Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ben Shahn Lettering

Last Saturday I attended a Westcoast Calligraphy Society workshop with Violet Smythe on Ben Shahn lettering.  Shahn was a Lithuanian born American artist best known for his works of social realism.  He also did war posters for the United States Office of War Information and worked as a commercial artist.

He developed a unique style of lettering, and Violet and other lettering artists have studied these and now teach them.  Below is an exemplar I did during the class.  For more samples of Shahn's lettering you can check out Pinterest too.

These letters were all done with a folded pen, shaped like this.  Violet said, however, that she didn't actually know what kind of pen Shahn used to make his letters so I'll have fun experimenting with other tools.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sketchbook Revival

"You're never going to make a discovery in familiar territory." - Amanda Price.
Watercolor Pencils, collage

Before I went on an unintentional blogging holiday, I participated in a free on-line class called "Sketchbook Revival".  Amanda Price was one of the instructors, and I did this in her "Scribble Studies" session.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

International Fake Journal Month Wrap Up

This was my first year participating in International Fake Journal Month.  Over the past few years I have been become increasingly interested in researching my family history, so for IFJM I transported myself to a very small village in the Cotswalds, England, where many of my ancestors originated.  I hoped to learn more about the area and what life is like there now.

I prepared my fake journal by gelli printing some wild backgrounds.  In this pretend life I decided to take way more risks in my journal, for better or for worse.  Painting in thick gouache was another thing I wanted to try.

I met my initial goals and also learned a whole lot more.
  • Towards the end of the second week I woke up screaming, "I MISS MY WHITE SPACE!"  From past experience, I think it may be that I need some variety in my journaling practice, rather than a love of blank white pages.  This is worth testing.
  • I loved working in a single, chronological journal.
  • Drawing in black on loose paper is a great way to add a drawing to those crazy, colored backgrounds I sometimes feel compelled to paint.  The value contrast was great.
  • However, I need to allow space for the additional thickness added by all of this collage in the book.
  • Because not all prints are successful, I prefer gelli printing on loose sheets rather than directly into a journal.
  • It is possible to schedule time every day even in a busier than normal month.  In other income tax seasons I've done a lot less art than I did this year!
  • I found lots of ways to add interesting color and unify a pre-painted page.  I used paper, napkins, pigment ink pads, stamping, and water-based markers as well as acrylic paint and gouache.
I'm taking all of these insights forward into my journaling practice.  I'm going to stick to one journal at a time, for now one with all white pages. LOL 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tending the Journal Patch

Now that International Fake Journal Month AND tax season are over, I can return to completing some journals.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cola Pen

At last month's Westcoast Calligraphy Society Meeting, I learned how to make a "cola" pen.  You can buy similar folded pens, but this is dubbed a "cola" pen because it is made from an aluminum can.  I love the bold, expressive marks these folded pens make.