Cold water

This was the callidoodle for the week, as it found its way into my notebook:

The original version was a pencil sketch, and didn’t include the full verse, as the pastor was through the sermon before I finished my sketching. I took the sketch home and re-did it in my sketchbook, using pencil, colored pencils, and a 005 Micron pen.

Having lost my mother in April, I couldn’t help but think of all the cups of water, kindnesses, and love, large and small, that she showed me throughout our lives together. As we’ve been cleaning out her house, we discovered that she had saved every letter and card that any of us had ever sent to her. We haven’t gotten around to reading them all, but it’s been a blessing to us – so much of the details of our lives 40 years ago had faded away into the recesses of my memory. I hope she felt loved as we shared them with her.

Learning to gesture

As mentioned in my earlier post on “Pencil Gestures,” I’ve been continuing to read Yves Leterme’s Thoughtful Gestures book, and practicing my gestural writing with a variety of tools. I don’t feel I’m really proficient at this yet, but I’ll show a couple of examples:

For those who haven’t tried this kind of writing, and in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that while gestural writing is intended to look free and easily written, it’s often the result of a great deal of rehearsal and planning. The simple word “Style” above, for example, took me about a half dozen attempts before I was happy with both the shape of the “S” and the swash of the “l.” The second example shows, in the background, a number of different rehearsals of the word “Gestural” leading up to the final version in the foreground. I also did a number of different versions of “writing” before attempting the two-word pair.

The two examples above were done with a Pentel brush fountain pen. One supplier of that tool is John Neal Books, if you’d like to try it out.

Unfolding (and folding) Directions

To follow up on the earlier post about folded calligraphy, here are three examples illustrating potential directions that the combination of calligraphy and folding can go:

We can do traditional origami, such as a frog design

or, we might use a more graphical, structural approach, say, for greeting cards, shadowboxes, and wall art

or, as in the example of the previous post, we can go with abstract sculptural approach

These are still just prototype examples, of course; I can see that there will be an art to be learned about where to put the calligraphy on the original unfolded paper if I want it to display best, but I’ve made no real effort to coordinate the placement with the folds at this point. And since I haven’t yet really decided what I might want to use this for, I don’t know if one of the three approaches is more relevant for me personally. Or maybe there are additional approaches I should consider. What do you think?

Pencil Gestures

Last week I received my copy of Yves Leterme’s new book, Thoughtful Gestures, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading it. I met Yves a couple of years back when he was teaching a class at a Camp Cheerio Calligraphy Workshop (I was in the other class, taught by Denis Brown), and I really resonated with the work he was doing and the work his students were producing. So for the past week or so, I’ve been playing around with gestural writing, trying to get more of a free feel to my work. A lot of my practice has been with a pointed brush and sumi ink, but as usual when I’m playing with something new, I also have done a lot of pencil work. Here’s an example, using graphite and colored pencils:


Yves talks a lot in his book about his process of working with gesso, and how he will often wash things off and re-work and paint over portions of the piece as it develops. In the piece above, I did something similar by overwriting, smudging, and erasing. I want to continue to experiment with this process, and try the gesso process as well. More to come, I hope.