I’ve been working on this piece for a while, and it feels great to share it. I had this idea of a dramatic swash of paint across the page, but I didn’t like the first version. So, I used a technique that Yves Leterme taught me a few years ago – paint over it with gesso.
I left the gesso a little transparent and let that original mistake turn into something that gave the next version depth and interest. I decided on the quote after I had created the background, and I’m quite pleased with the moodiness and emotion it conveys.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.
– Maya Angelou
Yes, but it is the best kind of hard work. Also, frivolity is a fun word to write.
Lately, I have been experimenting with a new pen. It’s a Pentel brush pen in “light black.” I picked it up on a whim a few weeks ago, and I’m starting to learn how to use it.
It is a really pleasant writing tool to work with, but is so very different from the oblique pointed pen that I’ve used for so long. The hardest part is getting used to the way the bristles follow the direction of the pen. I’m trying to learn how to curve around a letter without a clumsy hiccup where the brush rolls over. When I use my steel nib pen, there is no rolling motion. Obviously, the metal pen stays put.
The writing is also quite a bit larger and looser than the formal pointed pen I’m so used to. Making it look free and graceful without being sloppy is really difficult. But, I’m really enjoying the process of learning how to loosen up and write just for the fun of it.
Since our two (soon to be adopted) children moved in last year, I’ve not taken a single calligraphy job. It has felt nice to not have the additional stress of looming deadlines along with the stress of caring for our kids. But this week, I did the calligraphy for Veritas Academy’s high school diplomas.
There weren’t that many, since it’s a small school, but it was a little stressful. However, it was an enjoyable… getting things done… happy with the end result kind of stress. It felt really great to make these knowing that these students and their parents will appreciate them.
I’m trying to embrace the idea that my calligraphy is a skill that is worthy of sharing. You see, there is a lie that lives on the dark side of perfectionism… You’re not good enough. It’s a lie that tells you to hide and to be ashamed of any perceived imperfection.
The reality is that my work is good enough – because my clients and I both think that it’s beautiful. And those are the opinions that matter.
I can still critique my work and see areas where I can improve, and that will make my future work better. Saying that “tomorrow’s work will be even better” is much more hopeful and productive than believing the lie. Don’t you think?
(I marked out the last names to respect their privacy.)
Creativity will always mean vulnerability. Making art is hard work, and there is no guarantee of positive reactions.
Even so, I will begin to show my work because I know that that will ultimately make my work better. I hope that you enjoy what I share. I am hopeful that your reaction will be positive — even if it is in the form of critique.