Saturday, October 29, 2022

Practicing Peace

 It seems like just a blink and we are at the end of October.

My garden still has blooming marigolds and pansies that are trying to hang on, and there have been some vibrants red colours in my maple tree.

I can see the changes in the light and how it reflects on the trees and I know that the cold season is coming. That means I have to look a little harder to find  the hidden gems in each day. But they will be there. Earlier this month, I released some new class information. The Flights of Fancy Class is a 5 month long study program through the Gentle Penman.  The class is more in the form of a mentoring journey than just a teaching situation. I want your skills to soar.

 The students will actively participate and find their own vision and path. When the class opened for registration, it sold out in record time. We were overwhelmed with requests to run a second time slot. So a very limited seating for a second group of students is being offered and will open for registration on October 30th at 12:00 AM EDT which is 12:00 PM HKT. Even though we are opening this small group of seats for this course, I will not be able to accommodate all of the requests for students. I feel humbled and overwhelmed at the response and I am so grateful that you want me to accompany you on this journey.

I have a lot to do to prepare for the course and I have a robust teaching schedule for 2023. No matter how busy I get teaching, I have found some very peaceful practices to share with you. I love to write, draw, gild and paint. I love designing compositions and finding a way to share them with my students. An added blessing has been the peaceful mindset that comes with the drawing and painting. I remember early in my journey, that my grip on the brush would be tight and I would be stressed over the final outcome of the painting. Over the years, I have learned that it is the process and the practice that is most important. The final outcome is always negotiable. Now when I paint, I take a deep breath and reflect on my subject. I try to find what lesson each particular project will be teaching me.  Will I have to correct a mistake? Will I be patient and peaceful as I work through the details of the design? Can this piece I am working on bring joy to someone else? How can I share this with my students in a way that is easy to communicate and understand? The practice of drawing, gilding and painting has become a peaceful one for me. Just like writing and flourishing, it brings me so much joy and I have heard from so many others who find that same sense of joy and wonder. Although my schedule can not possible accommodate all of the student requests, there are two upcoming courses that are still available for you if you are interested. Next weekend, I will be teaching Woodland Peace which is a study in miniature painting.

I provide guides for the painting but also share how to compose your own painting. The Gentle Penman will donate half of the proceeds of the class to the World Wildlife Fund. Registration is open.  And if you want to look ahead to the hope of an early Spring, I will be teaching For the Love of Birds for Ardington School. Enrolment is kept small with Ardington so I can work closely with the students. If you wanted to find a sweet way to draw and paint birds in a foliate setting, this is a great class to start with.

You don't need special skills or drawing experience for either of these classes. I believe in the process of finding peace through working with your hands. Even if you don't think you can draw, there are entry level strategies that we can learn to make things easier.

The work that we create can be such a blessing to others. Whether you create a design for a card or an original to be framed, you will surprise yourself with what you can do. As we come on deck for the Festive Season, I hope you find joy and peace with the work of your hands. Please continue to let me know if you want to be added to the blog subscription. I also have a draft of my 2023 teaching schedule ready to share. I hope this last weekend of October is a beautiful one for you. Hugs all around. 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

October Is Here....and my heart is full!

 Welcome to a breezy October morning. There I a bit of a chill in the air and joy in my heart.

 I have so much to share this month!Minutes ago, Symbiosis II wrapped up the exhibit for this fall. I cannot begin to share all that I have processed with this journey. I feel like I have gained far more than I have given and I am energized beyond what I thought was possible. I think what was most energizing was seeing the passion and enthusiasm of a young generation who are seeing this world of calligraphy and ornament through fresh eyes. It is easy to take for granted a burgeoning bookshelf and cupboard full of art supplies. Maybe we forget what it was like to purchase our first tube of paint and wonder if it will be worth the money. Or maybe we don't remember that we used to buy our sheets of paper one at a time and just how precious it was to have that full sheet to explore.  What has imprinted so profoundly for me is how attentive this young generation is to these new experiences. Nothing is taken for granted and it has been an incredibly enlightening and rewarding experience. I think I will be unpacking the rewards for quite some time. There is something about sharing a process and journey with others that relieves a sense of isolation we can feel in our studios of solitude and puts some polish in our own work.

