June 4-5, 2022 – 10-5 EST – Instructor Holly Monroe – Online My second Fantastic Flourishing (broad-edged pen) workshop is coming up. Some have asked, why in the world do calligraphers flourish? Well now, that’s a good question to ask. There is just something about beauty, something about decoration and detail that delights the eye. […]
When I ask a client if they have a favorite lettering style, they often answer “I want calligraphy”. As I have learned, calligraphy is the umbrella word for lettering created by hand. It is defined as “the art of beautiful writing” and it encompasses many different lettering styles. That said, when a new student comes along and wants to learn ‘calligraphy’, I ask them, do you want to start with the pointed pen or the broad-edged pen. Many don’t know how to answer. They didn’t realize that there are two different basic types of pens that they can start with.
Pointed pen lettering looks something like this….with many variations!
The broad-edged pens that I use are in the picture below. I love to use the wooden double-ended holders because the Mitchell pens that I use are labeled 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, and 6. I can use 5 holders which keep all 10 pens at the ready for me to use daily.
Finally, I have a wonderful turntable pen/brush holder, so that I can easily find my pens. Note that I have labeled the sizes, for easy retrieval while I’m working. May God bless your life and I hope to see you in an upcoming workshop!
A little bit about the process….whether you are a client or a calligrapher, this will give you a peek.
Above, is the finished piece for my client. It is a verse that I read and meditated on throughout the project. In our then 2021 world, that was/is so very split, it was a challenge to mull over. How can I live this out? Love your enemies? Do good? Be merciful? Forgive? Could you imagine what the world would be like if we followed this?
Back to the artwork. Below…is my pencil sketch on tracing paper where I also indicate to the client, the color placement. The final pencil image was transferred onto the D’Arches HP 140 lb paper. You can improve the lines on the final. Just outline the vine. A light table makes it quite easy to transfer…(I have an extra light box that I’m trying to give to an artist or calligrapher…send me an email and I’ll send you a picture of it.)
On the final, first, I lay the gesso (base) for the gold leaf. It has a flesh tone, or pinkish color depending on how you tint it. I make my gesso from the original Ceninni recipe, guided by Jerry Tresser’s insights. It is like plaster, and can be repaired as you are working with it. Carved, shaped or sanded, it is more forgiving than some gold leaf bases, but they all have their place. I prefer this for my more formal work.
Next the gold leaf gets laid. I teach a workshop in which you can learn the Ceninni method, but I also teach a second workshop where the bases are pre-made, so a little easier to work with. All those little flecks of gold? You can save them if you wish and grind them into gold powder. It takes a lot of flecks. I save mine over the years.
Below, I’m still in the rough and the lettering hasn’t been retouched with all of the little details, but you can get the basic idea.
As you can see below, the color goes on after the gold. There is a lot of layering to the color and it takes time. I like to do my lettering first, then do the color work. If I made a big mistake with my lettering, I would not like to have put all of the time into the border work.
I often have clients who want reproductions of the original. A graphic design quality scanner, Photoshop and a great archival printer does the trick. Below is the very large wide format printer that a photographer uses to print my larger designs and family trees. The Epson must be about 6′ wide or more. He didn’t want his picture out there, but my colleague is very good at what he does and I appreciate his assistance.
I had two large reproductions made and hand painted the gold areas with gold gouache. The original has the shiny gold on the bottom right D’Arches HP. I hope that this was helpful to you in someway. May God bless you and thank you for stopping by my blog!
Until the 14th century, manuscript miniatures were painted mainly using glair, made from egg white. It was used as a glossing or waterproofing agent in the paints. In my calligraphy studio, I use glair to reconstitute Cennini Gesso, to dilute Liquid Gesso (J. Tresser’s), and as a binder for gouache or powdered pigment.
Crack eggs (4), strain off white by toggling yoke between shell halves leaving whites in mixing bowl
Put yolks in a separate bowl, set aside for some other use.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks – like a merengue.
Tip mixing bowl on its side and let drip into another bowl overnight – (or let it settle in original bowl).
Pitch foam and reserve liquid.
After about 12 hours, strain (get rid of unwanted stringiness.)
It can be used 2 ways. Try both!
Dilute with glair/water > 50/50
8. Save capped for 1-2+ yrs (stays clear). Date the container. Restrain after it sits for awhile
TIPS: • Stinky if stored room temperature. That’s okay. Traditionally called ‘la putrido’.
• Preserve in refrigerator or out. (lasts longer in the frig).
• For certain gilding purposes, glair must be aged. As glair ages, it becomes an adhesive.
• Glair becomes waterproof in 24 hours
ADD GLAIR TO:
Titanium Dioxide Liquid Gesso – 1-2 drops should do it, but you can thin liquid gesso with glair to the consistency needed. Fresh glair is fine.
Cennini Gesso – Holly’s measurement to reconstitute powder > 1/8 tsp powdered gesso to 15 drops glair. 6-9 month (aged) glair is best for this recipe.
Dried Pigmentor Gouache– Add 1-2 drops full strength or diluted to dry pigment or gouache. Clove oil or honey can be added to make colors richer/shinier.
**Glair, a natural product can be added to a variety of art mediums
Hello all of you Gold Leaf lovers! I’m presenting a 1-day GOLD methods workshop on November 20, 2021. ONLINE. 10am-5pm EST. Sponsored by the Ocala Calligraphy Guild in Florida. Their website is www.OcalaCalligraphy.org and you can head on over to their Workshops section to download the official flyer https://www.ocalacalligraphy.org/workshops as well as making payment there. There is a ‘page 2’ to the first page that I’m posting below – with more description and a supply list. We would love to have you join us. The workshop focuses on pre-made sizes such as Liquid Gesso, Instacoll, Illuminators Bole, Gum Ammoniac plus more, with Patent Gold. Some methods are optional, if you don’t want to buy all. Feel free to contact me www.HollyMonroe.com or the Ocala Guild for more information. If you are interested, you may want to jump on board quickly and get your supplies lined up. For this low price, you will get a boatload of information! This is designed for Beginner/Intermediate, but anyone can join in. Calligraphers, Lettering Artists, Artists, Crafters…
You will need to make Glair for this workshop, as well – I have easy instructions. Look for it as I will be posting a little video of how I make it. See my next Blog.
NOTE: The website for the Ocala Calligraphy Guild is wrong on this flyer, but correct in my text above.