Monday, December 24, 2012


CARD COVER I cut out the left stem of the H.
This year I decided to go with a tri-fold card on off-white card stock. The idea for the cover (DELIGHT) with the cut-out  is straight from Barbara Close's workshop that she taught for this past fall. She'd created a Happy Birthday card for us to doodle, then had us cut out the stem of one of the letters, so we could view the inside where we painted an image.

Inside - bottom third folded up was the stimulus for the inside of this year's card. Joanne Fink's beautiful banners are amazing, and a great guide to practice my doodles from in order to create the inside banner on my own card. You know what they say...if you really want to learn, "copy the masters" and while mine is not a direct copy, I did use many of her strokes and shapes in figuring mine out. This new kind of  Zen like doodling has been so much fun fiddling with in the evenings while sitting in front of the TV.
I'm not too happy with the strokes I added around the decoration; way too overdone! Of course I was in such a hurry to produce enough for the guild party that I didn't realize it at the time. For later cards (still on my table, BTW) I 'erased' most of that in Microsoft Paint.

For matching envelopes, I'd scanned the banner from the inner top of my card; and to create a smaller version, opened it with Microsoft Paint & "erased", then "cut" and "paste"d some bits here & there.
 Both card and envelope were scanned and printed on our home printer.
For the colour highlights I started with Prang metallic watercolours but found that time consuming so moved on to Sakura Gellyroll Stardust gel pens. LOVE them!!!
I got mine through an excellent calligraphic art online order shop right here in Canada. Some of the cards got a dab or 2 or 3 of 'Studio g' glitter glue, but I preferred the cleaner (and less time consuming) look of self-adhesive mini diamonds. 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alphabet Tiles

I've been having fun with some tiled alphabet letters. This is a technique learned from Barb Pankratz at an Edmonton Calligraphic Society meeting.
First a letter outline is sketched;
something with a spacious interior works well such as
Neuland or a Versal.
Then outline with a dark colored sharpie. 
Fill the interior with a lighter colour.

Lastly cut bits of paper (which can be rice or textured papers, paste papers, your practice calligraphy sheets or bits from a magazine or catalogue such as Lee Valley Tools!!).
Put a dab of glue on the back & stick them on!
Tweezers come in handy here.
For a little sparkle make sure at least 3 of those bits
have some glitter on them!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

I thoroughly enjoy receiving accomplished Canadian painter Robert Genn's free twice-weekly posts. As a successful artist he shares great advice and covers a wide range of useful information. Current artists comment, and submit their art online.  A story of two artists with opposing methods of trying to find succes arrived today. At the top go to clickbacks then you can browse topics by year. In 2012 I found the "How-to-purge" and "Pomodoro"  particularly interesting.

"The Painter's Keys is the online extension of Robert Genn's Twice-Weekly Letter. Creative folks from more than 115 countries visit this website for information, inspiration, artist advice, friendship and connectivity. Informed and successful painters and other artists make their own contribution through the Twice-Weekly responses or clickbacks. It has also been our goal to make this website an online resource of information for artists and a place to share with others what you are doing, such as through the Art Show Calendar, Art Workshop Calendar and Premium Art Listings. One of the most popular pages is the Art Quotes page, and we also share other things like a listing of Art Retreats available to artists, books, videos, and more.his website also has a Resource of Artist Quotation, an Art Online Directory" from Robert Genn

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Edmonton Calligraphic Society WinterTreasures Parrrty!

