Bible Journaling

Cover of Bible Journaling Book Joanne Fink

Have you ever kept a diary or a journal?  You write your thoughts and experiences in a notebook in an effort to keep a record of your life…often to look back and marvel at the journey God has taken you on, or to pass down to the next generation. Bible Journaling is similar, only, as you read Scripture you pull out the phrases that are most meaningful to you, creatively illustrating and lettering them on pages of your Bible. The emphasis is definitely a memorable way to accent what God is impressing on your heart through His Word. (You can even purchase a new Bible that actually leaves space for your creations…if you don’t want to mark up your current Bible.)

Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder have kindly included some of my work in their new Bible Journaling paperback book, Fox Chapel Publishing, $19.99.  Click link to order. Read on…..

Their new book offers ‘how to’ instructions for design, illustration and lettering a Bible verse. They take you step by step, so whether you are a beginner or advanced, you have tips for making your pages meaningful, as well as attractive.  Included are sample pages from over 40 dedicated journalers, showing the diversity of artwork styles while offering inspiration for your pages. Below, see one spread from Karla Dornacher’s lovely section.

Friend and colleague, Joanne Fink decided to include some images from my collection, which expands the books’ focus from within the Bible pages, to lettering Scripture verses ‘Outside the Bible.’ In the section below, Joanne takes Proverbs 3:5-6 and compares the way that numerous artists, calligraphers or journaler’s have designed the same verse. See the book for the variety!

As you can guess, verses can be designed for greeting cards, framed art, books, walls of churches, businesses, homes, etc. You can choose where you want your art to appear – personally (in your Bible) or publicly. My focus has always been a more public application, since I have been active in business since around 1980. Below, you will see Bible Journaling’s two page spread of some of my work. On the left, it features my church wall work at Evangelical Community Church and Northminster Presbyterian Church, both in Cincinnati, OH and on the right page, 3 commissions in my collection. You will find larger pics and others in my www.HollyMonroe.com > SHOP+ > Prints > Scripture section of my website. Love and Serve, Know the Plans and Lord Provider, Jehovah Jirah.

Bible Journaling Joanne Fink Holly Monroe pages.

Two page spread of Holly Monroe’s calligraphy in new Bible Journaling book.

Lastly, I’m showing you the back cover of Joanne and Regina’s book, showing not only hand-created Bible pages from other artists, but also a list of the multitude of items included in their generous book. I believe this book will be an inspiration to adults and children, to artists/calligraphers/journal keepers who care about their walk with God, through His Word.

Bible Journaling Back Cover

Journaling has always been around, but artistic Bible Journaling is a new emphasis. I first encountered a similar type of this activity with friend and colleague Tim Botts, who would calligraphically illustrate a section of Scripture each morning, as he read his Bible. His sketches turned into his 20+ books, starting with “Doorposts” through Tyndale Book Publishers. Tim has certainly been an inspiration to me in my calligraphy career. Take a look at his work, if you haven’t discovered him yet!

 

The Modern Book of Hours Continues – pages 90 and 91

To my calligraphy friends near and far! Here is a little update on the Modern Book of Hours that I am working on. It is a book about the Passing of Time, Seasons, Seasons of Life on into Eternity. The pages shown below are pages 90 and 91.  In this blog post, I will give you a little glimpse of the process. More in future blogs. As some of you might know, my client commissioned a 144-page book project, that has taken me quite some time. Each facing page is to match and be as intricate as possible. It is a picture book, where each design can stand alone. (Reproductions are available). I will be making a Collection category of The Book of Hours images on my website in the near future. A few are posted in my SHOP now.

Now for the process…

The first image is the completed page. Calfskin with tiny strokes of watercolor and 23k gold powder applied and burnished.

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My client typed the wording that he desired and indicated whether it would go on the right or the left page. It was my job to imagine the creative layout for the illustration and calligraphy.

A pencil rough was the first step of the process. It took 2-3 years to conceive of all of the designs. In their intricacy, I would email them to my out-of-town client and he would ask for adjustments, I would rescan and when we settled on the design, I would file it away in my computer for future reference….it would then be transferred onto calfskin for the final gold and color work. On the right, below, is a sample of the pencil sketch with it’s final on the left.

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Below is what the calfskin looks like when I purchase it from Pergamena. It’s manuscript vellum, which I prefer for book projects. It is much finer than what I call Parchment (which I use for Broadsides or work that will be framed).

