On the Patio Today…

With a every new blog comes a new and fascinating series. My new series is called On the Patio Today – this may have been obvious to some via the title of the post, but there is no harm in further clarification. I intend to bring my readers exclusive pictures of my patio… this may sound dull, but it isn’t. Lots of exciting things happen on my patio, such as this…


A snake on my patio

close-up of grass snake

A round pupil means it’s a grass snake and not an Adder.

…and then it slithered off and vanished down a hole in the side of my house; I was a little perturbed by this…. so much so that I gave a little gasp.

….and the second post.

I used to have a calligraphy blog and I had a personal random blog… the thing is that it’s very difficult to keep two blogs going… and my two blogs were very different, they attracted different readerships, so something had to give… i.e I gave up them both!
I loved my personal blog, it was more about creative writing and being a social animal, public toilet reviews, peculiar adverts, strange social habits… but… I started it in 2008 and I’ve changed a great deal…BUT, I would still like to keep in touch with the blogging friends I made there. So this is what I’m going to do, because I am fed up with compartmentalizing myself on various blogs, I am instead going to merge the two blogs here to create one huge diverse, random blog, featuring anything from dental hygiene issues to what to do with a spare cucumber on a rainy day. Should be interesting.

The First Post

I used to sell my calligraphy service online for wedding place cards, invitations and wedding vows. I didn’t really do this for very long – a couple of years or so… and I stopped offering this service because I felt I wanted to do more with my calligraphy skills. I found it sad that the great craft of calligraphy was now reduced to featuring on little bits of card… peripheral… only used to enhance something other. I wanted my calligraphy to be ‘in yer face’, so to speak… I wanted it to take centre stage. So I spent a lot of time thinking of ways to make this possible… actually I spent years thinking of ways to make this possible. I thought about what it was that initially attracted me to calligraphic forms – what was it that made me want to write calligraphy? I realised that I practice calligraphy because it panders to the perfectionist in me – the desire to write a perfect ‘S’; the dedication it takes to write an aesthetically perfect sentence; the obsession needed to write something over and over until it looks right. I like spending time on things; I like being very involved with my work.
Once I had pin pointed why I loved calligraphy, my issue became how to make traditional calligraphy look clean and contemporary, as I am not a fan of anything I regard as too twee, and calligraphy can often fall into the twee camp. To solve this problem I looked at the work of other calligraphers I admire – such as Denis Brown, John Stevens, Barbara Calzolari, Anne Elser – probably my biggest inspiration – and many, many others, and then I looked at what commercial lettering artists were doing… I find commercial lettering artists just as fascinating as calligraphers and I am amazed by the time and effort they put into their work i.e that they will spend so much time drawing words, when it takes me seconds to write them. I became interested in commercial lettering after selling words written in calligraphy to a design studio, the design studio then manipulated my words into advertising copy; I can’t show any of that here because I have signed a confidentiality agreement, but the process got me thinking…
My conclusion to all my thinking and research is the work that I am doing now, work which I will be sharing on this blog. All my current work is a combination of calligraphy skills and hand lettering techniques. Not strictly calligraphy… not strictly hand lettering, but a hybrid of them both… basically I am making paintings of my original calligraphy!
None of my work is photo shopped – not that I disapprove at all – it’s just that I want my work to be on paper or on a surface… [to be real?]…to exist in its own right and not just be an image reliant on a digital process. I see working on paper as a challenge, and I like a challenge.

william blake calligraphy quotation

A truth that’s told….
A quote by William Blake

calligraphy experiments

First draft and final piece together!!!