Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Wonder of the World

As I continue to design and explore ideas for The Victorian Pen workshop, sometimes I get overwhelmed with inspiration. Morning time for me involves sitting outside on my swing and reading for about 30 minutes before I start my day. I picked up an old Fairy Tale book to read and was inspired by the inscription on the first page. "The wonder of the world,the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades, these I saw; look ye also, while life lasts"
This Victorian style piece was lettered outside on a very windy morning. The letterforms themselves took on a windswept look.
I am not done exploring the possibilites of this beautiful text yet. This piece was done with McCaffery Black on Strathmore drawing paper. Gilding was done with 23 K gold leaf and miniatum ink. Staedtler Aquaurelle Watercolour pencils tinted the design and shading was added with Diane Townsend pastels.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Evolution of A Workshop

After numerous requests to expand my Artful Flourish Workshop I am thrilled to offer The Victorian Pen.
The Victorian Pen picks up where The Artful Flourish leaves off. We put away the techniques of offhand flourishing and dive into the realm of the drawn and rendered flourish.
The class offers drawing techniques for the terrified starting with simple florals, shading techniques and gradually expanding to more complex designs! These pen drawings keep the organic qualities inherent in Offhand Flourishing but allow for pencil design and then pen rendering the final product. We launch into European influences from England, France and Italy. The colours, styles, layers and textures of the Victorian Era are explored. Love them or hate them, the Victorians left their mark in history and they had distinct art styles that are wonderful to explore. We trim off their excesses and leave room for the work to breathe. Simple supplies can be used from the humble pencil and walnut ink or be expanded to coloured pencil, watercolour, pastel and gold leaf. Designs start out as simple embellishments and work up to more ornate and complex designs. Full launch in 2015. You can contact me at for more details. Our new website is in progress! Lots coming in 2015!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dragon Days

