Calligraphy Cruise to Alaska Holland America June 2014


Come join our creative journey to Alaska with instructors Holly Monroe and Gary Lord. There is still time to register! The ship is filling, but some cabins and spaces for the Calligraphy Cruise workshop and Decorative Painting are still available! Hurry and snag the cabin that fits your budget. We sail from Seattle June 21-28, 2014 on Holland America’s msWesterdam. A beautiful ship with a first class, window lined classroom allows us to work in comfort! Loved it when we sailed to the Caribbean! There are approximately 20 hours of classroom time – scheduled so that you see all of the sights, get off at all of the ports of call, enjoy the 5 star dining and evening entertainment and other amenities on board. Even a Dancing with the Stars competition on-board. Download Flyers for both the workshop and the cruise here. Tax deductible for calligraphers, decorative painters or artists in business. Call me! I’ll fill you in on the details.

Holly sharing Alaska Cruise details at Gary Lord's Prismatic Painting Studio. Gary on the left.

Instructor Holly promoting Alaskan Cruise at Gary Lord’s Prismatic Painting Studio. Gary on the left. Gary’s studio has won 9 national decorative painting awards in the last 9 years! Wow!


Calligraphy Studio Open House

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 is the second of my Calligraphy Studio Open Houses. My doors are open from 10:00 am – 8:30 pm. You are welcome to come! I’ve been doing calligraphy for close to 35 years, so it’s not hard to decorate 6 rooms in my home/studio with a variety of framed originals, reproductions (at great prices)-some of these matted and framed as well, mini-prints (a great gift size), greeting cards and some other gift items. Come be inspired, sip hot wassail by the fireside, enjoy a few delicious cookies, music of the season and if you bring a friend you’ll receive a free mini-print. This year, the snow has set the holiday mood! Thank you to my faithful past clients and greetings to my new customers! Here are a few pictures from past Open Houses….

Below…last year, getting ready! Caught me with my shoes off…

Holly Display Walls

Below, hostess Terri making a sale by the fireside.


Shoppers in my studio….


The dining room table displays greeting cards and mini-prints.


Hostess Julie lighting the candles….hope that you’ll join us! Call me if you have questions.


A Modern “Book of Hours” on Calfskin with 23k Gold Leaf

Have you ever lettered and painted on genuine calfskin? Laid 23k gold leaf on a handmade gesso base? (Italian recipe). For over 5 years, I’ve been working on a very detailed, modern day Book of Hours – 144 pages in all.  Creating miniature designs with these materials, the best of the best for a calligrapher, has been a delight!

BookOfHoursOne Christmas, when I was wondering how I was going to manage financially, a new client took an interest in my work. He is a lover of handmade books and asked me to make his third. It’s a book of quotes that speak to Ron’s heart and soul…that celebrate Time, Seasons of the Year, Season’s of Life and Eternity. This unique, one-of-a-kind little book is about 6.5″x 9″ in size and only the facing pages completely harmonize with each other. A high end ‘picture book’ of sorts. “Make each page as ornate as you can conceive,” he said. “This project is a gift,” I said, “I’m grateful.” The pages are ornate, but I think if I went as far as my mind could truly conceive, I would never finish. Applying the tiny little strokes with my Winsor Newton Miniature brushes takes hours and hours. A labor of love, for sure!

One of my specialties is Flourishing. I just love working the lines/shapes until the design says ‘extra special.’  Below, see the first page of my client’s
personally authored quote about TIME, enhanced with modernized italic flourishes. (There are 3 additional pages to his thoughts.) He is quite the Renaissance man.

TimeIsLifesVitalCoinThe roundel design below is at the end of the first chapter, pondering Time. Recently, calligraphy guilds have asked me to teach workshops focused on ‘flourishing in the round.’  Come join me sometime!

GodShakesHisFistThere are about 30 more pages or so between the little roundel and the title page to the Seasons chapter that you see below. This is one of my more lively pages–it was lots of fun to think up all of the little seasonal details. (The horizontal gold bars on a page indicate the beginning of a chapter.)

ThereIsNoSeason2A previous article in my Blog shares a bit more about the Book of Hours. Also,
The Greater Cincinnati Calligrapher’s Guild met in my studio to check out my initial progress on the book and to discuss gold, vellum and design. Thanks for taking a look! I’ll post more designs in the future….



Calligraphy Honoring Harpsichord Donors

ChristChurchHarpsichord2Cecile Drackett came to me in 2012 to recognize those who contributed to the purchase of the beautiful harpsichord now adorning her church. It was lettered on fine art paper with gouache. (The gouache didn’t photograph too well. It’s a warmer gold than shown here.) To enhance the list of names on the doc, I reproduced some of the flowers from the harpsichord in watercolor on D’Arches HP paper. She later framed it and hung it in the church. It  personalizes the gift and allows people to graciously thank the donors!


Resolution of Appreciation


Resolutions are a very personal way to honor someone who is important to an organization. Various schools and businesses will contact me (or other calligraphers) when someone is leaving their board or staff.  In May, I finished this Resolution of Appreciation for the University Of Virginia Law School. (The color in the artwork above is probably truer to the original than those below.)

 Thank you to Karen Ackhoff and her watercolor on vellum class, as well as Marie Angel’s book “Painting for Calligrapher’s”. Both helped with the technique for painting animal hair. I could have painted forever, refining and refining but chose to stop here for budget purposes. The fox head was only about 4″x6″ in size. I think it looks better and more delicate in it’s actual miniature size, rather than the blow up below.

Below is the entire resolution…….(colors appear a bit strong in this picture).

FoxResolutionFullBAnd before I leave you, this is the rough that I shared with client before going to final….colors are looking a bit garish here. Much more subtle in real life!