Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

To all my blogging friends!

Marbled Papers Play Date!

Wow! Haven't posted since October!!! Thinking back, that's just around the time that I started teaching some classes again and got very busy with my graphic design work. I need to take some time and browse on all my blogging friends' sites. What have you all been up to?

I did manage to sneak in a play date with some friends a couple of weeks ago where we made some marbled papers. Thanks to the detective work of my friend Rita's husband, John, we all came out with gorgeous results! John is a retired engineer who has been using his right-brain a lot lately! He has investigated all the details of which papers, inks, and surface preparations work best for paper marbling and you can see here that his work has paid off. And we got to play in one of my favorite places—my friend Luce's studio!!!

This is a section of one of John's sheets that I won at a silent auction in October.

And this is a portion of one of my sheets. I tended to like the more "organic" marbling, as opposed to the patterns that we learned.

All in all, it was a very fun and informative day! I'm so blessed to have wonderfully creative people in my life.

That's John giving Luce some instruction on how to apply the paint to the surface of the water.

And here's Cathy using a plastic "wand" that John made. 
We dipped them in the marbling inks and then tapped them 
so the paint would speckle the surface.

This is what it looks like up close.

Some of the finished sheets drying in Luce's studio.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Being Neighborly

Yesterday, one of my wonderful neighbors came walking over to my house with a large, old book under his arm. He said, "I know you like calligraphy so I thought you'd enjoy this." His great-grandfather, who lived in France, had started a ledger for all the business transactions in his family. The same ledger was kept by various other family members for over 100 years and eventually wound up here in the States. The entries begin sometime around the late 1830s and are written in French. Toward the end of the ledger they are written in English.

Hard to believe that someone chose to do such beautiful writing for something as mundane as record-keeping isn't it? Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Calligraphy Class Schedule and Registration Deadlines

This week is the registration deadline for my 6-week classes coming up in October. For a full description and registration form, please email me at and I'll send you a pdf document.

#1 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
6-week (adults)
Date: Tuesdays, October 4–November 8
Time: 10 am–1 pm
Fee: $135 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Sept. 20

#2 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
6-week (students)
Date: Wednesdays, October 5–November 9
Time: 10 am–11:30 am
Fee: $75 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Sept. 21

#3 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
One-Day Workshop
Date: Saturday, November 12
Time: 9 am–5 pm
Fee: $75 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Oct. 29

#4 ~ Create a Finished Piece
Date: Thursdays, October 6–November 10
Time: 10 am–1 pm
Fee: $120 (supply list given at registration)
Registration deadline: Sept. 22

#5 ~ Basic Italic
Date: Fridays, October 7–November 11
Time: 10 am–1pm
Fee: $120 (supply list given at registration)
Registration deadline: Sept. 23

QUESTIONS: e: or p: 219.616.0135

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was spent at the BMX track, watching my son race and win two first-place trophies in his 9-yr. old intermediates class! And in between being BMX mom, I volunteered to do temporary tattoos for the kids to raise money for our home track.

I probably did over 100 "tattoos" and had LOTS of practice with brush manipulation by the end of the second day! Wrote a lot of names and "I [heart] BMX!" :-) Here's a pic of one of my tattoos and face paintings.

One little boy named "Jacob" spent 10 minutes telling my how he'd just learned to write his name. He proceeded to tell me how each letter was formed—over and over and over again! My favorite description was the "J". In his words: "OK. You start at the top and go down, down, down. Then you do a little turn this way. Then you make a little hook, but just a little one! And don't go all the way up with it."

Monday, September 5, 2011

CCC's 8" x 10" Exhibit

The Chicago Calligraphy Collective's All-Members' Show, called "8 x 10" will be up at the Skokie, IL Public Library from September 10 until October 22.

I did this logo a while back for the event.

And finished this piece last week to put in the show. This is one of three that I'm submitting. The quote reads:

"Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible; to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas." ~ Arshile Gorky

When I'm playing with shape, line and movement, I often experience that "emancipation of the mind" as I delve into areas that are out of my comfort zone. It's in those "unknown areas" where I often meet the Lord, and where I feel He helps me "extract the infinite out of the finite."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Commissioned Piece

This is the piece I finished last Friday. A friend commissioned me to do this for her husband, as they are celebrating their anniversary next month. The text is from one of his favorite hymns.

The background is a pale watercolor wash. The lettering was done with brown gouache and a pointed brush. The illustration was done with gouache, watercolors, and Prismacolor pencils.

The final size is 12" x 18".

Friday, August 19, 2011

In the Studio This Week

Summer is winding down. Baseball season is over. My son goes back to school next week. And now it's time for me to get back to work!

