Friday, May 24, 2013

Process Pictures

Every now and then I am asked to talk about my process of work. Since 2010, I have been carrying a journal and mechanical pencil with me wherever I go. I have several of them on the go. These 5 were within closest reach in the studio. They have transformed my process when it comes to designing work. My flourishing work still remains spontaneous and without pre-planning. But larger work, engrossings, Enchanted Letters and Enchanted Meadow pieces get their start in my journals. My Leuctturm Journal with the grid lines is filled to page 207 of a 250 page Journal. I find myself trying not to fill it up! It has been my travel companion for these past 3 years, records the questions that students have at my workshops, hold the roughs of every Enchanted Letter I have designed, has my recipe for making ivory ink, contains handwritng exercises for my penmanship classes, border designs and the list goes on and on. Now I don't know how I could ever travel without it as it has become some a wonderful reference tool for me! I guess I will be brave and fill it up and hope the next gridded journal proves as valuable to me. Even the process of keeping a journal is evolving in my art studio. The pencil sketch now serves me best as a rough draft of my finished piece. In the past, I would have used my sketch to take a tracing or a scan for my final piece. I find though, that the tracing process has a deadening effect on the final piece. I am finding it better to capture ideas in my journal and plan a design, but my recent Enchanted Letter designs are drawn freely on my final art paper. I certainly didn't stray far from my original sketch idea.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Passionate Pen

Now and then, I can see my work evolve. It is usually a subtle change that starts to dominate my thinking. In this recent evolution, my desire to discover fluid movement in English Roundhand was combined with my desire for the Offhand Flourishing techniques to become slightly more illustrative. My inspiration for English Roundhand has always been the work of George Bickham as well as Thomkins and Milnes. But the past two years, my inspiration has been a single piece of lettering that is from the pen of Ramon Stirling. In reading and studying Roundhand, my challenge has always been to find a fluid movement with it that would work as handwriting. The result of two years of study is culminating in a new workshop to be released in 2014 called The Passionate Pen. I believe that Roundhand is expressive and can be freed up from the more rigid approach of Engrosser's Script.Capital letters can be vibrant and playful while retaining grace and gentleness. I will always love the whisper quality of Spencerian Script and that quality has crept into my Roundhand while retaining its European roots. All my favourites are used on this piece with the exception of Old World Iron Gall ink replacing my McCaffery Brown.Watercolour, Diane Townsend and Finetec Gold were used on John Neal's new diploma parchment.