Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shades of (Paynes) Gray

Rosemary Buczek design, my attempt at monochromatic painting...

In the "better-late-than-never" department, here is my post on the IAMPETH convention, which took place in Milwaukee in early August.

Me & Jane Farr
Best part by far:  hanging out every day with Jane Farr and basking in her talent, knowledge and all around wonderful-ness. We pretty much owned this corner of the hotel's spacious and beautiful bar.  Miss you, Jane!

Watching the masters in action was well worth the price of admission (to the conference, not the bar, although it wasn't unusual to see artists like incoming IAMPETH president Bill Kemp or Barbara Calzolari set up at a table in there...).  I also got a sneak peek at Harvest Crittenden's masterpiece certificate for IAMPETH president and conference chair Debi Zeinert in progress.  Here, she's gilding.  What Harvest can do in a hotel room in between classes and socializing, I can only dream of doing with a six-month sabbatical on a desert island!

As it happens, "A Study in Monochromatic Painting" with the inimitable Rosemary Buczek is the only class I took that Jane did not...and her excellent blog posts on the workshops of Joe Vitolo, Pat Blair, Kathy Milici, Barbara Calzolari will tell you all you need to know about the other classes I took!

Here's the article I wrote for Penman's Journal:

Rosemary Buczek

Rosemary Buczek:  A Study in Monochromatic Painting

By Friday morning of IAMPETH week I was thoroughly steeped in black and white, and wondering if perhaps I ought to have signed up for something involving color.  But “A Study in Monochromatic Painting” was my next scheduled class, and it turned out to be just the ticket:  while it is true we worked with just one tube of Winsor Newton Paynes Gray (and a touch of Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White), the result was exquisitely colorful!
Rosemary Buczek sample sheet for workshop

Master Penman Rosemary Buczek guided us step-by-step with warm enthusiasm and expertise.  With the smallest dab of Winsor-Newton Paynes Gray--and an armload of brushes, rulers, pens, water containers, blotting towels, and other assorted supplies--forty eager IAMPETH members set out to embellish her beautiful rendering of the apt phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” in the style of P.W. Costello and other early 20th century engrossing artists.

Rosemary Buczek design
Starting with the basic design, printed on very heavy hot press paper by Rosemary’s husband Steve, we re-outlined the shapes and letterforms with pen and waterproof ink.  Not only did this give definition to the design, it was a good way to acquaint oneself fully with all of its details.

With our pointed round watercolor brushes (#0 #1, #2), we created small sample sheets for ourselves, practicing painting the Paynes Gray in a variety of ways and creating levels of color saturation: dry into dry (for the darkest, most opaque shades) and dry into wet, wetter and wettest (for progressively more transparent tints).  We learned how to use the light of the paper to give further dimension to the design elements, and very helpfully, how to correct when the paint did not distribute itself as intended by rewetting and moving the color around. 

We then applied our newly-learned techniques to the study piece, beginning with the sections to be painted in the darkest shades and working toward the lighter areas.  Thanks to digital technology, we were able to watch in enlarged detail as Rosemary demonstrated the teasing of color from the darkest areas to the lightest, creating a background shadow that set off the piece handsomely.  Some letters were painted with the very palest tint, others with the deepest shade; both were embellished them with bits of white applied with ruling pen and pointed pen.
Rosemary Buczek design            
To be sure, Rosemary was able to de-mystify a technique which, with practice, will be simple and dramatic addition to this engrosser’s bag of tricks! It was a fun and inspiring class.

Rosemary Buczek design

end of article

The banquet on the final night was great fun, with Joe Carbone apparently playing "Where's Waldo?", appearing in every picture I took!

Me, Joe, JP Panter

Pat Daley, Joe, Harvest Crittenden

Joe & Harvest
Elizabeth Kenney & Joe with special party headpieces?
Next year:  Albuquerque.  Be there!


  1. Thanks, Jody! This looks like it was a fantastic class, and I'm so sorry to have had to miss Iampeth in Milwaukee. It looks like it was one of the best! I know you and jane had fun!

  2. Great post, Jody! I loved your article for the Penman's Journal on Rosemary's class - loved the piece you created as well. Great photos from the banquet! (the blue dress is FAB!) Miss you!!! xoxo

  3. You did a wonderful job on the write up for the Penmen's Journal. I was in the class as well and absolutely loved it! While I have not designed my Christmas card, as suggested, I have worked with the technique more. Rosemary was wonderful! I do believe we might have had lunch together in the hotel restaurant one day. I believe you gave me your enthusiastic review of Harvest's workshops. I'm still pondering attending one of those. From the mountains of NC

  4. What fun you must have had! I am so sad I missed it this year. I have loved all the classes I have taken from Rosemary. She is so kind and talented. Your article was great. Hope to meet you soon.



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