Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 Christmas Card

Photo taken in our yard--Toyon (California Holly), a local native. Photo run through the Waterlogue app.
   "Merry Christmas" lettered with a brush-pen. Scanned into Photoshop and color changed to white. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bold Monogram

Decided to make a bold monogram, this time. I hope to carve this as a stamp to be used as a chop for
the exhibit piece I'm creating.


Sketch done in Adobe Illustrator--playing with the Width Tool

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TIPS: Writing on Paper that Bleeds

Hi, all. In the interest of spreading the joy of calligraphy, I'll start posting periodic tips. Links will be mailed directly to members of the Inland Empire/Pomona Valley regional group of the Society for Calligraphy (southern California) and to my students. Anyone is welcome to follow this blog to receive notifications.

   A couple years ago, I volunteered to fill in certificates for my mom's church. In the past, I had experienced writing on envelopes where the ink bled, but that was usually remedied by using sumi ink or gouache. The paper used for these certificates and envelopes turned out to be the absolute worst!

    I lettered the first batch of certificates in italic. I tried various types of ink with a broad-edged dip pen--sumi, Higgins Eternal, dark walnut, gouache, among others--they all bled. I tried a Manuscript  cartridge pen--I prefer dip pens, but these pens usually work on most papers--it also bled on this paper. Finally, I tried a calligraphy marker, which usually works on any paper--even that bled!
   I have developed various solutions, which I'll share below.
   I spray the certificate pages with Krylon Workable Fixative. You don't want to do this inside--the fumes will make you sick! I lay them on newspaper outside, then spray a light coat. After allowing them to dry for at least 15 minutes, I give them another light coat, then let them dry for at least a couple hours.
    For the past several batches I have had good results with writing in English Roundhand (aka Copperplate), using McAffery's Penman's ink (purchased from John Neal Bookseller, or Paper and Ink Arts).

   Recently, I've used up my black Penman's ink and will reorder soon--it's a good one for pointed pen users to have on hand. Let it suffice to say that I am currently trying to reduce my stock of probably 50+ bottles of various inks. (Newbies, take my advice and don't accumulate so many--some go bad, but even if they don't, they take up too much space and you have to search for what you need! Just keep your favorites on hand and maybe one or two others you want to try).  For this batch, I chose Chinese charcoal ink, similar to sumi. It was thick, so I dipped the pen lightly into water before dipping into the ink. This bled, despite the workable fixative! So, it was time to get out the powdered gum sandarac. This often comes conveniently packaged in a little cloth bundle, as shown in the photo.

   I took the bundle and lightly "pounded" it across the writing area--the light-colored  particles were visible upon close inspection. Then I rubbed the bundle across the surface a few times, to work the particles into the fibers and ensure they were evenly distributed. I lightly blew to remove excess. That took care of the problem, as long as I wasn't too heavy-handed with the ink, which is the goal, anyway!
If you have any questions about this post or other lettering topics, feel free to post a comment. I hope to never stop learning, so any suggested improvements in my procedures or posts are appreciated, too. Happy writing!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Drawn Letters

One of the pieces that I drew several years ago, while in Liesbet Bouden's class at the Passionate Pen conference in Sonoma. It was just framed--I should have taken the photo before the work was covered with UV glass! Letters are drawn, gradually enlarged, refining at each step, then painted with gouache using a broad-edged nib.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My tribute to Margaret Spiess

The tribute I wrote for the Society for Calligraphy website, was too long, so I'm posting it here. Please be sure to zoom in, if needed:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Round Robin Journal Exchange

