Pointed-brush fun in Yves Leterme’s class

I had some serious fun in a recent pointed-brush class with Yves Leterme this spring. Very serious. So often, classes in lettering concentrate on the individual letters, with some attention paid to letter- and word-spacing. These weird, wild letters needed attention and care, but the true challenge was in making them work together as a texture. This required some serious attention and difficult decisions. And this is work I need to be doing. So I will be continuing this for awhile.

Homework done in week 3 of the pointed-brush class with Yves Leterme.  The point of this exercise was to come up with as many symbols that read as "A". 
Walnut ink and water brush on a fat 11 in x 14 in pad of drawing paper.
Homework done in week 3 of the pointed brush class with Yves Leterme. The point of this exercise was to come up with as many symbols that read as “A”. Walnut ink and water brush on a fat 11 in x 14 in pad of drawing paper.
Homework done in week 3 of the pointed brush class with Yves Leterme. Here I experimented with as many different kinds of connections between pairs of letters as I could manage. Then I used that new "vocabulary" of connections to write the word.
More homework done in week 3. Here I experimented with as many different kinds of connections between pairs of letters as I could manage. Then I used that new “vocabulary” of connections to write the word.
Homework done in week 3 of the pointed-brush class with Yves Leterme. At the end of the first page of this exercise, I felt that I had a few more different "California"s in me.
At the end of the first page of this exercise, I felt that I had a few more different “California”s in me.

If you want to check out work by others who took this class, search Instagram for #pointedbrushlettering. You can fairly easily tell which of those posts are related to Yves’ class.

This is the third online class I’ve taken with Yves. I took his class on Built-Up Capitals two years ago, which you may also remember from these posts here and here. I also took his Homegrown Trajans class four years ago, which was more serious fun.

His instruction is always interesting and his critiques are always helpful. I also like to look at his critiques of other students’ homework.

I believe I’ve mentioned before what a wonderful education venue Harvest provides as Acorn Arts.

Omnigatherum: A Lexiphanic Glossary for Catastrophic Times | My latest artist book edition

Omnigatherum: A Lexiphanic Glossary for Catastrophic Times. 2 in x 2 in x 2in.
Omnigatherum: A Lexiphanic Glossary for Catastrophic Times. 2 in x 2 in x 2in.

My latest artist book, Omnigatherum: A Lexiphanic Glossary for Catastrophic Times, continues my slight obsession with weird and wacky words. I’ve never posted photos of my latest artist book edition, completed December 2021. It’s time!

The text is a compendium of obscure words that each have a relationship to my experience of life during the pandemic. Many of these words are the ones I used last year in this broadside, which sold during the course of my solo exhibition in Missoula.

The box lid serves as a front cover for this inkjet-printed accordion that emerges and keeps emerging, for something like six feet of length, 2 inches at a time. The enclosing box is just 2 in x 2 in x 2in. Cloth-covered boards make up the box, and the accordion fold is giclee printed on Arches Text Laid paper. A stone bead serves as the handle on the box.

There are currently three books remaining in the edition. You can purchase one here.

A side view of Omnigatherum, partially unfurled.
A side view of Omnigatherum, partially unfolded.
A view of the book mostly unfolded, together with another book completely closed in the box.
A view of the book mostly unfolded, together with another book completely closed in the box.

Catching up

It’s been awhile! I didn’t realize how long. A road trip, a dead laptop, extensive house repairs … how the time flies. I have managed to get some calligraphy work done in those tiny cracks of time available. Here are few responses to a couple of the weekly prompts in an online calligraphy group:

palindromic sentence in gouache
Gouache on Fabriano Ingres paper.
palindromic sentence in gouache on Fabriano Ingres paper
Another go at it. Gouache on Fabriano Ingres paper.
The wonderful thing 'bout the limerick
Is its sway o'er the body enteric,
It sticks in the brain,
Plays again and again,
Till displaced by a new tune or lyric.
My attempt at some literary nonsense. Pencil, paper.

Charles Darwin quotation on adaptability, rendered in Roman minuscules

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin. Rendered in Roman minuscules.
Roman minuscules done in gouache with a 3mm Brause pen on Arches Text Laid. Text area 10 x 4 in.

I lettered this quotation by Charles Darwin on adaptability in Roman minuscules fairly quickly. There wasn’t much time for lettering this week.

I don’t have much to show for what I did do this past week. The 6-pound beef brisket cooked in 7 pounds of caramelized onions and the even larger quantity of spring vegetables are mostly gone. I didn’t even take a photo, even though it was gorgeous. Our fellow diners brought even more delicious things, and it’s been some time since I’ve eaten so well!

Regardless of the text shown above, this annual meal has not changed since 1995. That’s a good thing, too.