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Full skin which is cut down to page size

Once the skin is prepared, I attach it to a board so it will lie flat while I paint it. By the way, the tape on the upper page/board, is typically not there. The skin had pulled away from the staples, so I taped it with Artists Tape. One mistake on my part was to have the pages cut down too small. As you can see, there is only about 1/8″ margin where the staples sit. I would have liked to have 1/2″ or more margin, which would later be trimmed off of the page. I thought I could get away without hydrating and mounting the skins, but after painting page 3, I realized that stretching the skins would give me a much better result in the end.

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Initially, I made a little paint chart, which helped me to stay on track with my colors. I’m not using all of them on the chart, but these little floret porcelain pallets will show you how I can go back and repeat similar colors on subsequent pages in the book. Using the same blues and greens, etc. gives some continuity, to a unique book.

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Below is page 91 in progress. Lettering still to be lettered. The 24k gold powder, which was burnished to give it some shine, was also debossed to create shiny little dots on the gold. The more detail the better!

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The little container with the lid, on the right, is the liquified 24k gold powder. I add distilled water and then a tiny drop of clear Elmer’s glue to help it adhere to the page. Pictured is one of my miniature Kolinsky hair brushes. This one is a 4/0. Very tiny. There is a line of ‘miniature’ brushes in the Series 7 line, which I found to be extremely helpful in getting the detail. (Many other pages have raised gold on a gesso base).

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And here you can see the agate burnishers. I use any of the 4 on various projects, but on this small page, I used the curved burnisher that is the second one down and the pointed one on the bottom for debossing the dots.

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And once again, below, is the final page. You have to angle the light just right to catch the glint of the gold. The pages will be removed from the boards and I will flip them over for pages on the opposite side. On to the next pages, which will have lettering to resemble Hebrew, wording from the Song of Solomon and the bust of a man and woman facing each other in ornate cloaks. Stay tuned!

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Oregon State Fair 2016 – Second Place

Shortly before I left for Cincinnati (to paint the church wall in my post below), the Oregon State Fair was taking place. The calligraphers in the area from the Portland Society of Calligraphy, Salem Capital Calligrapher’s and Valley Calligraphy Guild and others from around the State submit their calligraphy designs for display at this event. The guilds select judges and Honorable Mentions through 3rd, 2nd and 1st place awards are given.

I was honored to receive a second place ribbon. Thank you to the judges, the guild members who sponsor this and to those who came to view. My father, Cliff Mansley, Sr. took honorable mention for his Physicians Prayer. This design is my original of the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” with references to Lamentations 3:22-24. It is a collage of paste paper (red), Indian Bark paper, other handmade papers, Dr. Martin’s white and gouache.

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Painting on Church Walls #2 – Evangelical Community Church, Cincinnati

It had been my hope to venture back to my former Midwest town of Cincinnati, where I had developed my calligraphy business over 38 years. Am I really that old? Geesh! The Evangelical Community Church, on Struble Road made that possible when they invited me to create a design for Psalm 34:3 that would set the tone for worship as people came through the sanctuary doors. “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.” Read on for the process report.

Before I explain this calligraphic adventure, here is the wall in it’s finished form….ecc9finalcloseup

This is for you calligraphers and others who want to get a glimpse of the process.  The struggle. The birth of a design. It is tough to show you all of my roughs as I had about 100+ scans and photos in all. Some were pieced together in Photoshop because the roughs were bigger than my scanner.  This first one was the initial sketch. Three lines that weren’t reading right. Ohhh, I didn’t like this one at all, but I had to start somewhere. The church committee wanted 2 lines, legible, traditional. This one was rejected as were a number of other sketches.

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So I tried 2 lines of caps with a line of script, repeating the Psalm, for interest and to fill out the 3’x10′ wall . They wanted all of the E’s to be the same. I had rounded and squared E’s here. More revision.

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I tried a completely different lettering style, more contemporary with simple Rose of Sharon flowers. But the committee wanted Dogwood flowers and didn’t like this chunkier lettering style.

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In this version, I revised the dogwood flowers from 5 to 3 in the capital O, but I had too many leaves that didn’t flow well. Since the wall area was a defined space, the flourishes seemed haphazard and incomplete.

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I thought a little further….I decided to as Diana Wood said, ‘create a nest of flourishes for the words to sit in.’

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Then I added them to the artwork in Photoshop. I revised the script line. The committee saw this, but couldn’t imagine it without the color. I did a color rough (these are a little out of order…the color rough came when I had 5 flowers in the O, but that showed me that I didn’t want 5 flowers, they were too small).

