Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Redwork Heart

I always find working with red to be a challenge. I mixed this red gouache from Maimeri Scarlet and Winsor Newton Spectrum Red. I added a tiny drop of Best bottle ink to help with the hairlines. I used the Zebra G nib and worked on Neenah Classic cream paper. Flowers are accented with Fabercastell Polychromos in Light Carmine and Juniper Green.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Merry Flourishing!

Had a wonderful day with Christmas flourishes. 5x7 Hunter Green cardstock from Michael's Recollections. I used the invincible Zebra G pen point with Bleedproof White, Finetec Gold and Derwent Coloursoft Pencils.Oh What Fun!!!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pink And Sparkly

Every now and then I get to work on a commission in my two favourite and sparkly! These little Victorian flourishes were done on Clariefontaine Maya paper with watercolour, Finetec Gold, and Silver Stardust gel pen. The Clairefontaine Maya paper can take light washes of watercolour very nicely and even gilding. Using pink always makes a day seem brighter!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Little C

I love taking a day out to study with my illumination teacher. Today we worked on a very simple illuminated letter. This letter is based on a 16th Century Woodcut. Not sure what the floral elements were in the woodcut design, but mine turned out with a bit of a Christmas look, so I added the white gouache background to look like snow.I used Cobalt blue for the illuminated letter against a background of Paynes Grey. Permanent Rose, Winsor Red and Cadmium Red were used in the flowers and the leaves are Olive and Viridian. I enjoyed my painting time today! Wish I could devote more time to it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Brier Grace

I came across this beautiful child's name on the internet a short time ago and thought I should do a little copperplate piece. I wanted to do my usual Mccaffery Brown and watercolour technique but I accidentally used Pelikan brown instead. When I applied the watercolour, the Pelikan brown reacted to the rose watercolour and turned a muted rusty colour! It even toned down the olive green leaves. Still a fun piece of experimental work.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Captivating Copperplate

I don't ever remember being so enchanted by a script! I am enjoying studying all of the variations of copperplate and finding it to be a very expressive hand. I used whole arm movement on these two pieces while listening to the movie Inkheart in the background. I used Clairefontaine triomphe paper for these practice pieces, Pelikan 4001 ink and an Esterbrook 357 nib.

Finally Done!!!

I have more hours in this miniature than any I have ever attempted. Calling it finished before I overwork it. This is based on a 16th century miniature of St. Luke by Simon Bening. I learned a lot on this piece, but I have so much more to learn! I started this piece in August but could only work on it a few hours at a time. I lost count of the hours I have invested into it. it is 3x4 on Arches 140 lb HP paper. It was a very challenging piece but I enjoyed working on it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas Card Illumination

I am so privileged to be able to take study days with a Master Illuminator, Debbie Thompson Wilson. She resides in the Guelph area and often teaches workshops at the Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster. This week, we were working on Christmas card ideas. I know I am rushing the season, but it will be upon us before we know it. This image is based on a 1827 Victorian Christmas card. The original was done in very pale washes of olive green, grey and soft blue. I wanted it to be a bit brighter so I used a lot of cadmium red in the design. There are a few spots of 23K gilding throughout the design.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Flourish for Sisters

Back to Spencerian Script today. This 8x10 piece is done on cream diploma parchment with my favourite McCaffery brown ink. The cabbage roses are antique mauve watercolour and there are blush and sage green accent florals. A fun little piece today to brighten up some dreary, cold, fall weather.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Loving Copperplate

Alright, don't call the Spencerian police but I have been practicing copperplate these days. I love the different variations of the hand, the freedom to use Ornamental penmanship capitals and it's ability to lend itself to offhand flourishes! What's not to like? At the moment it appears to be Spencerplate but things will change. This 3x5 piece is done on Rives BFK with the new Zebra G nib. Love the flexibility of the nib and its ability to tackle textured papers. I will post more copperplate images as I continue to study. I am working with English Roundhand and Engravers Script. Trying to get the feel for the letterforms and bring my own touch to the hand.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Hearts

This afternoon I had time to work on these two little heart flourishes. They are done on Canson Mi-tientes paper with Bleedproof white, Prismacolour and Finetec Gold Metallic watercolour. Lots of fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Flourish

Love this Emerson quote and had time to get it on paper. 8x10 diploma parchment with Derwent Metallic watercolour pencil, McCaffery Brown and Finetec gold watercolour.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Something Completely Different

The only benefit of ever having a migraine is that artistically, it eradicates all indecision. I had a small commission for a 40th anniversary in November and I was a little stumped by the commission. All that was requested were the numerals 40 and a few flourishes on an 8x10 light yellow ground. The size and the content were a bit awkward sounding and I was not being hit by an idea. However, I was hit with a migraine and just sat down to the paper and this little autumn flourish emerged. Fabercastell polychromos, Finetec golds, sakura stardust and hot foil on clairefontaine maya.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Owl

