Saturday, June 8, 2019

JUNE 2019


An interesting thing to do is to take a sheet of black paper (we used a variety of papers, including Artagain, AstroBright, Michael's cardstock and a sheet from an old photo album) and try everything in your studio that might write on black paper. It made for an interesting meeting to try all the different paints, pens and inks plus different brands of coloured pencils.

Happy Summer! and safe travels! Our next big adventure is the Rendez-Vous International Calligraphy Conference in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Hope to see you there!

Our work began before we arrived as we were to bring rocks to paint. Smooth rocks are easier to paint though the cracks or divots can be incorporated into your design. Rinse your rock and give it a good scrib then let dry completely before painting. 

Acrylic paint or pain pens work best. We all used a variety of tools and techniques to create designs. 

Did you do too many? take some with you on your next walk and hide them for others to find! They would also be great additions to the Faerie Houses in Redwood Park.

APRIL 2019

In April, we tried our hand at POINTED PEN ROMANS, based on work by the late Gwen Weaver.
We started out formal and quickly moved to informal. Pencil is a good tool to start with but Gwen was a complete master with a pointed nib. Everyone was encouraged to used one!


Hoping to offer  KERRI FORSTER  a taste of Spring on our weekend in February, that wasn't to be but we did have a wonderful workshop even with snow falling! Kerri shared with us her techniques with a FOLDED PEN. 

'Gymnastics with a pen!' with a lot of pen manipulation, and positional changes for each stroke.  I overheard comments from some participants, 'I have taken several classes working with folded pens, but this is the first time an instructor has explained it so I understood." 

We created muscle memory learning the strokes, made some ugly marks but slowly, the good marks emerged. While black ink really makes you look at your strokes, we did work with white and colour too. 

Even though Kerri recommended the John Neal N30 Folded Ruling Pen, we did not all have that particular nib. It didn't seem to be a problem that some were using Yukimi's choice, the New Horizon Nib, some different Tim's pens and some were using homemade nibs from one of our programs. Kerri made it all work.

We found Kerri to be an excellent instructor and enjoyed the weekend immensely. She anticipated the needs of all her students which was so helpful. She visited everyone's work station several times as well as demonstrating at her own desk.

To use my friend Catherine's words, the weekend was STONKINGLY BRILLIANT! except the part where it was snowing to and from the Abbotsford Airport.....  even with the snow, it was warmer than Calgary, and to think I used to walk 12 blocks to school when I was growing up there! Glad it was Kerri returned to the prairies and not me!


The January program subject was "Inspiration".  What inspires you in your creativity?

Bev started by showing a book "Decorated Letters" by Jan Pickett. She said she had gotten many ideas from this book and experimented with them. "Trying something completely different expands the imagination and helps you move into different patterns".

Shannon handed out a Calligraphy crossword puzzle for us to complete. 

Cyndi talked about working with pigments. She experimented with different colours by adding water or walnut ink and gum arabic. She made a colour chart using different kinds of pigments, so we had an opportunity to see the results of her experiments. Some of the pigments she tried were from Voyager and also Pearl Ex. 

Another suggestion from Cyndi was to draw a letter with an Elegant writer pen, then 'wash' with water. Different colours will emerge. Very interesting...

Violet used some of Ewan Clayton's ideas to make a postcard book while on holidays. It inspired her to continue to create postcards on every holiday she takes. She also plans a project for each year. This year's project is working with folded pens. 

Janet's project is doing a 30 minute pencil challenge each day!

Margot brought some old school writing books for us to look at. Many of us remembered the books, "The MacLean Method of Hand Writing" - teacher's manual and the MacLean Method of Writing - Grades 6,7,8. The books brought back memories of a time when good handwriting was considered essential. 

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to bring their ideas, suggestions and work to inspire us and what a fitting program as we started the 25th Anniversary of Alphabeas.  

25 years of learning, support, friendship and INSPIRATION!

Wonderful hostess, Thank you Valerie! amazing pot luck luncheon, thanks to our members who like to cook! great card exchange! and fun gift exchange!


Our regular meeting programs had kind of fizzled and we were able to schedule a study session. Cyndi was on hand with her tools and brass pen kits to help anyone who missed making brass pens with her. A lot of pens were made!

Patricia and I had visited a former member, Rita Kitching one day before attending a felting class. We loved looking at the art she has been doing. One technique is a 'continuous line drawing'. Not as easy as you might think but some great results were achieved in our first attempts. 


We were pleased to have  SUZIE BERINGER  from Bellingham, WA, teach for us again. I have long admired her gorgeous 
 and Suzie agreed to share them with us.

Starting with pencil, and some warm-up exercises, we soon moved onto Roman Capitals. For some, this was a revisit, for others, new material. It was all good.

Once your are comfortable with the letterforms, you can manipulate them to suit the moment. 'We took a line for a walk'.

We worked using a liner to give us pages of a book. When we used TEXT WOVE or BLACK INGRES, they were of a size to 'tip' into our pages. Using Yukimi's method for making a book from workshop pages and notes, we organized our sheets and glued them together. We have a great reminder of our weekend with Suzie and a great addition to our workshop library. THANKS SUZIE!  
September Workshop 2018

Sixteen of us thoroughly enjoyed a weekend with  CORA PEARL  from Portland, OR, sharing her  BEN SHAHN LETTERS  with us. 

Cora was so well prepared and has very obviously done her research and 'homework' on these letters. The little added nuances she pointed out really helped to shape our understanding of these letterforms. 

We started with PARALLEL PEN. It really is a pen with 'training wheels', easy to get the necessary pen angles and good contrast in strokes. 

Cora made each of us a FOLDED PEN. It was our second tool to make letters with.  She also stressed proper body position.  The Nose Dive Position!

And finally, my favourite tool, the PENCIL, to draw the letterforms. We started with light lines that are easily erased until we got the correct Ben Shahn shape. After that we went back in with a fine liner to outline our shapes. 

We studied colour mixing to try for a seamless transition of colour when painting our drawn letters. We tried painting letters using basically dirty water but we actually mixed it using a bit of black gouache to get a very light grey. 

It was a very full weekend! our Thanks to Cora for stretching us!