Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Favorite Word

A B C - Just for Fun!

These 3 letters were made with a folded pen and sumi ink.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Demo Samples

Here are a couple of samples I've done for my demonstrations.

Today in the Studio

I'm back to practicing layouts for that little commission job. At this writing, I've done 42 roughs. For some reason I'm not as loose as I was when I did the first round a couple of weeks ago. Well, I think I just figured out why. The first time I worked on large paper and was just "playing". This time I decided to work on the actual paper I will use for the finished piece. I cut the paper to 8" x 6", because the actual size will be 7" x 5" for framing in an 10" x 8" frame.

As soon as I started writing, I could feel the restriction. My hand would come in contact with the edge of the paper and I would mess up the nice gestural stroke. Plus, just knowing I have those boundaries makes me tighten up. I'm going to try working on a larger sheet of paper on my light table, with the 7" x 5" area outlined behind the paper and see how that works.

I'm open to suggestions! Feel free to comment. :-)

P.S. If you don't hear from me for a few days it's because I'm out of town. I'll respond on Monday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring at Taltree

Lately I seem to be in a bit of the artistic doldrums. Sometimes I just don't know what project to work on, or don't feel inspired to make anything. However, spring has caught my attention and I can't help but take photos.

These images were shot on Saturday at Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso, IN. I had a "mommy's day" alone while my guys were in St. Louis for the Supercross races. (Dirt bikes--inside!) The day was sunny and warm; the birds were singing; and I was absolutely alone out there. I found a bench under an enormous old oak tree that had about 10 thick "branches" (although they looked like separate trunks!) coming out of the main trunk. It felt like I was being held in the arms of the Lord while I sat and talked to Him under the tree. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the car, so I couldn't photograph the oak tree. But once I returned from my long walk, I grabbed the camera and took these two pics near the area where I was parked.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Love This Site!

I found a great site that I want to share with you. It's called Old Barn Rescue and they do the most wonderful wall graphics, as well as graphics on reclaimed barn wood. The lettering is fabulous! Check them out at www.oldbarnrescue.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

One More Spring Photo

Spring is Here!

Yesterday was the first day of spring and I saw some green shoots pushing up through dead leaves on the ground. I love the imagery of something new pushing up through something old and dead. It reminds me that, in spite of a season of winter in my life, the Lord is at work, germinating new seeds in the deep, dark soil of my heart.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21–23

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce...

My friend, Michelle Hamstra. Photographer extraordinaire!!!!!

This is a bit overdue (sorry, Michelle!) but I just have to share her amazing photography with you. (See above!) As I said, her name is Michelle Hamstra, and you can check out her work at www.michellehamstra.com

Michelle is a phenomenal, self-taught photographer. She has such a unique way of capturing expressions and moments in time. I love the settings she chooses for her photo shoots. I love how she "sees" things that most people don't. And I love her passion for the Lord and how she uses her amazing talent to serve Him and the people around her.

How to Make a Cola Pen

The tool used to make the Sumi Ink Painting below is a cola pen, pictured at left. It is literally cut out of an aluminum can. These instructions are from my notes from a class I took with Lisa Engelbrecht back in 2003. She now has a fabulous book called "Modern Mark Making", in which she talks about all sorts of funky tools, including this one. You can find out more about her and her book at www.lisaengelbrecht.com.

So, without further ado, here's how to make a cola pen:

1. Cut the ends off of a pop can—or "soda/coke/cola" can, depending on where you're from! :-)

2. Cut a square out of the aluminum.

3. Fold square in half, but don't crease it sharply.

4. Draw a sort of spade shape, or a shape that looks like the outlines of a solid number 4 (without the little serif coming out on the right of the vertical stroke). The diagonal stroke of the "4" shape should be slightly curved.

5. Cut that shape out and wrap around a pencil or chopstick.

6. Wrap some masking tape around the bottom "stem" of the "4" shape, as well as around the lower center of the spade. See the dark area across the wide part of my pen. That's the masking tape. This holds the edges together, while leaving a wide area at the tip for dipping into your writing fluid.

7. Depending on how big you want your strokes, you can play with how large you cut your shape; as well as the placement of that masking tape. I've seen some wrap the tape around the top 1/3 of the wide part of the shape. ("Top" being the area closest to the stem that is wrapped around the pencil.)

8. Smooth the edges of that slightly rounded edge with some crocus cloth.

It's easier than it sounds here. Really!

Happy Writing!

Sumi Ink Painting

This piece at left is on my Etsy site, but I wanted to show it here because some of you asked about the tool I used to create it. That tool is pictured above, in the next post. See the post for how to make a cola pen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

God's Holiness

This piece was done a while back, after reading about Isaiah's vision of God on His throne, from Isaiah, chapter 6. How does one portray God's holiness and splendor in a picture? Impossible.

Yet something in me still wanted to worship Him by trying, in a feeble attempt, to depict it. So, while making paste papers one day, I began with the gold swirls in the center—emanating out with what I wish could be infinite rings—as a representation of that holiness. Then from the description of His throne in Revelation, ch. 4, I added colors that would represent the rainbow around the throne.

Later, I added the text from Psalm 96:9. Doing the word "Splendor" in gold, along with the gold embellishments on the other words, was again my way of depicting holiness.

A Small Commission

A friend of mine commissioned me to do a small piece as a wedding gift for her friend. I've been practicing doing the gestural writing in a variety of layouts. This one is my favorite so far, but I'm still working on stuff. Thought it would be fun to show photos of the process. I'll keep you posted.

One note: I want to try making the ascender on the "d" go the off to the right, instead of curling back to the left as it does here. (Production notes!)

More Samples

Sample bookmarks

I Get to Teach Kids!

When I show people all the different types of calligraphy that are out there, and hear them "ooh" and "ahh", I just love that. And kids are especially fun to teach. Next week, I get the opportunity to do a calligraphy demo for the 8th grade art class at my son's school. I've been playing around with different styles and fun things to show them. Here are a few photos of what I've been doing.

If anyone has any ideas of things that would be interesting to include in the demo, please pass them along! Thanks! :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today in the Studio

This piece was made from a portion
of a rough draft for another larger piece
that I did a while back. The writing was
black sumi ink on Arches Text Wove paper.
I also had some of these odd-shaped little
mats that I'd been hoping to use for something.
I put one down on the rough draft and moved
it around until I found an interesting section.
Then I used some Dr. Martin's Radiant Watercolors
to color in the negative spaces. Once mounted to
the mat, I added some gold dots with my hot foil pen.