I can finally share some exciting news about upcoming classes. I know there are so many to explore and your plate may be full. Mine is full as an instructor as well. As an artist who is trying to keep up with all of the classes, I feel like I have made some new discoveries that I am excited to share. Festive Flourish open for registration with The Gentle Penman. This is a wonderful class even if flourishing is new to you. I am overflowing with new ideas for this class including more thoughts for a flourished reindeer.

We will use a template for the shape so there is no need to worry if you think you cannot draw. There is a vintage feel to it with the elongated, narrow neckline of this particular deer. What a joy to just let flourishes evolve on the paper. I used Michaels Recollection Cardstock for the design which feels very thin these days but it works well with the Bleedproof White. 

Woodland Peace is also open for registration on The Gentle Penman website.

The process of painting has become more and more enticing to me. This approach uses a lot of control of the watercolour medium. I am keeping the floral and foliate colours minimal as this class will be presented in one session. When the work is completed, you could have a finished design to print for you holiday card. As I look back on the piece, I can see the influence of my William Morris studies. Not only his finished designs, but his ability to pursue the things he wanted to explore have impacted me so much. He knew what to exclude and what to pursue. I have had to keep that thought in mind as I plan things for 2023.

If you want a festive exploration of the Enchanted Meadow, I will be sharing some insights in the December class for Ardington School.  Each time I teach a class I try to find new things to explore. As I was preparing for this class an Enchanted Meadow Mouse took shape. There are always new avenues to explore. This is such an interesting pursuit and I don't believe I will ever be bored. Gold leaf as well as 23K handmade shell gold was added to this piece. The little mouse was such a happy departure from my usual bunnies but I am sure a bunny is not far behind. 

If you are looking ahead on Ardington's schedule, they have also posted For the Love of Birds which continues with drawing and painting. Right now the notes include the Cerulean Warbler as our study subject but I am working hard on a male and female cardinal as well. Once again, a delicate painting technique is the focus of this class. 

Finally, I have just announced the news of the 2023 Flights of Fancy program with The Gentle Penman.

The class info will be on their site on October 3rd. Registration for the course which begins in January will not open until October 23rd. This will be a very small class. The course content and the component of feedback and troubleshooting will need to  be kept to a small class. We also want you to really consider and see if you have room in your life to take the program. I will be sharing research and study methods throughout the class and I expect that each student will do different work.  I will continue to share details of this program through the blog and IG posts but what is most important for me in this course is for you to find your own path and your own voice. This will be the most intensive course I have ever taught. It will take about 5 months over 12 sessions online. There will be feedback for the work submitted and there will be lots of work involved not only for you as a student but for me as instructor. I am feeling a bit crazy for embarking on this but also so excited. The driving force behind the class is what I see from my private students who have been with me for an extended period of time. They are doing work that I would never have dreamed or imagine is possible. And they are pushing me into new explorations as well. I am so very grateful to my students. 

If you are interested in the program, you can read about the details on The Gentle Penman on October 3rd.  You can also contact me with questions.  I want to engage your whimsical side as we look at these skills together. We can have a playful yet studious approach. I believe that this is a tender hearted world in need of joy and peace. What we do with our hands can reach others and enrich our lives so much. I will have lots more to share.  Expect some advanced flourishing techniques, explorations in gilding, watercolour and drawing. We will design fanciful inhabited initials and finally create an illuminated page together.

I do recommend a textbook to study for the entire course. The book is The Beauty of Letters by John P. Wilson. If you have the book, you will know that it is not instructive. But there are ways to engage with the book that can inform your work.  I realize that many of you have not been receiving the post notifications of the blog. If you contact me, I will add you again to the notification list so you don't miss out on posts. I know there was a lot in this post. Beyond classes, there is so much in my heart and mind to share with you. Whatever you are doing on this October afternoon, I hope you find joy in the journey!