Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!


This phrase "Love came down at Christmas" is from a carol written by the poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

The letters in these greetings were done with my Adirondack Alphabet. Last winter, while on a hike in the Adirondacks, I found these little "messages" in the snow. I felt then, that if I just took note, perhaps some mystery would be revealed.

I was reminded that God has sent us a Message and has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. He is always speaking to us, wanting to communicate with His creation.

That is why He came to earth.

To make Himself known to His children.

Because He loves us.

My prayer is that you would know His love and know the One who is Love this Christmas season and all the year through.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Card Workshop

Last Thursday, I was invited to teach a small workshop for the "Crossroads" group at First Financial Bank in downtown Highland. This was the group that I did a demo for back in August. But this time, they wanted some basic instruction in calligraphy and then to apply it to a holiday card.

So, the first half was spent going through some of the basic strokes and rules of the italic hand. Then they wrote out a small phrase and applied it to a 4-panel, accordion-fold card.

Most in the class were beginners, so they were all amazed and delighted with what they accomplished in a 3-hour period. I think they did a fabulous job! Wouldn't you agree???

Card by Agnes

Card by Gerry

Card by Jill

Card by Liz

Card by Hannah

Card by Val

Card by Gloria

Card by Judy

Card by David

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all my readers a truly wonderful Thanksgiving! May you be blessed today, as you share time with family and friends, and recall all the reasons to be thankful.

Here is a favorite quote I'd like to share with you. The author is Rebecca Harding Davis.

For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us, from birth to death, guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet...Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long?

Job Completed!


Woohoo! The Joliet Fire Dept. job was delivered today! Here are 2 of the 6 framed, final prints. They will be presented at a special retiree's dinner in a couple of weeks and will hang in a hallway in the main Joliet fire station.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

CCC Study Group Today!


The CCC's West Side Study Group met today.
Rita demonstrated a simple bookbinding
technique using Tyvek paper and acrylic paints.
She brought pre-cut strips of Tyvek, along
with pre-cut pages, which we sewed into signatures.
We painted the Tyvek and set it aside to dry.
Then we assembled the books, adding mat board
pieces as hard covers. We then covered the mat
board with the painted Tyvek. This photo shows
our finished products.

Thanks, Rita!!!





This is a close-up of my book opened.
The cover is tipped in and attached
with a thin strip of glue.













Then it was time for show and tell. Barb and Luce took a class in Ireland with Denis Brown and brought along some goodies to share with us. They learned a technique that involved throwing waterproof ink on watercolor paper; then covering it with a layer of PVA. Alkyds were used paint over the ink; and gouache was used to write over the alkyds. This process is repeated many times in order to create a layered piece. The two pieces at left (top and bottom) are Barb's. The two pieces at right are Luce's. Both are still in progress. You may see more of Luce's work on her blog.

Aren't these just gorgeous?!!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Calligraphy and Design Project



This is something I've been working on for a while now and is almost finished. The Joliet Fire Department hired me to design this project to honor their retirees from as far back as the early 1900s.

When we initially began talking about it, we realized that to do a hand-done masthead for each of the 7 sheets would bust their budget. So, I came up with the solution to design a masthead in Illustrator, include their historical logo, and typeset a special fireman quote on each of the 7 sheets. We decided that I would hand-letter the almost 400 names. (The names in ochre designate the rank of chief.) I chose a simple Uncial form for the letters. (Photo 3)

Each sheet was then printed as a 19" x 31" giclée print. There were designed with the lines for lettering printed in a 10% shade of gray, so they are very faint. We decided that it would be better to have those lines there (instead of erased) to minimize damage in the future. Because this is an ongoing project, there may be other calligraphers involved as more people retire. The less handling of the paper, the better.

There is also gilding on each one of the seven sheets. In the second photo, you see a close-up of the masthead. The stars that flank the word "Joliet", as well as the JFD logo are gilded with real gold leaf. You may not be able to see this in the first photo, but the stars that flank "List of Retirees" are also gilded.

