Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 24, 2010 - Beverly Hills Adult School Copperplate Class #8

ANNOUNCEMENT:  There will be no class next Monday 5/31/10 because of the Memorial Day holiday. The final class will be on Monday, June 7, 2010. We’ll be having a potluck.

Today DeAnn went over the elements of flourishing. She sat with students individually to go over their projects in progress. She also demonstrated gilding with loose gold and patent.

Trini's project in progress:

Loose gold can be difficult to work with because the sheet of gold is fragile and will easily tear or stick to something else. So for our class project, DeAnn recommends using patent gold, which comes on a paper backing, allowing for better control and trimming. Loose gold is used for raised or textured gilding because it can fold around raised edges and into crevices, where patent gold wouldn’t. However, the class project is flat gilding, so patent gold will be easier to work with. See previous blog entries for detailed gilding instructions.

TIP:  when brushing away the excess gold, don’t undermine the gold; brush in the direction it’s gilded, not against it.

Project idea:  Stained Glass Effect. Last week, DeAnn suggested this idea for your decorative capital. Here’s an example. For the final version, you should gild the letter first.

Elements of Flourishing:  See the Elements of Flourish handout for complete details. Think of flourishing as the decoration on a picket fence. If the base is sturdy and even, i.e. a picket fence, then your flourishing will look elegant. But if the picket fence is rickety, i.e. your copperplate is uneven and not parallel, then flourishing will look cluttered.

The basic 3 Elements of Flourishing are Oval, Figure 8, and Circle. Using your whole arm, draw an oval in the air. Are you moving your arm clockwise or counterclockwise? Is the oval wide or long? Practice these elements until your hand and muscle memory are very comfortable doing them in every direction, axis and width. Practice them in a vertical, horizontal and diagonal axis. Whenever you have a chance (talking on the phone, waiting for an appointment, etc.) try doodling flourishes. Remember: Flourishes should be BIG.

Combining the Elements:  a flourish can consist of only one element repeated, but by combining the different elements, especially with contrasting axes, you can create more interesting flourishes. For example, 2 concentric ovals or circles (spiral) is not as interesting as 2 ovals with contrasting axes.

Direction Change:  you can make flourishes more interesting by adding a direction change. The types are full stop, small loop, and turnaround. With direction changes, you can combine elements in new and different ways. Overlapping elements are more interesting.

Example of h with full stop direction change and g with a small loop.

Practice Independent Flourishes:  Fold up a sheet of cotton comp paper into 8 boxes. Working in pencil, do a flourish in each box. If may help to try drawing it in the air first. But don’t think about it too much, just do it. Let them "flow" out of your own creativity. Make a check-mark to the ones you like. Once you come up with 5 good flourishes, re-do them with a marker, like a Sharpie marker. Then do the same flourish with your copperplate pen. You may need to turn the paper to do some portions of your flourish. Notice how the thicks and thins change the look of your flourish.

No Dark Spots:  You want to avoid dark spots in your work. Don't make a Thick over a Thick. If you are going down and you are about to cross over a thick, then let up the pressure and keep it thin. A thick over thick creates a dark spot. Too many lines, too close together create a dark spot. So stand a little distance away from the work and squint your eyes at it to see if it has a nice texture and rhythm to it. This will help you see any dark spots.

Flourishing your text:  think about flourishing out into the margins on your project. Think of the text as a block – you can add flourishes to the beginning and ending letters that flow into the white space of the margin. However, be careful of making similar flourishes on top of each other; you want some contrast, not a repetition of the shape. When you’re adding flourishes within the text, try to change them constantly instead of always making the same flourish on the same letters. Be mindful of descenders. If you make the descender flourish too large, it may hinder the ascender of the word below it. This is why writing out your text is important in planning where and how to flourish your text. If you’re flourishing an ascender, then the line above is already written, so you can avoid clashing flourishes.

This is a good time to use your 2 : 1 : 2 ratio guideline. This means that the space to the ascender and descender is double the x-height, leaving a lot of space for flourishing.

TIP:  If you’re having a difficult time with flourishes, try tracing some to get an idea of how they flow. DeAnn’s goal is to teach you to how to come up with your own flourishes. By freely experimenting with the basic elements and direction changes, you’ll become knowledgeable about what works for you.

Flourishing your name:  Try writing out your name and keep the letters very simple, not finishing the ascenders and descenders and leaving them a "stub". Then come back and create flourishing with a pencil around and through out. Then go over that with your copperplate pen.

HOMEWORK:  Practice writing text for your project. Even if you feel that your works looks bad, write out your text on pergamenata paper. Practice flourishing (see exercise above). DeAnn’s goal is to make you feel comfortable with flourishing.

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