Monday, October 9, 2017

Flourishes in Calligraphy

Here is my hand on the page doing calligraphic flourishes. You know, all those elegant designs done with your pen that make a word or page stand out. 
I was lucky enough  to recently take a day's workshop with Paul Antonio, a six foot tall Englishman who creates calligraphy for the Queen of England. Their country has a long tradition, and appreciation, of handwritten work. Plus there is all that nobility and honors they give out. 
He really starts with the basics: how you are sitting; what is the position of your hand, and the pen you are holding. We used the pointed nib, commonly used in Copperplate styles going back to  the 16th century. The rules  apply to using a  broad nib also. Then there is  breathing: Upstroke -inhale; down stroke- exhale.  Ever notice we often hold our breath when we are working on fine art details? I know I do. That's a lesson I want to hold onto. 
Paul pays lots of attention to the mathematical shapes and angles involved. We began drawing ellipses with a pencil, that later become those same patterns  in ink. Teach the hand through repetition.
I like to refresh my calligraphy  by taking a course when I can. Living in Sedona always means travel to the teacher.  We all get into habits, often not very good ones. An English accent makes that critique a bit easier. 
He recommends 20 minutes every other day of practice. I'm on it. Ideas are dancing in my head about how to apply these lessons. Ah hah. The holidays Are coming up... 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Calligraphy to Honor the Civil Rights Movement




This is the poem I just completed in Calligraphy. It concerns the life and struggles of Mississippi civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer.
It is written in the Italic style and fitting in all the words meant an extra long piece of paper, plus lots of effort to make No Mistakes in the words of the author, Dan Richard. He was so moved by the story of her personal struggles that he wrote this poem, which was read to Dr. Martin Luther King. He commissioned me to make this handwritten tribute to her which will hang in the Civil Rights Museum in Belzoni, MS.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Outrageous "Calligraphy

Here is a framed print of my calligraphic piece entitled     " Outrageous". It is part of my "ripped torn series", where I use my hands, never scissors, to tear the papers and create that loose effect I am after. 
I prefer using  handmade paper whenever possible.   It's the texture, and the way it rips that can even leave intriguing bits of thread  to create my  desired image. I use a heavy white stock to write my message in the Italic alphabet, in black ink. I like to add a metallic water color as an accent. Since I chose gold paint , my frame color was to pick up this hue. This is one of the smaller prints, but I also show this as a card.
Finally, I think the message is why I chose this for today's blog. It reads as follows:" I want to be an outrageous old woman who never gets called old lady. I want to get leaner and meaner, sharp edged and earth colored 'til I fade away from pure Joy!". Author Unknown. 
As my years on this earth mount up, I want to engage and rejoice in my individuality. Pure joy seems a nice way to go. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Le Chat in a Bowl

Here I am again in my white bowl series. Made out of high fired porcelain, this one has a specific name." Le Chat" is French for  the cat. French is a language I like to speak and carry it into my work, when possible.
I started doing my "critter" series a while ago. The cat is the perfect creature to abstract, because they all have a certain silhouette. Now with a dog, you are going to want to see the small breed, or the larger; the long haired or sleeker profile. A cat is a cat. I have recently begun to appreciate this animal as I am getting to know a couple as personal friends here in Sedona, where I live.
 You notice its unusual shape? Who says all bowls must be round? I make this by hand.The design is drawn in cobalt blue oxide, then covered with a clear, transparent, lead free glaze that makes it easy to clean. The color white you see is the actual clay. itself.
People often want to buy it for their pet to eat out of. Perfectly understandable. I also enjoy  that as I get to the bottom of the bowl, my cereal is peeking out between the ears or tail. Art that  makes  you smile. I like that.

 

Friday, July 28, 2017

White bowl with Pear

It is summertime in the high desert, here in Sedona. My white, porcelain  bowl, holding its ripe fruit, just seems to fit into the season and the mood of this late afternoon. The monsoon has just come. The air is heavy with moisture and it is getting darker outside.The light color of this bowl shows off not only its form, but what it holds inside.
This is part of my series of handmade bowls with a clear, shiny glaze over it.You are actually looking at the color of the clay itself! Fired to a very high temperature, this bowl can go in the oven, is food safe, and may last longer than us, if taken care of. 
The outside surface is intentionally textured to better show off the iron oxide stain I have added. As I tell people, "This is what makes the red rocks of Sedona , red."  I like the juxtaposition of the smooth interior and the rough of the exterior.The yin and the yang of my creation.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Visiting Victor Hugo

Here I am in front of Victor Hugo's  house. It is located  in the Place Vosges, a very nice little park area  on the right bank of Paris. It was late at night, after a very nice meal,  and the museum was closed. It was a thrill to me to be where this  writer, artist,  and poet of the nineteenth century  created some of  those works we know.
Remember  the movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"? This man wrote the book. I read Les Miserables as a young girl and it moved me then. Born in 1802, and living until 1885, he saw many changes in his country and world . His work touches upon the political, social, and artistic issues of his time. He served in the National Assembly and campaigned against the death penalty. A rather outspoken critic of what he deemed unjust politics, this man was not afraid to speak his mind.
Hugo is an artist I have always  respected. I found out he is buried in the Pantheon, on the left bank, near the Sorbonne.That was the area I stayed when I first visited Paris almost 50 years ago.  Life does go in circles.
 Now I am back in Sedona, Arizona, remembering my visit and thinking about what I will be creating next.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How do Artists Sell their work in Paris?

Here I am last week at an art "exposition", over in Paris, France. I was staying in the Marais area, which is full of quite sophisticated art galleries. But this was something different. 
In a large room named Halle des Blancs Manteaux, 
 (Hall of the White Coats) there were some 60 artists exhibiting their work for the weekend. To do this, they had to pay the promoter about $1,000 euros each.  A euro is about $1.15 each. So we artists always seem to pay to show, it's just quite pricey there.
I had a fun time going around and talking with various exhibitors. Speaking French is a big help. We had literally stumbled onto this opening on a Saturday evening. It closed at 8pm in the evening. Maybe to  go to eat dinner.   They
do that later over there. Have you ever tried to find a restaurant serving food in Sedona after nine pm?  Believe me, it doesn't happen here in rural Arizona.
The artist with me is named Hortense Varillon and she had the most cunning images on glass, almost in a shadow box. I had not seen anything like it and we got to talking. Funny how some things are universal. "Are you selling", I asked and got a spiel about how difficult it is to sell art today . I found this the common complaint from other exhibitors in the Halle, and the level of work was quite high. I bought her a beer, since I was not the optimum art customer this trip.
So how do artist try to sell their work in Paris? They do  whatever they can do, just like us.