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Calligraphy Exhibition at Ripon Cathedral

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

North Yorkshire Calligraphers are holding an exhibition in Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire, UK. It runs until 31st October... so if you are nearby or can make the trip you have time to catch it. Going by the standard of previous exhibitions it will be well worth seeing....  the Cathedral is a stunning setting & Ripon is a lovely little town to wander with plenty of places of interest in the vicinity.

This was the group I started off with way back... err, a few(?!) years ago (1992 ish). Some of those people are still involved and some are calligraphers I have taught... the group is thriving and talented.... and I really wish them well with this exhibition x


Christmas Rubber Stamps

Monday, 18 October 2010

The season is fast approaching....

and Crafty Individuals have produced some rubber stamps with 
my calligraphy on here....

and also a selection of background papers to use in your crafting...

If you are interested, you can find them at
and various stockists around the world. There is a list on their site.


Silver Strands...2

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Another re-working.... here is what i wrote last time I can't really add anything about the words that mel wrote... they still move me....

This time though, they were for the gallery and the visual impact of the words was more important. When creating any piece of work, some of the questions to consider are "who is it for" "where is it to go?" "who will read it?" Calligraphy in a general art gallery is still relatively uncommon, and unless people are familiar with modern calligraphy, they do like to be able to read it... just capturing the sense of the words is not always enough.

I loved the pencil texture of last time, but silver gouache on canvas was my choice this time around. I kept the plaster 'rocks' as before, and splattered silver paint & powder to emulate the 'strands of light'.

The first and last phrases were with a draughtsman's ruling pen... the centre part was with a Mitchells broad edged steel nib. The brighter, silver lettering created a much stronger effect, which I softened with the lighter italic in the middle to balance with the silver & grey in the background. Some glossy black added to the shimmering reflection of light.

Silver strands thread light downwards...
Into the heart of darkness...
Winds with the ebb and flow of time...
To send our hearts and minds
once more into these weavings...
Of magic and the old ways to bind and connect
our hearts once more with She who knows
Melanie Leavey

Cheers mel x

Silver Strands
24 x 36 inches
mixed media on canvas
£175 plus postage


Sisters Of The Red Moon ~2

Friday, 8 October 2010

This is a re-working of a piece I did earlier... the original version is here.
This time I have gone for a 48 x 36 inch canvas... although I loved the first one, there were a couple of issues I wanted to adjust slightly, then the gallery asked for some dark or mysterious pieces in time for Halloween, and I knew this would be perfect!

(click to enlarge & see the detail)

I wanted a slightly softer feel to the swirl of the 'red moon' & to lose the dominant red streaks between the verses of version 1... also the red lettering first time around got absorbed into the background & I had to go over it which resulted in a loss of sharpness to the letterforms. To counteract that, I sprayed fixative over the background first & used a more orangey red that would contrast more.

The background was a matt water-based black, with various black acrylic & enamel streaks & splashes to create texture with a few tones of red acrylic, topped off with some bronze powder to add highlights that catch the light.

This time I opted for brush lettering to give a bit more freedom to the lettering, but also more weight so that the words carried as much impact as the background. Also, this was a new piece of work... i didn't want to just re-create the first piece. I felt that the title & author should be integrated into the text, not just placed top & bottom... i went for a total contrast... an out-lined version of Neuland, a typeface designed by Rudolf Koch. 

to visit Mel, who wrote this go here

Mel wove a tapestry of feeling in this poem with layers of meaning... I tried to create layers & depth... both the words & the canvas can be taken at face value.... or you can look deeper & intuit the mystery beneath....

we have met before, you and i
somewhen, somewhere.
in time out of time, the space between,
the  space where the veil thins and the mist floats across
moonlit oceans.

in the swirling chaos of now,
tendrils of light flicker in the darkness.
reminders of a lost tribe,
of ancient ways where blood was holy
and wisdom shared.

reaching across the chasm of time.
over expanse of space and the shackles of fate
there is hope that in the dreaming
of this and other things, we shall meet again.
somewhen, somewhere.

by melanie leavey

Sisters Of The Red Moon
36 x 48 inches on canvas


Lilac & Lavender Hearts...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

 believe in the power of your dreams

 love is the magical meeting of two souls

I quite like these last two as they are... I was torn whether to add a quotation or not... perhaps they can stay as they are unless someone wants to choose their own words...

