Monday, January 7, 2019

Daily calligraphy -- how it's going

It wasn't until the fourth or fifth day of my new daily art project that I realized: the choice of what I was going to write was just as much an artistic decision as what pen and what style of lettering to use.  I started out the year with the first lines of Ode to Joy, because I always use that text when I need to write something.  It's one of the few poems that I can recite substantial parts of in German, and I love the idea.  The next day I wrote from the Battle Hymn of the Republic; again, because I know the words to all the verses by heart I can do calligraphy even if I didn't bring a book along to copy from.

The third day I decided to copy from a book I had just finished reading -- and I highly recommend it: Educated by Tara Westover -- and realized that if I write from every book the day I finish reading it, I will have a journal of what I read for the whole year.

But what to write on the fourth day?  When I do calligraphy I like to write something meaningful and intriguing, because I'll be going slowly and focusing on the words as well as the drawing.  Song lyrics and hymns always work, probably because it's easier to remember the words of a poem if they're set to music.  So I wrote from a Christmas hymn, Joy to the World.

The fifth day I wrote from the Gettysburg Address, always a favorite.  The last time I remember doing this in calligraphy I miraculously got the whole thing to fit perfectly on a 6x8 card; this time I ran out of page before I ran out of address.

I promise not to bore you with any more of what I'm writing this year.  Insofar as I report on my progress, I'm going to talk about the drawing, not the text.  After two days of free-form writing -- nothing special, just my usual "arty writing," I decided I needed to be more adventurous and look for specific inspiration to emulate.  I'll show you that in my next post.

Ode to Joy, with a brush

Battle Hymn of the Republic, with a Micron brush pen

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