Friday, September 23, 2022

Symbiosis II

 Sitting at my desk on a day that really feels like autumn. Tea at the swing still happened but with a jacket and a chill in the air. I woke up this morning and prepared for the launch of the Symbiosis II Mentoring Journey exhibit. Please take some time to read about the initiative and see the incredible works of art that have been produced. Each person involved has a story. They are unique people with their own vision and such precious gifts to share. I feel blessed to have been able to mentor for these past months. I have definitely learned lessons along the way and the lessons can be passed on in the future. I do a lot of teaching and it is such a blessing when the teaching rejuvenates and energizes. There are so many ideas rambling around in my head waiting to come out on paper. The journey goes on. It was wonderful to work toward an exhibit with a set date in mind and although that date has come, I am reminded that there are so many next steps to take. I think if I ever feel as if I have arrived at my destination, I will pack up my pens and put my paints away. There is always something to explore, learn, research and try. I don't think I will time to ever be bored as I continue along this path. The Symbiosis II platform has lots of events that you can watch free of charge. I will be doing a pointed pen etching demonstration next week. The info is all on the website. You will also be able to meet the mentors and mentees and hear about their own personal journeys. I find the whole process to be fascinating and inspiring and hope you will enjoy the events as well.

If you are already thinking of Holiday Projects, you can join the presentation of Lettering for Holiday Projects free of charge. I will be presenting Victoria's Valentine in a style that is true to my heart and a delight to share. The details are all on the website. I am always so grateful for your support in my classes. The free presentations are my way of saying thank you and hoping you will find joy as you put pen or brush to paper. I feel your companionship on this journey. I love each note and email that comes to me. I love to see your work. I believe that the peace and joy that can be found in this type of work can make in difference in our own lives and the lives of others. Keep playing and keep taking steps on your own personal journey. Hugs all around. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Seasonal Rhythms

September is spinning by so quickly and I know this is my third post this month! Autumn is pensive but productive for me. I am working on my 2023 teaching schedule at the moment which is very full and will offer some long term study opportunities to my private students as well as a small online class. I will keep you posted on the details. But registration is now open for my fall classes. A Time to Refine will be this weekend through Acorn Arts.  This is a very different presentation for me as I work more on techniques and polishing skills and share some insights that have come from different inspirational sources. The preparation of this course made me realize how deeply I am affected by each season and the different rhythms they present. The sounds and smells of autumn are so different than the spring and summer. Walks take me through falling leaves and I hear the crunch of the leaves as I pass by. The nuthatches and their special song is the most prominent in the garden. I haven't heard the evening song of the robin for weeks now. The first bird in the morning is usually a blue jay and the last bird at night even as it gets dark is a cardinal. There are no more pink blooms in may garden but the leaves are changing colours and my orange and yellow marigolds are still blooming. Inspiration informs our work! I feel like I am being flooded with inspiration as I continue to do research and study for upcoming courses. One of the explorations of the offhand flourish has been a metallic grisaille technique and adding some subtle detail to the metallic with watercolour and coloured pencil. It takes much longer to build up the grisaille with metallic but the effects are so interesting. We will explore this in Time to Refine. 
Something as small as an acorn can bring so much delight with a bit of gold leaf and the pointed pen. Although I am eager to share this class, it is an advanced class. If you are looking a good foundational class in offhand flourishing that provides the opportunity for exploring seasonal rhythms with a sense of the fanciful, I will be teaching The Festive Flourish for the Gentle Penman next month. This flourishing class will take you through the basic strokes of offhand flourishing while leading you into more complex flourishes. When I started out in my flourishing journey, one of my greatest joys was creating a different Christmas flourish for everyone on my card list! I kept this up for years until my card list got too big but the practice was wonderful. We will even explore a larger flourish that can be reproduced as a Christmas card. The magic and joy of offhand flourishing can take you down the most wonderful path. 
In December, if you want to journey with me into the Enchanted Meadow at The Ardington School, I be delighted to share this dry brush watercolour illustration technique for you. There is a bit of drawing, gilding and painting involved in these miniature paintings as well as lot of imagination and opportunity to indulge your whimsical side. I will add a bit of a seasonal twist to this class but these meadow creatures can be part of any season. Even if you think the drawing part might be beyond your current skill set, I will be sharing design strategies with you that are easier than you can imagine. 

 My hope with this December class is that you will be able to go forward into the winter months with painting projects that bring a sense of joy and delight to a season that can sometimes feel dark.