These cuties are 5 x 5 inches square.... cost £12-50 including uk postage, can also post overseas, just ask.


Cute Little Hearts


4x4 inches, deep sides


4x4 inches, deep sides


 5x5 inches, shallow sides

Sweet & simple... with room for a name to be added if required.... just £10 each including uk postage, but can also post overseas. 


A Copper Sun...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Here are a couple of coppery canvasses that I've just finished...

 90 x 35 cm

Aeons ago before life had begun
Love existed 'neath a copper sun
Creation's explosion put time in motion
Now life exists 'neath a copper sun

 Both are done in acrylic, with copper powder dropped into the wet lettering. I used a glue gun to adhere copper leaf.... gorgeous shiny raised strands of light....

40 x 30 cm

Copper Sun whose tender rays bring forth the harvest
brings me comfort and warms my autumn years

For this one, the words 'copper sun', is metallic copper paint. The lettering on both is done with ruling pens... a folded one for the italic & a draughtsman's for the capitals.

They have been delivered to 'A Box of Delights' Gallery in Thirsk, North Yorkshire... just in time for a new Autumn display Bridget is planning. Hopefully, they won't remain there for too long!



Thursday, 12 August 2010

I love the effect of transfers & Cat at La Dolce Vita is an expert.

She is offering a free place on her transfer techniques course, so if you are interested why not
 pop over there & leave a comment, & spread the news... but hurry, it closes on Sunday 15th!

On second thoughts, don't go, because I will have less chance of winning...
only kidding, I've already won a gorgeous painting lately that I'm feeling very pleased about...

Isn't it gorgeous? This is entitled 'Waterlily' by Patricia Ariel that I won in her Solstice giveaway... I just love her work, and you can see more over at mesmerized by the sirens... 
I am so grateful to have this piece in my home, thankyou patti!


Treasures of the ocean....

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Remember a while ago in this post I told you about the 'seaside' lettering that I did? I gave you a couple of snippets.... well, these are the designs they came from...

Jean & Malcolm of for Crafty Individuals have used them in some new seaside rubber stamps & background papers....

A lot of imagination & time, combining them with colour & other elements to create something wonderful for people to utilise in their crafting...

And the best bit? Seeing other people applying more imagination & getting pleasure out of using them...

(photo Sue at Paper Paradise)

This seaside concertina book was made by Sue at Paper Paradise so please skip over to her place to see it in more detail & say hi.

(photo Sue at Paper Paradise)

And if you use any of the designs yourself, please comment & leave a link... it really is lovely to see what people do with them.


Cerise & Black Heart on Canvas

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

This is certainly a dramatic colour scheme! This little canvas has no words, but it is energetic, fun & vibrant. I added it to my new etsy shop the other day & almost immediately it was included in a 'treasury' with other items in the same colour scheme. It's 8 x 10 inches/ 20 x 25 cm & is priced at $25 USD, here.

It's the second one in a treasury in 2 weeks; the first canvas I put up was chosen & sold within 2 days of starting my shop, so I'm hoping there are going to be more sales to come (fingers crossed, lol)


Inspired by pine trees...

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Yvonne, of 'The Organic Writer' is hosting July's Festival of the Trees and asked for art submissions.... well, i did have a plan to do something new, but havn't put pen or brush to paper all month! This piece was done some years ago, but it remains one of my favourites, both for the words & aesthetically

 20 x 10 inches

I know a pine tree that leans over near a sea. At midday it bestows upon the tired body a shade measured like our life, and in the evening the wind blowing through its needles begins a curious song as though of the souls that made an end of death, just at the moment when they begin to become skin & lips again. One night I stayed awake all night under this tree. At dawn I was brand new as though I had been freshly quarried.
George Seferis - Greek poet, essayist & diplomat, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1963

Both the background & the lettering is done in watercolour on Saunders Waterford Not, 190gsm. I used Brause nibs for this... not my favourites, but they were new & I had to give them a go! Brause nibs are less flexible than Mitchell's, which is useful if you prefer to press quite firmly as you write, or on paper that is too textured for the Mitchell nibs.

The various shades were used randomly in the lettering, to echo the varying colours seen in nature.

I had tested brush strokes on a separate piece of paper before doing the 'pine' & I couldn't let the resulting texture go to waste! So... thinking of a pine wood & imagining the feeling, I wrote random words & phrases across the strip of brush-marks to make a work-shop sampler. In the past I have taught workshops aimed at trying out an array of papers that aren't necessarily deemed 'suitable' for calligraphy.

I therefore used a range of pens & pencils in a variety of styles to show how they worked with this paper, at the same time trying to keep the whole thing harmonious & feeling of pine forests. Notes about what I used are jotted along the bottom. 

 This process of using gestural marks to evoke a feeling or a sense of nature, then generating the words to suit, is one that I frequently use. A few folds later and some handmade paper, gives a little booklet that serves as a record... much more likely to be kept & looked at than 'another' scrap of paper on the pile (ok, make that several piles) that I can't bear to throw away!

This simple paper scrap also led on to workshops encouraging creativity for calligraphers, but using nature as inspiration can work for everyone. I don't teach the 'try out papers' workshops anymore... I sold my paper stock to Tina of & I think she does, if any uk calligraphy groups are interested (plus, she has some lovely papers suitable for calligraphy for sale!)


Today is a gift...

Monday, 14 June 2010

This is definitely best viewed enlarged... just click the pic!
yesterday is history
tomorrow a mystery
today is a gift
that's why it's called the present

36 x 48 inches- SOLD


Canvas's with quotations...

never give up hope
for it is only at it's lowest ebb
that the tide begins to turn

we must treat the earth well
it was not given to us by our parents
it was loaned to us by our children

Both of these are 40 x 40 cm, and are priced at £25 each.


Chocolate Canvasses!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sorry folks... they're not real chocolate, just in case you were thinking you could break a piece off whenever you fancy... But they are gorgeous, rich, chocolate-y colours! I've had a few goes at photographing them, but have not managed to to capture the depth of colour yet... I will keep trying!!

friends are the family we choose for ourselves

8 x 8 inches
20 x 20 cm

lovers do not finally meet... they knew each other all along

12 x 12 inches
30 x30 cm

I've used a combination of dark chocolate, milk chocolate & praline colours throughout... the 'drizzles of chocolate' are raised, reminiscent of the textures you see in the luxury chocolate shops.

believe in the power of your dreams

16 x 12 inches
40.5 x 30 cm

the magical meeting of two souls

9 x 12 inches
22.5 x 30 cm

I'm going to try a few chocolatiers... i think this series would complement their stock for any who are looking to extend their range of gift ideas. I used to have my own shop, and canvasses along these lines sold well...

everything happens for a reason

12 x 16 inches
30 x 40.5 cm

I know they will sell in a retail setting, and working on a batch of the same colour at a time means I can offer a wholesale price for the lot... I just need to convince a few retailers to buy rather than want sale or return! I've got one lined up to see next week, so fingers crossed...

to love and be loved
is the greatest happiness

9 x 12 inches
22.5.5 x 30 cm

These are all sold, but I can paint something similar for you if you wish
 Just email suziscribbles @

20 x 8 inches
51 x 20 cm

I've used gloss paint for the background of these two which has a gorgeous wet-look. The drizzles contrast nicely. I need to have another go at the photographs in better light though!

15.75 x 15.75 inches
40 x 40 cm



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.

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