Rrrr ye comin to rrr winter treasures parrrty?
tickets @ Thurs Nov1 meeting!
only $10 for our annual winter potluck!
Admiral Gertie (Wendy G) is the author of our tickets while I had a funtime designing and lettering them.  Our social committee trimmed the edges with decorative scissors, painted them with walnut ink, marked the X with a 1/4"brush dipped in gold liquid acrylic paint, then rolled & wrapped them with string, the edges of which they also dipped in walnut ink.

check us out at for info
as well as for beautiful workshop photos of instructor and student samples!!
We Twitter@ #EdmCalligraphy.
If you're interested in calligraphy and live in the Edmonton area we meet the first Thursday of the month on the South side, except for December and June when we hold our Socials, and we don't meet in July or August.

i have to admit it's been a while since i've lettered something of this length, so i was quite pleased with myself to get through it the first time without any major mistakes! if i were to do it a 2nd time, the December 6 line in the blackletter style could be written slightly higher, and all the pointed pen lettering could definitely be improved with practice, but i figure pirates probably didn't posess the best penmanship skills!!!
i'll be at the parrrty as Cap'n Fancy Buttscar!!!
(suitably named i must say)
and ye can bet i'll be lookin t' rob me some loot; especially that gold & glittery kind, in the form of handmade carrrds!

ECS on Twitter @ EdmCalligraphy

previous Twitter sample:

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Our Edmonton Calligraphic Society's Spring Social has come & gone! And us Italianos (true, & temporary), we know ow do pardee!!!
In keeping with the colours of the Italian flag, we had tables full of decorations, which had taken the 6 of us about 6 work bees to create.

The excitement of the evening started off with the talented accordionist Heinz Frank playing a number of tunes from 'the old country'. What a treat! Meanwhile our Social committee members, Nadia, Jeanine, Barb, Wendy, Deb & I greeted everyone with green "Calligraphers Do It With Their Hands" t-shirts, Italian chef aprons with additional lettering by Barb Keir and of course painted on moustaccios, which i had fun creating using Caran D'Ache water-based pastels (they look like crayons but they're not...but they are non-toxic!) You can find them at The Paint Spot in Edmonton.; Moustaccios...a necessity when using de accenttas, no?
Just because we're a little weird & crazy Nadia & I even painted the colours of the flag on our nails!

An yo notta gonna believe of our membersa, she show uppa ina da darka rainacoata, ana she pullsa outta da gun!!! Ma sacramento! She give ussa da bigga scare...we taught she come fromma da wrong famiglia!! Dat Judy, she'sa somting elsa!!!
Arrivederci Wall Flag
Mini bottle dessert labels
The food....mmm mmmmmm!!! Ze potluckka, she was excellentte - i had no idea what some of those dishes were, but they were all so good, tasting just like they came out of Mama's kitchen!
For beverages we'd supplied iced coffee (with an optional scoop of ice cream), along with 3 flavours of italian sodas.

On top of some , which was out of this world!!! Nadia, being an actual Italian &deliccioso desserts brought by members, Jeanine's daughter Dayna created red Strawberry-Rhubarb sorbet, cream-coloured Zabalione gelato, and green Basil ice creamamp; even speaking the language, had made some special pistachio cookies & soma Italian pastries; sorry i don't recall the names.

Table center bottles show table numbers

Calligraphically, we had a wonderful display of artwork by members of the guild, who had used the 25 papers from Mary Brault's stash that we'd handed out at the Christmas Social. Plus papers that Betty Locke assigned to her challenges class on Vancouver Island! How cool is that! It was all so beautiful.
They'll all be displayed again, along with those that forgot theirs,at the September meeting for another showing & draw.

As a fundraiser, we had a basket full of items to create a true huge Italian meal, a pile of calligraphic treasures, and a piece created for us by the artist Barb Close , who had come from California to teach some courses for ECS this year.
I even won one of the draws; a bottle of ink, and a Noodler Pen(how appropraite is THAT name!)  from Stylus in Edmonton.
I'd just like to add that's one of the pens i've been NEEDING for a while now, hahha! It's a fountain pen that you can actually put a little pressure & release into, with a result almost like pointed pen/copperplate lettering, but not quite as distinctive; not bad for practising, tho.
Pizza boxes for raffle tickets and draws

Close-up of some of my lettering
Such a fun time!! I'd like to thank Jad, who showed up early to help us set up, and Gail & Mary who stayed late & helped clean-up. That was so sweet of you girls!
I didn't take any pictures at the actual party, so will be relying on others & hope to post those later.

