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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!)


Tricia J. O'Brien 1 July 2010 at 19:20  

Gorgeous. Your use of line and texture is fascinating, and you caught the spirit of the tree, of the breeze, of the peace.

Lydia Kang 2 July 2010 at 15:49  

So beautiful! I'm totally blown away. I wish that was on my wall, framed.

Elizabeth 2 July 2010 at 17:22  

Love the combination of words and drawing, how it captures something of our profound connection to trees. Thanks.

Suzanne Casamento 2 July 2010 at 19:46  

Your work is lovely. It's tactile and so earthy. Really lovely.

Jackee 12 July 2010 at 05:59  

That is gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing. I loved the Festival of Trees and was so inspired by the many different ways people expressed their passion for them.

I'm excited to see more of your artwork now that I've found your blog. Thanks!

Suzi Smith 12 July 2010 at 17:10  

Thankyou all... i've really enjoyed this festival!

Lille Diane 20 July 2010 at 12:02  

Stunning. What a gift you have, Suzi. Thank you so much for sharing it with the world~

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