Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pastel Studio Workshop: December 10th

For those of you in the Brantford, Cambridge Kitchener area, I will be doing a one day workshop at the Pastel Studio in Cambridge. I will be teaching Fascinating Pen Flourishing with Background Burnishing. The Pastel Studiois equipped with a beautiful classroom area. Class size will be kept small. You can email me with details about the class. All levels of student are welcome as I will be starting the flourish from basic concepts and expanding to more advanced techniques throughout the day.

Friday, November 18, 2011


All the way up to W in the Illuminated Letter Project. Winter is on the way and I was picturing the Wintergreen mints that come out around the holiday season when I painted this little letter. The Wintergreen mints come in packages with Green Spearmints, White Peppermints and beatiful Pink Peppermints. I put that colour combination to work in this piece. Finished project is 4"x1" on Saunders Hot Press watercolour paper. The pink is mixed with Rose Dore and Bleedproof white. Flat 23K gilding. The whole piece has been burnished with the white metallic Diane Townsend pastel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Enchanted Letter Workshop

As a result of my year long illuminated letter study with my dear friend Dana, I developed The Enchanted Letter Class. This past weekend it was my pleasure to return to Birmingham to teach it to the Pointed Pen Extended Study Group that was developed by Dana Jacobson. What a remarkable experience to teach a class of students who have devoted a year of intense study to the pointed pen. I was privileged to be counted among other artists asked to teach portions of the study which included Pat Blair, Gwen Weaver and Barbara Close. The goal of the class was to gild and paint a decorative letter that could be used with pointed pen script. The students learned how to draw their own unique letters as well as foliate extensions, leaf script and scroll work. We started a simple sketch which developed into an ornate decorative letter.
We then moved on to a free hand and flourished very simple foliate border. No initial sketch was made in this exercise. It was done directly on our watercolour paper.

On Day two we started by combining a ribbon script letter with a simple ribbon foliate extension. The initial sketch was just of the Ribbon script letter and cascading ribbon extension which was transferred to our watercolour paper. The foliate work was done with pen drawing and offhand flourishing. It was painted, gilded and embellished.

In the afternoon, we worked on designing a simple scroll foliate extension which was gilded, painted and embellished. Lots of sparkle and bling!

Lots of attention was given to drawing and designing unique letterforms. My sincere hope is that the students will be able to transfer these ideas to any letter they want to illuminate.
On the morning of Day 3 we worked on drawing and illuminating a Leaf script letter with a scroll work foliate extension. My original done in class was sold but I have the pencil drawing in my journal.

Winding down the class in the afternoon, we combined a leaf script letter with lower case and expanded a simple foliate flourish. It was gilded and embellished with swarovski crystals. It was such a pleasure to teach this class. It gave me great joy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vintage Victorian V

This is the final version of the Victorian V that I talked about in last week's gilding post. It was done on the White Somerset Satin paper rather than the Soft white. I prefer the vintage look of the soft white but wanted to experiment with the brighter white. I used Caran D'Ache water soluble pencils to colour the design. It was interesting to see how they reacted to the paper. When I applied the water to the pigment, I could see the pigment fade rather than brighten like the Albrecht Durer pencils. The pastel burnish stage also faded into the paper. Although the scan does not pick it up, the entire design was burnished with the Diane Townsend white metallic pastel. I used the pastel to burnish over top of the painted letter and the coloured background burnish stage. It gives the whole piece a glow. On to W!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Illumination Study Day

Three times a year I get the opportunity to study with my illumination teacher Debbie Thompson Wilson. Debbie is a master illuminator. Her work is an absolute delight. She finds us incredible projects to work on during our study days. This weekend's class was called Angels And Demons. I didn't try the grotesque or the Titivilus border design but I did work on the kneeling angel. The illumination is an interpretation of an embroidered ornament on a Bishop's hood. The angel was based on a Renaissance design. This particular angel is kneeling and rather than holding the lily in her hand, the lily decoration is coming out from behind her wings. Palette colours are mainly yellow ochre, brown ochre, burnt sienna, horizon blue and WInsor Violet. The most challenging part of the design was painting the background and leaving room for the goldwork flourishes. The piece is flat gilded with 23K gold.