I grew up in Raleigh at a time when the nuns taught at Our Lady Of Lourdes. They lived out back of the school and wore those imposing yet Holy Habits that commanded your adoration, attention, and, quite frankly, your fear. So, when they asked you to "sit up straight" with your "feet flat on the floor" and compose your letters properly according to the Palmer Method of Handwriting, you did just that! I believe it was at that impressionable age that I became infatuated with the formation of letters. When I was introduced to calligraphy in 1978, it was no wonder I fell in love with this beautiful art form. My first taste of the calligraphic world lasted no longer than one hour. The instructor turned a piece of chalk on its edge to form calligraphic works of art from A to Z on the chalkboard. That was that! But it was all I needed to fire the embers that had been sparked in elementary school. Watching the slow, rhythmical shaping of those letters was like listening to classical music. It was not until 1997 that I enrolled in my first formal calligraphy class. Boy, were my eyes opened! I knew I had a lifelong road of learning ahead of me. It's been 38 years since that white piece of chalk was laid on its side. I am still learning. Come learn with me!

Monday, April 5, 2010

He is Risen

I wait all year long to be able to say "He is Risen!" on Easter Weekend.
I wanted to put together a little piece today in celebration. I made the purple paste paper about a year ago in a workshop, and it has lain on my shelf just waiting for the right words. Today was the day. Since I taught Sherri Kiesel's Decorated Letters in February, I can't seem to stop using them!
Here's the breakdown on this piece:
First, I used ordinary computer paper and a pencil to square out the area I was going to use, with lines also for the word border. Second, I wrote out "Risen" in pencil to make sure I liked the presentation. Once I was satisfied, I used a Nikko-G pointed nib with black qouache to outline it.
Next I once again picked up my pencil and wrote out "He is" all around "Risen." I wanted this writing to be flowing, almost decorative, almost illegible so as not to take away too much from "Risen." Once I was happy with the placement of these words, the Nikko-G nib and black gouache was again used.
Little dogwood flowers were drawn in the four corners, signifying this time of year.
A yellow Karat Aquarell watercolor crayon was used to fill in "Risen." I used water sparingly over this color to keep part of the roughness and texture of this medium. A light blue Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen was used to put a dab of color to the dogwood petals.
The flame dotting the "i" signifies what happened later on the Day of Pentecost when "tongues of fire" sat on each of the apostles as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
This might be a tiny piece, but what it signifies is one of the biggest events in history.

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