Calligraphy and Poems

A couple of weeks back I slapped up a few pictures of a poem into a blog post without much of an explanation… this was gratuitous calligraphy exposure… akin to unnecessary nudity in films. I apologise. I am referring to my rendering of Sweet Neglect by Ben Jonson. It is time to right that wrong… put some clothes on it so to speak.
Whenever I write a poem out in calligraphy I probably write it out in rough about four or five times to get a sense of what the poem is about. Sometimes I write it out more than this depending on how stupid I am feeling.
I realised what Sweet Neglect was about half way through my third rough draft… Ben is a bloke waiting to go out somewhere special with his partner. She is late home from work and hasn’t got time to get ready properly. She is flustered… Ben looks at her, and instead of simply saying you look fine as you are, he instead puts pen to paper and writes her the poem Sweet Neglect… which more or less says the same thing, but with more words…
Anyhow… with this in my mind I decided on a fun approach when I came to writing it out… I used a modern calligraphy style, which I actually drew rather than wrote, which took far longer than just writing it… but it gave me more options when it came to colour/shading etc. I used gouache and gold powder.
Here are some pics of the poem in progress….


Still to be coloured in….


Should I have left it like this?!


Adding colour…


Colouring the lettering….

The finished version of this is in my gallery… HERE

This was an interesting experiment, I am sort of pleased with it. There is more about Ben Jonson HERE…. blimey… he used to write satirical comedies… I have only just looked this up. I am amused! Hopefully he would be happy with my interpretation!

Meanwhile… I have a few more experiments on the go… so better get on….



34 thoughts on “Calligraphy and Poems

  1. Another storm ? Heavens … And I thought “Cider” (according to Mitzi’s map) is a land of sunshine, flowers and friendly fluffy furries.

    BTW I enjoyed to scroll through your galleries. You are practising your art for more than ten years now, or even longer ?
    What I enjoyed especially is the “not listening” – you’d be a great forger ! It does not “look like” , but it is like something you could find in a medieval tome.

    • Well, yes… that’s what I wanted to be when I was at school… a forger. I used to draw pound notes! But then colour photo copiers came along and that put an end to that potential career 🙂
      I’m pleased you like the galleries… yes it’s taken a long time for me to commit myself to lettering. I think I am only just starting to find my way.
      Are you watching Eurovision? I have it on in the background…

  2. Sorry, no tv here. I’m playing around with youtube, looking for Sunday Music, never know where it leads me to. I start with Respighi and end in New Orelans …

    Is it already the final round ? Wonder where Ms Wurst will score. According to some commenters she’s the Untergang des Abendlandes in the flesh …

    • I missed Russia… I am looking forward to the political scoring… should be interesting this year!
      I also missed Ms Wurst!
      They are picking on Graham Norton now!
      I used to do Jukebox Monday and spend Sunday sifting through YouTube… maybe I should do that again…

  3. I’ve never seen a nude scene that could be considered unnecessary. Actually, I’m not really sure what you’re talking about.

    I like it colored in. Were we supposed to render an opinion?

    Toodlepip. So British. It leaves me gobsmacked.

  4. It seems that you and I are very different in our approach to calligraphy. Where I am a traditionalist and plan my writing to absolute precision with guidelines and use only Mediaeval Monk approved fonts, whilst you seem to have forgotten about guide and formal layout, and just “scribble” away! I don’t know how you get away with it! It’s like I’m playing football to the strict rules and you just pick the ball and run with it . Tut, tut.

    • Well, yes… and no… there was more planning to this than you might imagine. The rules are all there, but you can’t see them… this took far longer than if I’d written it out… took a flipping long time to centre if nothing else.
      Mr Jonson would understand 🙂

  5. I personally appreciate that Miss Scarlet’s calligraphy work has grace, style, and wit and not the boring appearance of traced computer fonts.

  6. lx – I was just jesting, Scarlett should know that I’m not to be taken seriously. I trained as a formal calligraphist because I had to letter on church windows with vitreous paints and fire the glass in a kiln. I don’t think that the big-wigs in the churches would have appreciated fonts other than traditional ones. I have never seen a window with the dedication done in the Copperplate font. I’m too old to change my style now. I think Scarletts calligraphy is great, but not my style.

  7. I did not like Mr lax’s comment about “boring appearance of traced computer fonts.” I hope he wasn’t inferring that was what my fonts are. Who does he think designed these formal italic calligraphy fonts he sees on the net? I was using the fonts attributed to Tom Gourdie and others when the only only computers available to the public were the ZX spectrum and the Tandy TRS80 which didn’t have those sort of fonts. As the years have progressed and computers advanced I personally have put at least 15 various formal fonts on the net free for others to use. Now I see them on hundreds of font sites all over the net and I’m happy that other sites copy them because I feel that I have helped to “spread the word”. I can no longer hold a pen properly now to do precision lettering because of advancing arthritis, perhaps I should be more creative now like you, Sx.

    Sorry to hijack your comment section Scarlett, but I had to clear the air. Even now I have people here who accuse me of cheating by using computer generated fonts!

    • I’m sorry Keith. This is actually the sort of debate I steer clear of… seriously. I am ignorant of the historical importance of calligraphy in relation to type design, so I keep out of it.
      Tis a bugger though and a pity that you don’t get royalties from your work.

      • P.S… I am also pretty sure that Mr Lax’s remarks weren’t aimed at you personally… he probably meant fonts in general, i.e. it’s nice to see a bit of whacky writing occasionally on the computer.
        I studied Find Art at college. I’m not really a calligrapher.

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