A highlight of my summers over the past several years has been attending illumination workshops with Master Illuminator Debbie Thompson Wilson. Debbie has a passion for sharing her love of illumination with her students. Her classes are sold out months in advance. I always sign up for the next class without blinking! It doesn't matter what she is teaching, it just matters that time is put aside to study with her. This year, we spent the past two days working on dragons! So much fun. I always learn something new and cherish the dedicated and peaceful time working on honing skills. Meet "Ack" and "Chomp". So much fun to paint. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful teacher to study with. Illumination has been part of my study time for the past several years. I think it is so important to credit our teachers for helping us achieve skills that bring so much joy to our lives. Thank you dear Debbie! Her work will be part of the 2014 Guelph Studio Tour.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I need to start clearing my mind of tasks that are associated with the 2014 conference. I am feeling blessed, grateful and a bit tired, but overjoyed at having such a wonderful opportunity to work for IAMPETH. I love this organization more than ever. We are surrounded with wonderful people who willingly step up to the task to work for such a wonderful cause. This year IAMPETH has taken great strides to accommodate the growth that we have experienced. I believe that we will continue to grow and work hard to meet the challenges that come with growth.
I thanked a lot of people in my opening and closing remarks at the conference but I wish I had said more!! I had a strong support team with my Executive Board. Bill Kemp called and emailed regularly to encourage and assist. Rick and Jenny Muffler were positive role models and advisors. So much support!!! I am constantly grateful that they are only a phone call away. Jane Farr and Pamela Salatich were my two INDY residents who rose to every challenge that was presented throughout the year. They were trusted advisors. They also site inspected several INDY hotels for me as I tried to narrow down my search. They were both deserving recipients of the Spirit of Nan Deluca Award! Anne Cheney spent months working on our banquet tickets. I thought she did a spectacular job. I am not gifted with folding abilities but Anniee was up to the task.
I loved the little banquet scroll she placed in each ticket. Thank you Annieeeee!!!!!
Past President Janie Cravens assembled a team of experts to help with Registration. I didn't have to worry about a thing! It was in her capable hands!!! A special treat this year was seeing beautiful Maggie Cravens again! She has been attending IAMPETH conventions since she was 5 years old! There was a lot happening behind the scenes as I navigated this Presidency. I wasn't prepared for all of it but thankfully I was surrounded by very experienced people. Kathy Saunders helped me as I learned about our bylaws. She is a wealth of information and has so many stories to tell! We had late night conversations and lots of laughs!! We had a tearful goodbye at the hotel as we realized that we won't see our precious friends us until next year!! Kathy Markham our wonderful treasurer was warm and helfpul. Always cheerful no matter how much work she was juggling. I have to put up this beautiful picture that I found in our convention photos online.
Neil McCaffery is a hero in our organization. Not only our assistant treasurer, but also the custodian of our archives. If you don't know what is involved in setting up our archive room, you might want to watch Neil next year! He has our archives stored in a salt mine in Kansas. He single handedly retrieves, loads his vehicle and transports them personally back and forth to each convention. He loads and unloads each precious part of that collection, and then supervises the archive room. While doing that, he still finds time to sit in on a class or two at the convention, set us and tears down our owned audio visual equipment and takes care of trouble shooting anything that comes his way, in any department!!!!!!! Somewhere, I am pretty sure he has a superman cape! Neil is adored. There were a lot of administrative tasks to accomplish this year that could easily be delegated from Canada but many tasks needed to be dispatched from the USA. I can never say thank you enough to Debi Zeinert. She is my dear friend. She helped me from the minute the nominating committee approached me about the Presidency. She knew how scared I was to take on this job and assured me that no one ever runs a convention alone. I never felt alone! She was never to busy for me and always willing and able to help me with tasks that were better navigated from the US side of the border! On top of everything she did behind the scenes, she still worked together with Linda Carol Gray on the silent auction. Record sales too!!! Nearly $7000 raised at our silent auction. I am so thankful for the original artwork items that came from so many of you. Brian Walker from England sent an amazing Bloser portrait that was guarded by Skylar Chubak throughout that auction! The penmakers gave of themselves and so many of you contributed to the success of that auction! Thank you!!! Some things seemed to be accomplished by a team of elves who took care of needs even before I anticpated them. Agendas were faithfully checked by Joe Carbone, Bob Hosack, Nick Vrettos and Bryan Platt. Water was being delivered to thirsty round robin particpants and instructors, demonstrations were taking place in John Neal's Bookstore, and spouse day trips were being taken care of by Randy Banks! Indy centerpieces were being crafted and carefully transported to the banquet by the Calligraphy guild of Indiana. Little notes were being placed under my door and gifts were being delivered. Every morning, Nick Vrettos showed up with a handwritten note of encouragement from Jessic Yee. It felt as if she was right there beside me and it got me an extra hug from Nick at the same time. So many gifts were given and so many notes were sent. I am so very grateful!! My faculty was a gift from heaven. Bob Hurford stepped up and took on 3 classes. My dear friend was tired and well deserving of his Iron Man title! Thank you to all of my faculty: Michael Sull, Bob Hurford, Bill Kemp (even though he was sidelined by emergency surgery),Mike Kecseg, Jake Weidmann,John DeCollibus,Sheila Waters, Harvest Crittenden,Rosemary Buczek, Bryan Platt, Ned Gault, Valerie Weilmuenster,Kathy Milici,Tamara Stoneburner, Marian Gault and Barbara Close! You are wonderful!!! There are more thank you's that will go out in the mail!!!! This conference was managed by a team of experts. I had the privilege of being the President and going home with the amazing certificate created by Rosemary Buczek. But every one of you who helped in the slightest way with my convention, deserve proper recognition. You mean the world to me!!!! Precious memories are mine to cherish!
It was a treat to have our logo designer Don Marsh come for the round robin. I had been trying to warn him that there were a lot of people waiting to talk to him!! I think he gets the picture now. I will leave you with this photo of Skyler and Don
and our beautiful Logo. So thankful to Don for setting the look of my convention with that spectacular logo design.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Angel of the Acanthus

I should be packing, but its been so long since I just played with the pen.
I had worked on a vellum and watercolour version of this Baroque inspired cherub, but settled on ink on paper. Far more in my comfort zone. The piece is gilded with 23K Gold leaf and tinted with watercolour pencil and pastel. McCaffery Black was used throughout the piece. The miniature Victorian Flourish measures 4 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches and will be ready for the IAMPETH silent auction!!! Can't wait to head to Indianapolis for the convention and then home to tackle all of the tasks that I have put on hold.