PICK OF THE WEEKS - 2017
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Week #1
This work was done by Susan Gale Welch in 2016 in Seattle for the session “ DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in
PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Here are the particulars.
Type style is "Woodcut Stencil"
Background is one of the stained glass examples from your photo choices
Hot foil Pen gold dots
Punched mat gold paper dots
Design mounted on waxed paper for repositioning options
Letterforms mounted on 1/4 inch Styrofoam to provide shadow depth.
The typestyle was chosen because of the compatibility with the white line elements in the design.

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Week #2
This work was done by Gayle Waddle-Wilkes in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
A few months ago I caught the tail end of a radio program that asked the question, “Where do YOU find peace in wild things?” I was intrigued by this question and so I searched for the poem that inspired this inquiry. The poem is by Wendell Berry and is entitled The Peace of Wild Things. I thought it was a beautiful poem with lovely visual images and a touching message, perfect for a piece of calligraphy.

A little while later, while avoiding the Brazilwood and vellum dying homework assignment, I made various sheets of tea-dyed paper. Due to rippling while wet, one of the pieces came out of the dye that I felt suggested a marsh in hazy light. Unfortunately, this piece measured only 6 x 12 inches. Not nearly enough “real estate” to write the entire poem. So I scanned the image, cropped and stretched it so it could be printed on an 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper. I printed the image with my LaserJet printer on a few different kinds of paper. Diploma Parchment had the least color distortion from the fixative (Blair) that I applied after printing in preparation for writing on it.
I wrote with a “clipped” crow quill pen (tiny broad-edge) with gouache using a combination of raw umber and yellow ochre. The lettering style is one I created based on a sample of an unidentified Carolingian variation that was included in the handouts last year. My intention was to have elongated ascenders and descenders resemble marsh grasses blowing in the wind.

The illuminated “W” is 23k patent gold leaf with a gesso base (2 layers) and Instacol size. The letter’s background was painted with two different watercolors from the 6-well palette of Fin-Tec gold. The silhouette of the crane is the same gouache as the writing but with a bit more raw umber to deepen the color. The outline was made with a ball-pointed nib using gold pearl Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache and the edge of a metal ruler.


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Week #3
This work was done by Kathy Barker in 2016 in Seattle for the session “ DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid ” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Concept: The quote: "To create a little flower is the labor of ages" immediately fascinated me.. To contrast the vastness of the universe (the ages)

with the delicate creation of a flower was an intriguing, but very challenging theme for me. To be honest, it pushed me beyond my normal borders as did the

technique that Reggie introduced us to. I was grateful for the opportunity to move beyond the confines of prescribed page limits as the quote and concept seemed to require a dramatically new approach.

Technique: On the first day, as Reggie demonstrated to us, we first wrote out the words in black, using a speedball B nib. Then we explored copying the words at various sizes by reducing or enlarging on a copy machine. Further work was done to rearrange the quote exploring a contrast in sizes and position of the individual words. When this was completed, the final layout was copied onto Arches 90 lb paper. To complete this part of the project, we carefully cut around the words using a # 11 Xacto knife leaving a border of white. By using small pieces of foam core board attached to the back side of this arrangement, the quote could work as a unit that stood up in relief against a background.

The next day we created the background that did open up a whole new set of ways to think about "breaking out of the grid of convention.”
 After creating an image that would work with the quote, we explored gestural lines that would express both quote and image. These were sketched lightly on tracing paper. When satisfied we transferred these to 11" X 17" background colored prints (Hubble images or stain glass abstracts

that Reggie provided for us.) Then came the real challenge as we numbered each area to cut, then cut the lines, spreading the pieces apart to create new areas and shapes, often pushing beyond our original borders. All this was done on heavy weight watercolor paper that Reggie had prepared in advance with a waxed surface. The waxed surface allowed us to re position our pieces until we were satisfied with the final result.

As Reggie explained it was important to keep in mind that this was done for purposes of reproducing the image in different size formats. By carefully positioning the lighting, a very dramatic effect could be achieved from shadows cast by the raised letter group. An important part of our home work for the following month was to get good quality reproductions. This was a whole other learning process;

but well worth the time and effort. As always, we were grateful to Reggie "for helping us get old enough" in our calligraphic life!

Materials: 90# Arches hot press paper for the quote
Many sharp #11 Xacto blades
Speedball B nib, Moon Palace Sumi ink
11" X 17"color prints


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Week #4
This work was done by Gabi Glass in 2016 Austin in for the session “Italic and Variations” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
In the spring of 2016, I was asked to donate a piece of calligraphy to a fall bazaar benefiting a women's guild at my old church. I was happy to do that but asked if there was a particular Bible verse they wanted me to work on. I was given Romans 8:38 - 39.

It took me until our 5th Reggie weekend to find the perfect lettering style for this piece. Earlier in the year, Reggie showed us a piece of his calligraphy on a fig bark paper and I just loved the colors and texture of it so I ordered some samples. It was stored in my flat file for a few months and I couldn't find the right project to use it for.