This week was spent on a commissioned piece, which is almost finished and will be shared later this weekend. But in between that and family life, I started playing with some "sketches" for an 8" x 10" exhibit that I'll be entering through the Chicago Calligraphy Collective. The exhibit will feature pieces that are all framed at 8" x 10" finished size, so they'll be pretty small. But it's kind of fun working within those specifications. I used the cola pen and sumi ink for these studies:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A New Commission

Just read my last post from June. Just after that, our son was asked to be on the Little League All-Star team, so guess what I've been doing for the whole month of July??? :-)

I did have time to get this piece done for a commission job, though. The person is going through a difficult time in her life and wanted something to encourage and strengthen her. Her request was that it be "bright earth tones" in a watercolor background, with white text. And she likes flourishes.

The final size is 8" x 10".

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hello Blogging Friends!

No, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth. Summer is here, and between being mom, doing freelance work, and going to BMX (bicycle racing) events on the weekends (for my son—not me!), blogging has taken a back seat yet again. I'm one of those people who just can't—or is it doesn't want to—handle too many things at one time. :-)

I've also been teaching a class called "Introduction to the Art of Beautiful Writing." Right now, I'm teaching it as a 6-week class, as well as a 2-day workshop through the Chicago Calligraphy Collective coming up this weekend. Very exciting! I love introducing people to all the different styles of calligraphy that are out there. From traditional to funky, we've been trying it all and having a wonderful time!

Also, a few weeks ago I got together with some of my creative friends for yet another "play date." We do these pretty regularly and I just love this time to be inspired by my incredibly talented friends. I'm blessed beyond belief to have so many of them in my life!

My friend Luce shared a technique she learned in a workshop with Yves Leterme (click here for his website) when he was in Chicago in January. Regrettably, I was unable to attend that one. Yves is one of my most favorite teachers and just an amazingly talented man who, by the way, has just published his first book called "Thoughtful Gestures." I've already ordered my copy!

Anyway, I digress. So, we played around with Yves' gesso and layering technique and I came up with these 4 "paintings." I'm mulling over whether I should add lettering at some point. Not sure yet. I think some of them need to be cropped; some need focal points. I'm just "sitting" on these for a while.

Well, must get back to work. I have a class in the morning that I need to prepare for. Hope all of you are doing well out there and being your wonderfully creative selves!

Signing off!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In the Studio

Greetings on a cold, wet spring morning in Chicagoland!

I've been playing a bit more again, in between "work". Last week we went to a wedding of a friend's daughter. (We're at that age where the children of our friends are getting married!!!! :-) Instead of buying a card, I decided to make them one with their names and the date of their wedding on it. I did this with pointed brush (of course!), sumi ink and hot foil pen for the dots on Arches Text Wove, then mounted it to some Arches Black Cover for the card stock.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Calligraphy Demo and Upcoming Classes

This Thursday, May 12, I will be giving a demo highlighting the material I'll be teaching in my "Introduction to the Art of Beautiful Writing" class. Come out for the demo and an Artist's Trading Card session at the Hoosier Highlander Art Store, 2932 Highway Avenue, Highland, IN. Please call 219.838.0632 to let them know you're coming.

If any of you are in the northwest Indiana area, or have friends or family here, I'll be teaching my "Introduction to the Art of Beautiful Writing" class this summer. Please contact me at if you need more information or to book a class. The description is just below this post.

The schedule and fees are as follows:

Weekend Workshop
(offered through the Chicago Calligraphy Collective)
June 25 & 26
Elmwood Park, Illinois
Fee: $120 members / $150 non-members / $15 materials fee
(Please go to
for more information on how to register.)

6-week class in Highland, IN
Wed. evenings May 18 ­– June 22
Fee: $135 (includes supplies)

6-week class in Highland, IN
Thurs. mornings May 26 ­– June 30
Fee: $135 (includes supplies)

One-Day Workshop in Highland, IN
Saturday, August 13
Fee: $75 (includes supplies)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wildman Designs Website Coming Soon!

My new website,, is soon to be uploaded and will show my design, calligraphy and art work, as well as classes and workshops. But for now, please feel free to scroll and browse this blog.

Upcoming Workshop:
Introduction to the Art of Beautiful Writing

Skill level: Beginner, but all are welcome!

This class will show you the treasures that await as we discover the fascinating world of beautiful writing—from historical manuscripts to the modern-day lettering arts, and from traditional to funky.

Students will be inspired by the many different calligraphic styles found in the pieces we'll view, and then will get to try their hand at the tools used to create those works. They will not only get to try new tools and different hands, but will also get to experiment with all sorts of beautiful papers and various media. Our time together will be fun, informative and not at all threatening, and maybe even a bit messy! Students will come away with a variety of samples that will help them begin exploring ways to create new works on their own time.

This is a great class to whet your appetite for the world of letters! And that world is going to blow your mind!

