Friday, June 22, 2012

A Gift of Grid

How cool is this?!?  Our fellow pen enthusiasts at Scribblers, "across the pond",  have come up with this genius tool.  And what's more, it's free!  Just go here, choose your settings, and you're good to go in a matter of seconds. Thank you, friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kalligraphia 13

San Francisco Public Library

My whole family went with me to the opening reception for Kalligraphia 13 last Saturday!  Okay, I had to bribe them with lunch beforehand...but they were gracious and enthusiastic while I oohed and aahed over the amazing, varied, and outstanding work of my SF Friends of Calligraphy colleagues.

I'll never forget the thrill, six years ago, of seeing my Letters of Note exemplar displayed in the Kalligraphia 11 exhibit!  The show happens every three years, but I missed Kalligraphia 12 during the year I couldn't hold a pen due to adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder).  It was good to be back.

I came upon my piece, Grace, close to the entrance in a case right next to (gulp) the venerable Thomas Ingmire.  Susie Taylor--gifted calligrapher, Harrison Collection curator, and overseer of the exhibit---made sure I knew that show placement had to do only with where the pieces fit physically, not with comparative artistry.  Well, duh!  Lucky for me, they let anyone in...


Also sharing "our" display case was Ann Miller, who had been my teacher for a summer course in 2004 at the Academy of Art University, a fantastic overview of pretty much the whole history of calligraphy.  That foundation has served me well. Thank you, Ann!

Ann & Lance Miller
Seems as if six years ago I was just getting going with pen and ink, a stranger in a strange land;  this time I was delighted at how many of the artists I knew, and how many of the pieces I had seen in process during various classes and workshops.  Case in point, Ruth Korch's Hyacinths for the Soul from the Liesbet Boudens weekend last August:
Ruth Korch (top)
I didn't attend the Lisa Engelbrecht workshop last summer but wish I had!  Here's Carla Tenret's piece on fabric:

Carla Tenret
I've never met Marsha Brady but I'm a big fan:
Marsha Brady 
A record 98 calligraphers are represented in the show.  If you're anywhere near the Bay Area before August 26, treat yourself to a visit.  If you go on a Saturday, you might catch a demo by one of the Friends of Calligraphy rock stars (see schedule here) from 2-4 pm.  In the meantime, you can see a lot more of the pieces in the album Raoul Martinez, talented calligrapher and ace photographer, has posted here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best in the Business

Sweet discussion this morning over Father's Day brunch:  my kids say that not every "father" is a "dad", and theirs is a gem and definitely a "dad"!

Hence this doodle on hot press paper:  Pitt marker and brush pens, pewter Derwent metallic pencil, gold pen, and gold leaf over Instacoll.  And the debut of my section liner!  Any irregularities due to user error...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sayonara Sylvia

A longtime colleague is departing at the end of this week, and it is bittersweet for her as well as for those of us staying on.  For some time, she has wanted to teach at the same school her children attend--which will significantly simplify her life, we hope--but she has been with us for many years and we all feel like family.

She loves orange, and wears it well.  I wanted to make a going-away card for her that expresses both her favorite hue and the fire within her that makes her so strong and ambitious!  Inktense pencils, lightly brushed with water, give a flame-like feeling.  For the ornamentation, I remembered learning from Harvest Crittenden how lovely it is to combine gold leaf and shell gold (see the halo in this post);  this is the "poor man's version" with gold leaf over Instacoll, and painted Finetec gold and silver.  I love the dimensional look it gives!

The shadows on the Sickels lettering are Zig gray suede (a heretofore under-appreciated brush pen that has patiently awaited attention in my studio) and HB graphite;  outlining is done with a fine-tip Pitt pen.  The paper is Crane's correspondence card, mounted on a piece of old greeting card (cut with deckle scissors), a piece of metallic gold (ditto), and a Fabriano Medioevalis card.  The final touch was a scattering of random crystals from Michaels, glued on.  Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Engrossed in Graduation

Once again I was delighted to be asked to design a diploma for the graduating class of the school my kids attended oh-so-long-ago, and to work with the parents on the illumination while the eighth graders were off on their class trip.  The Engrossing Saga I attended last fall was still very much with me, and I went for a kind of turn-of-the-twentieth century look with a twist: part color, part black-and-white.  

The idea is to keep it simple enough that the group can complete the painting in a three-to-four-hour crash course in engrossing.  The design was hand-drawn (Sickels alphabet), calligraphed (Johnstonian Italic), scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop (both twenty-first century luxuries), and inkjet-printed on New Diploma Parchment, whose praises I must join the chorus and sing!  I inscribed the names in Copperplate with Moon Palace Sumi, chose a gouache palette and mixed the colors.  For the gold we used Spectralite, which held up nicely to burnishing and tooling.  Outlining was done with a fine black Pitt pen, and leaf vein dots with a gold gel pen.

We settled into the classroom for a Sunday afternoon and several hours later...

...nineteen diplomas, ready for signatures!

It always amazes me to think that one could actually make a living as an engrosser back in the day!  If only I'd been born in the 1800s--and male, of course--this would have been the profession I aspired to.  Sigh.


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