So when I started planning the layout of the donation piece, I pulled it out and it inspired me. I thought to mix the coffee color paper with purple and gold. I started with layout on a grid paper. I made about 7 different designs and then found the one I like the best. I didn't line the paper because it was difficult to erase. Instead, I used a table light on the back of my slant board (Used it as a light box) with a lined sheet of paper under the fig bark paper. I spray fixed the paper and mixed a purple gouache and decided to gild the word GOD with 23 k gold.
 About two lines into the project I realized how difficult the paper was to write on because of the individual bark fibers but I was determined to finish it. I lettered everything to the word GOD and then traced that word in next and then finished the verse. Once all the gouache was dry, I applied Instacoll. One letter background was more porous than the rest of the area so it took 12 layers of Instacoll to make it look a bit raised. Then I gilded it one letter at a time. I also applied some dry pigment to the finished piece in a partial shape of a cross. (see attached) When it was all set and done I was happy with the final piece but I realized I missed one line of the verse. It was imperfect but I turned it in anyways. A few weeks after the bazaar, I went to visit our old church and there it was, framed in the hallway. One of the ladies bought it and donated it back to the church. I liked the outcome so I decided to duplicate the piece as one of my homework pieces.

The process was much easier because it was a repeat of the first one and I already knew what I was doing and made a few changes to the process and added the missing line.

Thank you, Reggie, for pushing me to try new surfaces, tools and techniques


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Week #5
This work was done by Jean Ferrier in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Oh my goodness, but here is a description. This was the assignment using writing as a border with gold,

and "dots". This is a part of an old speech by Chief Seattle. I tried to create contrast by using large writing on the
 left, with small writing telling the story and the illustration in the diamond, and writing with gold around the rim.

I used pen with color gouache, and watercolor with brush for the illustration. Size approx. 10” x10”.


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Week #6
This work was done by Leslie Winakur in 2016 in San Antonio for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This is an accordion book done on 90 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper. Although cold press is textured, I love it for ruling pen or cola pen lettering. Using a Mitchell nib or a pointed nib is a challenge, but that’s part of the fun! In this book, I used mostly a Mitchell #2 and #6. Perfect lettering wasn’t the goal, but rather turning lettering into art.

The medium used is Parker Quink black fountain pen ink. When water is applied at the edges, the ink begins to move and beautiful yellow, blue, and green colors appear. (Only the black does this.)
The white lettering is done with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. A Glaze gel pen was also used. The lettering exercises are based on the ones in Denise Lach’s fabulous book, Calligraphy. I’ve been exploring how she uses lettering to make abstract art. The text is from an e.e. cummings poem, I will wade out. The accordion fits into a hard cover portfolio, which is covered in Japanese silk book cloth, and which has end papers to match the book pages..


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Week #7
This work was done by Maggie Gillikin in 2016 in San Antonio for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This book and box were completed in the summer of 2016 during the Primitive to Modern Reggie class in San Antonio. For the book, I used Arches 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper, gouache for the letterforms, graphite for the drawing portion, and watercolors (mostly Winsor Newton and Schmincke) for the paintings. The letterforms are in Carolingian, a favorite of mine from a previous Reggie class, done with a #4 Mitchell nib. The small Romans are written with a Hiro 111 nib. The images portrayed are from my own garden, my photographic collection, or from sketches done on site (such as the clock at the Musée D’Orsay). The river represented is the Mississippi at dawn.

Loose gold appears throughout, adhered to a single layer of Instacol in each instance.

The book is bound in spring green goat leather and carries a heat-transferred 24K gold leaf image.

The drop spine box is covered in green Japanese silk, with a watercolor leaf image on the front.


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Week #8
This work was done by Gayle Waddle-Wilkes in 2016 in Seattle for the session “DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
I always have a more satisfying artistic experience when I connect it to something personally meaningful. So when we were asked to bring a simple design to class I took inspiration from my friend Doris. She was planning a trip to Colorado so see the Quaking Aspens. This intrigued me. I imagined clumps of trees huddled together at the foot the Rockies trembling in fear. Research revealed that the common name refers to the shaking of the leaves in a light wind. The poetry of the common name appealed to me and having a “Q" was a bonus since Qs are not very common in English. Research also provided images of the trees and leaves. Since the assignment was to supply a “simple design" I refined it down to 3 leaves. These are the 3 leaves that you see in the upper left of the final piece.