Each one will be double-matted (soft white for the larger; gold for the inner thin mat), then framed in a very simple, classic black 24" x 36" frame. (I'll post some pics of the framed pieces some time this weekend.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Adirondack Alphabet



Last year, I posted some photos of some "letters" I found in the snow while on a hike in the Adirondacks. I never did post the whole alphabet because the photos were making the blog too slow when loading.

Well, now that I've discovered Flickr I can share the whole alphabet with you. If you'd like to see it, go to my Flickr site:


Just in time for winter! Yayyy!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Artist Trading Cards Trade on Thursday!


If any of my readers are in
the Highland, Indiana area
tomorrow, come on out for
an ATC trading night!

Our local art supply store,
Hoosier Highlander, is
hosting the trade from 5 - 7pm
Thursday night. Refreshments
will be served.

(This is one of my older ATCs.)

Inspired by the Workshop



Here's a little piece I did for my friend's daughter's birthday card. I used the technique that I did in Carl's workshop.

A Commission!


I'm so excited to share this with all of you.
I asked Carl Rohrs to make a piece for me,
using our last name, with our first names
at the bottom. Here's what I received
this week!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Piece from Carl's Workshop


This one was done by my friend Cathy,
for her daughter's 16th birthday.
(Happy Birthday, Kelley!) I love her
choice of colors. Cathy also did the
prismatic "K" down below.

See more of Cathy's great work here and here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 10



Practicing pointed brush with Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White on Black Canson Mi-Tientes Pastel paper. This was written while looking at one of Carl's logos in his handout.

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 9


Here is one of my samples from the class. This was done with the 3/8" Horizon folded pen and walnut ink. Carl suggested the Horizon pen for our broad-edged lettering. The word "Types" here shows quite a few of the techniques Carl taught--the little "flick" on the top right portion of the "y" and "p", as well as the bottom right of the "e"; the pushing strokes at the bottom of the "y", "p" and "s". This word also demonstrates the splitting up of the ducti--a bit more dynamic treatment of the letterforms.

See my Flickr page for more lettering samples here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 8


Some of Carl's beautiful work. These were some of the letter styles he demonstrated. I love the way they bounce--adds so much life to the piece!

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 7

I just realized this morning that I haven't given a description of the class yet. Carl split the 4-day workshop into two sessions, which sort of overlapped. The whole workshop was titled "Ghosts of Calligraphy". However, the first 2 days were titled "Modern Moves from 20th Century Masters", where we looked at lettering techniques developed by well-known calligraphers, some alive, some dead.

Carl's vast knowledge of calligraphic history was fascinating as well as applicable to what we were doing. He showed us certain "master's" techniques by breaking down the strokes of each letter and then spending time with each student showing them how to make the marks.

The second half of the 4-day workshop was titled "Pen, Brush, Stiletto". Here we focused on brush lettering, as well as some pen, and also got into the exciting stuff like the cut paper and prismatic letter techniques you've already seen.

Can you tell from my excitement that EVERYONE should take this class if you have the chance?! You won't be disappointed!

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 6


As promised, more goodies! This piece was done by Linda, whose other amazing work you can see at her website here. Again, the original sketch was done with pointed brush, then laid out to get the design just right; then cut with an Exacto knife out of black paper and placed over the red.

Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 5


Some of Carl's samples! The first one was created by lettering with a brush and using that as a template to cut the finished piece out of black paper. The lettering here is all one piece.

A very cool "prismatic letter"!

And the third piece, "Lettering", was created with a flat brush and is just simply beautiful, isn't it?!




Carl Rohrs Chicago Workshop - Part 4



Here are two of my finished pieces from the workshop. Both were done on black Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper, with Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White, Prismacolor pencils, and a white Sharpie Poster Paint marker for the lines in "Create". The first piece was done with a pointed brush. The second with a cheap, child's stubby paintbrush.

By the way. "Create" is a nod to my blogging friend, Kathy McCreedy, (see her blog here), who signs off all her posts with "Now go make something!". Thanks for the inspiration, Kathy!