Thanksgiving Place Cards with quick Brush Lettering

Each year my friends, Tim and Teresa Cleary invite two families to join them for Thanksgiving at their Elk Lake cabin, Chateau Relaxo. It’s a fun several days full of puzzles, games, occasional polar bear leap into the lake, hot tubbing, paint ball, movies & reading, an annual pumpkin toss and just catching up with each other. The Thanksgiving dinner is cooked by all of us, so it’s delicious. We share the cooking load. Teresa reminds me to ‘bring your calligraphy pens’. She provides the colored paper and each year, we try to do something different with the placecards. Here is a sample from this year…I used gold gouache applied with a Kolinsky brush #4 round. Freehand!

IMG_3266And here is one of my favorite pictures from a past pumpkin toss!

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Toss

                             Emily and Josh Monroe, Heidi and Phil Lofton,                                       Mike and Kari Rogers, David Strife, Emily Cleary

Calligraphy Cruise! C’mon, let’s go!! Caribbean and Alaska 2014


While you were shoveling snow, we were enjoying the sun and beaches….

The 2014 Calligraphy Cruises are selected and posted on my website! In March, we’re off to the Eastern Caribbean (from Ft. Lauderdale) with the calligraphy focus – Engrossers’ Script and Flourishing. June takes us to Alaska (from Seattle) with the focus – Flourished Italic and Decorative Painting on Glass. Gary Lord and his wife Marianne will be joining us on the Seattle Cruise.  Please call Holly about the classes and Peggy Whalen with Holland America Line questions or reservations. $100. reserves your place in class!

Cruises > > Scroll down on the home page and find the Calligraphy Cruise logo or click on my CLASSES page. You can download the Class and Cruise info for both.

Enjoy the pictures of the 2013 Calligraphy Cruise to the Western Caribbean. We had a great time! A spacious workshop room, new friends…..

CruiseClassroomFun in the sun at ports of call….Jill Quillian with the dolphins, up close and personal!


Blue skies, beautiful beaches…


Key West from the deck of the msWesterdam….KeyWest

Several on-board pools, hot tubs, spa’s…..

HollandAmPoolTwo formal nights….but always 5 star dining!


Gourmet picnic on the ship’s deck….with travel agent Peggy Whalen. Contact her at or (360)-606-9339 for cruise details.

PegGaryDeckFoodAnd there’s a lot more! Hope that you can join us!

Lighthouses & Basketballs

Fifteen Lighthouses for the Willmore Lange Reunion 2013

Fifteen Lighthouses for the Willmore Lange Reunion 2013

Just in case you think a calligraphy career is boring, take a look! You might find a few of my unique projects amusing!

Summer brings vacations and families together! Sharman Willmore brought me these 15 creative lighthouses to letter on. She will give one to each of the families attending their reunion, which is near the ‘real’ lighthouse. A great family memory. Her father built these approximately 15″ tall replica’s. I lettered the relaxed script with a miniature WN sable brush with yes, acrylic ink. Amazingly, the ink was kind to my brush!

And if those aren’t a unique enough request for you, two years ago, I lettered on 200 Basketballs….

 The BB's were lettered with Limited Edition numbers in preparation for Oscar Robertson's signaturesKatie Pavel, from University of Cincinnati’s Athletic Department, called me to letter the Limited Edition numbers on beaucoup Basketball’s to be signed by Oscar Robertson and given to UC’s athletic supporters. I was a tad disappointed when I learned that I was to letter them in Oscar’s presence at the game but then switched to a room in advance of the game, but such is life! This way, the ink was dry when he signed. It was a simple job, but great fun to have a change of scenery.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan you believe I ever finished? I used a broad-edged pen with acrylic ink and it took about 3.5 hours (everyone asks)! Below is Katie and her co-worker as they orchestrated the project.


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!


Calligraphy on Church Walls

In the Spring, Associate Pastor Nancy Ross-Zimmerman approached me with the idea of lettering and illuminating phrases from Romans 12, in Northminster Presbyterian Church’s Commons room. After meeting with the art committee-Rich Schafermeyer, Gary Lord and Helen Haberstroh, I was off and lettering! First I sketched 3 styles on graph paper.
Uncial was their choice, so on a long roll of brown paper I lettered the words, in a first attempt to see how the words might look.
Next, I traced over the letters on a 12″x 50′ white tracing paper, refining them as I went.
While standing on a rolling scaffold, compliments of Gary Lord of Prismatic Painting Studios, I taped the 50′ long sketch along each of the two soffits in the Commons Room.
Fifteen to eighteen feet off of the ground.
After tracing it onto the walls, the painting began. I used eight colors of Sherwin-Williams paint. Each letter was painted twice and a highlight was added.
Ten illuminated letters were also a part of the project, one at the start of each phrase. 23k loose leaf gold was applied as well.
After about 123 hours of work, the last flourish appropriately was put on the word ‘Love’. Then, it occurred to me how much this project was food for the soul. Matthew 4:4 says “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. How fitting that my palette was a church dinner plate!  
My hope is that those who read these Romans 12 words will find encouragement and strength. A big thank you to the dear people of Northminster Presbyterian – it was a delight and a gift to work with you on this project!