From the beginning the piece was intended for reproduction. The first step was to determine the best size of the design by photo copying it in several sizes onto a transparency, cutting out each size and trying out the placement keeping mind the final size would be approximately 11 x 17 inches. Once I had a rough idea of placement of the leaves I expanded the 3 leaf design by creating more lines that echoed the outside of the leaves and extended the veining of the leaves on a large sheet of tracing paper being sure to make it large enough to fill ½ sheet of waxed watercolor paper that I knew we would be working with. After establishing this part of the design the same process was used with the words written using Reggie’s lettering example with the Latin name in a smaller size for contrast. Once the best size was determined the words were photocopied onto 90# hot press Arches watercolor paper and cut out with an ample border. Tiny pieces of foam core were attached to the back so they words would sit away from the background and create a shadow when photographed.
Next the leaf design on the tracing paper was transferred onto one of the 11 x 17 color copies Reggie provided in class. Orange and yellow was the obvious choice for these fall leaves. The photo copy was lightly pressed onto the waxed cold press watercolor paper and the design was carefully cut out with an Exacto knife with a new blade along the lines. After completing this task it was "fractured" by peeling up each piece and moving it a bit to let the white of the background create and outline of each piece. The sticky wax made adjusting the placement a breeze. This process was not precise and often small bits of the pieces needed to be trimmed and pieces of the colored paper inserted into the spaces that were gaping. A “happy accident” occurred when I discovered that there was too much white space running down the center of the leaves. By adding a sliver if the lighter toned paper (contrast again) to the middle of the leaves they became more "leaf-like".

As embellishment gold foil pen dots were applied along the outside edges of the original 3 leaves and then scattered throughout the piece. For more contrast and interest, I later added 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch gold dots made by punching them out of gold card stock.

Since the piece was intended for reproduction and not as an original piece art piece it lends itself to multiple uses. I have since made thank you cards by using this back ground and the same process with the words “thank you”.

I’m sure this project could have been accomplished on the computer, but for me doing it “old school” slowed me down and helped me physically connect with the process. I am a firm believer that the journey is as important as the destination….sometimes more so.


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Week #9
This work was done by Lisa Tsang in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Experiencing the Book as a New Structure” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own word:
Looking back at this assignment, the biggest lesson learned is that it's all about "the process." We were shown step by step how to prepare the essentials: coating some of the pages with acrylic medium to add texture, inserting the pages, the binding, reinforcing pages, the final structure, the possibilities. But then we had to figure out the rest ourselves.

The theme, organization, and just overcoming our doubts. The individual steps are too numerous to count. I would say you just have to take a workshop to learn all the secrets but I will share how elated my parents were to receive this gift at Christmas entitled, The Journey of Three Cranes, a metaphor for their 3 children.

The only lettering I did was the title on the back (in pointed pen). I had taken a paper making class prior to our final meeting so I used some of those painted papers, one embedded with string.
I scanned and printed some iced-dyed fabric paper (piling ice on pre-treated fabric and sprinkling powdered Procion pigment over it-as the ice melts, it stains the fabric) as well as a batik. Some of the shapes were sketched in pencil and cut with an X-acto.

Nothing was thrown away, it could be repurposed in another page! Transparencies combined with cut-outs kept the reader in suspense for what would unfold next. There were many hurdles and technical questions to solve in the creation of this book. I got inspired by walking around the classroom and seeing how different everyone's book was, I borrowed some of their ideas and incorporated them into mine. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, experiment with your ideas, and just do it!


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Week #10
This work was done by Pat Daley in Chicago in 1993 just after the end of the Year Long Course 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.:
This work was done by Pat Daley in Chicago in 1993 just after the end of the Year Long Course 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. As you can see, Pat brought her wily, left handed sense of humor to homework assignments, as well as the levity she brought to the classroom. Professionally, amongst other things, she rendered story boards for films and commercials. Her works always let us smiling and shaking our heads. Thank you, Pat.


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Week #11
This work was done by Cynthia Stiles in San Antonio in 2016 for the session “Exploring the Book as a New Structure”, in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
 Making this book as our final project in Reggie's Primitive to Modern was more fun and came out way better than I initially thought it would. Because the goal was to get as much of this complete during our time together this was a highly structured exercise, yet within the structure there was a lot of room for creative expression so everyone's book turned out quite different. We also had tremendous fun as a group sharing our creative experiences.

I wanted to present a visual expression of what the given phrase "the human heart is a theater of longing" was saying to me and was surprised by the depth of meaning that came out in using the format and materials available for this exercise.
The format of this book allowed me an opportunity to conceal as well as reveal the visual imagery and words, pauses the viewer as each image and word are revealed thereby allowing the viewer to participate in the drama and to experience what is being said along with me.

The materials used, whether paper or transparency, treated with a coating or not, with it's colors and lines and the shaping of them allowed me to convey to the viewer curtains, water, moods, and more bringing the viewer inside the theatrical production surrounding the phrase.

Without anymore ado, enjoy the video.

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Week #12
This work was done by Amy Lear in Austin in 2016 for the session “Variations on Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
Voices

This piece was done on deep red paper with Dr. Ph. Martins bleedproof white. Inspired by the wisdom and courage of Malala Yousafzai and wanting to inspire my two daughters, I created this piece with large letters and a bold layout. I sketched the design on grid paper, with several revisions, before scanning it into the computer for resizing. I was happy with the design of each word, but their placement wasn’t quite right. On the screen, I was able to move the words around to get a final draft. From there, I printed the sketch to use to transfer guidelines to the red paper.

