Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vellum Scraps

I purchased some vellum scraps from Paper Ink Arts and I was really happy with the quality. I have a large calfskin parchment that I have not been brave enough to cut into and some 9x12 sheets that I am saving for larger work, but for these playful miniatures, the vellum scraps are perfect. I received an assortment of sizes for my 2.0 oz purchase. The pieces did not require much more than a light sanding and then a sanding with pumice powder. This little owl was a combination of my admiration of the medieval illuminators and their uncanny ability to tuck anything they could think of into a border design and my passion for Victorian scroll work. The finished size is 1.5 inches by 5 inches. All detail work was done with a 2/0 Escoda sable brush. The piece is flat gilded with 23K gold.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finding Flow

It has become a bit of a running joke with me but I find that when I work on flourished pieces, I have no real thought process going on in my mind! I seem oblivious to the world around me and instantly transported into a peaceful state of mind.It is hard to describe and even harder to capture on film as we are still working hard on the dvd. I was explaining this in my Philadelphia class. At one point in the class, we seemed to have achieved total silence as everyone had their heads fully engaged in their work. There was no chattering in the room at all. It was quite lovely to experience. There happened to be a psycho-therapist in the room at the time who was taking the class. We spoke about the experience afterwards and she told me that is a state called Flow. She recommended a book by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi called Flow which is my summer reading project.I hope to learn more about it and will keep you posted.As I worked on this graduation commission, once again I could transport myself to that peaceful state of mind. I am so grateful for the experience. This piece is done on the new diploma parchment with 23 K flat gilding, Staedtler Aquarelle watercolour pencils, Diane Townsend Pastels and Finetec Gold. I enjoyed adding an Enchanted Letter to the Emerson quote.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Favourites

Over the years, I have noticed that my supply lists for workshops are constantly evolving. In fact, even though I re-do my handouts to update my supplies and techniques for each workshop, I now add a disclaimer to my notes stating that I constantly re-evaluate supplies and may be demonstrating with new products. During this morning's commission I noticed how much I prefer the Escoda Brush to any other in my brush box. I painted the entire piece with the size 4/0 Kolinsky sable brush. It felt very comfortable in my hand and the brush hairs have excellent springiness and water hold out.It maintains its point and there are no stray hairs in any of my Escoda Brushes. I was very impressed and find that I reach for the Escoda more than any other of my Sable brushes. The piece was done with an Esterbrook 818 Extra Fine which is another new favourite for me. It is very flexible yet not overly sharp so it doesn't catch the fibres in the paper no matter how much pressure I put on it. Another big change for me is from the oblique to the straight pen holder. Although I still use the oblique pen holder with my Spencerian work, all of my pen drawn floral flourishes, European style thrown flourishing and even Golden Age Style Offhand Flourishing are now done with my Snakewood Straight holder. The holder is very precious to me as my husband made it for me. I still get to spend time turning my own pen holders on the lathe, but the majority of the work is done by Chris. This commission was done for a birthday card. The terminal lobes of the ribbon script letters are gilded with 23 K gold leaf. Staedtler Aquarelle Watercolour pencil was used to colour the design and my favourite Diane Townsend Pastels, Finetec Gold, Sakura Gelly Roll pen and Hot Foil were used to add accents. It was done on another new favourite, the new diploma parchment from John Neal.