Offered through the Chicago Calligraphy Collective on June 25 & 26, in Elmwood Park, Illinois. If you're interested, please go to the CCC's workshop page here to get more information.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meeting Fellow Blogger Jane Farr!

Today was the artists' reception for the juried show at the Newberry Library. And today was the day that I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers! Calligrapher extraordinaire, Jane Farr from A Place to Flourish, was there with her husband Tom. I am a huge fan of Jane's work, as well as her blog, so it was truly a delight to finally meet face to face.

Check back soon for a look at what went on at the reception today. (I'm at the mercy of others who photographed the day, since I was involved in a part of the program and couldn't photograph things myself. :-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicago Calligraphy Collective Exhibit at Newberry Library

This is a reminder:

If any of my readers are in the Chicagoland area this weekend, check out the CCC's juried show, Exploration 2011, at the Newberry Library, 60 West Walton in Chicago.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Exploration at the Newberry and in honor of that, the Newberry is hosting a special exhibit of all the past Purchase Prize Winners in the adjoining gallery. There is also an exhibit of French illuminated manuscripts in the gallery across the hall. Lots of beautiful calligraphy to drool over, folks!!!

The artists' reception is on Saturday from 11am - 3pm. There will be calligraphic demos, music, and a live calligraphic performance beginning at 1pm.

It's going to be a great day, so come out and join us!!!

P.S. That gorgeous logo up top was done by the super talented Pamela Paulsrud!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doodle with the Cola Pen

I was working on a job yesterday and spent the whole day at my computer, so I needed a little break. Took out some sumi ink and my cola pen and started doodling. This is one of my doodles. Short and sweet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Playing in the Studio

In November, Georgia Deaver came to Chicago to teach her class called Stylized Writing. (See my earlier posts for work and comments from that class.)

Since then, I've been practicing some of the exercises we did in that class, and one of them inspired this piece. I was walking through the snowy woods one day and started snapping pictures of the bare trees and undergrowth. I kept thinking about how all the branches and the space in between reminded me of letterforms. When I came home, I enlarged one of the photos, printed it out and put it down on a larger sheet of paper. Then I began to write next to it, in a style that was derived from the shapes I saw in the photos. I came up with this lettering.

Today I decided to scan it in and play around with the placement of the photo and lettering in my layout software. This is the final result.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Exploration 2011

Exploration logo by Pam Paulsrud

It's time once again for the Chicago Calligraphy Collective's annual juried exhibit at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The show will run from March 21 – June 25.

If you're in the Chicagoland area, please stop by on Saturday, April 9, from 11am – 3pm, for our artist's reception. There will be demonstrations as well as a live calligraphic performance by six of our members. And plenty of food and drink!

This year is the 25th anniversary of Exploration being held at the Newberry Library. In honor of that, the Newberry is taking all the past purchase-prize-winning pieces out of their vault and displaying them in the room adjoining our normal exhibit space. There will also be an exhibit of Illuminated Manuscripts and Printed Books: French Renaissance Gems of the Newberry.

It's sure to be a wonderfully inspiring time! Hope to see you there.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Look for the CCC - Part 2

This is the front cover of our newly-designed newsletter. The 8-page newsletter is produced in black and white sent as a physical copy to all our members. However, we are toying with the idea of creating a color version and making it available in pdf form on our website.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Look for the CCC!

Another one of my projects (over the past year-and-a-half) has been to "brand" the Chicago Calligraphy Collective. "Branding" is a process that creates a cohesive look for a company or organization, so that every promotional piece lets the viewer know it's from that specific company. We began the process of branding the CCC with a new brochure back in 2009.

(front cover of brochure)

Last year, we did new stationery and some promotional pieces.
(letterhead on left; notecard on right)


Banner (at right).

This year, we launched our new website. Check out our new look at (FYI: I only designed the look of the website, NOT the functionality of it. We hired a web company for that.) There are still a few bugs to work out and we need to transition over to our new webmaster to get information updated, but overall, it's ready to go.

Stay tuned for a peek at our new newsletter!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pointed Pen Practice

So, after realizing that I needed
some practice with that
pointed pen, I did this sheet.
I had some orange gouache
and a little gold gouache left
in a pan, so I mixed them together
and wrote on some black paper.

Now I see that I need a LOT
more practice!

Where is Jane Farr when I
need her???? :-)

Batik Piece with Writing

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I've got some new things to share with you, so I'll be posting quite a bit in this next week or so. The first one is a piece that I showed you earlier. I did the tree in Carol Pallesen's batik workshop. It took a while to decide what I wanted to write and I finally came up with this. (Words are mine.)

After writing it with a pointed pen and white gouache, I realized that the pointed pen is NOT one of my strengths. :-)