As I worked on the letters, I noticed that the white wasn’t as opaque as I wanted, so I went back and added a second coat of paint with a small watercolor brush.
And then… I managed to drop my brush onto the table! It fell in the middle of the word “tell” and rolled through the G in girls, and the C below it. I tried all of the traditional ways of correcting mistakes, but the paper just wasn’t having it. So, I dug through all my red paint and managed to make an acrylic one that matched (using a scrap of red paper to test). I carefully painted over the white smears of ink and repaired it.

During class, Reggie commented on the design and suggested that I scan the piece and shrink it to a smaller size. In doing that, I realized that the texture of the paper looked unclean after scanning. So, I traced the whole text to a vector in Adobe Illustrator and replaced the background with a solid red color. After printing these in 8x10 and 5x7, I was really encouraged by how successfully the design translated to the smaller size. And, now that I have it in a vector format, I am able to experiment with different colors of letters and backgrounds very easily.

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Week #13
This work was done by Becky Hughes in San Antonio in 2016 for the session “Exploring the Book as a New Structure”, in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
The text for the book is a quote which Reggie gave to the class from “Anam Cara” by John O’Donahue: “The human heart is a theater of longing.” The text refers to the urgency of this longing.

I decided to use sharp angled lines on the cover and most of the pages. When closed, the book reveals part of a photo of a rocky shoreline with deep crevasses. The photo seemed to express the angst of the quote and also set the limited palette for the book, mostly black, white and grey.
I also liked the calligraphic appearance of the shadows and texture of the stones in the photo.

In the later pages, the shapes are less harsh, more curvilinear and the transparencies, which were made from Reggie’s stained glass images, lend a somewhat dreamlike sense to the book. I made limited use of colored and textured paper to give some relief to the harsh palette. The overlapping shapes of the pages were meant to conceal and reveal the text which is repeated as the pages are turned.

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Week #14
This work was done by Kate Van Dyke in San Antonio in 2016 for the session “Primitive to Modern” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This is a small piece to experiment with some of the techniques Reggie taught. I started with an image of an old French paving tile I found that had the basic layout and center shape. I drew the outline onto Fabriano Artistico HP paper and added layers of watercolor, wet in wet, for the blue background.

I then laid the gold center shape and star with Instacoll over several layers of the gesso/glop mixture for a very raised look.
 Finally I lettered in gouache with a B nib, squaring off the ends with a pointed pen.

The star, which marks the end of the text, took over visually, and it's hard to tell where to start reading, so I added the gold dot over the "I" in the center (beginning of the text). Not completely successful, but I like the lettering and the overall effect anyway!

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Week #15
This work was done by Robin Gebhart in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Experiencing the Book as a New Structure” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
This book was the last assignment for our Primitive to Modern class. (sigh) The meeting before, Reggie told us to bring in photo printouts on paper and transparency, but was rather mysterious about how we would be using them. My impression was that he wanted us to bring in images of pattern and color. So when I went home after class, I grabbed the camera, went into my yard and captured some of those types of images. Then I went through my digital archive of photos, to get a better variety.

Armed and ready, we came to class and had a whirlwind weekend of book creation. As I was working with the format and images, trying to pull something cohesive together, it occurred to me that instead of just one main panel in the middle, with throw-away sections to the outside, there was an opportunity to make this a three-panel image. So I worked backward and forward, trying to pay attention to how all three panels worked together.
As the main panel pieces moved to the side, it created a secondary, reversed, image. That meant every page had an image front and back. And I was really happy with the peek-a-boo effect in the later pages of the book. (The light table was a big help with positioning and designing).

There was not enough time to complete the book in class, so I finished it at home, thankful for the perspective a little time can give a project. But still limited myself to the items brought to class. Calligraphy was added at the very end using a ruling pen, Moon Palace sumi and Dr. Martin’s Pen White.

I’m sure that there are many additional, interesting design options for this book structure, especially when the three panels are taken into consideration. Additional planning ahead of time could produce some surprise elements and bold storylines to the structure.

A big thank you to Reggie for challenging us to bring our best efforts to class

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Week #16
This work was done by Tomoko Zunino in 2016 in Seattle for the session “Primitive to Modern” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.
In her own word:
First piece

I usually shy away from very colorful backgrounds. Reggie successfully challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

I put a piece of Frankfurt 19” X 15” on the light box and directly applied gouache to paint the background of letters. When dry, I sprayed fixatives and wrote lettering with GOLDEN gesso twice. Some colors, like red, came through the white gesso. This ended up not being a problem after painting over with Dr. Martin’s bleed proof white. All looked perfectly white. I sprayed fixatives and tried to paint over with gouache but it repelled a lot.

