Enjoy this 3 part video on Uncial calligraphy done here with broad edged pens, Pigma Calligrapher by Sakura of America. It is a beautiful rounded bold alphabet that looks great when written tiny or large. I hope you have fun with it. I had fun and sure learned a lot in the preparation, as I did it ALL the time, while hiking in the mountains, adding it to my sketches while eating, in my sleep (dreaming nightmares!) and more. I became the student. Isn’t that the way it is when we become engrossed in learning to share?
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HAVE SKETCHBOOK WILL TRAVEL … for Journeys of Daily Explorations at Home and On the Road. I’ll be in Orlando, Florida teaching a 3-day workshop March 17-19, 2017. Getting ready for a full immersion sketchbook journey in the class, in a restaurant, and in the field.
One way to create a sketchbook page is to create a grid with panel shapes. Here, I used tape while painting two of the panel shapes. Sometimes, I like to include a map from the area and continue to overlay images and writing.
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I eat pens- morning, noon & night. Devour them. They are part of daily nourishment. Elixir, vitamin boost, magic potion and dessert. Ink flows like blood through my fingertips and I write what I think, draw what I imagine.
My pens are not for just collecting. Each has its own personality, makes its own mark; a hairline, flex, italic. And each requests its own ink color. Some pens are workhorses, “thinking” pens. Others for finish work, drawings in my sketchbook and note taking. I especially appreciate the vintage pens that had a previous owner and can only imagine its writing life.
AS WE LIFT OUR GLASSES to toast all the blessings as we give thanks on Thanksgiving Day, I’ll remember throughout the day my loved ones here and past. Thank you sweet friends, colleagues and family. I treasure your footprint in my life. My sketch shows here my parent’s house where the heart of this home was always at the gathering around the table and every meal was thanksgiving.
Blessings of Thanksgiving
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A collaborative Deck of Cards Project headed by amazing artist, Susan Longerot with 26 Artists. She dealt two cards per hand to interpret artistically. Final design size 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. Susan’s article appears in Bound & Lettered magazine, January 2015 issue.
6 of CLUBS (black card), a pen and ink illustration. I thought about “club shapes,” hence 6 club-like clover florets churned by a red dressed mousie. What could be better than having a midnight harvest and making ink! My other card, the 10 of Diamonds.
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Pen & Ink go together like bread and butter, You can’t have one without the other! Sounds like a familiar tune, but so true. Which pen and which ink will dance together on the page tonight? It depends.
Pen nib: needlepoint hairline, broad, wide, flexible, fixed? Ink: juicy wet, dry, ink viscosity, color, opaque, waterproof, oak gall, sumi, acrylic? Paper: slick, smooth, rough, recycled, toothed? Throw in other factors, such as writing speed, writing pressure, and then there’s the calligrapher! And then, when all is said and done, when the right ink is paired with a writing tool to deposit an inked line that sits up on exquisite paper, glistening – it is as if all the stars are aligned in the night sky. It is writing bliss!
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IT MUST BE DECEMBER . . . Potted bouquets line the walkway like velvet jewels, a crimson forest to a Christmas mouse. Welcome to this Winter.
Summer trees take an extra season to remove their coats allowing Artists and Naturalists to appreciate the beauty of their framework. As winter solstice nears, daylight is traded for candlelight and the atmosphere chills and fills with moisture. I am writing in my journal and reflecting on the year. Wishing you all a happy, warm holiday season filled with lots of hot chocolate and love!
My watercolor painting of poinsettias on 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper, “saving the white paper”, 11″ x 15″.
WINTER HOLIDAY 2010.
To my dear students,
There are not enough “letters” in a bottle of ink to pen the words to thank you all. As students of the craft, we are always seeking to better our techniques, acquire more ideas, learn about new tools all while strengthening friendships with kindred spirits. I have learned and have been inspired by you most of all.
Time is one of the most precious things in this life; who you spend it with and what you do with it is really what life is all about. Thank you for making a commitment of your time to come to class and be a participant. Your weekly questions keep the class fresh and always provide me with new challenges. You have endured the lesson plans and weekly homework assignments with hours of work and it shows. It shows up in the cards you make and give each other, and work that you put out into this world. The creativity you put into your projects is an inspiration.
Thank you for making me a better teacher. You challenge me each week to come up with another way to help you see the “forms” that letters make and I love it. I love it when I show you one thing and the following week you share with the class a multitude of ideas. It has been the sharing that I hope you will always remember about our class. Class time is not always about trying to “get” something, but giving as well. Each time you have shared something of yourself you have enriched us all, and I thank you for that. Also, you have been kind to share your mistakes, for how not to do something has been an equal lesson as well. You have stepped outside your veil of shyness to show up. [applaud]. Thank you.