We met yesterday, for the fourth gathering of our round robin journal group. There are six of us, five calligraphers and one artistic friend, Sharon, who dabbles with lettering.
   I'm staying with my mom for a few weeks, while she recovers after surgery. I drove home for a few supplies, and made do with those. I do think I get more creative when faced with limited options.
  This page was in Sharon's book, originally entitled Japan in a Nutshell. I choose the section, Ginkos.
   I collaged the background from the insides of used security envelopes. I added accents from old green stamps; a label with "Ginko" in handwriting, rather than formal calligraphy; used postage stamps.
   Watercolors were painted on the back of ginko leaves, then pressed onto drawing paper. The drawing paper didn't seem as conducive to good results as other paper I've used in the past--it was, however, good enough for my purposes. I cut them out, arranged, and collaged them. Since I didn't have my matte medium with me, I used glue stick, which doesn't always stick as well as I'd like, so stitching on my mom's Bernina was added to make this more permanent.
   This was fun--I plan to do more!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Wedding Card

Last weekend, my sister was visiting and wanted a card to take to a wedding, so I created this for her. It was done in somewhat of a rush, so I still plan to make some modifications to the lettering.  She was very happy with the result.

The foliage was done with a fine point pen and watercolor. The roses and leaves were watercolored, then cut out and collaged. The blue background was created in photoshop, to add a little contrast.

Inside is the sentiment with which the This day was associated.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Retro Postcard

I created this postcard, as the first step in creating this month's Artist Trading Card exchange. The design is based on a vintage card from my collection. I was inspired to create my own version by a contest featured in the latest Uppercase magazine.  I didn't enter--too busy, at the time, but better late than never, to try it! This was lots of fun and great review of Photoshop concepts. And, of course, I incorporated the brush lettering that I teach.

I will experiment more, as there are still a couple things that I want to improve, but as a whole, I'm very happy with the way this turned out.

The image in the lower right-hand corner, features our late, pet ground squirrel, Suzy, when she was a baby. She trusted us completely and we loved her completely.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July Artist Trading Card

Latest ATC. Watercolor, pen & ink, collage, tweaked in Photoshop.

I particularly like this one, since it's very different than those I've made in the past.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Painting Effects

Photo I took in France. Filters were applied in Photoshop for an oil painting effect. Fun!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fun little booklet, made from stuff that would have been trash

A fun little booklet which Lise Orwig demoed at retreat. We constructed them using business-reply envelopes. I glued-on my own practice paper as the cover,  and cut out some leaves from Syeda Ullah's demo to collage on top.

Inside, there are small pockets, which we stuffed with little mementos of our time at retreat.  Very  fun!

                             Front and back

Retreat flowers

I brought these home after the Society for Calligraphy annual Memorial Day retreat. Peonies usually grace my table there, but since I also demoed painting simple watercolor roses, I added a bunch of those to be models for the participants. This bunch lasted an amazing amount of time. The roses finally had to be discarded earlier this week--the peonies had to be tossed a few days earlier.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Envelope with roses

Practicing my flower painting--envelopes are a great place--rather than toss the practice sheets, they cheer someone's day.

Monday, April 10, 2017


Mixed-media piece created in class with Rebecca Wild at our Letters California-Style conference in February. Graphite script, acrylic background, Pan Pastels, colored pencils. I plan to use these techniques, often!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

July Brush-Pen Lettering Class

Back by request: Pointed Pen Brush Script series in Chino Hills, CA.  This time, we'll cover both the traditional and modern versions. During the third session, we'll learn to incorporate a few watercolor flowers onto envelopes or other work. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Brush-lettered Envelope

Sample envelope created for brush-lettering class that I taught in January.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Morning Pages

Composition book, covered with collage, gessoed, then drawn and watercolored. Lettering with brush marker.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Artwork for class flier

This was created late last year, for a class flier. This coming Sunday, I'm teaching Capitals at Art Lounge on 101, in Encinitas. All are welcome, particularly beginners to brush-pen script!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Copperplate Class Series: UC Riverside in May

End-of-January ATC

My latest Artist Trading Card. I decided to try collage, this time. So glad to be able to spend time creatively.

Photo taken at an angle.

Now back to mundane tasks. . .