Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sentiments to Society

What is there to do when you are feeling down trodden and are trying to 
procrastinate --  not get down to work?
What else but practice some calligraphy 
and write out some sentiments from the heart!
above is a blend of Walnut Ink and 
Dr. Ph. Martin's Spectralite liquid acrylic ink in 51K Brass 
plus a little graphite shading.

Here the attempt is using watercolor and blending from one colour to another
plus a little shading with Prismacolor Pencils

Sumi Vermillion ink for the lettering and 
Sumi Vermillion blended with Walnut Ink 
and ever increasing amounts of white watercolor.

Each page was done entirely with pointed pen. All the decoration, while inspired by Zentangle was done with pointed pen and an intention to play with the thick and thin lines created by a pointed pen calligraphy nib.
I used Canson Calligraphy Parchment for the first page (8.5 x 11 / 24lb.) and Paper and Ink Arts brand Diploma Parchment (8.5 x 11 / 47lb.) for the other two. The nib was a Brause Steno used throughout. I did intend to try several nibs, but this nib was very nice and holds a lot of ink -- so I just kept using it!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Legibility and Sincerity

If you know me or regularly read my irregular blog posts then you know that I am at the end of taking my second calligraphy class this year. And I love it!
Writing is an important thing. Calligraphy is beautiful and also strives to be legible. How words are strung together is also important though much writing is typed and the legibility comes from the font and not from the hand. The mind however is important to both processes and can convey much more than the sequence of words convey or the look denotes.

Which leads me to the point of this post...
Thank You messages. Especially from businesses.
Perhaps you are a business person or simply someone who is mindful of sending 'Thank You' notes to others when you feel it appropriate. Many businesses  do this as part of their regular marketing champaign. And it can be a good idea.
In the past few weeks I have gotten three such messages from three various businesses I patronize. The first was a hand addressed envelope with a custom printed card, the front of the card had an etched image of the business, housed in an attractive old house in Memphis. Nice. When I opened it out fell a business card and a small card printed with 10% off... Nothing personal. No salutation. No signature. All just stuck in the envelope.
Another was an e-mail message that said in many words to tell me "I was appreciated." There was a nice quote from Gertrude Stein and it was 'signed' from the person at the business that I deal with. Upon closer inspection I noticed several things. My name was no where to be seen. It was sent from his assistants e-mail address and his name was in the 'To:' line meaning that it was a generic e-mail sent to all his clients by his assistant. Not personal at all.
The second note was from a retail business I frequent. In the mail yesterday was a smallish white envelope with no return address. It was hand addressed. Not fancy, yet nicely written. Inside was a flat card with a hand written note saying I was appreciated and there was a sale going on and then signed. Just a nice, legible hand written note from the store and sales person.
Which experience do you think I liked the most and said to me I was appreciated?
See you are very smart and know how to create a great impression. So how do so many miss the point?
And doesn't the assistant know there are mail programs that will place a name into the message to personalize it? From a list?
And if you are hand addressing an envelope can't you write "Thanks" and sign your name? Because if you want to tell me that you care about me the customer... try pretending for a moment that I really do matter and make the effort personal.
Or just forget it all together!

If you would like to learn more about making cards so You can send someone you appreciate a note I am having a ZenTangle Project Class on Card Making May 20th from 7 - 9pm at Studio Nysha. leave me a comment here on by mail if you would like more information. Or visit my Studio Nysha

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Practice, practice, practice!

I have been taking a calligraphy class. To get the most out of that class I have been doing the suggested homework 
(Here an practicing capitals by creating an alphabetic list of something -- I choose fabric
and yes Jacquard has a 'u'!)
 as well as some other things like creating cards

recreating my logo and tag line 
and addressing a letter to CBS News Sunday Morning along with a ZenTangle. The idea is that a bunch of Certified ZenTangle Teachers are sending letters and ZenTangles in on April 1st to try and get Rick and Maria on to talk about ZenTangles.
It is such a great thing, ZenTangles and has done so much for so many that creating a greater awareness of it would be even better!
 And I had another excuse to practice my calligraphy!
Cause I am having a challenge finding excuses...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Improvement and Inspiration

A friend recently asked me

"How do you work at improving yourself as an artist?  Reading art books?  Classes?  Making more art and experimenting as you go?"

Excited, I replied;
     This is a passion -- self improvement! Some of what I do for self improvement and furthering my art involves on line video content. - especially the documentaries. Marianne Bantjes is one of my favorites along with one on Jerry Uelsmann.
     Ted Talks ( -- hard to find a talk that is not inspiring or challenging.
     ZenTangle -- really the meditative part of it.
     Trying new things. Perhaps adjacent to my art work, perhaps not, but interesting and new. This year some are calligraphy and  enameling.
     Reading - bios of successful artists and decorators, philosophy, metaphysics. One of the most significant things I have read in the past was "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron: a book and workbook that takes you through a process of uncovering your inner creativity. A must for everyone currently breathing! 
As an artist it is especially important to look and really see. Always looking with the help of;  tumblrpintrest, keeping up with (Amazing!) finding new artists on line and in print, looking at the beautiful detail shots on 
     [a great tool I learned of last year is SnagIt. You can try a free trial. It is a screen capture tool - great to snag an image for your visual file...]
snagged for my personal use - sorry I have no idea where it is from or whom the artist is... bad record keeping!

One of the things that I find extremely valuable: keeping my word -- making commitments  and then following through. A group fellow CZT's (Certified ZenTangle Teachers) from a training last fall have stayed in contact and once a month we touch base about what we are doing with the business of ZenTangle. We make commitments about what we intend to accomplish for the month and then we report on how we did them or not. This is a very powerful practice to make yourself accountable to another. I find it keeps me focused and on task. I can not believe (when I do this) how much I actually get accomplished.

Simple as it sounds "hanging out" -- lunch artist friends (the local ones), calls with working artist friends (not local ones via Skype or for a group Google HangOuts). Regular contact with working artists. Have you ever noticed how successful and/or powerful people run in pacts? Hang with the people who are doing it and by association you will begin to do it as well.
And in the world of Doing It -- I also follow several blogs by artists who are doing... the chief among them Maria Shell who is one of the most disciplined and hard working artists creating beautiful work that I know.
     Some other blogs I love for beauty and content; Pattern Print Journal, Art In Progress, Aestheticus Rex (If you just want the beautiful imagery from the net distilled for you this is your blog!)
A chair from a rare Louis Comfort Tiffany (before Tiffany Studios) suite.
One of the blog entries at Aestheticus Rex

     She also asked about "making more art and experimenting as you go" Oh BOY! I love making art. Experimenting is the pinnacle of excitement for me. While I rarely have a concrete plan when I begin to work I DO experiment and sample a ton! I get an idea and try and see if I can make it a reality or how suitable to work I can make it... many times they have not gone anywhere, but they are motivating and exciting to me. I sample colours of thread on different fabrics before beginning many times, I try smaller versions of things - much like the Kemshalls use sketchbooks to explore ideas and refine.
     I sample so much that after a suggestion that I put my samples together into one piece of work I cam up with a plan that I will be unveiling at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show  March 6, 7, and 8th where I am the Featured Artist as well as the Artist in Residence. I will be there with a body of work and demonstrating during the show with a special ZenTangle class on Friday night. (Sorry the class is full!) If you are in the area come and see me.

     I hope that you find inspiration and ways to improve yourself -- please share what you do to improve yourself and inspire your own work.