I applied white GOLDEN gesso again, skipped the fixative and painted over with gouache. Phew! It was not perfect but I was able to cover most of the letters. When the paint was thinned out, it repelled more so the gouache was pretty thick, almost like directly out of a tube.
I used a foam brush and stick sumi ink to draw the line. When completely dry, I wrote the lettering with a speedball C-2 nib. I like the contrast created by the sumi line: colorful above and the last six lines below darker and fading away.

For the heart with wings, white GOLDEN gesso and instacol were used and 24K gold leaf and lemon gold leaf were applied.

Second piece

I am more comfortable with black backgrounds. This idea started forming while I was struggling with the first piece. This was supposed to be my back-up plan.

The white lettering is written with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White and a speedball B-2 nib. The gold lettering is written with gouache and a speedball C-2 nib. The heart with wings is made with the same technique as the other piece, this time using 24K gold leaf and sulfide silver leaf.



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Week #17
This work was done by Sabrina Hill in 2017 in San Diego for the session “Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic hand: Blackletter” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
 Among the homework in Reggie’s Primitive to Modern Class, 2017, San Diego, was an assignment to write a short quote in a variation of blackletter script; then create a piece combining two styles of script in one piece. Additionally, Reggie showed us how to invert a piece (reverse it from black on white to white on black). The inversion makes for a much more dramatic effect. In this project, I combined these elements in one piece.

Inspired by the USPS rooster stamp, I had based my homework assignments for the first month on the 2017 Year of the Rooster. For this piece, I wanted to use the Chinese proverb, “If you were born lucky even your rooster will lay eggs.” It made me laugh!

A Barred Rock rooster, distinctive for it’s black and white zigzag patterned feathers, was the model for the piece. The feather pattern looks zig-zaggy. I wanted to make the body with calligraphy that mimicked the feathers. Choosing the scripts was easy. One of the hand-outs Reggie gave us had very bold variations of blackletter scripts from the 1930’s. I chose this squattier, plainer script for the main quote and a more traditional textura for the body of the rooster. Now I just needed an additional quote. I googled “quotes about roosters in Latin” and found this gem, “Post coitum omne animal triste est gallus et mulier.” (Translation: After sex, all animals are sad except the rooster and the woman.) Perfecto!
Image #1: The first step (after sketching all possibilities) was to create the piece on Strathmore Gemini Watercolor Paper, 300 lb. Cold Pressed (8” x 12”) using Sumi ink.

Image #2: Next, I inverted the image using my scanner and Photoshop. On the initial scan, I didn’t have the cockscomb colored in, so I filled in the red comb with the paint bucket function. (#2) Printed on 8.5” x 11” Arches 90 lb cold press.

Image #3: In playing around with the red, I accidentally hit the paint bucket on the background. I loved the effect of the red background and patches of black. (#3) Printed on 8.5” x 11” Arches 90 lb cold press.

Image #4: Finally, I returned to the original and using Sennelier watercolors painted the cockscomb and eye.

Overall, I like this piece, especially the red version. I use the Strathmore paper all the time, but I had never used it for calligraphy. It has a rough texture, and I was not as happy with the results of the lettering. Next time, I will use a finer surface. I love using traditional techniques and modern technology together—it makes it easy to play with color and layout.





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Week #18
This work was done by Stephanie Chao in 2017 in San Diego for the session “Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand: Blackletter” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
 One of our homework assignments in the first class of Reggie's Primitive to Modern was to write something in Textura and have it "reversed" at our local copy store.

I chose the German version of the Hail Mary prayer, first writing on graph paper to determine line lengths for centering purposes,
then onto John Neal Bookseller's 11 x 17 practice paper, using a Speedball C-4 nib and Chinese stick ink.

For the Italicized variation, I wrote the prayer on Arches 90lb hot press paper, using the same nib and ink.

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Week #19
This work was done by Amy Lear in Austin in 2016 for the session “Variations on Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
Voices

This piece was done on deep red paper with Dr. Ph. Martins bleedproof white. Inspired by the wisdom and courage of Malala Yousafzai and wanting to inspire my two daughters, I created this piece with large letters and a bold layout. I sketched the design on grid paper, with several revisions, before scanning it into the computer for resizing. I was happy with the design of each word, but their placement wasn’t quite right. On the screen, I was able to move the words around to get a final draft. From there, I printed the sketch to use to transfer guidelines to the red paper.

As I worked on the letters, I noticed that the white wasn’t as opaque as I wanted, so I went back and added a second coat of paint with a small watercolor brush. And then… I managed to drop my brush onto the table! It fell in the middle of the word “tell” and rolled through the G in girls, and the C below it.
I tried all of the traditional ways of correcting mistakes, but the paper just wasn’t having it. So, I dug through all my red paint and managed to make an acrylic one that matched (using a scrap of red paper to test). I carefully painted over the white smears of ink and repaired it.

