Sunday, August 29, 2021

Late August Thoughts


I loved this shadowy photograph of my practice piece this morning. The shadows are created from some roses which have just about finished blooming but still have some beauty to share. I am always so pensive at this time of year. The garden is still blooming but you can see it struggling. More weeds have crept in as my time has been spent more in the studio than in the garden. I feel like I have been working harder than I have ever worked yet deadlines keep presenting themselves very quickly. This weekend I took a day out of my regular routine to study botanical painting. I will share more about that in a future post. Botanical art is something I return to often as there is so much to explore and will take years to learn. The same is so true of any of your calligraphic work. Recognize that there is so much to explore, and it will take years to learn. There is no short cut. There is no single, correct path to take. Follow your heart and your instincts. Next weekend I will teach my last online script class of this year. The class is The Poetic Pen and it reflects my thoughts and journey into the study of Italian Hand.

I began playing with this hand, I believe, about 10 years ago. Despite some stern warnings from colleagues that I should not try to revive this hand or bother with it all, Italian Hand held many intriguing mysteries for me and I absolutely loved it. Through the study of this lighthearted hand, I could feel and see a sense of play develop in my work. There was a visible as well as a tactile change to the pressure I put on the paper as I wrote this script. There was an interruption in my usual thinking patterns as I continued to pursue this hand. As I gleaned from history, I also began to merge this script with my own writing nuances. I discovered so much on this path that I think would have remained hidden to me, if I had not trusted my own instincts. There were definitely shadows along my path but also bright rays of hope as I continued to learn.  My message this morning is to encourage you to pursue what makes you happy. If something is intriguing to you, don't be afraid to dive in and take a look at it. Time doesn't slow down no matter what we have to do. Even if a topic of study seems really daunting, realize that you really can take your time to explore it. When I teach my script hands, I share an immersive study technique to begin with, but afterwards, you can dance with the pen as slowly as you like.
Really take your time to observe and understand. Trust your instincts. Develop ideas that appeal to you and then go where that path leads. Enjoy these last few days of August before we shift into the different pace of Autumn. Thank you all for your encouragement, support, photos from your gardens and kind emails. I appreciate you all so much. Happy August days dear friends. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Upcoming Workshops

 I can't believe it is already the 15th of August. Time really does fly by. I hope you are all enjoying these August days. I am working hard on my upcoming classes but I take a tea break in the garden every day to enjoy the sights and sounds! Cherish the wonder of each day.

I promised to update my blog with the next few classes that are coming up. Over the weekend of September 4th and 5th, I will be teaching my Italian Hand class called The Poetic Pen, through Acorn Arts  Classes online. Italian Hand has transformed my thinking and my writing over the past several years. The Poetic Pen class is the result of original research as well as consulting with my friend and historian Don Marsh. The way I approach the hand is through looking at history and then finding a way to merge the nuances and joy of the hand with my own pace and style of of writing. There is a magic that happens when you interrupt what you think should happen with a written script with the delights that are embedded in historical forms. No matter what your skill level is, Italian Hand has something to offer you. It really is a transformative hand filled with joy and whimsical touches.

October will be a very full month for me as I teach my Holiday edition of The Dancing Line for The Gentle Penman. The Dancing Line will expand on the basics I taught in the Artful Flourish but will work on really refining your strokes, developing your eye and expanding your ideas for flourishing. It will have a component for birds and scrolls but I will go beyond that into Holiday themes.

Finally, in October and November, I will be teaching two courses for Ardington School online. These classes will be kept very small and allow time to work on the projects and get feedback. Ardington School does a wonderful job of hosting the classes and making the small groups of students feel comfortable in the Zoom sessions. I have really appreciated their approach for classes.  I will be teaching a  Fall themed flourishing course called Fascinating Flourishes. It will be an introduction to offhand flourishing inspired by the sights and sounds of the Autumn season. I am looking forward to this small group of students and being able to work closely with them.

November's class through Ardington School will be The Luminous Letter. This class takes the theme of my Alphabet Garden class but interprets it though a more wintery or holiday theme. Because the class will be kept very small, I will be able to expand the letter design beyond the florals and include a bird or animal. If you are new to gilding and painting, this class will get you started on that wonderful journey. 

I am convinced that letter design is one of the keys to expanding the calligrapher's skill set. Beyond pen and ink, we learn gilding and painting techniques that can be studied for years to come. Even if you don't think you can draw, letter design is accessible for all skill levels and is a wonderful way to explore the design process and unleash your imagination. I am so excited about all of these course offerings. The online format has been such a wonderful way for me to reach students that I could never see with in person travel.  The classes are more budget friendly than my private course offerings and I am always so happy to hear from my students and see how they are progressing. If you have had your fill of online courses and want to just study and play on your own this fall,  I will be cheering that on as well. You will know the path you should take and I hope to see what you produce. Thank you for all of the kind emails and messages. Enjoy the rest of August dear friends. Hugs all around!

Monday, August 2, 2021

IAMPETH in Omaha

 This is a very special week for my dear IAMPETH family. If the world was back to normal, I would be walking up and down the halls of the hotel, doing tons of shopping at Paper and Ink arts and reconnecting with precious friends who brought this introvert out of her shell and helped hone her ability to teach. IAMEPTH has my heart and soul. With the current COVID restrictions still closing the land border between Canada and US, I have had to stay home. I am still teaching my Flowering Flourish class for my precious students through a special webcam and live stream method into the classroom. So my heart is at ease that way. For all of you who have inquired, I sent pens ahead to the Conference and they will be at Paper and Ink Arts where Ann and Terry Cobb will be overseeing the sale of my pens.  But the special moments where I get to visit my dear friends, share a meal, have breakfast with Bob Hurford and go for long walks with dear friends will be missing this week.  Sending hugs and love to all those there.

These past 18 months have been so trying in so many ways. We have all made tremendous sacrifices and seen so many disruptions. One of the lessons I have learned over these months is to really look at what is wonderful in your life and cherish those things with a wholeheartedly,. Be mindfully aware of even the smallest things that bring you joy. Pause and reflect and cherish the special moments. I have had the incredible pleasure of being able to teach online with lots of private students as well as larger groups. I have been able to watch skills get coaxed to a higher level and I am dumbfounded by the progress I see in the students. The joy that come out of flourishing, gilding, writing or drawing letters really is so inspiriting to me. I will update later this month with more news about my Fall classes. I will be teaching Italian Hand through Acorn Arts online, Fascinating Flourishes and The Luminous Letter through Ardington School and another more advanced holiday flourishing class through The Gentle Penman.   I will feature each of these courses separately as blog posts later on so you know a bit more of what will be offered. Lots to do and lots coming up. Whatever your first week of August looks like from your part of the world, I hope you find moments of joy that you can cherish!! Sending hugs and much love all around. The last photo on this blog post is sweet little Juniper Jumper. I have watched this baby rabbit grow in my back yard.  He has been eating clover and dandelion weeds ad the occasional flower. I am taking tons of photos so I can paint him in one of my miniature illuminations. Happy August dear friends.