Thursday, March 20, 2008

A positive challenge

This week I got a call from a client I've been working with from the beginning of my calligraphy career, 1980. It's where I got my start. I was asked to create an invitation from an invite that they themselves received, and wanted similar calligraphy. After seeing the sample of what they wanted I hesitated because, number 1 the calligraphy wasn't very was personal handwriting with a calligraphy pen... and number 2 I felt I had limitations in this arena, but I said I would do the best I could do. Oh, they wanted it asap, of course. So, I wrote out the invite copy in a semi, stylized italic and it was rejected. They said it was too ordinary. Okay, I saw their point so I pushed myself because that's what I do. Besides which, even though I'm accustomed to doing work for celebrities (I do the Academy Award Nomination Certificates every year), I wanted to prove myself worthy for future work according to my client.
After struggling with my pens using different nibs and writing, rewriting and manipulating those puppies I came up with 2 similar styles from which to choose from. Hallelujah, they went with number 1.
Okay, that was half the battle, now I had to write 20 invitations by hand writing in a style that is new and unfamiliar to me. I pull up my pants, took a deep breath and started the journey focusing on the end invoice. L0w and behold, what I found at the beginning, a challenge, at the end, it turned out to be a style I totally enjoyed writing and the best was it was mine.
That's what I love about being an artist. It is so rewarding to not know what you're venturing into and all of a sudden something wonderful happens just from playing and pushing yourself.
This has definitely been a positive experience to tuck under my belt and a lesson telling me that I am capable, and from all the years of experience, can challenge myself and be rewarded.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Several years ago, can't exactly remember how long, I went to an Arts & Crafts Festival at the Santa Monica Civic. I go regularly to check out the old and up and coming artists, their work and to just get inspired. This one time while wandering in and out of the aisles, I was stopped in my tracks when I came upon a booth with hand made dolls by artist Denise Bledsoe. As I gazed at each of her amazing works of art and marveled at the articulation, craftmanship and whimsey of them, I immediately tried to figure out how I could have one of her incredible creations for my very own.
As an artist, I'm always on a budget and am very selective when buying art. I have to absolutely love it and can't live without it. Well, in this case, I absolutely fell in love with Denise's little creations and had to have one for my very own. The only problem was that on the majority of them there was a sold sign. Oh my was my thought, what to do now. Over by herself was standing an incredible ballerina with my name on it. I was in love...and she has resided with me ever since.

I have been collecting Denise's creations and now have 10 of them to date. My latest adoption is Clementine, Clemy for short. Being her biggest fan, I try to attend the show Denise does at Universal every year around January, but I somehow missed it this year. When I realized that I was missing something, namely a new little DB creation, I immediately emailed Denise to see what she had made that would interest my taste. Well, to my absolutely delight, Clemy stole my heart.
I love each and every one of my creations by Denise, will continue to collect her wonderful works of art and will treasure them always.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A birthday original

A few months ago I met with a new client who wanted a special gift made for a friend who was turning 60. She brought with her the invitation to his party. On the cover was a photo of the fellow when he was around 9 or 10, dressed in tux and top hat in a dance pose. He is now a record producer and obviously very musically inclined all his life.
What to do was the question. I decided to put him on stage in a shadow box frame which I love to work with.
The background paper is old music sheets which I gessoed and rubber stamped for texture, adding a hint of red. I created an awning out of black paper, with a scissor scalloped the edges and added gold. With fabulous burgundy fabric I made the stage curtains and pull them back with a tiny gold tassel. The letters of his name were hand drawn, carefully cut out with an exacto knife, scored, painted gold and with foam tape made 3 dimensional. I then cut his photo out and mounted it to make it firm and created an easel to stand him up. The billboard is a piece of thin wood, painted gold and mounted on black with an easel at the back to help it stand as well.

This was such fun project to create and my client was extremely pleased with her gift which always make me a happy camper.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A happy ending

It's been awhile, not because I didn't want to share but because I simply had no time. Life happened and I just got too busy. I'm back, thankfully and doing some new and important things.
I'm known among some of my peers for creating original pieces for people on a personal level. Where some artists shy away from it I enjoy the challenge of meeting with a client and discussing what they are wanting to achieve and coming up with unique designs.
I love working 3 dimensionally so most of my original work is just that and because I love letters I like to incorporate words and/or names into my art. This particular client had the idea of using her gift receivers name and attaching meaningful words that began with each letter of his name. She wasn't sure how to artistically achieve this. My mind went reeling into 3D letters spelling out his name and adding the words under each of the letters.
She couldn't visualize what I was seeing, so I presented each faze of the creation along the way. Fortunately, she started to get excited after I had prepared the background paper with gold metallic paint, black rubbings from a stamp pad and a lettering stamp which provided a texture to the background. I then drew the letters of his name in Roman caps and carefully cut each one out with a very sharp exacto knife. Underneath, stacked and on the background paper, untextured, I added the words to accompany the letters of his name.
My client wanted it framed as well but needed it within a few days and didn't want to spend too much more money. This was my baby so I purchased a fabulous frame within the budget and did it myself within the time frame and had a happy client.
I really enjoyed creating this piece and was proud to hand it over to a very skeptical client who was very happy in the end as well.

I just love happy endings.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My mind so filled with ideas

It's been quite a few days since I've posted but I've been busy creating and earning a living which isn't necessarily different. Being a calligrapher is hard work and tiring (which a lot of people don't know) but I do manage to take my breaks and go from one area of my dining room, where I currently set up my studio, to another. I'm not talking about a big room here as the three tables which I work on are just steps from each other and one of them I eat on. But anyway, I'm having fun doing what I love to do. I am a very grateful artist.
I purchased these small 3" wooden hearts at Michael's awhile back not knowing what I was going to do with them. I just started to play around with all my "stuff" and came up with an ornament/thank you piece that can be added to a gift package or can be the gift. It has a little tag left blank to personalize and on the heart it says "From the bottom of my Heart". I used one of my favorite antique buttons and added fiber and a tassel. I think it turned out rather well.

I've also been creating these small shadowbox pieces that are similar to "Romantic". They are 5 1/2" square frames, one letter and an inspirational word/thought I created a one of a kind keepsake. I selected "stuff" from my usual stash of ephemera and put together "Harmony" which is one of three so far. All that I am creating now have been added to my Etsy shop. I will continue creating the series until I run out of frames, hearts, "stuff" :) or have moved on to something new.