What A Fool Believes – Cheryl Lee Lawrence
This piece measures 13 by 20 inches and was done on Arches text
wove paper. It was done as a homework assignment for Reggie’s 26
Seeds class session on Roman variations, using Neugebauer caps.
I’d had the words to the song, “What a Fool Believes” (Michael
McDonald and the Doobie Brothers, 1978), rumbling around in my
head for some time. I chose to do the quote for this assignment
because I thought the letter forms suited the words. I’m not an
artist, but had desired to incorporate more art work into my
pieces, which are usually just letters and words.
I started with a wash on the paper using watercolors and
gouache, which I then spray fixed.
I lettered the quote onto grid paper until I had the desired
layout. Using the layout as a guide over each line, I directly
lettered the words onto the paper using a Speedball B1 nib and a
Mitchell 2.5. An EF66 was used to touch up and square off each
letter. For the color choices of the words, I knew I wanted
certain key words to stand out, so I made them larger and
darker. In retrospect, I think this makes the darker lettered
words look disproportionately larger than the others. Reggie
suggested flipping the colors of the lettering and if I have a
chance, I will redo it in that way.
I found the image of the fool on the internet, copied it and
adjusted the size before tracing it onto the paper next to the
lettering. I outlined it with a very fine, black micron marker
and then did the gilding of the bells on the hat. I’d intended
to use variegated gilding, but it did not fully adhere to the
Instacol, so I applied lemon gold and 23k gold to the areas that
needed to be filled. It came out surprisingly well!
After the gilding, I painted the image, using very thinly mixed
gouache, as my last step in the completion of this project.
However, when I looked at the fool, I realized he wouldn’t fully
look the part without a gold tooth – so I gilded one of his
front teeth in lemon gold. Final touches included the addition
of the blue dots to the smaller letters to pull the dark blue
color through the piece and the rule lines, which helped to
I cannot say enough good things about all I am learning this
second time around in Reggie’s class.