Looking for a Summer Art Retreat? Check out Ghost Ranch!

I’ve been to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico twice and each time is an enchantment.  This summer Literally Letters features some awesome calligraphy instructors, but I’ll draw your attention to Carol Pallesen of the Silent Hand Scriptorium, Reno, Nevada.

I’ve known Carol for many years and have taken classes from her for about ten.  I’ll tell you that her teaching style is second to none.  She’s taught nationally and internationally, but I’m so fortunate to have her right here where I live.  She is knowledgable, prepared, patient, persistent and delightful.  Her class materials are always ready for the student without much preparation so the intended project can get underway.  This summer Carol is teaching Italic Calligraphy and Tiny Writing.  Both classes are wonderful and in a setting like Ghost Ranch, no student will be disappointed and will come away with so much more than expected.

Abiquiu is an easy drive from Albuquerque and not far from Santa Fe or Taos for day trips.

Here are some memories from my last visit to the Land of Enchantment where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted till the end of her days.

Instructor Carol Pallesen seated bottom row, left.

Staying up all night to work on your art is always an option.

A view from the classroom in the morning.  Panoramic vistas don’t get more beautiful than this!  And there is coffee if you chose to stay up into the wee hours and collaborate with fellow artists and students.

Some of the awesome temporary art that can be experienced. 

And this sunset plays nightly over the interesting rock formations to be found on the property.  Here is Chimney Rock as viewed from the calligraphy classroom.  So now are you convinced to sign up?

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Watercolor Mice Inspired by 100 Year Old Flowers

If you have Multiple Muse Disorder, you know how easy it is to fall down a Rabbit Hole, or in this case a Mouse Hole.  My work illustrating Rascal, by Sterling North, sends me on a lot of research journeys, which I love.  When Sterling is mandated to get a collar and leash for his little pet, he goes to see Mr. Shadwick the harness maker.  The narrative of the story tells of Mr. Shadwick engraving Rascal’s name in the finest Spencerian script.

Well, I know a little about these scripts, but not a lot.  I have many wonderful calligraphy books and a really old book called Hill’s Manual of Business Forms and Guide to Correct Writing,1877.   The fun of getting really old books are the treasures that former owner’s leave in the pages.  Old stamps, news clippings, money (not yet, but someday) and in this case pressed flowers.  The name Emily is written over the name Lester Sullivan, so I’m assuming Emily owned this book at one time.  In the leaves of the book are a few clippings of poems, an ad for an Elmo treadle sewing machine from a Lyon Brothers formerly H. Wolf & Co. catalogue and pressed flowers.  Given the age of the book, the age of the ad and the assumption Emily wanted this sewing machine and she pressed the flowers, I’m guessing the flowers are over 100 years old.  So down the mouse-hole I go.

I figure I better brush up on Spencerian lettering to get my Rascal illustration authentic.  So I get out a Hunt pointed pen, oblique pen holder, guide lines from IAMPETH, Noodlers Black Ink, Bond practice paper and away I go.  But those flowers, what about those flowers?  Emily pressed them for something she wanted to make.  Cards, art, bookmarks are all possibilities.  That’s it, bookmarks.  And I’ll practice lettering on the back.  But I started practicing Engrosser’s Script (Copperplate), which I love, and still need to look at Spencerian, which is where this short story made long started and where I tripped and fell. 

What fun tumbling down the mouse-hole.  Thank you to Emily, this week’s muse.

Why mice?  I dreamed they used the flowers as parasols.