Monday, November 29, 2021

The Peace of Pencil

It seems like we blink and month expires. Here we are at the end of November. I am almost finished up with my teaching schedule for the year. It seems like the studio desk was bustling from one day to the next  and I am so very grateful to my dear students, friends, and colleagues who hosted my online courses. There is more to come in 2022 and I hope to dig deeper in areas that have been requested by students. I have some new courses coming up! If you would like my upcoming confirmed teaching schedule, please email me at and I will send it to you. I hope whatever classes or techniques you have explored this year have brought you peace and joy! Thank you to all of you  who have sent me such kind notes of encouragement. I appreciate your thoughts and I love seeing your work. 

 As we embark on the festive season in a world that is still so stressful, I wanted to share something special with you. One of my closest companions on my studio desk is the humble pencil.

This low maintenance, analog tool is the first one I reach for as I am toying with ideas. It is quiet and patient with me and yields to erasing easily. It builds my confidence as I slowly come to conclusions about paths I should take in my work. It helps me formulate ideas and thoughts into more complex work on the page. 

 It can be easily overlooked as we want to quickly proceed to the vibrancy of colour and the joys of gilding or painting. But the pencil provides the stability and structure of the design. In all honesty, I succeed or fail with a project at the pencil stage. Sometimes the sharp point of the pen and the permanency of ink embeds a bit of stress into my process. There is such peace with working with the humble pencil. I know I have stressed this before, but pencil work translates into skills with the pen. I have many journals of sketches, ideas, quotes and layouts that are so fulfilling to use and refer back to.

Although most of my flourishing work is done in true offhand style without pencil work, the Glittering Vines, Enchanted Meadows, Enchanted Letters and Alphabet Gardens all start with pencil plans. If you want to explore some of my pencil play late December, my dear friends at the Pointed Pen Collective will be hosting the course Pencil Lines for Glittering Vines.

You will have plenty of time after the class to design with the simplicity of pencil before we have the second class in January where you can gild and paint your design.

My hope as the year advances, you will be able to expand and enhance your techniques as well as I slow down and take a deeper dive in subject specific classes. I also want to share my research and study methods with you. I tend to go head first into a subject and love to share what I have discovered over the year.  Pencil drawing is the root of my animal designs and  I will be teaching The Enchanted Meadow through The Gentle Penman in January as well.

You can also look for a special Valentine course soon through The Gentle Penman where we focus on some precious birds to study. Once again...we begin in pencil!

I have also agreed to run encore presentations of The Alphabet Garden and Flowering Flourish for the Ardington School of Crafts. Ardington classes are strategically kept very small.  I have more time to look at student work and our final session is a Q&A session with lots of feedback.
As November comes to a close in yet  another turbulent year, I hope you find peace, joy and creativity in your own home at your desk. We have no control of the things around us, but knowing how to utilize a pathway to peace can be so helpful! I am only ever an email away and I love to hear from you. Happy pencil play dear friends!

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