More Ben Shahn lettering influence, with pencil improv

NURTURE done Ben Shahn lettering style in pencil with decoration
Blackwing pencil, lettering about 9 in wide, on mystery watercolor paper.

The Ben Shahn lettering continues! In a private Facebook group, the weekly prompt was “one word”. I chose “Nurture”. And because I have just finished teaching two online workshops titled “Ben Shahn-ish”, those letter forms are on the mind and in the hand.

This is not my first post about Ben Shahn-ish letters. You can read more here.

National Pencil Day 2022

"The pencil: a perfect tool for exploration, meditation, and especially the faint of heart." (lettered in pencil)
Palomino Blackwing pencil (black) on drawing paper. Text is 9 in wide.

Although I’m a little late, I didn’t want to miss commemorating National Pencil Day this year. It marks the day in 1858 when Hyman Lipman received US patent number 19,783, for the first pencil-eraser combination. And we all know how important the “other” end of the pencil is! Lipman also began the first envelope company in the US. Given the current state of envelopes in US (vis a vis actually writing on them with pen and ink), Lipman may be turning over in his grave. Nevertheless, we scriveners owe him a lot.

I love pencils, those non-leak, portable, low-stakes drawing tools that take up no room in the purse or luggage. Beyond National Pencil Day … If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I love pencils and have posted lots of pencil work over the years.

Weathergrams for a warm, muddy spring

one weathergram
Hewing more closely to the rules of weathergrams, this is black and red, with a chop, in portrait format. I didn’t not include, however, a vermilion initial capital, as recommended.

It’s unseasonably warm for March in Bozeman. Ski season will end early, and the mud is just about everywhere. Earlier this month the trails on the 38 acres of Snowfill in the Bridger foothills mud and slush on top of slippery ice. My most exciting purchase lately has been a new spin mop 🙂 Time for some more weathergrams. You may remember this post, autumn before last, and this one a few weeks later, showing those weathergrams after they had weathered some.

These will, once again, be distributed throughout the trails in town. This one is almost out of date, but the memory of slippery mud is still fresh.

Weathergrams should be short, original insights, 8-10 words long. I did not follow that rule for these next ones, which are not my own words and are longer texts. If you wish to follow the suggested format, more guidance may found here in the form of Lloyd Reynolds’ book Weathergrams in PDF format.

three weathergrams, not following all of the rules

These don’t follow the exact rules for weathergrams, but I like the freedom of the longer line length.

My work in the annual juried issue of Letter Arts Review

I’m so honored to be included once again in the juried annual issue of Letters Arts Review!(Once again, my copy arrived creased. The regular issues arrive in pristine condition, but the annual reviews: not so much. Go figure.) The title of the piece is Variations on a Meme by Pandemic.

Variations on a Meme by Pandemic. Gouache and metal pen on paper. 16 x 20 in.

The meme, “We are all in this together”, has struck many different notes throughout the pandemic. At the beginning it carried cheer-leading tones, optimistic and bright. Then the corporations took it over and included it in their PSA-like commercials. As rifts in the social fabric widened, corporations abruptly dropped it, and the tone of the meme on social media became pleading, as it gradually became clear that, in many ways, we are not, after all, all in this together. This piece opens with this now-well-known theme and then provides 28 variations, ending with a restatement of the theme. Within those variations, a bleak subtext lurks.

This was made for my solo show at The Artists’ Shop last year. (The initial spark was Variations on a Theme by Paganini. I wandered rather far afield, but that was the starting point.)

As shown in Letter Arts Review, 35:4.

Teaching Ben Shahn’s personal folk lettering – sorta

Gouache, resist, and metal pens on student-grade watercolor paper. 10 in x 4 in.

I’ve just been teaching a fun take on one of Ben Shahn’s personal lettering styles. The Ocala Calligraphy Guild explored this amusing but challenging folk hand with me as a one-day online workshop. I’ll teach it again in more depth for a guild in southern California, also online. It’s such a happy hand! Encouraging improvisation and fun, it also introduces the compound stroke and pen manipulation in a low-stakes way. (You may remember that I posted about teaching “Ben Shahn-ish” last year.)

The text is from a poem titled “Impressions” by Alice Ruth Moore. This is the section subtitled Thought. The page design is done in the style of a page from the book *I Am Loved* that Bryan illustrated. Like Ashley Bryan, Moore used her art for social justice. I chose a Ben Shahn style of lettering because Bryan and Shahn led mostly parallel lives in the the social realism art genre, sometimes intersecting in the mural work on public buildings in the 1950s. (Bryan’s “Harpist” in this Tweet looks for all the world like a Ben Shahn drawing.)

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