Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Pensive Thoughts

 Welcome May!

I am always so happy to welcome this blossoming month of the year.

The birds greet each morning with cheerful songs and the garden is filled with hope of a new season. Although my heart is filled with expectation for the season, I have been especially pensive and quiet. I am taking a few weeks off from teaching before I begin the summer and fall courses.  Taking time to rest and regroup is good for the soul of the artist. I am relaxing my studio hours for the next few weeks to allow more time in the garden, catch up on my reading and to take longer walks. There are still commissions to complete and tasks to prepare for my students, but I am definitely slowing down my daily studio work until the end of the month. I am determined to appreciate this season that I wait so long for each year. The rocking chairs are waiting for me on the studio porch for morning coffee break and afternoon tea and I can't wait to use them. While I am on this break, I have been working on techniques with coloured pencil.

I have been testing different brands, doing paper experiments, investigating the use of solvents and testing paper surfaces.  Part of this is to prepare for Blooms and Breezes in July  which will be a course that is meant to optimize your coloured pencil use for calligraphic work. The pansy is a very simple flower to draw and to bring to life with colour. This is a  two session class and I hope it will  demonstrate the richness that can be achieved with simple coloured pencils.  I want the students to find confidence and learn how to build effective layers of colours rather  that create a luminous and realistic effect. 

The process of studying and working on compositions has been mindful work. Although I work in silence most of the time, the slow process of coloured pencil work allows my mind to wander. I don't have to analyze every thought and movement. I don't need to worry about the timing of applying water glazes to paper and there is no danger of ink smudges on the paper. Although the process is slow, it is extremely rewarding. 
 One thing that keeps coming to mind is the concept of  he passage of time. This process cannot be rushed. Each part of the design will take as long as it takes. In fact, when I feel myself rushing, I have stepped away from the work rather than try to race to the end of the piece. I will put the coloured pencils away, reset my desk and work on something else. I have found that rushing is my cue to move on for a day or two. As an instructor, I know that so many students want to rush to the end result of having their skill set match the vision they have in their head. We always want our work to be far more advanced than it is. We want beautiful script, perfect gilding and illustrations that look like they will leap off the page. But each of these skills needs time to develop. They all will take as long as they take. It is ok to slow down and breathe. Take as much time as you need with each piece of art work that you are doing. Enjoy the creative process. During this month I will be preparing for June's Fainting Fancies Class at Ardington and for Blooms and Breezes and  Flights of Fancies for The Gentle Penman in July.

If you are considering the Flights of Fancy Master Class but have questions about your current skill level, please contact me. This will likely be my final offering of the course and it would be a pleasure to accompany you .The course is about finding your voice as a calligraphic artist, refining your skills and  giving you confidence and joy in the journey.  This is more of an experience than an online course. I am so proud of the work of that has been done by the students of 2023 and I am excited for the 2024 students. 

Remember to take time to  pause and breathe my dear friends. Experience the season that you are in. Appreciate each day. Thank you for your constant encouragement, your friendship and for supporting my classes. Happy May!

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