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!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Putting color to the pencil sketchI

If you look at the post below this one, you will see how the design above started - first with an idea, then sketching it with graph paper - all in pencil/pen. No huge commitments yet. The next step - putting color to the design. This can be very scary because every single color you use needs to like the other colors! If they don't play well together, you will have a grumpy piece! First, I took a piece of Arches Watercolor Paper and put in a background using gouache and sponges. This has to dry completely before the next step. The four blue squares were then put in, first flooding the squares with plain water, using a brush, then adding in the diluted blue watercolor. This step needed to then dry completely. Onward and upward to the next phase - putting color to the acanthus leaves. Different combinations of two yellows were used. I am now letting this piece sit overnight. Tomorrow I will start in on the lettering - and that takes total commitment.

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