Had fun losing hours painting the feathers in this little owl design. What a delight to sit and paint. Wish I had more time to devote to it. It was a great diversion to spend time in Debbie Thompson Wilson's illumination class. I am so grateful for her expertise. Design is 2x2 on Arches 140 lb. HP paper.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Maiden In the Garden

Every spring, summer and fall I take a time out to study with Master Illuminator Debbie Thompson Wilson. Debbie is one of the finest medieval miniature painters I have ever come across and I treasure the time spent with her. She is so generous with her knowledge. She truly wants her students to learn this delicate artform. I worked on this little lady for 6 hours today. She is approximately 3 x 3 1/2" on Arches 140 lb. Hot press. New colour for me in my palette today is Rose Dore. Another pink!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home From Iampeth

Finally home and finished teaching for the time being! Seems like I don't know what to do right now. I have some commission work waiting, I reorganized my entire studio, I want to try several new techniques I experimented with and I have a stack of correspondence to catch up on. Today's post is a piece I did for the Iampeth conference to summarize my class. It is done on Michael's Recollection Cardstock with Bleedproof white, Finetec Gold and Derwent Coloured Metallic Pencils.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Odyssey Class Work

Found these photos on facebook. They were posted by my dear friend Harvest of Acorn Arts.I had to leave the Odyssey conference before I saw the show and share table with the work that the students did in class. It really was a phenomenal group of students. All of them were at different levels of expertise with the pointed pen but all of them possessed the same fearless attitude when it came to flourishing. I thought their work was spectacular.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Conference Faculty Piece

This was the faculty piece I made for the Odyssey conference. It is McCaffery brown ink on Rives BFK. Colours are with Albrecht Durer Watercolour pencil and Polychromos Pencils. She was a labour of love.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time to Pack!

This has to be my last flourish before leaving for Odyssey. Inspiration hit when I was supposed to be organizing supplies to take. Officially done flourishing now until I get to Boston!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cherub in the Garland

Just finished my final flourish for the Odyssey class. Tomorrow I will begin to pack up my pens and inks and get prepared for the conference. This little guy is done with my favourite McCaffery brown ink on Rives BFK. Colour was added with Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils, polychromos pencils and gouache.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Garden

I sure haven't had any time to visit my gardens this summer! Good thing we planted Hostas and they don't require much attention. Holly's rock and water gardens are doing fine and I do have a big crop of blackberries that are almost ready. This little piece was done just because I liked the quote. It is 6x4 on Diploma parchment with watercolour and McCaffery's brown.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Time to Breathe

Just home from 10 days of travel. Now I have a few days to breathe before teaching at my two summer conferences. I agreed to do the Iampeth Round Robin so I am trying out little pieces that I can flourish in less than 12 minutes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Artful Flourish

This is for my Iampeth class in Orlando this summer. It is also page three of my Molly West Handbound book. I am keeping that book for flourishes with a Daniel Ames feel to them. This piece is done on Rives BFK paper with McCaffery brown, Finetec gold and Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils. I don't think Ames would have ever done a pink capital letter though!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Convocation Day

Tomorrow morning my little girl graduates from Wilfred Laurier University with an Honours B. A. in Contemporary Studies. She maintained a full scholarship for her four years. Holly chose the mat, frame and swarovski crystals which are a fiery orange-red. I started out painting a little cherub in the vines but when she saw me working on a dragon there was really no contest! I used gesso, 23 K gold, Winsor Newton watercolour and gouache on 140 lb. Arches Hot Press paper. This little guy was a joy to paint.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dreaming Again

Small flourish done on Rives BFK paper with Vintage Gillott 404. The new bottle of McCaffery's Brown is more a Burnt Sienna colour than my old bottle. It will age though. Swarovski crystal is the clear diamond but it scanned quite dark. size is 5x7

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Healey Influence Flourish

Still playing with McCaffery brown. I think the bottle has finally had it but I got one last flourish out of it. The Healey exhibit was full of Victorian Illustrations. There were cherubs, floral studies, birds pulling carriages, Christmas themes, feathers, butterflies and the list goes on. This little wingless cherub was inspired by a Victorian engraving. I set him inside a little floral flourish. The water colour wash for the flowers is done with Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil. The piece is 4x6 on diploma parchment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Very Different

I have just returned from the Healey exhibit in Kansas City. The exhibit was the largest unseen collection of Golden Age Ornamental Penmanship that anyone can remember. I was very influenced by the aging papers that were fading into sepia tones. The work was highly illustrative. There were several originals of C. C. Canan's work in the collection. He would often include little illustrated medallions surrounded by flourishes. This little commission evolved out of that exhibit as well as pictures the client sent of her vacation in Lake Placid. The edges of the diploma parchment are tinted with pastel and coloured graphite. Once again I used my prized bottle of McCaffery's brown and a vintage Esterbrook 357 entirely in the design.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

McCaffery's Brown

Working on a small piece this morning for a friend. I am near the end of the bottle of my McCaffery's Brown ink. It seems to have improved with age. It is starting to get slightly thick so I diluted it slightly. This piece is done with an Esterbrook 357 pen point. Nice to put pen to paper today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Play Time!!!!!!