During class, Reggie commented on the design and suggested that I scan the piece and shrink it to a smaller size. In doing that, I realized that the texture of the paper looked unclean after scanning. So, I traced the whole text to a vector in Adobe Illustrator and replaced the background with a solid red color. After printing these in 8x10 and 5x7, I was really encouraged by how successfully the design translated to the smaller size. And, now that I have it in a vector format, I am able to experiment with different colors of letters and backgrounds very easily.

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Week #20
This work was done by C.J. Kennedy in Boston this year for the session “Basic Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
Homework is more fun less of a drudge with someone else to help. My buddy, Ben Dover, helped with spacing the word “languidly” using the sour pickle method. Ben Dover’s eyesight is better than mine and working directly on the waxed grid, he was able to bring a unique perspective to the assignment.

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Week #21
This work was done by Patti Adams in New Orleans this year for the session “Basic Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
In trying to decide what sort of quote to do for our monoline romans exercise (with the dreaded B2 nib), I found myself looking to this: a wonderful piece of advice from famed choreographer Agnes DeMille to modern dance legend Martha Graham. It speaks to the importance of artists being able to find a way through self doubt; to let go of judgement and allow the work to speak for itself. Great words of wisdom for us all.

In finding my way through this project, I decided I could have a little fun with it by adding whimsical tromp l'œil effects as I worked, painting the things that were scattered about my drafting table, including the yellow "post-it" notes.
One of the hardest things to capture was my John Neal gridded practice pad! Yikes!The piece is done on a leftover portion of elephant-sized Arches hot press watercolor paper in a variety of values of blue, blue-violet and violet. The wine stain is painted in watercolor and, yes, for authenticity I was forced to try the full spectrum of reds: a glass of pinot noir, a glass of zinfandel, a glass of cabernet…(oh, the sacrifices we make for our art! 😉) But, most importantly, I ended up enjoying using the B-2 nib! A first for me! Thank you, Reggie.

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Week #22
These works were done by individuals in New Orleans this year for the session “Basic Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In their own words:
#1 & 2 Lisa Devlin

As a graphic designer, I use a variety of tools (including the computer) and appreciate many periods of art and design. I also enjoy generating ideas for make-believe products, creating ads and labels for them and putting them on greeting cards. So it seemed natural to turn Reggie’s letter-spacing exercise into ads. I thought that bubble bath and a wine vineyard would be great for expressing the word “LANGUIDLY,” followed by the registered trademark symbol for that touch of authenticity. Both ads were intended to amuse the viewer while expressing my enjoyment and exhaustion after a full day learning calligraphy.

I began by using the waxed grid paper and letters Reggie supplied, manually spacing the letters on the paper and then photocopying the finished work. Although the letters seemed spaced adequately well on the grid, the photocopied versions showed me this wasn’t entirely the case. So when I brought the letters into Adobe InDesign, I kerned them slightly. Concerned that reliance on a computer might not be within the exercise’s scope, I confess that I held back and didn’t do a complete job. I then copied the text and pasted them into the Adobe Illustrator files where the illustrations were created. The final piece was printed on my desktop printer.

This was a helpful exercise. Because of the deadline realities of my work and the frequent last-minute changes that typically arise, I’d developed some bad habits and rusty letter-spacing skills. So this exercise reminded me of the need to apply more care in that area.

#3 Patti Adams

This spacing exercise took a lot longer than I imagined! As Reggie suggested, after I laid out the word calligraphy on my waxed grid, I left it on a stand in my studio so I could casually glance at it as I worked on other things.

After a few days, I finally decided that there was obviously a Roman Rebellion taking place while I slept; letters were surreptitiously huddling up in my studio overnight!
I finally arrived at the version you see here. I printed it onto a sepia-toned 11x17" copy of a very large piece I did in graphite several years ago as part of an exhibition at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. It is a drawing of one of our oldest and grandest live oak trees in Audubon Park, aptly named "The Tree of Life”. Displaying some of the most splendid examples of nature's calligraphy, these majestic trees are for me a constant source of inspiration!


#4 Carmel Cucinotta-Harmon

I chose this 'ghost' picture from a Time-Life Book Series I have on the "Enchanted World'. Since all of us were so fearful of diving into the ROMANS, I thought this picture of "fear" was very appropriate. Class mates exchanged many emails saying how frustrated and fearful they were to attempt this very important exercise; myself included.

I used the Palatino Type Face that Reggie gave out in class. I took my picture and my layout to Kinkos (now Fed Ex) and had a transparency made of my spacing. It took some time for the sales person to figure out how to apply the letters to the photo. I was a bit worried because the black letters were so close to the darkest part of the photo. But, I liked the picture and decided to go for it.

I have since learned, through trial and error, that "I can do the transparency and photocopy" at home.

My little ghost still says it all about those lovely ROMANS

Click for Video Here

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Week #23
This work was done by Tomoko Zunino in Seattle in 2015 for the session “Brush Lettering” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
In between classes, my husband and I went to Paris on vacation and I wanted to create something always to reminds us of the trip.

