Sunday, November 20, 2022

Flourish and Grow!


On a very cold Sunday Morning in November, I wanted to share a quick post of how happy you have made as students and as readers of the blog. I appreciate all of you who have let me know they have not been receiving the notifications of the blog posts. It has been because of a setting change on this platform but I am happy to add your name to the list again if you contact me. Thank you for reading and being interested. This week my heart has been so joyful. I have just completed teaching The White Christmas Flourishing class at the Ardington School Online. Honestly, I don't know when I have seen such joyful flourishes emerge from a group of students. I think the Festive theme launches so many whimsical thoughts and people love to add a bit of sparkle to their work.

The special focus of working with white ink on dark paper also helps the students to see things with fresh eyes. I watched flourishes emerge that I have never seen students create before. We had angels and gnomes emerge on the paper! It was so exciting and incredibly satisfying to see the unique vision of the student come forward throughout the class.

 I have students who have been signing on for courses for many months now and to see their work skyrocket just brings me so much joy. Education builds as you continue to study. One student took the time to tell me that online classes really do work. I would never be able to meet with these students in all of these different countries in person. It is such a blessing to know that the classes are making a difference. As 2023 approaches, I want you to flourish and grow as you work with your hands. Find the sense of peace and joy that creative pursuits can bring. I let go of pursuing perfection years ago. I am pursuing improvement and peace in the process. I will be continuing to teach online. The Gentle Penman will have my Belles Nouvelles class in January. I have written about this before but this is a wonderful starting place if you want to learn the pen etching technique with the influence of Toile du Jouy and Art Nouveau colour influences. From antique soap labels and perfume labels to lettering on signs and even colours of pastries, there is so much to explore in this class. 

 The Ardington School will have several courses as well and we will be launching a monthly Flourishing Club as well. The Flourishing Club will be a place to play and place to grow. I will keep the flourishes to seasonal themes and we can explore techniques together. I have some spring ideas for our first set of club meetings!  Each meeting will be one hour and we will be able to chat together as we work on flourishes. The focus will be creating an atmosphere where we can grow and explore together.

You can sign up for Ardington's newsletter on their site or contact Gemma at Ardington to be included in the notification when the Flourishing Club launches. The Ardington offers so many wonderful courses with wonderful instructors. Enjoy looking through their course catalogue.  I will also be teaching For the Love of Birds at Ardington in early January. . This is a drawing and painting class where were can work together on gaining confident skills.  Here in Canada, January can be a bleak and wintery month and I hope to awaken Spring Joy in this class. We will draw birds and branches tougher and form a sweet branching heart for your Cerulean Warblers.

Your finished design can serve as a beautiful Spring card. We will explore pencil drawings of various birds and I hope this will be a confidence builder for you.

 And if you want to design gilded borders, I will be running my Pencil Lines for Glittering Vines course again. Although these look complex, I break this down into simple steps and you will have such fun designing your beautiful border. We befriend the pencil before we gild and paint. You will learn how to create a clean draft before you put paint and gold to paper. 

 Enrolment is kept quite low at Ardington. The classes are small and we interact with each other on a discussion board. I feel as if I am part of your journey and not just teaching and then closing the door. Although these classes are so much work to prepare, I am so grateful as I watch your skills blossom. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about these courses. I am so excited about what is in store and I will be cheering you on as you flourish and bloom. I know there is anxiety, fear and uncertainty in our lives. Lots of real struggles and pain. As artists and calligraphers, I think it is so important that we reach out to others, send a note of encouragement and bless others with the work of our hands. A little act of kindness goes a long way. Thank you dear students, readers and friends for the blessing you are to me. Keep flourishing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Quiet Appreciation

 Another calendar paged has turned and we are inching forward toward the end of the year. I can hardly believe how quickly things unfold. It is easy to get overwhelmed and not stop to appreciate some of the simple things that surround you. Taking time to pause, breathe, brew a cup of tea or coffee and just relax no matter what tasks are piling up on the desk. 

I took a beautiful walk around the garden on this unusually warm day. Seasons come and go. The garden will pause until next Spring and I will look forward to all that it has to offer. I have an abundance of work to do before the end of the year. A busy weekend ahead with Woodland Peace for The Gentle Penman on Friday night and then a Saturday class of Belles Nouvelles Lettres for The Michigan Association of Calligraphy. I will do a larger offering of Belles Nouvelles in January for The Gentle Penman. My love of Toile de Jouy fabric will shine through this class. Like everything else, I have loved the research end of composing the course.  There were some inspirations from studying the work of Alphonse Mucha that have influenced this course as well. 

Always a joy to paint miniatures and to design letters.There is always something new for me to learn and I am thrilled to share techniques, ideas and inspiration. I will likely be quiet for November and December as I finalize course material for Flights of Fancy. Trying to put the notes together and figure out the course load for the students is a lot of work. But I am so excited about the concept. My ideas keep evolving and my hope for the class is for students to find their own unique styles and to ignite their passion for calligraphic art. 
I will be working hard here in the studio and will respond to emails as soon as I can. Whatever you are doing in your part of the world, I hope you take time to pause and nurture yourselves.  I have heard from many of you who are going through stress and struggles and I am sending hugs across the miles and hope things improve quickly. I hope you can pick up the pen to flourish, or the pencil to draw or the brush to paint. I am cheering you on from my desk here in Canada. I appreciate you all so much.