And if YOU would like to be a party animal too, join the Edmonton Calligraphic Society! We meet the 1st Thursday of the month from Sept-May, where we do fun stuff at each meeting, with the months of December & June being our Socials!
Next meeting 7 p.m. Sept 6 @ Southminster Steinhauer Church on the South side.

Friday, May 4, 2012

June Social

The Edmonton Calligraphic Society meets the 1st Thursday of the month from Sept-June at the Southminster/Steinhauer Church from 6:30-9. We keep the meetings short so that there's always time for a hands-on program, & are always looking for new members of any age.
Check out our Facebook site for the best pics of our monthly goings-on and what's created at our workshops.

In December & June we have a social instead, which is open to members of the guild & their invited guests.
You would not believe how wild & crazy our Social Committee gets preparing for these, and THIS year the theme is Pass Da Pizza Pardee & we're gonna go Italian potluck, eh?

Barbarino she did up da pizza invite....she'sa gotta da talent for Italics, no?

Our committee is so popular we now have Wendy G, Barb K, Nadia MK, Deb L & me, with Jeanine moving on to the presidency (but she's still coming up with ideas!)

Nadia actually speaks da language, & Deborello & Jeano are our tuff guys; dey gonna giva youa da hamma sanawhich!
Wendino, she'sa da godfather.
I'ma da goofball, Franchesca; I forgetta how you spella FAMIGLIA!

We gonna be wearing a greena, whide & redda, da colors of  da Italian flagga, & who knowsa, maybe grow a mustache or 2, eh?
We gonna hava da bigga surprises, wid da raffles. It's a gonna be one bigga famiglia...dese Italianos dey really knowa how ta pardee!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


WOW! It looks like you can finally letter beautiful Copperplate or Spencerian with a fountain pen!

It is a
SWAN 4500 Noodle Pen

You get beautiful thick & thins with just a slight adjustment in pressure...looks kinda like a brush marker but it has a thin metal tongue on the end to get the very fine hairlines & rubber instead of felt - I believe they're made in England.

Watch it beautifully demonstrated here by

 I WANT A SWAN 4500 NOODLE PEN FOR CHRISTMAS, or my birthday which is only 4 months away...should get here by then, right?!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Watercolour brush pieces

Well, i'm back! now that i've actually done some calligraphy lately, & am getting over my winter funk - already 1/2 the front lawn is bare from snow, & it's not even spring!

3 pieces!
I took a class from Barb Close from California

She was up teaching 2 classes for

In the Painting For Words, we worked with watercolour backgrounds. Fun stuff. I didn't finish the lettering for all of them in class, but here are the 3 completed ones. i missed out on her day of Brush Lettering but figured i'd do my best & used 3 different types of brushes on these pieces; a watercolour 'round' on "Fly", a waterbrush for "Colour", and a Pentel Brush for "Dream".

Checkout ECS's Facebook page @!/groups/151228041582552/ which is where all the workshop photos go.
Go where YOUR dream takes YOU!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Edmonton Calligraphic Society celebrates 25 years at June Social!

Yes, we are 25 years of age! And are we planning a special and colourful celebration at our June 2 Social & Silent Auction! In 1981 the guild started up with 14 charter members and we're hoping they''ll all be able to join us in celebrating.

This special night is open to members, former members, and invited guests.

If you'd like to come, tickets are $15 and as it's a catered event, we have a cut-off date of May 26. You can contact me for a ticket by leaving a message here. We're so fortunate to have 5 of us on the social committee, and the ideas are just bouncing! We are going to wear our favorite colours & party like we're 25! With gifts for everyone!

Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild Anniversary

The calligraphic community in Alberta is celebrating a couple of milestones this year! The Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild in Calgary is 30 years old & planning something special for their fall newsletter. They sent out a notice for a comment along with a logo-type design, so I did up this little piece using a Techniquill pen, fine point marker and Higgins Eternal Permanent Black ink.