The letterform is Neuland written in black gouache with a Hiro #8 nib on Arches Watercolor HP paper.

I also wanted you to feel like you were walking in Paris. I decided to use the map of Paris as a background paper and drew some famous sightseeing spots as decorated letters; “A” for La tour Eiffel, “O” for Tricolore, “I” for Obélisque de Louxor at Place de la Concorde, “O” for Catacombes de Paris and “M” for Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.

Before cutting out the counter spaces with a x-acto knife, I placed the calligraphy piece on the map to see how it would look. It was not as dramatic as I was hoping for. I realized they needed some colors, and added 7 French logos which you might see on Les Champs-Élysées.
Paper size approximately 10”×25”.

Translation:

At the Champs- Élysées

At the Champs- Élysées

In the sun, under the rain

At noon or at midnight

There is everything you want

At the Champs- Élysées

Click for Video Here

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Week #24
This work was done by Sharon Allende in San Diego this year for the session “Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand: Blackletter” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
I love circles, as you can see. This piece was done at Letters California Style 2017 in Lordana Zega’s “Calligraphy on The Walls” Class. In this class Lordana taught us how to use a dry flat brush to letter in Black Letter or any lettering style of our choice. She taught us how to use 1⁄2-inch up to 4-inch flat brushes to letter and create amazing images. I used a 3⁄4 inch flat brush on Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel paper. The gouache is Winsor & Newton Lamp Black and Permanent White. The Permanent White gouache is mixed with a little Schminke Bronze to give a hint of shimmer. The red contrasting writing is Prismacolor Scarlet Lake colored pencil, and a 2B Graphite pencil was also used. Although it is difficult to read, the words are taken from the Mumford and Sons song “Awake My Soul”, which is how I felt learning this technique. It is very freeing to letter with a brush and paint.

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Week #25
This work was done by Stephanie Chao in San Diego this year for the session “Writing on Vellum” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
Stabat Mater

One of our homework assignments from Reggie’s second session was to make a small book incorporating vellum pages.

The vellum offcuts I purchased from Reggie were each about 5 X 7 inches. I wanted to write a moderately lengthy text and chose the Stabat Mater, a 13th C. Latin hymn attributed to a Franciscan friar, that I first became familiar with many years ago through the music composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) at the end of his short life. Scored for soprano and alto soloists, violin, viola, cello, and organ, the duets are some of the most touchingly beautiful music I’ve listened to.
The hymn comprises 20 three-line stanzas. My first attempt was to write it in 1.5 mm x-height with a Mitchell 6 nib, but even with my trusty Optivisor, I found it too difficult; so I increased the guidelines to 3 mm and wrote with a Mitchell 5 without a reservoir.

Although challenging, I found the entire process to be meditative: I listened to Pergolesi’s music repeatedly while writing, gilding, preparing the book covers, and assembling the book using a single sheet coptic binding technique.


Click for Video

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Week #26
This work was done by Patti Adams in New Orleans this year for the session “Beginning Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:

Writing this wonderful quotation of Frederick Neugebauer in plain Romans was another big challenge from Reggie!

I decided to feature a DaVinci Circle as the setting of the quote. There are twenty-four equally spaced points around the perimeter of this circle, each connecting to every point. Interestingly, there are 48 letters in this quote, which would be the next numerical size of a larger circle! (then 96 points, etc) This geometric exercise, which Leonardo had his students do, teaches that the sacred shape of the circle is contained in everything in nature and illustrates that circles can be created with straight lines. The more line intersections there are, the more circles emerge: in the center, and within the concentric layers there are ovals and then more circles. With a larger number of points on the outer perimeter, more circles and ovals...ad infinitum...like our universe.
I thought this DaVinci Circle the perfect setting for a discussion of Roman capitals. For me, there is an element of allusion to their construction, all based on measurements and movements of the pen that completely defy ones natural inclinations and expectations.

I used a 20” round, deckled paper, handmade by Twinrocker and brown and sepia 1.0 Micron pens for all the lines. It is glazed with multiple light layers of watercolors (all Daniel Smith) in quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, indigo and yellow iron oxide. The calligraphy is done with Speedball C nibs using indigo gouache.

Learning to try and control Romans has been one of the great challenges of my long calligraphic life. Reggie captures it perfectly in his Romans video: “Welcome to Romans, where nothing is natural. A world of contrivances, demanding the utmost from you in skills of eye, hand and mind."

I’ll keep working on it!

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Week #27
This work was done by Sabrina Hill in San Diego this year for the session “Writing on Vellum” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
May was Month Three in Reggie Ezell’s Primitive to Modern Class 2017 San Diego. Our homework assignment from Month 2 (March) was a book using vellum and some of our newly acquire gilding techniques.

When putting together homework for the previous month, I had looked up ladybugs and found the universe of beetles. The bugs look like show girls or drag queens. I thought they would be the perfect subjects for gilding on vellum.

