Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Memorial Artwork

Sunday, 20 April 2014

 I had quite a challenge to incorporate all the different elements requested in this series of canvasses. It was important to incorporate the skyline of a favourite view visible from a window, so using a photograph, I could tear along the length of the mountain ridge & use it as a template to paint over. My client also loved the blue-black skies & gold lettering seen in earlier work of mine.

Another element required, was a representation of the five trees that a father had planted for his children, and I needed to make each canvas similar but different for each child. This was a touching tribute to their father, and a way for the siblings to share something that honoured his memory.


Although in reality all the trees had red leaves, I highlighted a different one on each canvas. The layout for the calligraphy was broadly the same, but there is some variation in the line-breaks, and how the trees worked out slightly also affected the placement of text a little. Rather than gold lettering I settled on copper, originally intending to use it for the full poem. However as I highlighted the red tree with a bronze-y red, I realised that it would also pull things together better to use that for the 2nd part of the poem too, especially as the two parts have a different feel to the words.

The poem is "At a Window" by Carl Sandburg~

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world it's orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait the coming
Of a little love.


Whispers of inspiration...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Just came across a great blog honor yourself written by Terri of Bonesigh arts… actually I think I found her shop first, but no matter. Love her artwork, love her words, love her whole outlook…

it was when she first dared
to see her truth
that the winds howled.
after a time,
it strengthened her
and she spoke her truth
and the earth shook.
and when finally
 she believed her truth
the stars rejoiced,
the universe opened,
and even her bones
sang her song:
I matter!

~ Terri St. Cloud

Considering how much I love colour on black, I do precious little of it. I have a whole workshop worked out for playing with colour & lettering on black paper, but still i rarely play myself. 

A few from my sketch book… all brush letters… just playin' with colours….

Seeing Terri's site has also given another reminder that i need to get on & do more work with my own words… the image i 'borrowed' reminded of me of this i wrote at new year. 

She heard the faintest whispers between the old moon and the new
she felt the breath of winter graze her naked skin
and sometime in the night the old year became the new...

I promised myself then, to put together a series of works involving my moon photographs & words… to pull them together into something totally different to work I have done to date. I keep visiting the idea in my mind & turning it over. I haven't put pen to paper but the idea has evolved considerably as i think of different aspects. Perhaps it's time. There comes a point when thinking has to give way to doing…. 

And as I was turning this over earlier, Fiona shared this: 

"A lot of good things don't get made because of too much thinking" 
Agnes Martin

I had to smile… quite often, just resolving an idea in my mind is enough… but, all these little signs are pointing in the same direction! It is time… and maybe "the stars will rejoice" as Terri wrote!


When times are tough….

Monday, 7 April 2014

Sometimes when you know a friend is struggling, there's not a lot you can say,
but a hug always helps…. and if you can't be there in person, a card is the next best thing...

sending a hug to help you through. you know i'm never far away
& always with you in my thoughts.

Something handwritten to lift their spirits… to let them know that you are on their side, 
however far away you might be…

You're in my thoughts… anything that hurts your heart hurts mine too. I'm here when you want me, whether to laugh or cry, especially to remember times gone by.

The tiny cornflowers in this handmade cotton rag paper are so delicate… and there aren't that many either, so the effect is quite subtle, not too 'flowery' at all.

Healing wishes…
sending love & healing thoughts to help you through while things are tough.
Holding your hand every step of the way.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, 
and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

Thinking of You…
there are no right or proper things to do, but I hope you feel the love & strength 
I'm sending from me to you.

my friend
Thank you for being that friend who knew the song in my heart 
& sang it back to me when I had forgotten the words.

Concertina Cards are available at 
and can say whatever you like!


The view from my window...

Sunday, 6 April 2014

… which means that we're no longer living in the caravan!! That caravan & "the garden shed" next to it have served us well for the last 8 years. I've loved travelling, but the time has come to settle. The most gorgeous home presented itself to us, which we viewed one week 
& moved in the next!

