The attentive eye

“To the attentive eye,
each moment of the year
has its own beauty,
and in the same field,
it beholds, every hour,
a picture which was never seen before,
and which shall never be seen again.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I matted and framed (11″ x 14″) this piece to today for the calligraphy exhibit at Rocky Mountain College’s The Ryniker-Morrison Gallery in Billings, MT.
The watercolor lettering was initially done with a disc-ended Brause Ornament nib –  similar to a Speedball “B” series nib – and then the rough edges and finials tidied square with a bowl-pointed school nib. All on St. Armand handmade watercolor paper, a luxuriously felty, bumpy surface.

A gift – paste-painted with white lettering

Mixture of white ink and Chinese white on paste-painted background.
Mixture of white ink and Chinese white on paste-painted background. Matted size: 9″ square.

I dug out an old paste-painted paper that seemed appropriate for this Rumi poem. No planning, which left me with no margins. No guidelines, except that the paper is a laid paper. I like working without a net sometimes, and I decided to do this the same day I gave it, so it’s not like I had a choice, is it? The surface was somewhat plastic-y where the paint was thick, and therefore a little difficult to write on with a #4 Mitchell nib.


Color and paint trials
Color and paint trialsI

I’m having a good time with a large project. Can you tell that I’m ready for winter to be done?

A bit of the unfinished piece is shown underneath my 5×7 record of palette and paint, which also has some trial techniques. For instance, the two raw ochre rectangles  at the bottom of the sheet compare the results of penciled lines with sgraffito lines in the watercolor wash.


A small Christmas commission

Just a little thing, but fun to do. It’s a private little song the client sings to her grandchildren, so I haven’t reproduced that here, but I can show the little pink and purple flowers I added in the left margin.

Meanwhile, I’ve begun working on a much bigger, very exciting commission that I expect will take a good while to complete. I’ll be sharing bits and pieces, although not the commission itself, in future posts.


Using Adirondack alcohol inks and Martha’s blog posts as inspiration, I’ve just completed the last of the addresses in the annual envelope exchange … with a few extra envelopes for future purposes.

The 2nd photo shows the envelopes before they were addresses, and the stencil I used. Actually, I hated the addressing job I did on the bottom envelope, so I trashed it, made another round of stenciled envelopes and started again.

From this weekend’s Big Sky Scribes workshop

Montana Prairie JournalingA page this weekend’s workshop — Montana Prairie Journaling — in Billings, Montana, taught by Jocelyn Curry. The workshop was a lot of fun. I hadn’t done any sketching in quite some time. I bought a Winsor-Newton Cotman watercolor kit for the occasion, and enjoyed using it.
In workshops, I’m a slow worker (but not so in my own studio, for some reason), so my case was completely undecorated at the end of the workshop, but I did get all the sheets inside done.