Friday, December 3, 2010

A Miscellany

Many thanks to Claire for saving my files and restoring my computer after a virus got into the system. Going through my rescued files I am happily finding everything still there, including all the images. I love hand lettering and inventing fonts and have this week compiled the resulting alphabet of interchangeable letters. My website is being added to and will include these in a page of lettering samples.

My kind computer friend has loaned me a Wacom computer tablet to play with, my first efforts in direct drawing are below. The stylus responds almost but not quite like a pencil or brush, and after the initial loop-and-scrolls scribbling (reminiscent of playing with my first rapidograph pen) I began to get the feel of it.

The tremendous crop from my pear tree led to some serious jam-making this fall. The first batch didn't set but the next lot did and was delicious as well. It can can become addictive once you taste successful jam in the making and view with satisfaction the row of full and warmly gleaming jars. There was more than enough to give away, which naturally led to the fun of designing and hand-painting the labels. I cut out rondels of textured watercolour paper, set atop circles of fabric cut from a favorite faded denim.

I was invited to a local Brownie troup recently to introduce them to watercolour painting. This was a highly enjoyable evening - I have only been to Scout meets over the last decade! Our subject matter was fairies, of course. I took along some of my samples and demonstrated my method for painting simple figures. After some initial experimentation the results were charming, a host of Christmas card fairies.

With Advent beginning this weekend the outdoor Christmas decorations went up and I brought my big Santa's List painting out of its storage place.

I painted this in 1997 and have put it outside by the front door to endure the early winter Advent weather every year. Successsive coats of protective glaze have all given way to cracks and flaking.

If I put it out this year Santa will literally disappear, flakes of colour flying away in the wind, and we can't have that. (But it would make an interesting story if he was reassembling somewhere else)

I have sketched an angel for a new panel, with a good coat of wood primer to go on before the paint this time. Santa will stay indoors and perhaps the angel will be ready in time for Christmas.

Happy Advent to all.


  1. Oh, what a beautiful post you have given us!

    I am so glad that you've been able to recover from the potential computer file disaster, and also from the other health situation.

    And how busy you have been, creating all sorts of beauty. The pear jam must be so delicious, and the labels for those jars are sublime.

    Those lucky little brownies will no doubt carry memories of your lesson with them forever, and lets hope that some of them will also be keeping a paintbrush within reach. (On the memory front, you brought me back to some memories of my own first experiments with the Rapidiograph... and the ultimate clogging of the ink channels!)

    Your vintage Santa is a gem. I do look forward to seeing the angel that you'll soon be completing. I've also been doing lots and lots of Santa's workshop activities in the past weeks. These projects are such fun, and I think that I've got the deadlines pretty well under control.


  2. Aha, you have gone over to the dark side with the Wacom, is there any return? Am very glad to hear you recovered your files, I had a serious scare a while back and made sure I got a huge 1TB separate hard drive to back up with regularly - there are also free online back ups which I'm going to investigate (lecture over!)
    Your jam pots look delightful, I am sure the recipients will not be able to bear to open them - or at least, very, very carefully so's not to spoil the labels!

  3. Reading between the lines it seems that you have had a tough time, I do hope you are mended now on all fronts.

    The Wacom is a wondrous thing, I can't create directly with it but find it is good for editing scanned artwork. There is something very unique about paint on paper which is hard to replace.

    I love those labels!