I do like to return to the gestural brush alphabet from time to time, especially when I pair with a contrasting element. This particular one was made to put in the solo exhibit in Missoula last fall.
Having embarked today on Yves Leterme’s online course, “Homegrown Trajans”, I can predict that I won’t be doing anything like the above in the near future. Unless … it’s as relief from those demanding Trajan Romans.
At our guild meeting a week and a half ago, I showed my paper pads full of gestural alphabets and demonstrated a couple of pages. Then we spent the rest of the meeting standing in front of our paper pads and making gestural ABCs and/or full alphabets. It was wonderful to see everyone in the room so absorbed in this meditational, rather addictive practice. Every once a while I would remind someone that she was resting her elbow on the table, or that she was looking a little too invested in the outcome to move freely, or [insert any other impediment to flow that I’ve caught myself doing], but mostly we just had a really wonderful time. Below is a sheet from March 11 plus two sheets I did during the guild meeting a few days later.
Web design and teaching have taken over my free time recently, but I still get in at least an alphabet a day. What do with them all? It’s actually rather surprising how long it takes to get through a pad of paper.
Last week a friend pointed out a Facebook post by John Stevens: some “wrong weighted”
lettering, as he calls it, that she was working to emulate. I can’t find an example on his website, but if you’re on Facebook you might be able to see it here. I think it requires some time and enough kinetic familiarity to get a good rhythm going so that the strokes have more life than mine do. In the Facebook post, John calls it the “syncopated rhythm of Ben Shahn mixed with broad pen calligraphy.” In earlier posts here and here, you can see some of my attempts at the Ben Shahn lettering he references. Later, I used that lettering in a book commission of poetry by Madeleine Gomez: