The page of the calendar is turned to May today!!!! May will carry me to Atlanta, Georgia for my presentation of The Enchanted Meadow workshop! I love teaching this class. It is part of my heart and soul and I get so excited at the thought of teaching it. At the core of the class, beyond painting skills and learning how to construct intricate acanthus patterns, is the instruction about slowing down to observe the moment. Be here now. Be mindful of the time that passes each day. Observe your surroundings as you walk in nature. Look everywhere. Let nature be your teacher. This time of year is so exciting as Spring hopefully starts to wake up the earth. Yesterday I saw my first butterfly in the backyard!As artists, observation is as important as painting, drawing or writing skills. We must be able to look deeply at a subject and take in all that is has to teach us. Looking foward to sharing many newly awakened insights with my Atlanta class.
My latest Enchanted Meadow project was an illuminated inital for my Dad's 80th birthday.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
The calender has been turned to its April page and assures me that Spring has arrived. But the days are still cold, the windshield is frosted in the morning and my walking treks still require my winter coat. And yet I wait and believe that Spring will come. It always has! Thankfully, my studio is warm and cozy and my desk invites me to work everyday. I have been pensive these days as I am launched back into travel. I have several new private students who are full of eagerness and questions. I have even been able to connect online with a few people who want to study The Enchanted Meadow designs. The slow methodical dry brush method of painting is a joy to share with others. I look foward to sharing this workshop with a new group of students in Atlanta! I am working on a very special Enchanted Meadow piece for my Dad's 80th birthday this month. SHHH!!!!!!! Don't tell him!
Despite lots of new projects, and continually changing hats to prepare for the next class, I find myself quite pensive for the past and some of my old working methods. I came to the calligraphy scene in 2003. There were very few videos online. I viewed Dr. Joseph Vitolo's script videos over and over again while I was learning. I made my way to my first IAMPETH convention in 2003 where I forged some of the strongest friendships of my life. Practice was daily and solitary. I still have some journals where I would practice writing quotes and verses in Spencerian Script. Progress was slow but never a chore for me to practice. Things have changed in the calligraphic world. There is calligraphic overload online of every sort of style, and no shortage of ideas and opinions. You can fill your eyes with so many images of accomplished calligraphic work, look in on people's working methods and be constantly nudged to buy more and more products for our work. There are some days that I love this and other days that I am very unsure of what I see. The calligraphic arts, like all arts, require a patient build up of skill. The art requires carefully honed senses and intuitive instincts about subtle nuances in letterforms. I learned the hard way and still learn on a daily basis. I make mistakes, fill up the recycle bin with practice papers and artwork that is not quite right, and try again. Patiently and lovingly I report for work at the studio desk and attempt to accomplish the day's tasks. I am grateful for the time spent with my calligraphic mentors who encouraged me along my path. I am thankful that this inkstained journey is such a big part of my life. My email inbox is at a point where it now takes me a few days to answer all the emails I receive. This blog post is for the impatient ones who want to quickly conquer this artform. I encourage you to continue to be patient. Show up at the desk ready to work and understand that there really are no shortcuts. This is hard work and acquiring skills comes at a different pace for different people. As hard as this may be to do, try not to compare your work to the work of others. Take a time out from instagram video feeds and look inward for a little while as you work on your next goal.Did I mention be patient yet??? Don't rush this! Savour the moments you have on this journey as you explore each twist and turn. I will jump down off my soapbox now with this little flourish. I picked up some Fabriano Rosapina paper during my recent trip to the art store.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Every time I use Strathmore papers, I love them more and more. I have really enjoyed their 400 series drawing paper because is it a delicate cream colour, can take light watercolour washes and gilding really well and holds a beautiful ink line. It is a wonderful paper. I have also been doing some experimenting on Kraft paper, Strathmore Toned Tan and Strathmore Toned Grey papers. There are some really interesting effects you can get on these papers. None of them can take a very heavy ink stroke. Although the ink doesn't feather at the edges, it doesn't hold a tight line the way we would like. But in combination with some delicate Faber Castell Polychromos and a touch of bleedproof white, it provides an interesting background to both flourishing and ornamental design work. I will keep experimenting and see what happens next. March is here and time seems to pick up speed. I am booked with travel all the way into 2020!!! I always seem just a little bit behind the next looming deadline but I will try to stay positive. Watch the season of Spring emerge and look foward to the changes it brings.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Here in Ontario, Canada, we have had week after week of icy weather, lots of grey skies and lots of snowfall. Bright blue sky days are scattered here and there but the continual grey of winter can play with the soul of an artist. I take measures to keep smiling! One thing I do is surround myself with colour. I take trips to the butterfly conservatory to see the magic of colour in the air! It is restorative to hear the waterfall flowing, see flowers blooming, watch birds in flight and so many butterflies. An extra few trips there in the winter are very helpful.
Inside the studio, I am keeping lots of flowering plants in sight. I am working through a graphite module in botanical illustration so I need to have lots of subjects to draw. The added benefit of having blooms on my desk everyday has been so restorative. When I worked as a florist, I encouraged people to bring home flowers every week especially in the winter. When I got out of the business, I started to neglect my own advice. But these bright blooms have been such a welcome sight. I have had Paperwhites, Amaryllis, Muscari, Freesia and Narcissus greeting me on the desk these past few weeks. Even studying the root systems of the plants keeps me connected to the earth and the promise that spring is coming.
