Watercolor Lettering Recap



watercolor-book002.jpgI finally had a moment to post some of the work I did in the watercolor lettering class from last week. The class was taught by an English calligrapher named Peter Thornton and the technique was based on a German calligrapher named Adolf Bernd. My work turned out considerably goofier and more candy-colored than Bernd’s but I absolutely loved working with the watercolors and making these little monograms.

The workshop was three days, the first focused on watercolor designs and the third day specifically dealt with casual Roman Caps lettering. I really enjoyed the third day of lettering until we switched to dip pens in the afternoon and it became apparent that I was left-handed. I’ve had my left-handedness come up in regards to being a calligrapher or lettering artist in the past so I knew the tune (“To be a great calligrapher, you’re going to have to learn to write with your right hand”) but I got really blue when I heard it again. I just don’t understand why its such a big deal, why its so rare to be left-handed?





Unfinished painting


This is a rough detail of a painting I started in my class a few weeks ago. I thought this piece would just be a place to practice a new technique so I worked on illustration board but now I’m thinking I should redo the piece on something more permanent. I’m on the fence about it.

Just thought I’d show that I’m making some progress.


Last week’s painting project


Last week in my painting class, we got to experiment with using materials to create texture. I used paper doilies, bubble wrap and a small, soft brayer to create textures and patterns. This was probably the class assignment I was most skeptical about doing because the instructor had described it as monoprinting but it ended up being really fun. In theory, I’d like to use these pieces as a background and add some foreground imagery but the longer I look at the pink doily piece, the more I like it as an abstract painting.



Painting class tests: Matte and Gloss Mediums

This week’s assignment in my painting class was to integrate photos or computer art into a painting. I was not particularly keen to the idea of mixing my photographs with my painting but an assignment is an assignment.

I printed a bunch of images from my Epson printer using glossy photo paper and heavyweight matte paper. I tend to test things out before I commit to anything so, of course, I did sample swatches. I adhered both matte images and glossy images with Liquitex Matte Medium and Gloss Medium. The images on the left are matte paper and the gloss sheen is clearly visible although, in person, even two coats of gloss medium on the dull paper does not get too shiny. The most amazing result was the Matte Medium on the glossy photo (images on the right). It knocked all the sheen off the photo.


Red Rubber Ball Painting

This is the first “painting” I did in my mixed media painting class. I call it a “painting” rather than a painting because it was the result of a classroom exercise on throw-away paper rather than a full-fledged effort on canvas.

The original assignment was to use collage, found objects and any materials we had brought to class the first day to create a piece on a scrap of card stock the instructor had provided for us. I forgot scissors or an x-acto blade so I used some pieces I had previous cut to use to make a poppet like Claudine Hellmuth created in Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected. Instead of using a photograph for the head like Claudine demonstrates, I painted one of my melonheads. I had a piece of red polka dotted paper cut into a circle that made me think of a book I had just read called Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. The book is about finding what inspires and drives you and never letting go. It’s a lovely little book designed by the Ann Willoughby design studio here in Kansas City and many people make a comparison between the Rubber Ball book and the book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball – an aptly titled book about creative life in corporate America. In an effort to inspire myself, this little painting is my reminder of my red rubber ball.


Kokeshi Sneak Peek


My darling penpal Christine invited me to participate in the Kokeshi show at Subtext Gallery in San Diego in November. Totally flattering, really. I tortured myself for weeks trying to decide what to do. Sketches sketches sketches. Primed it. Sketched some more. Finally, I put paintbrush to wood and then all the pieces started to fall into place. I had a few moments of terror and a week of staring at it trying to decide if it really was finished. I made a few tweaks. Stared at it a little longer. Last night, I made the last tweaks and finished the piece.

It was nerve-wracking working on it because some of my favorite artists are also participating so the bar was set really high. Tonight, I will spray the piece with fixative so that it doesn’t smudge in shipping and then I’ll pack it off to San Diego.

I will post full views of the doll after the show opens. In the meantime, check out sneak peeks by some of the other artists. Amazing.