You have taught me about patience and focus.
As calligraphers, we strive for excellence hoping to make marks that leave us breathless. It may seem like an elusive endeavor much like a rainbow mirage on a moving highway that jumps farther away as you drive closer. Time passes. Never give up, for one day, you notice a uniformity, a rhythm, a natural lilt to the glistening wet ink as it sets up on the pristine paper. A single letter of brilliance made by your human hand. Bravo. Remember, that with continued practice, you are raising your own bar and requiring the rainbow to move ahead.
Notice the things that surround you can spark your imagination and be a source of inspiration. Sharing is better in this short life than metering your knowledge with clenched fists. Stretch yourselves this next year and continue to grow. Love this mark-making journey you are on.
And so, I celebrate you, my dear students, you have been my teacher. [arms outstretched] May your days be filled with beauty,good health and much love,
Christmas bouquet, watercolor, 4″ x 9″ Arches hot press.
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. Watercolor sketches to document Thanksgiving dinner. .
Author unknown. .
The best pecan pie recipe from Houston, Texas! Also French apple pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cream cheese pie. All homemade, of course.
“Eat, Pray, Love” author, Elizabeth Gilbert was being interviewed for her notable book, a New York Times Bestseller. Its her account of her year long journey and the lessons she learned on her spiritual odyssey, written with humor, insight and charm. She spoke unhesitatingly with passion and with a richness of content that I had to record.
I reached for my journal quickly AND BEGAN TO TAKE NOTES:
ENTRANCES are everywhere. Everyday–a sacred space. MEDITATION. Ten minutes of SILENCE is enough. STILLNESS. seeking. journey. Your Inner Voice will tell you the TRUTH. SAY NO to things you don’t want to do or can’t do. A JOLT is a call to ACTION. You don’t have to travel across the world to find yourself. As Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) would say– you always had it in you. I am my best person when I have LESS on my PLATE.
NOTE TAKING: This sketchbook 4″ x 6″. Non-linear layout, here. Emphasis on key words. Watercolors, at the ready, making color notes, quickly melting colors into each other and sometimes catching the wet ink writing (using a Niji waterbrush and small watercolor travel set). Rotating the page at each new note. The page is done like a sketch, all done in the moment, on the spot, not retouching or re-writing later. Because, “later” there are other things to do!
ALWAYS WITH ME. . . A few of my favorite writing tools.
FOUNTAIN PENS. Not just one. A pointed flexible nib for drawing. A fine calligraphic chisel nib –in different millimeter widths. The fountain pen is always ready to go, ink filled. Great for drawing, sketching and writing. The immediacy of writing with wet ink is a treat. I carry them in a leather pen roll for 5 pens. The leather is soft and supple from lots of use, and has a top flap that folds over the pen caps.
THE WATERBRUSH. A plastic barrel that is filled with water with a nylon brush on the end. Made by several brands; Niji, Pentel, and Koi. It’s great for pulling out some color from watercolor pencils or dabbing into a paintbox. And a slight dilution to an inked line is all that is needed to add dimension to a sketch. It’s the most perfect solution for travel sketching — instant water!
PEN HOLDER, PEN NIBS, INK. More time to write? Then individual pen nibs ready to insert into a pen holder, at the ready. Small 2 oz. Nalgene round leakproof plastic containers make the most secure of inkwells for traveling.
WATERCOLOR PENCILS, a definite must. Can be used dry for a spot of color or can be wet with a brush and voilá.
This watercolor of some tools are featured in my book, “Artful Journals” and is a partial representation of a giclée print available for sale.
10″ x 10″, US$55.00 (plus shipping)
MOVING DAYS. . . Packing up a studio full of “stuff” (17 years worth of stuff) and movin’ onwards and up. Editing. Evaluating. Sorting. Sifting. What do I need? What will I keep? What will I donate and share? Toss behind, let go, and move on to make room in my life for new adventures and creations of art. As they say, “you have to take your foot off 1st base to get to 2nd, and so forth.” Clear the tables, “Leap and the net will appear”(another saying scribbled in my journal). This has been my summer; more light, longer days and knowing that “somewhere over the rainbow” I know that by getting rid of these things, I will have more room in my life for more _______ (fill in the blank).
We are always moving somewhere, this is life’s journey.
Pen and Ink drawing done with a Namiki fountain pen, extra-fine needlepoint, super-flex nib, black ink.
Fountain pen nib re-ground by Greg at www.gregminuskin.com (the best!)
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