My class notes are about done!!! Just a few little tweaks to take care of so I am putting them aside for a day or two and picking up the pen to play! Had fun this morning!

Friday, May 21, 2010

More for Class

Still working hard preparing things for Odyssey and Iampeth. I did this flourish early this morning. I am enjoying the Old World Iron Gall Ink. This is done on Maruman paper. Very smooth and responsive to the pointed pen. Looking forward to getting the colours out again...soon I hope!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Getting ready for Iampeth and Odyssey and trying to get lots of flourishes prepared. Here is a sneak peek of a scroll flourish. This is done with Old World Iron Gall ink on Clairefontaine Triomphe paper.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zen of the Pointed Pen

I am spending hours a day getting my flourishing notes ready for Iampeth and Odyssey 2010. Taking a time out from the flourishes to do a pointed pen Zentangle®. This one is done on diploma parchment with Old World Iron Gall ink, a Gillott 404 penpoint and a Faber Castell mechanical HB pencil.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Paris in the Springtime

It has been an extraordinarily busy season for me. This last little commission was an absolute delight to do. I worked on a butter yellow cardstock with indigo ink. The client asked for acorns and a fleur de lis to be included in the design. It was fun and whimsical to work on!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Corner Flourishing

Trying to catch up on correspondence over the weekend. I owe two to my dear friend Joe and had fun working on his envelopes. He always finds the best vintage stamps to use and sends me Spencerian Script written on vintage paper. Receiving a piece of work from him is like going back in time! I tried to make the piece done with the Indigo McCaffery's ink to look very subtle and aged. It did not scan well. The burgundy piece is done on my new Crown Mill Stationery from Belgium. Lovely envelopes that even take a light watercolour wash.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Illumination Day

I had the privilege today of taking another class with Master Illuminator Debbie Thompson Wilson. Just being in the same room with her is inspiring. To see what work she can accomplish in just a few hours is amazing. I had chosen this illustration based on a illumination in the margin of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. I tried to bring this little bird to life. The technique I used in the feathers was a dry brush technique. It was very relaxing and meditative. This piece will be framed for Holly's graduation.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Victorian Scroll Flourish

Playing with Derwent Graphtint pencils and Albrecht Durer Watercolour pencils. I love the sketch like quality that I can achieve on the Arches Text Wove. The ink is Neil McCaffery's brown.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rives BFK Paper

I am enjoying testing some new papers. The Rives BFK feels wonderful and took the pointed pen really well. The pen just glides over the surface. Right now I am experimenting with watercolour washes on it. On this small flourish, the rosebuds are done with watercolour and the black ink is McCaffery's gloss.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pointed Pen Uncial

I spent Thursday in a class exploring Pointed Pen Uncial. It was my first serious attempt at the hand. It has some lovely distinctions and I definitely will spend more time trying to develop it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Forgot to mention that I got myself a beautiful Zentangle® kit! What a joy to have the real thing and see the dvd. I was present at the Iampeth Conference in Rhode Island when Maria Thomas first introduced this fascinating artform. I did a few of them which you can see in very old posts on my blog but I really didn't do too many of them. Recently I had been fascinated with the postings on the Zentangle blog and website so I tried my hand again. These really are a delight to do! So relaxing and meditative. These were done in a coffee shop this morning before I started my Spencerian Study Day. A great warm up for the day!

Taking a Study Day

Today the Spencerian Study Group in England met. They were led by Master Penman Brian Walker. Whenever they have a study day, I take one here in my studio to feel connected with the group. They are working on lots of different projects. Some are working on quotes, some are doing very complex cross drill exercises, some are working on free-arm capitals and some have taken on very large projects. I chose to work on a P. W. Costello illuminated initial. It was one of the most involved illuminated initials I have ever done. I can see why he was a Master Engrosser. At the end of the project I had much more respect of his work. I am in awe of his techniques. I think I will have another go at this initial on vellum with more subdued colours.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Power of Pink!

Hoping these bright pink notes bring some cheer to my friends who are going through difficult times.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Greeting Cards

I spent the late evening of Easter Sunday getting Birthday cards and thank you notes finished. I did everything on black paper with a matching black envelope and have a stack of 4 ready to send out this morning. I love doing special cards for my friends!