Below are a few I fooled around with; pretty similar but mostly trying to get a workable "s" on "years" that didn't look like it was hanging out there too much, all alone. I had another page of trials, tracing back & forth using a small lightable.Now that I look at the finished product I see the that the final "s" really looks more like a lower case "d" and the little ampersand amongst the monoline words looks more like an "e", cause I forgot to put in the "t"-like slash; ampersands having originated from the latin ET. or something.

Duhhhh. This is why I don't hold a regular job, people! Yeeesh!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! & divvy it up

or "How to use up your scraps of fancy papers"

We were given a project to create for February's meeting of ECS (Edmonton Calligraphic Society) which was to create a box with 9 letters. The sample shown was




however that's not something I'd have on my wall year-round. Well I could, but people would think I was weird. Which I am, but that's another story. So I opted for 'luving you'. What can I say, it was a dry day for ideas, & I had to go to a friend for that. This is how it was created:

Start with a (8"wooden) square block. (see below for how to divide an unequal measurement into equal pieces) Using clear matte medium as a paste, wrap a piece of rice paper on the front & around to the back. Paint black cheapo liquid acrylic on front & sides as a base. (Or you could just use black gesso.) Pull out all those fancy gold & red papers you've been saving for the perfect project, this is it! Then cut background squares & letters, & glue them on, alternating the color for each of the 9 squares. (Yes! the gold cross-stitch paper I saved from the 90's!) The fatter the letters, the better. Some may need a little oomph, like my U, N & Y, so outline them or the background with black pen, Gold Krylon paint or gold highlighter. Fun stuff.

Not so much fun putting all the papers away.

You can see the other samples at ECS's Facebook page. I think this is the link:!/group.php?gid=151228041582552

I may put the others up here after they've come out in the next guild newsletter.

For example this green paper is 5 1/2" square & you want to divide it into 3 equal strips.
Hold the beginning of the ruler (0") against the top left corner of the paper. Find a number larger than the length of the paper that is divisible by 3; that's 6.
#1. Slide the right side of the ruler down until the 6" mark is flush with the paper edge.
6 % 3 is 2, so make a dot on the paper every 2"; at the 2" & the 4" spot.
#2. Slide the ruler down & line up the start of the ruler with the bottom left corner.
Slide the right side of the ruler to the 6" spot. Again, mark a dot at 2" and 4" .
#3. Join the upper & lower dots. To divide this page into 9 equal squares, turn the paper 1/4 turn & repeat the process.

Monday, December 13, 2010


The Edmonton Calligraphic Society held it's annual Christmas Party on the 1st Thursday of this month and that always gets me kick-started into the season. This year we had a finger-food potluck social at the home of our president. It was so cozy and festive; just wonderful for socializing. By the tree infront of the fireplace sat 30-some white paper bags, each adorned with our names which Wendy Spiers had calligraphed. Into these we dropped our cards, and mine was filled with with such beautiful handmade creations.

Here's a look at a few for now.
* A very MERRY Merry Christmas by Gail Fournier. How cute is that!
*O Beautiful Star in Neuland by Jeanine Alexander. Jeanine used a star from the layering technique we learned in Nadia's "Missing Pieces"class last month.
*A new member of our guild, Carol Thomas-Bain, used her wonderful lettering to advantage on an ornamental tag inserted into a folded envelope.
*Sonja Idema's cards always blow me away with their creative presentation and this years snowflake-themed tag & folded envie with her fun monoline letters are no exception.
*I really like how Monica Robertson puts her heart & soul into her cards. This year her idea came from a meditation course she took; brown for the monk's garments, a zentangle around 2011, and a haiku about the experience of meditation.
Click on the images to enlarge.
And the Edmonton Calligraphic Society has a Facebook page now...check it out! And breathe....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Summer Lettering

I don't know what's wrong with me. I've got Marv's work pants hanging on the line (yes, people still do that), I've got a stew cooking in the slow cooker, and now I'm ready to blog!

