than ever, we need these calming and peaceful pursuits to accompany us. I find that even when I read a few phrases, I can be inspired for my next project. Find the quiet, calm and joy that these creative outlets can bring to you. I know that these days we may have to dig a little deeper to find peace, but I know we can find it.
I have had so many emails for info about upcoming classes and private lessons. Indeed, I teach privately all the time and I have a pdf file of my online teaching schedule that is available if you email me at One of the happiest celebrations I will have this year is my 10th Anniversary of teaching The Enchanted Letter. I am working so hard on revising the course, expanding content and sharing some lessons that I have learned along the way as I developed these letters. I will try hard to post some letters each month! Let's start with the letter A based on the shape of a French Round Cursive style.  Most of my Enchanted Letters are based on a Pink, Blue, Green palette but I started this design by working with a Periwinkle blue and lavender palette. I achieved the colour of the letter by combining Carbazole Violet with French Ultramarine blue. As I expand the course, the designs will become a bit more Victorian and ornate at times. As I continue to develop the letters and do further research I continue to do that dance between knowledge and understanding. 

Sweet friends, I am sending hugs across the miles. Have fun with your creative pursuits. Encourage one another on this journey. Email anytime! Thank you all so much for the kind words you share with me. Your kindness means so much to me. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Notes for the New Year

 Welcome 2021!!! The word on my mind this year is Hope.

Let's Hope together for a bight year ahead, I learned years ago, that I am not good at making or keeping resolutions. It seems that yearly goals are not good for me, but I do try to plan things on a weekly basis. I don't set huge goals, but continue to take small steps forward in the right direction. I realize that I am very methodical about certain things. I always use the same weekly diary to plan my days, weeks and months. I use a  Moleskine Pro Weekly Diary. It has enough space for me to write in each day and has a two blank pages in between each week where I can add extra notes or keep track of ideas. I have been using this style of planner for about 6 years I think.  The fountain pen I use in this diary is always the same as well. I use the Platinum Plasir Fine tip Fountain Pen. This was a very inexpensive fountain pen but it has been a workhorse for me since 2015. I use it daily, and the tip of the pen has been wonderful. ! I always use the same pink cartridge refills in it to match the body of the pen. I try to be methodical about this daily ritual. However, there are times when I just ignore the diary/planner in a sort of rebellious way and have days where I can let things just happen without being overly planned. This results in blank spaces in the journal which I also have to ignore without being stressed about it. Not every day will be productive. I will have days that I can't keep up to my tasks, but no matter what happens, I can turn the page and set up tasks for the next week with that same attitude of Hope.

I have just finished writing my new set of handouts for my Notes for the New Year workshop. I will be teaching through the European Pointed Pen Collective next weekend. In many ways, this course is taking me back to a mindful practice that I  did for years when I first began my calligraphy journey. Whenever I was studying some new aspect to include in my artwork, I would practice the techniques over and over again. Inevitably, I would create stacks of work on practice paper. Some of it was good and some needed to be discarded. However, when I started working on better quality paper, I found that I was much more mindful about the work I was doing and quite often, I could complete work that I was proud of. I developed the practice of working on paper that was cut down to note card size. Every Sunday, I would go through my note cards and let my mind wander a bit. Someone would come to mind and I would address an envelope and send out a note. I have never completely stopped this practice. Often I just feel to write to someone and come out to the studio and put pen to paper. I hope to continue to do this throughout the year. So many of you have written to me and will try hard to keep up with the correspondence as I create these Notes for the NewYear,  My first walk to the post this weekend will be with a note for Paul Antonio.

He has been such a blessing with his videos on YouTube and his social media posts. He is pascribe on Instagram if you have not discovered his work. I love watching his script variations videos.  His note was written on Strathmore Foldover Note cards.

I designed this logo for Strathmore several years ago. Strathmore blessed me with a few boxes of the notecards and I am rapidly going through them.  The paper is wonderful to write on and I found that I could apply watercolour washes as well as gold leaf. 

Happy New Year my dear friends. Please continue to keep in touch with me. You can email me at I will be releasing a few new courses this yea and I am continuing to book private students throughout the year. I will keep the blog updated. Hugs all around!