One thing I’ve always enjoyed about poetry is its use of line. Size, shape, capitalization, division of space, all create a sense of rhythm and emphasis within the written word. Funny that these are all the same elements used in the visual arts! For me, lettering (specifically calligraphic lettering) gives me a chance to play with line and rhythm, written word and washes.
I often incorporate lettering into my children’s book illustrations. But these two paintings are my first attempts at true calligraphy in a while. I had been talking with a friend recently about the idea of hope, and both the Hebrews and 1 Peter verses came up in the conversation. When life is difficult and things seem to be continuously crashing down on top of and around us, hope is what keeps us going…hope, and faith. I cannot see God. But my gut instinct and an inexplicable sense of peace make me certain that He is alive and at work in this world.
With these verses bouncing around in my head, I sat down with brushes and watercolors. The painting shown above is my 2nd attempt at that verse. I like how the crayon wax-resist turned out for the words “you cannot see.” And there are a few other things I feel are going well in the piece. But it still feels like a work in progress. So, any suggestions are welcome.
I am happy with how the 1 Peter verse turned out. This was actually completed in one go, over the span of a day and a half. Some parts of it were planned out, others were happy accidents. And, I paused my work a number of times to get opinions from my mom (art critic) about color usage and word spacing. This painting shows the influence of Timothy Botts, a local and rather well-known calligraphic artist. I had the privilege of seeing Tim complete a live calligraphic painting a few years ago. He had had a violin solo composed for the occasion. Then, he had timed out his painting to fit the strains of the violin. The musician and artist’s movements synchronized as the painting took shape…a performance I’ll never forget! If you’re not familiar with Timothy Botts’ work, I’d encourage you to check it out.