30 August 2010

Text as Texture 4

The fourth example from my journal with text creating abstract shapes and texture. I like this one!

The washes of walnut ink and watercolor on each side add depth and movement without being too distracting. The main word going vertical on the page creates a nice shape. The outer colors not touching the black, but coming close creates a contrast element with the black sumi ink. The small text inside the main word gives visual interest without overwhelming the main focus.

The elements that are not working is the random text in the blue area. I don't mind the strokes but the words are too legible and thus do not make sense.

I think the sketches are improving.

26 August 2010

Text as Texture 3

Okay, here's the third example of text as texture. (The first can be seen here and the second here.)

The things that I think work in this example are: the background interest is more complex. There is also more variation in sizes of text. And I like the single spot of color in the middle. The two vertical boxes add a structural element to the otherwise organic feel of the piece.

The things that do not work are: the 'c' in grace has been completely covered. Where this piece is not necessarily meant to be legible, the covering of the 'c' leaves a visual a hole. There is no real focal point to grab the eye and move it around the piece. It's too disorderly.

24 August 2010

Text as Texture 2

This is my second example of text as texture. I am experimenting with abstract layouts using text to create shape and texture. My last post was my least successful sketch thus far. This example is a little better. The overall shape is more interesting and the walnut ink in the lower left corner creates some interest as well.  Although, there is a little more contrast in value from the previous post, it is still not enough. And then there is the issue of the blank spot in the upper left corner. Something about it is appealing but uncomfortable at the same time. Overall the sketch is too clean, not enough background depth and not enough variance in size of lettering.

I have generated about 4 of these so far and am saving the better ones for last. The colors are being kept the same and to a minimum. There is black sumi ink, walnut ink, and turquoise watercolor.

22 August 2010

Text as texture

I have been experimenting with some abstract layouts using text as texture. The image above is one of the sketches from my journal. This is actually my least favorite and I'll tell you why. It's too clean and orderly. There is some contrast in value but not near enough to be pleasing. You know what they say, "The artist who can control contrast can control the world!" Or something like that.

I will post several of these to show what works and what doesn't work for me. Then I hope to take the best one and recreate on a large scale.

18 August 2010

Thank you

Thank you all who have followed along
on my journey of experimenting and
working in calligraphy 
and the calligraphic arts.

I am truly blessed to 
be able to pursue my passion
and to share the things
 I learn and create
with a such a supportive
 group of individuals.

My gratitude goes out to you!

15 August 2010


I had the wonderful opportunity to create this birth gift. It was a fun and refreshing commission. The name and date are written in pressurized Roman Caps with sumi ink and a watercolor shadow. The middle text is brush lettering in sumi ink with watercolor washes in between.

13 August 2010

Black Arches Cover - Con't

It was a work of art from Glen Epstein that got me going on the black Arches cover paper. Mr. Epstein was a marvel of an artist and calligrapher. You can see his work here, if you have never seen it before.

So in the style of Glen Epstein I created this piece. The text is a translation from a portion of "The Extremes of Good and Evil" by Cicero written in 45 BC. The picture above has the text only written. The picture below has the addition of the colored pencil between lettering. The color pencil adds to the vibrancy of the piece but also tames any hot spots of black in between the letters. 

I really had to concentrate on keeping the counter spaces and the letter spacing tight. I actually started with the bottom block of text, which unfortunately, has larger spacing between letters and words than the top. I was able to tighten it up as I wrote, but it could all be tighter still. 

The piece was lots of fun! 

09 August 2010

Black Arches Cover

Well, I have to say, I feel a little behind the times. Having read many times about black Arches Cover paper and having seen many works of calligraphy created on this paper, I have never tried it myself. And I have never worked with watercolor on black paper. For some reason I had it in my mind there had to be a preparation trick for watercolor on black paper. So I came across this long, thin scrap of black Arches in my scrap drawer and thought, "I will give it a try".

Oh my gosh! I am so excited! I know you all have probably already worked with this combination and are thinking, "I can't believe she is just finding this out!"

I created this little sampler of color this past weekend. Isn't it pretty?! It is an accordion fold with 5 pages of color combinations on one side and technique trials on the other side. I did find out that the more opaque watercolors show better on the black paper. Although, some cool effects can be achieved with the transparent colors as well. I tried to use masking fluid but it did not work; the masking fluid soaked into the paper and would not come off cleanly. When I rubbed hard enough to remove the masking fluid the watercolor around it rubbed off also. (See below.)

I have been having loads of fun working with my watercolors on this black paper. I will have more samples of work with this combination of materials in the future. Until then,

03 August 2010

How do you know? Unless you try.

In the last post, I was debating whether I should try to cover up a mistake in the gilding by adding black to the piece of work. It had been suggested to me to make a high quality print of the piece and try the black on that first. I tried to do just that, but I found it very difficult to print out the gold to my liking. So, whereas, making a print is usually the best way to try something you are unsure of, in the case of gilding I found it did not work for me. Since this piece was started as a final 'draft', I decided to just go for it. Below is the result. It is definitely different from the previous version. And even though it is not bad, it is not the look I want for this piece. So my final will be as in the previous post, just gilding on vellum.

That's the great thing about art. Some things work, some don't, but you can always try again. Sometimes I get bogged down in the fear of messing up. Then I freeze and cannot create anything, instead of just trying.