Monday, February 1, 2021

Works of Heart

I can hardly believe it is already February and I have turned another calendar page. Here in Ontario, Canada we are still in lockdown but I feel grateful for my quiet little studio with a view of the back yard. The squirrels are entertaining to watch and bright cardinals and blue jays still frequent the bird feeders. I feel so refreshed when I see the colourful bird next to the snow. It seems like I just finished up my Notes for the New Year class. Thank you all for your response and for showing me the beautiful work you have been creating. I am so happy that these gorgeous Victorian notes are being sent all over the world and bringing joy to so many people. This coming weekend I will be teaching a special Works of Heart Flourishing class through The Gentle Penman. This is a short course where we constrain the shape of the flourished design to a heart. I just completed the notes for the course and I will share as much as I can during the class.The image above was done with Victorian Pen Etching technique with Madder Red Schmicke Gouache. I enjoyed the mindful process of ink etching and then gradually adding the shading techniques. Bilateral designs can present some flourishes. Many want to default to achieving perfect symmetry but I will offer alternative solutions to the design.

The 10th Anniversary Edition of The Enchanted Letter is progressing well. I am in the process of getting some of my new thinking on paper about these Victorian letters.  The pencil stage is always my most creative and playful stage of the letter. Everything is an open possibility. There is nothing I can do at this stage that cannot be undone. If you think you can't draw or embellish these intricate letters, let me assure you that we start simply and build up the designs through one simple step at a time.  I know that I have stated this in other blog posts, but I can't emphasize enough the relationship that can be built into your calligraphic pursuits with the simple, unassuming,  utilitarian pencil. When I am learning a new script, I can get the rhythm into my head and hand by using the pencil. Drawing has never come naturally to me and I am one who needs to do a lot of erasing as I work. If you keep a light touch on the pencil, this is never a problem. That light touch with a pencil carries over into your pen and brush work.  The eraser itself helps take some of the fear out of the design process. I have filled several journals with pencil sketches of these Enchanted Letters. Some were converted into finished designs, and others just sit quietly in my journal. I never look at those unadorned letters as a waste of time. All of these stages of my process are helping me as I  build skills. Remember that your journal does not judge you. It is really meant to be a holding place of ideas for your eyes only. 
Borders have been an integral part of The Enchanted Letter since it launched in 2011. This B initial has been gilded and I just completed the inking stage of the letter.

There are still lots of possible pathways I can take for this letter but the lines and the gilding are now permanent. I have been juggling multiple deadlines these days and I don't want to rush the painting process. I want to go slowly and enjoy the painting part of this letter. I will share the initial when it is completed. I know I have stated this before but I will reiterate it here. There are so many online opportunities for you to explore these days. I don't want anyone to be overwhelmed by signing up for too many things. Enjoy your studies and the opportunities that are available. Or take time to digest and absorb what you have already received. The 10th Anniversary Enchanted Letter is coming in May to The Gentle Penman. That gives me lots of time to prepare. I will share insights here on my blog as I work on the new notes and I hope you tune in for the updates. Sending February hugs across the miles to you my sweet friends. Thank you so much for your photographs, phone calls, emails and direct messages. You are such a blessing to me. Have fun with your pens, pencils, inks and papers. Explore possibilities, go slowly and enjoy the journey. 

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