After a critical examination of my early attempts at calligraphy, my Japanese homestay ‘mother’ was able to say that the ‘tail’ of one my my kanji was ‘quite good’. I think at that point I decided that it was unlikely I would ever take up the formal discipline of calligraphy. And yet I still remain attracted to the calligraphic mark.
I hoped that I might somehow jump the gap to achieving wonderful marks, without the hard work underpinning formal training. So when artist and calligrapher Monica Dengo‘s current online course A Bridge between Drawing and Writing, floated past me on a social media platform I saw an opportunity to develop my skills in another way.
We started with some familiar drawing techniques, such as drawing without looking at the page.
Then we worked through a series of exercises to explore the possibilities of written forms.
We combined these two sets of marks in more finished works.
Adding colour boosted the energy of the work.
The final stage of the workshop was to display our finished pieces in a simple book structure, that allowed various combinations of work to be displayed.
Monica provided clear outlines and supporting material for the workshop. The 3 × 2 hour sessions flew by and participants were also offered a feedback session on their work after the class finished.
I really feel that this class has opened up new possibilities for my work. I can certainly recommend Monica’s classes to anyone interested in exploring text and mark making.
Monica has told me that she will be running another online class, with times suitable for people in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, from 4-7 June. Please see Monica’s website or contact her for full details. Monica also presents online classes with times suitable for people in Europe and America.
You can see Monica’s work on her Instagram account @monica_dengo
Last week we finally left our Canberra for the first time in months to drive an hour away to the country town of Braidwood.
The village of Braidwood started to form around the 1840s and has retained many of it’s older 19th century buildings along the main street. As such, it’s a great place to sketch.
I was sketching across the road from the CWA (Country Women’s Association) building and the post office and then later further down the main street into town.
My first sketch was made on a page that I had prepared with white gesso and ink a few weeks back. I also collaged some paper onto my page, which I had made by printing from a gelli (gel) plate. That saved me from having to paint the mountain.
Along the street my eye was caught by an interesting combination of rooflines and light poles.
I was just getting stuck into my blind contour drawing when I had to go for lunch which we had booked at the Albion Cafe.
I liked this last one best of all. It’s probably a good thing that we had to go to lunch before I ruined it.
I realise that I need to do a dump of my sketches from Amsterdam now, or l may never find time to share them. So here they are. Almost all of these were done at the Urban Sketchers Symposium which was held here this year.
Sketching the wonky houses along the Herengracht in Amsterdam.
A quick sketch of a bicycle with a child carrying module.
All the goody bags lined up at the registration desk this afternoon for all the Urban Sketchers Symposium workshop participants.
Final, unfinished sketch from the Marion Rivolier workshop on capturing the flow of sky and water with watercolour.
Final sketch of statues based on Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Róisin Curé workshop using sepia ink.
Extending your page to include the images that are important to you in a scene. Karen Sung workshop, 1st piece.
Creative use of line and including people, Karen Sung workshop, 2nd piece.
My favourite bit of graffiti on the way to Rokin Metro station (sorry I was very bad at writing down location names).
Sketching from the ‘Drink and Draw’ location on Amstelhoek
NEMO, the science museum, final Sketchwalk of Symposium.
The canal next to our hotel, sketched at night, trying to capture the light reflections.
I saw some drawings on Instagram made by a friend @richardbriggs_artist , of the movement of a car over a bumpy road in Bolivia. It prompted me to pull out my own drawings made just over a year ago recording waves lapping my feet on a rising and a falling tide on the south coast of New South Wales.
I steadily drew a line back and forth across the page and if a wave washed over my feet I drew it as a peak, for the duration of it’s ebb and flow.
Falling tide, 10.30 am to 11.05 am, 13 March 2018, ink on recycled ledger
Rising tide, 3.49pm to 4.19 pm, 15 March 2018, ink on recycled ledger
This is a continuous line drawing at the same location.
Glacial erratics on the rock platform between Depot and Pebbly Beach, 13 March 2018
PS lest you think that I am even more of a tide nerd than I am, the details on the page were copied from a tide guide at the Ranger station at our campground.