Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fairy Tale Process

I have been working on my calligraphic hands since 2003. I rarely delve into the edge pen, but when I do, I usually choose German Text. My source material is an old booklet that is crumbling but it has one of the nicest German Text hands I have ever seen. The book was penned by L.H. Hausam and contains several alphabets.
I love the Victorian look of the text and how it contrasts with English Roundhand. I used Christopher Yoke's Historic Small Batch Japan Ink on the Strathmore Drawing paper and a Mitchell 3.5 nib as well as a Gillott 404. I love the ivory colour of the Strathmore drawing paper. The scroll design around the quote was drawn in pencil before inking the design.
Some offhand flourishing techniques were used with the flowers and leaves. The piece is gilded with 23 K gold leaf, painted with watercolour and then burnished with pastels. I used a few Swarovski crystals in the centres of the blossoms. This piece will be donated to the IAMPETH silent auction in Portland. The whole piece is part of a playful process.
The quote struck me as very Victorian and fanciful and in need of a lighthearted border. I find joy in the process of working on a design from start to finish. The piece is far from polished or perfect, but brought me a lot joy as I worked with the playful border design. Learn your lessons with each piece of artwork, clear your workspace, and get ready to start the next one. We are never finished with the learning process.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Eyes

I have come across some of the writings of John Ruskin in my studies of Kate Greenaway. Kate and John corresponded for years. John Ruskin was very encouraging of her work and some of his comments and critiques of her work are quite remarkable. This month I have been working on leaf studies in botanical illustration and Ruskin came to mind. One of his quotes... "PAINT the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world." has inspired me for many years but I feel like I am just beginning to understand it. There is a world of patience and understanding to find in a single leaf. I am still working on vellum and watercolour and will post more about that soon. But I have been diving into the world of Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils and finding a lot of lessons to be learned. Learning to tone, and layer colors and really see light and shade is mesmerizing. I stop and look at leaves on the shrubs and trees as I go on my daily walks. I am truly mesmerized. I am overwhelmed with the beauty in our world even in a single leaf. Today I worked on a sketchbook page and I look foward to expanding these pages and my studies.
As I closed my sketchbook to come into the house, this strange leaf rustled in front of me.
I have no idea what plant it came from. It almost looks like a dried geranium leaf but I am not sure. I don't see anything else like it on the property. But it seemed like almost a challenge from Ruskin!! Maybe if I can paint this leaf....I can paint the world.