I know there are a lot of classes coming up and there are so many wonderful classes for you to explore online. I appreciate your support so much and more than anything, I love to see the sense of joy and peace that these skills can bring to your life. The Enchanted Meadow has brought out so many whimsical stories and ideas from students. I see their skills skyrocket and surpass anything that I could dream or imagine. Back to your weekend dear friends! Thank you so much for reading, for sending emails and sharing your friendship with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Savouring the Season

 The approach of autumn always makes me pensive. My senses are so aware of the changes in the air, the different sounds of the birds in the backyard and the fading blooms in the garden. This past summer I have  been aware of how I spend my time. If you really dive into the meaning of "spending time", you will realize there is a luxury in finding some available moments in each day. I have always been drawn to the wonder and beauty of nature, but with each passing season, I feel as if I can appreciate that beauty a little more deeply. I had a lot of intense time expenditures here in my studio these past few months. I have  been working with three mentees through The Art of Letters. Throughout the process I have been able to get to know these wonderful calligraphers as well as fellow mentors Gemma Black and Yukimi Annand.  We have worked together for about 6 months now and it has been wonderful to see their ideas come to life and watch them encourage each other. When I stared out in calligraphy, I was fortunate to have two mentors invest in me for several years. To this day, I am not sure why or how this happened but their teaching still comes into my heart as I work and and it comes through my voice when I teach others. Both Michael Sull and Brian Walker have played a huge role in my calligraphic journey. I feel blessed to be able to "pay it forward" and invest in others. We will be having an online interactive exhibit, discussions, and demonstrations September 24th to October 3rd. More information will be coming through The Art of Letters and I will post on my IG account as well. Watch for information about the exhibit called Symbisos II. One of my indulgent time expenditures throughout the end of Spring, Summer and now September, I has been taking quiet breaks on my garden swing. I will brew a cup of tea, grab a book and some peanuts to feed to the squirrels. There are three squirrels who now recognize me and will come close for their peanut. It has been such a delightful experience. When I worked on this letter, I wanted to capture the memories of Spring, Summer, September, Squirrels as well as Symbiosis. Symbiosis can be defined as a mutually beneficially relationship between different people or groups. The tiny delight of watching a squirrel reach for a peanut has blessed me and they sure seem to love it as well. 

I drew the design directly on my paper. The paper used for this piece is Fabriano Enhanced Artistico Paper. This paper is becoming my new favourite. The entire design is painted with my Winsor Newton Series 7 Miniature Size 1 brush. The vision of the design was a red letter, yet somehow I chose green. I was going to branch acorns and oak leave around the letter but somehow, flowers and acanthus leaves emerged instead. That is not overly surprising if you are familiar with my work! But the colour palette is a surprise. I guess the Seasonal Letter called for September colours.  The squirrel was built up with layers of dry brush watercolour and then a little white gouache was added to the tips of the ears.

 The initial is 6cm x 6.5 cm and was a delight to create from start to finish. 

Sometimes, no matter what the deadlines are or how quickly the days seem to be zooming by, it is important to take the luxury of slow time to experience the sights and sounds around you. Remember that each project that is in your heart and mind to do, deserves your best attention. I have many demands that pull at me constantly but I know I need to keep that stress and anxiety away while I work. Seasons come and go, and they each have a delight of their own. If you are yearning to take a break with a book, I hope you indulge! If have a whimsical project in your mind that you want to spend time with, I hope you dive in wholeheartedly. 
Find magic and delight in your work and as you watch the season unfold. Hugs all around. Thank you for your constant support and for taking the time to read the blog. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

A Season of Growth

 The calendar page has turned once again and September greeted me with sunshine and warmth. I have spent summer mornings in my garden, watching the birds and squirrels as they come to the feeders and taking some slow pauses to read.

Despite the little pause of my constant studio routine, I have felt a time of refreshing and growth. I patiently protected my Morning Glories this year so they would have a chance to bloom. They spent months behind a net so that the bunnies would give them a chance. Now they greet me with their vibrant colours. They have transitional colours  in them and delicate details that I am so grateful to see.

The garden will start to fade as the nights become cooler but I can honestly say that I took the time to appreciate the joys it had to offer this summer.

The research and reading I have been doing has launched me into so many areas of discovery. I watch as colours from Burne Jones' paintings start to influence my own colour choices. The stylized flowers of William Morris are becoming more and more ingrained in my thinking and you will see more of them in my work as time progresses. Although I usually dread the fall and winter season, I feel grateful for the summer growth. Each season has a beauty of its own and lessons we can glean.

I am constantly leaning into nature more deeply and appreciating the wonders of the seasons. I have lots of classes coming up as we go through the fall season. I will be teaching A Time to Refine through Acorn Arts later this month. This course will intentionally lead you along a path of growth and refinement in your flourishing skills. There is always so much more to learn and to know as we work with offhand flourishing and I can never teach it all in just one course. I hope that if you have studied with me in the past, you will find new truths and insights as I share my own avenues of growth with you. I want you to be able to use the flourish for all that it is worth and watch how it can bring skills that you never thought possible.  The process of refining skills, observing and really appreciating our journey has been on my mind for the past few months. We need a healthy respect for time. The clock and the seasons certainly don't slow down at all, but I am finding myself more mindful of the time needed to do my best work.

It may seem like a luxury not to rush, but in the end, I have found that it has been saving me time as I avoid corrections or even restarting a project. I hope that September brings you a joyful greeting and that you will take the time to observe its offerings. Do the work that is in your heart to do! There is such wonder on this journey. Appreciate the beauty that each day brings to you. Sending hugs to you all.Thank you for your constant support and your emails. I look forward to hearing from you.