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I went to Sherwin-Williams and made a paint chart. I used some of these colors, eliminated what I could, mixed the brown from the red and green and at the last minute added Temperate Taupe for the background flourishes. Whew! I think I used 7 colors total, plus 24k gold leaf. omagnify_colors1

Then, I used my WN gouache to imitate some of the SW colors that I chose and mocked up this rough on handmade paper. It helped the committee visualize and also showed me what I needed to revise.

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You can see in the Fedex enlargement below, I had a few more pencil revisions and then this became the final design. Since I thought that the wall space was 3’x10′, Fedex’s 3′ wide roll paper enlargement was perfect, so I printed in Oregon. The only problem was, the space was not measured exactly and when I got there, the wall space was 30″ x 10’6″. Fortunately, I have an account with Fedex, the design was uploaded on their site and I could reprint in Cincinnati. I shrunk the design by about 5% so that it would fit the space.

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I taped up a 12″x11′ strip of white Saral transfer paper and penciled over the enlarged design, shifting the Saral paper down as I went. I could have bought 3 rolls, but was I was a cheapskate. The design transferred beautifully to the wall, so that I could see where I was going to letter & paint.

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Saturday, September 3rd,  the painting began. I painted the background flourishes first. Temperate Taupe on top of  Truly Taupe. Just one shade away from each other. On Sunday, my friend David Ogden arrived to help me begin painting the letters. I was training myself to accept assistance on my design. David knows his letterforms well, so I trusted his expertise. Since we needed two layers of the  paint on everything, his help made it possible for me to finish on time. Sure looks like the Wheel of Fortune game in this picture!

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The painting progressed…..

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I found that I needed to buy a few additional pointed brushes in addition to the flat brushes I took.

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Then I laid the Gold Size for the ‘loose’ gold leaf lettering. Sorry, no picture. It was hard to see on the wall. I ran into a problem with the gold leaf. This was the first time I lettered a line of script on a wall and applied leaf to it. (I laid leaf in larger areas on the wall at Northminster Presbyterian w/o a problem). The gold leaf stuck to the wall, I needed precision. Ugh! I called my life lines….Jerry Tresser suggested ‘resist’, but that would take a long time and I had a plane to catch at the end of the week. David brought patent gold leaf, but it was a different color and not as shiny. I opted to carefully paint over the excess gold leaf, outlining the gold letters. This problem added 8 hours to my work. After speaking with Lee Littlewood in Oregon, he suggested that the next time, I powder Kaolin on the wall so that the gold doesn’t stick. I’m so used to laying gold leaf with gesso on vellum that I had not run into this problem before. Live and learn!

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The capital O with the flowers was painted in with some  detail….ecc10flowerscloseup
And voila, after about 3-4 weeks of labor (2+ design weeks, 6 painting days plus travel time), the wall was finished!  I am grateful to Diana Wood for her thorough and patient communication as she headed up the project, Joyce Williamson for the airfare, Sue Crosset for a private bed, bath, breakfasts & extra brushes, Donna & Gail the other two committee members, John & Judy Gould for a snappy little orange Subaru which gave me transportation all week, Otto for all of the facility arrangements and safety structure on the scaffolding, lunches and friendship from church members all week…I don’t remember all of the names…Jack & Linda Young, Sandy Irwin, Amy Kindell, Charlie and Jan Mahler and others. You were all so supportive – a BIG thank you!

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The Evangelical Community Church committee that worked with me. Sue Crosset, Donna Peterson, Me, Gail Suiter and Diana Woods.

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If you would like to see my first Church wall project, click on this link > PAINTING ON CHURCH WALLS #1 – Northminster Presbyterian, Cincinnati, OH

A New Calligrapher in Town!

Two weeks ago,  I had the privilege of an interview with reporter Cliff Newell of the Lake Oswego Review, in my Oregon calligraphy studio. I am grateful for the thorough job he did, covering creative project highlights, a little history and some of my soulful thinking! A huge thank you to Sharlyn Stare, Ryan Thelen and Ronna Schneider for taking the time with Cliff to add their kind-hearted insights about my work.  Trusty photographer Vern Uyetake came, as well, and snapped an interesting array of photos in my studio. Below find the digital article and the paper article. Content is the same, but the photos in the articles are slightly different.

First the digital Article: (you can read the content here a little easier).

“An Artist With Grand Intentions”

Secondly, the real deal in the newspaper: July 7, 2016

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