On my wish list were trees & a stable door, Steve's included a shed… we couldn't have found somewhere more perfect at the moment, I don't think! 

Now all I have to do is organise myself a studio in the spare room. I'm really looking forward to being able to leave work out & not have to pack everything away each time I use it!


2nd 'Cotton' Wedding Anniversary Canvas

Thursday, 27 March 2014

As the second wedding anniversary is traditionally seen as 'cotton', a canvas is an appropriate present…. especially when it includes a reading from your wedding & takes inspiration from the bridal bouquet! It's not meant to be an exact representation… just something that captures the sense of it… the fresh greens, the feeling of spring in the air...

Before the 1930's, just the milestones were marked; only 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th & 70th had gift suggestions. But as in most areas of life, commercialisation led to a full list names for every year of marriage…. in 1939 the American National Jeweller Retail Association published a full list. The list has been revised over the years & different countries have slightly different versions, and of course some countries have long-standing traditions for certain anniversaries.

In the 'Holy Roman Empire' of the Middle Ages, husbands would crown their wives with a wreath of silver leaves on their 25th anniversary & with gold leaves on their 50th. The tradition of a silver & gold wreaths continued in many places, with the gradual addition of more land-mark anniversaries. Traditions have changed too… at one point the Diamond Wedding was the 75th, but since Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee after 60 years on the throne, diamonds became associated with the 60th wedding anniversary in the UK.

The list I have had for ages gives the 1st wedding anniversary as paper & the 2nd as cotton, which is great for me as a calligrapher… I can offer a gift made from both! But there are various versions…. the UK & US have many dates the same but a few differences, and a 'modern' version seems to have been developed alongside the 'traditional'. Take a look over here> Wedding Anniversary Gift Lists. (the 15th is crystal on all other versions i've found) I'm not sure about the modern one at all…. gold jewellery, cars, optical goods…. hmmm, the retailers are obviously still involved in compiling that…. a kiss on the cheek would be bonus from Mr Scribbles, lol.

The canvas was 'whiter' than the photo, more like the close-up above, but i can't seem to get rid of the yellowy tones. I didn't even attempt to portray different flowers, even if I had the skills I wouldn't want too many different details vying for attention… it's the words that matter here,

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
Despite the formal style of wording, I wanted this to look fresh and modern, so quite informal, brush lettering spills down the canvas…. echoing the brighter green buds of the bouquet nestled amongst the mass of white flowers. It really makes a thoughtful & romantic anniversary gift doesn't it?

I'd love to hear about your most romantic gift… or the least, lol! I can't think that I've received anything outstanding either way... sigh...


Personalised Mothers Day Cards

Friday, 21 March 2014

Some of you may have noticed the link to "Inky Whispers"… 
I have found that creating a collection of cards in one place has led to more sales. It is much easier to see what is available & people seem happier asking for personalised messages, which I'm more than happy to write.

Mothering Sunday in the UK, is the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 days running up to Easter), that's March 30th this year. It evolved from honouring the Virgin Mary into a day to honour all mothers. It became customary for employers to encourage servants & apprentices living away from home to visit & honour their mothers.

There's only a week to go, but a personalised message can be sent at any time…. every day is a day to tell your Mum that she's special in my book! 

Thoughtful new fathers might like the idea of an extra special card for the mother of their baby. Any mum with a young baby would appreciate someone thinking of her… it doesn't need to be much, and certainly needn't cost a fortune… little gestures go a long way…. 

These concertina cards, or accordion books, are folded treasures full of sentiment, and can be written to say any message you choose…. they are for special people…. when your thoughts are genuine & heartfelt… they say that you care…


Woven Words...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

 Things have been busy here but  this is one little experiment I tried a little while back…. Strands of old writings taken and woven into something new… hints of what has been that could have been discarded… textures mingled… random words… does it make sense? no. does it matter? no.
Just words & phrases tossed into a pool of pattern…. jumbled confusion? perhaps, but not unless you try & make sense of it.

I rarely throw roughs or scraps of paper away… at least not until they have been cut or torn & stuck or over written or stamped or collaged or…. something. And even then they get "filed" until much much later I find them bent & dog-eared beyond redemption. I was tearing this draft with the idea of making torn squares of text to collage onto other pieces. That will wait a while, cos I'm liking the effect of this!


Writing on Nepalese Mountain Paper

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

In the last post, Mahsheed used Nepalese Mountain paper to create wonderful collages. It is lightweight, which makes it great for layering & moulding to a shape. For all it's lightness, mountain paper is also robust…. it's made from the bark fibres of the lokta plant, which grows above 3000 feet in the Himalayan foothills. The crop is totally renewable and the plants re-grow & are ready to harvest again in about 4 years.

 These two on the cerise are written in a liquid Chinese stick ink (bought from a Chinese supermarket) using a Chinese calligraphy brush. A metal nib works well enough on this paper; the surface is actually very crisp although the paper feels soft, if that makes sense!

I want to be an outrageous old woman who never gets called old lady.
I want to get leaner & meaner & sharp edged 
and earth coloured until I fade away from pure joy.
~ Julie Kookin ~

I copied the quote from someone else years ago & searched for it's origins a while back. The words had been used in a film, & I think the character was Julie Kookin…(I may be wrong on this as information was conflicting) and were taken from "Country Women- A handbook for the new farmer, by Jeanne Tetrault & Sherry Thomas". Annoyingly I never wrote down the source for any of this, and now I can't even find a reference to the quote anywhere, so if anyone knows anything, please share!

I have tracked down the 'Country Women' book though...
… and look, it even has calligraphy on the cover. It seems to be a practical book with stories & poetry too, & judging by this review, it looks like one worth purchasing.

"The line art work is graceful, poetry is inspiring, the diaries reassure me that I am not alone in my failures or frustrations, and the practical information is well worded, empowering women into thinking 'yes, I can do this'. I refered time and time again to the companion planting section, wood cookstove section, wood splitting section... in fact, I referred so often to so many parts of the book that they are now committed to memory, along with my favorite poems. The book is somewhat dated in some ways, yet absolutely timeless in others."

forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet
& the winds long to play with your hair
~ Kahlil Gibran ~

These were written with gouache… and with a brush again. I do like the effect of black brush lettering on the coloured mountain paper, especially where the paint is running out… and it feels gorgeous as I write. I can see a series of these coming up when I order some more paper. 


Gorgeous, Bright Mountain Paper

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Before Christmas, a lovely lady bought several packs of the Himalyan Mountain paper which comes from Nepal. It's a gorgeous paper, that comes in 10 colours as well as natural.

We had a lovely correspondence, from her first order to her receiving the paper, 
then to news of the creations made with it.

She must have spent many happy hours spent in creative bliss with her young daughter over the Christmas holidays! I asked her if she would be happy to share some photographs here...

… and I'm so pleased that she did! I absolutely adore this tree with the little bits of text mingled in amongst the branches.

I would never have thought of doing anything like these, and I'm so thrilled at what these talented ladies have created…. each one is so different… I love them.

Thank you for sharing Mahsheed, 
I hope you & your daughter enjoy this mini exhibition of your work!! 


Just off the Drawing Board...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A few trials.... which of course work out better than the 'real ones'

A bit blurry, but you get the idea...

I can't show any more until this new Bride surprises her husband with this 
Valentine's gift... her wedding vows to him....
but I can tell you, that we have gold powder dropped into watercolour.



My email address:-
I am based in North Yorkshire, UK.
Please get in touch if you would like to purchase any of my work. I can issue a paypal invoice for payment or use the 'donate' button near the top left once an order is confirmed.

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP