Calligraphy Tools I'm Loving Right Now

TOOL #1: 

I recently discovered the wonders of a carrot holder. It sounds similar to what your mind might imagine when I say, "Carrot pen."  I thought I'd take the plunge and get a custom one from AshBush Lettering & Design.  Hindsight: I wish I did something funky and not so safe in my color design, but the relief it has brought to my double jointed fingers is immeasurable. 

 Photo via  AshBush Instagram

TOOL #2: THIS NIB. 

You can purchase it here. I love the very thick and very thin lines it creates. It is also very flexible - so a wonderful change from my Nikko G and Zebra nib. 

 Via Paper & Ink Arts

Via Paper & Ink Arts

TOOL #3: 

This baby dappen dish. I never knew how much I needed it until I had it. GET ONE. It holds the perfect ink amount without wasting half of your ink (like me for way too long...) The other plus is that it is glass and thus, really easy to clean. 

 Via Paper & InkArts

Via Paper & InkArts

 

 

Guest Blogger || Zoe Loeser || Goal Setting

Today I'm SO excited to kick off 2016 with one of my favorite bloggers (who happens to be one of dearest friends. Winning!) I asked Zoe Loeser to guest blog today on a topic I've personally wanted to work through this year as one of my goals: Overcoming Artist Paralysis. Enjoy. 

I come from a family of artists.

My father’s a storyteller. We walked through Spain together on the Camino de Santiago, and during our 25-day trip, Dad constructed a multi-plotline adventure in another dimension off the top of his head.

My mother replicates beauty. She chases sunrises and notices flowers. She draws and paints. She created stained glass for several years. To her, beauty gives to us so we can give it in return.

When I was in junior high, she rented a tent at a fair to sell her stained glass pieces. She worked for months to make enough beveled crosses, nightlight covers, and large pieces depicting lilies and angels.

She came home crying on the first night – she’d given it away. When people recognized beauty in her work, she’d give it to them. She’d hope to be paid for the hard work she’d done, but her instinct to show and share beauty won over. It made her heart sick.

A hope deferred makes the heart sick.

I avoided hoping. I had middle-class goals: graduate high school, graduate college, get married. But the self-bettering goals set a bar for disappointment, and I knew what disappointment could do to someone.  

My heart got sick anyway. I couldn’t get to class on time, I didn’t follow through with group assignments, and I didn’t remember to buy toilet paper before I’d run out. I couldn’t muster the energy to pick my clothes up off the floor when I changed into sweats. These things (among many others) seemed second nature to everyone else, and I couldn’t get it done. My self-talk created it’s own set of goals structured by culture and my perception of everyone else’s life. When I didn’t measure up, I heard: You’re lazy. You never follow through. How can someone trust you if you never get things done?

I was so tired of feeling like I wasn't enough.

I went to counseling, visited with friends, and eventually started a goal setting path. I learned how to fall, how to get up, and how to keep going. I learned about grace.

At the end of my first goal-setting year, I’d written a book of poetry, co-chaired the children’s area at a local arts festival, and written birthday cards to my favorite people throughout the year. I was exhausted but so satisfied.

Now what I offer is my goal setting and follow through process. It’s for people who have a hard time getting up in the morning, who are overcome by shame, and who can’t seem to do the things they have in their hearts to do. It’s also for people who generally like self-evaluations and to-do lists.

I’m hosting a free goal-setting workshop at District House coffee shop in Oklahoma City on January 23rd from 9:30-4:30. The event will be broadcast live at zoeloeser.com for those who’d like to come but can make the distance. If you want email reminders and things, you can register here.

My parents taught me that experiencing beauty is about sharing it. Let’s experience together the beauty of a life well lived.

Zoe is the founder of Envision, a goal setting workshop to help people cultivate rich lives. She lives in an Oklahoma City tree house with her man and two dogs. You can be encouraged by her everyday at zoeloeser.com/blog.



Cotton Belt Press - Feature

Did I just do an audible, "EEEP!"? Yes...I think I did.... 

A few weeks ago a mutual friend connected me with Katie Fleming at Cotton Belt Press. She reached out and asked if I'd like to be a part of her "Featured Artists" page. Well...yes, please! 

Check it out here: Cottonbeltpress.com/blog 

A HUGE thanks to Katie and CBP Team. It was such an encouragement getting to know you and can't wait for that coffee date! 

Poems.

My dear friend graduated from seminary on Saturday. I'm so proud of her. Courtney is one of those friends who epitomizes resiliency. She requested that I create a gift for her seminary mentor. Court wanted to use a poem she wrote during an exercise with her mentor and the only stylistic request she made was that it look "hippie." Not sure if that was achieved. I felt it was ok to be a little more "loose" with structure...hippie's do that...right? 

Thankful for Court and her heart to give. Excited for her as she "moves into something new." 


Authentic & Original

Last week in my art class we had a lecture/discussion class. I love these classes because it allows time to for discussion with my knowledgable (and oh-so-French) art professor. (She revealed that one of her works is going to be featured at the MFAH soon...how cool is that?) My only dislike of these times is the metal stools we sit on for three hours...Ouch! 

During her critique of my piece, she asked me, "What do you think the difference is between Authentic and Original...or is there a difference?" Up until that moment, I never considered those two things to be opposites. What IS the difference between Authentic & Original?! Thankfully, my classmate answered and said exactly what I was thinking, "Uhh! No idea!" My Prof Suzanne then gave this example....

In Texas we have no shortage of Bluebonnet paintings this time of year. Maybe it's the different hues of blues and greens that make budding artists come out of their long winter's nap...who knows... All this to say, any work that is with my distinct voice is an authentic work. Never thought I'd say it, but a stinking bluebonnet drawing can be an authentic piece of work if it conveys the emotion and expression of the artist. 

To take it a step further, something is original if the art piece is a completely new concept, idea, or expression of something. You could say,  an original piece is something that hasn't been done before or done before in this way. I don't know how to describe this in words, but you know it when you see it. The master's are an easy reference point. How many times had people painted a water lily before Monet? Yet, when he interpreted the pond and lilies it became magical. Why? Because he took something and not only made it his own, he interpreted it in a new way. See an example below. 

Don't worry - the guy in the picture is removing dust. Side note: I didn't realize how huge this painting was. Good grief. 

Photo Credit: http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2011/01/monets_waterlilies_painting_on.html 

Isn't this breathtaking? Can you see how it's both authentic (completely Monet) and original ( a new take on a pond with dying foliage)? 

At the end of the day, I can't help but believe that the goal of our work as artists is to create something that is both authentic and original at least once in our lives. Original could be capturing a bluebonnet in a completely different way than anyone has done before or the Eiffel tower...you name it. I believe it's possible. I love this idea. Here's to creating work that is both authentic & original.