Every once in a while someone asks if I still do calligraphy.
I do, but on my own terms. For example, our nephew Roger married Sarah in Dawson Creek,BC this summer. We were camping & fishing for the 2 weeks leading up to it making our way up there, so as usual, I was creating their wedding present on holidays. We swung by their place before leaving so I could scope out the colour scheme & I packed a small box with supplies. (Keep in mind our trailer is only 18' long and when you camp in the foothills the last 2 weeks in August you got to pack clothing, shoes & boots for all 4 seasons!)

I took:

  • 8 x10 velvet mat with 5x7 opening
  • a few papers, including tracing, cut to size
  • black Pigma pen (felt tip) for outlining & names
  • watercolour pencils
  • a few good round brushes
  • small containers for water
  • silver & gold gouache
  • sumi ink with old brush
  • pencil, eraser
  • 8x10 foamcore for backing
  • clear plastic envelope 'sleeve' for presentation
  • small pizza box (unused) to pack the present in
  • a fishing tackle box full of fishing tackle

    Left- Aren't Sarah & Roger cute?

    Above- We also spent time there with our son Dale & his girl Tara (I love this girl!) who spent 17 hours driving from Vancouver across the province to Dawson Creek, JUST TO SEE US!

(They went to the wedding too.)

So on our way there, we camped at the Brazeau Dam where the fishing is great. It rained for 3 days.

On the dam overflow picture that has a swamp in the middle, look carefully near the left side at the bottom of the picture for the very top edge of a post. That's the post (& wire) I climbed over to get a better picture, except I tripped & fell. Luckily I skidded only a few feet. And that's not a path at the bottom of the picture; that's a road!

I never took any meat out of the freezer for dinner because we were having fish.
Here's Marv trying to remove the fishhook from his finger.

And here's Biskit attempting amore direct approach to fishing.

That didn't work either.

Bisky had a great time frolicking in the wildflowers along the top edge of the dam, though.

When we got back to our campsite the trailer awning was hanging like a hammock...we had to remove a few buckets of hail before we could open the trailer door.

So we decided to move on, driving up towards the McLeod River to exactly where Marv's work buddy, who does "a lot of fishing", goes fishing, sometimes even with other fishermen.
Marv decided to pull over to the side of the road to remove his rain jacket.

That didn't go so well.

Like I said, it'd rained for 3 days.
A couple 20-year olds with their big honking double cab truck and bigass fat trailer with brand new ATV's pulled us out, and we only lost one part off the Blazer.

That was the part Marv had welded onto the front of the truck for pulling us out of sticky situations. Duh.

We found a wonderful site for our next stop...just a few yards to the right of this lake.

Doesn't this look like a professional photo?
Marv spent the evening fishing...

apparently fish don't grow in a gravel pit with no stream feeding into it.

Here the Biskinator decide's he's had enough & goes hunting for his own fish again.

We threw the rod a few times in the river, hoping to catch something.
(That's right, the rod...not just the line.)

There's a pretty looking mountain stream in the centre there tho if you look hard enough.

If you're still reading at this point, you'll see some exciting lettering. This is the Alaska Hotel in Dawson Creek, which is at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.
Which gets me wondering, wouldn't Edmonton or even Calgary be at Mile Zero too? If the highway hasn't started yet?
Don't you just love this old place!? It just blew me away.

We didn't go in here.

We could've, but it was noon when we stopped for these pictures & it's almost a 7 hour drive home & Marv had get up before 6 a.m. to work the next day.

This place is across the alley next to the hotel.

If you look closely (you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them) there's a mural on a building at the end of the alley. Cool, huh?

We got home around midnight, fishless.

After I'd caught 2 fish that broke the line & got away, Marv wondered if perhaps we should replace my line... because it was his dad's old fishing gear (who passed away in the early 90's & I don't recall him EVER fishing), maybe the line might be a little weak...? Ya think?
Oh, and Marv landed one that squiggled back & slipped into the water.
"It was thhiiiiiiiiiiissssssss big!!!"