Finally, when I do find some extra time to send out a letter or mail out a packet to a student, I am choosing happy colours to use. As an artist, I need to see colour. When it fails to appear outdoors, do your best to bring it indoors. Keep thinking happy thoughts as we wait for spring to appear!
Monday, January 22, 2018
This April, I will be teaching at the Ink Links Sampler in Guelph, Ontario.
Monday, January 1, 2018
The first day of the New Year is always a bit disorienting for me. I try to look ahead to all that needs to be done while trying not to carry forward too much from 2017. I update all my calendars to look over the upcoming year while trying not be overwhelmed. I always need to remember it is just one day at a time and to treat each day as its own unique experience. I hope to have lots to share with you in the upcoming weeks. The pictures on the post today are of my final projects of December. The first is my thoughts as I worked quietly away on Christmas Eve
Thursday, December 14, 2017
December days are flying by at an alarming speed. I am further behind on my tasks than I want to be, but I that seems to be how I work! I wanted to share some pink joywith you. My Christmas 2017 Festive Flourish is online on my youtube channel. Thank you for following the blog and taking time to email me. You have brightened my days for me this year and I amd grateful to you. I have met some friends through this blog. Some dear people have met me in my workshops and have told me that they appreciate the blog posts. Thank you for your kindness!!! I hope you can enjoy some December tranquil moments!
Thursday, November 30, 2017
November is just a blink now. It seems like the month barely started and now it is over. I have my Christmas envelopes addressed and ready to send so I am in good shape there. I have lots of work in front of me to do and I am determined to catch up on things. My online presence may be less than usual but I will do my best to keep my blog updated. If you are interested in my teaching schedule for 2018 please email me at email@example.com and I will send it out to you. 2018 is filled to capacity and I have bookings all the way into 2020 which seems so far off!
I spend less time in the house these days and more in the studio which is fully functional now. When I do come into the house, Oscar is always willing to help me take photos! I think he misses being by my side while I work, but I have to say, I am getting more work done with fewer distractions.
I completed my final module of a botanical art class that has been done through correspondence with a tutor in England. It has been a wonderful experience. The studies of botanical art have improved my observation skills. I still have so much to learn about watercolour, paper, drawing etc but I feel like I am equipped with more tools to get me to my end goal. Of all of the botanical studies I have been doing, I seem to prefer painting fruits and vegetables to actual flowers. Shopping for groceries takes so much longer as that whole produce section is brimming with potential future painting studies. I will continue to pursue these studies as time allows.
Hope you have had wonderful November. This last photo is my most recent commission. I will end up keeping this one for myself and redoing this on larger paper. I used a paper that I was not happy with. It is Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper and while good for ink work, it doesn't hold the depth that I want for the watercolour work. I always keep in mind that mistakes teach us something. Just learn the lesson and move on.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
I hope this doesn't seem like I am rushing the holiday season. Far from it...I want to slow it down. I love the sparkle, the joy and the time to work!
Friday, October 20, 2017
I get very reflective as I watch the seasons change.
The last photo for now is of my desk in place. The studio is still quite bare but it feels like home. I want to run out there every morning and enjoy the quiet space. I have so many projects to catch up on and it feels like an exciting new beginning.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
At my last workshop, I was given some samples of watercolour paper to test out. The first on my list was Fluid 100 Hot Press paper. This is very affordable paper and I wanted to try some out but had not yet placed an order. I am so grateful to Gretchen for sharing some of this lovely paper with me. I am currently testing it for gilding, inking, erasing, dry brush and wet on wet glazing technqiques. Across the board I would give it high marks. It gilds brilliantly. The shine of the gold is brilliant on this paper. I was able to erase lines easily and inking with McCaffery Brown was as expected on this paper. No surprises. I can build up lots of detail with dry brush techniques. Layer after layer went into the owl and the paper is wonderful for holding tiny details.
When I tried wet on wet techniques for the apple leaf, I did not stretch the paper. I applied washes liberally on the small surface. There was very slight buckling of the paper but as the glazes dried, the paper flattened. The washes soak into the paper and I think the paint dulled slightly more than I am used to. I tried lifting out the veins and the highlight of the leaf and had some success with that. I will continue to layer the leaf with more glazes and dry brush. I like what I see on this paper and think it is defintlely worth investing in. I will try a full engrossed project on this paper and report back. Thank you Gretchen! Love this paper!
Monday, September 18, 2017
It seems like I am in a relentless race with the clock. Days pass quickly into weeks and then months. We are in September and it seems like just a breath since I was planting my garden in Spring. I don't know where the time goes. I have so many projects that await completion. Sometimes it gets so frustrating to leave things undone to hit another deadline. But new classes are in the works for 2018. I will be releasing a border flourishing class called Line Dances and I will be including this new chapter in the flourishing book that I am still working on!
Thursday, August 24, 2017
I can't believe its been a month since my last post. Lots has happened! Working hard here at home as well as getting ready for my last few workshops of the year. My time in Hong Kong was a whirlwind. I met so many wonderful and eager students. I have memories to cherish of that wonderful trip.
Good to be home, unpacked and finally over jet lag! I am taking some time to go over my sagging bookshelves. Soon I will be moving my library into my new studio space. I need to go through all of my books and figure out what I need to keep and what I need to pass on. I have been studying botanical art for the past two years or so. I have so much to learn and I love where the botanical path is taking me. Mary Ann Scott's Botanical Sketchbook is so inspiring.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The journey of an artist takes a lifetime.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Post IAMPETH convention is always tough. For an entire week we get to mingle with our own kind.