I started by planning a 3-page vellum book with 3 beetles, but which ones? With so many beautiful choices, I decided to expand it and do a Top Ten Beetles book. Well now I was in a mess. There was not enough vellum for this. I had fig bark paper, and I liked how it looked with the mottled vellum—crisis averted. But now I had too many pages. Add more beetles.
And that’s how I ended up with Beetles: A to Z.

Execution does not always go as planned. The fig paper and a broad nib pen were not the best of friends since the uncoated unsealed paper acted like a wick for the loaded nib. I used a Micron pen for much of the writing. The lyrics to All You Need is Love were written with a Leonardt ball-tipped pointed pen—my new favorite nib.
Winsor Newton watercolors and gouache were used to paint the bugs and many bugs were brushed with pearlescent pigment for a super-shimmery bug effect. I used the paints with very little water on both the fig bark paper and the vellum. All bugs were outlined with the micron pen and shaded with soft graphite. My first car was a very used VW Bug that I shared with my sister, so homage is paid to that beetle as well. I added the words to a Beatles song to use the remaining extra pages, and finished with a little beetle humor.

This is my first effort in bookbinding. I will most certainly make more; it was such fun! I used book board covered with marbled mulberry bark paper (which is almost impossible to tear) and assembled it using a Coptic binding. The vellum pages were singles, so I used a folded strip of cream mulberry bark to provide a fold to stitch then glued the strip on either side of the vellum after the book was sewn together. I see all the mistakes, but I like my primitive little book. Doing this book did not make me like bugs any better. Beetles are well-styled but still creepy!

NOTE: In the May class, Reggie taught us that the fig bark paper can be sealed with methyl cellulose gel or Knox gelatin (in a special mixture). I love the paper, so I will try sealing it in the next project!

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Week #28
This work was done by Maria Helena Hoksch in New Orleans this year in for the session “Basic Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:

This piece of various capital letters does not make any sense as to legibility, so do not try to read it, as it is only pure experimentation in contrast and color. Materials used: twin rocker paper, moon palace Sumi ink, gray gouache, various pastels and colored pencils, speedball B nib, Mitchell nib, pointed pen.

Since I started my studies in art and calligraphy more than three decades ago, I was always taught that certain colors "go together", in other words, make a pleasant match. In this piece I decided to challenge that idea and prove that all colors go together if you make them. It is your (the viewer's) decision whether the result is pleasant to the eye, or loud senseless cacophony. I am fine and even salute the possibility of it being somewhat offensive to the senses.
I also took the idea that I learned from one of my mentors, that a piece of art can be too "hot", as consisting of only warm tones. You need something "cold" to cool it down. Here I tried to tie in the hot tones with the cold tones equally, as an almost chemical experience in "temperature in art". Many of my treasured calligraphic friends told me that the colors were way off here, and I only enjoyed the controversy. Why, after all, are we experimenting, if not for making mistakes. Make no mistake and learn nothing!!!!!

The contrast does not end here with color, but is made further "obnoxious" by rudely ending thin lines and starting thick ones right in the middle of a letter. The hole piece is presented as a solid block of lettering on a simply laid out page, just to have the all the various contrasts speak the loudest, and all for themselves.

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Week #29
This work was done by Amy Lear in Austin in 2016 for the session “Variations on Romans” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
Languidly

This was done for the spacing homework assignment for Month 1. For the background image, I used a photograph that I had taken and then edited it in photoshop to make it black and white and to add black to the rest of the image. The photograph is of the dried paint left at the bottom of a paintbrush-washing bowl after the water had evaporated. It is a mid-century, pottery ashtray that I found as my in-laws were cleaning out and restoring an old farm. Using an ashtray sounds odd, I admit, but it has a nice depth and the slots originally for cigarettes now keep my paintbrushes from rolling away. I took the photo on a nice, sunny day to increase the contrast of that old paint. The original color was yellow paint in a green bowl. As a black and white, though, it reminds me of an abstract, lunar landscape.
After I edited the photograph, I extended the image size to fit the paper I’d print it on, and scanned in my properly spaced letters. However, they didn’t quite fit the way I wanted it to. Instead of correcting the letter cut-outs and rescanning, I edited the word in photoshop directly. I can’t recommend photoshop for projects like this enough. To fit the word to the image, I separated each letter into a different layer, and used the “hide/show” feature to only show the three letters I was working on at a time. Then, I nudged the letters right or left using the arrow keys (rather than my mouse) for greater precision. Photoshop does have an auto-arrange feature, which would distribute the space between each letter. But, that only accounts for the total width of the letter, not the white space within the letter itself. The letter L is a good example of where that feature doesn’t work for lettering spacing.

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The answers to most of your questions regarding “Primitive to Modern” or “26 Seeds: a Year to Grow” can be found through the main page at the web www.reggieezell.com .
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There are now NO openings left for 2017!
Consult coordinators in those cities to see if there are openings for individual students in those classes.

You can contact me directly at contactreggie@comcast.net  or 773-202-8321

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