November 20

Happy B-logthday Year Five

Five on the 5th Floor of SVA so many years ago, based on Charles Demuth's famous "I saw the Figure 5 in Gold
Five on the 5th Floor of SVA so many years ago, based on Charles Demuth’s famous “I saw the Figure 5 in Gold” 192

Today, November 20, starts my blog’s fifth year. To mark the occasion I dug up this photo of the number five, which I painted in the fifth floor stairwell of the School of Visual Arts in NYC when I was a student there long ago. It is, of course based on Charles Demuth’s famous painting I Saw the Figure Five in Gold, 1928.

The 23rd Street building of SVA was, and probably still is, six stories tall. I was up and down those stairs many times a day, and I would never be quite sure what floor I was on. I requested and was granted permission to label all the stairwells. My only record of this are these color copies that I’ve scanned in. I loved doing this project.

My two twos in the Stairwell at SVA
My two twos in the Stairwell at SVA

I tried to make the rendering of each number relevant. Two twos seemed appropriate. I also liked that there were two doors  and two emergency lights on top of the box to echo the double twos.

One, fading to zero
One, fading to zero

Heading down to the first floor, and nearly out the door, the one fades down towards zeros. I was particularly pleased with this one.

Besides having that great big gold five to post, showing these pictures from my student days feels just right: now that my children have left home for school I actually have chunks, big chucks of time that I can work in my studio in the same way that I could before I had children. I am feeling like my old self, but with all these years of full living in between, I have so much more to bring to this former self. There’s an arc that not only connects me back to where I’ve been but that’s gathered abundance along the way. It feels wonderful. birthday screen shot 2


Here’s a screen shot that Google presented me with for my birthday. I guess when I joined G+ I got on their birthday card list. Yup, it’s a bit creepy, but it’s also really sweet, so I saved it to share with my blog. I got it into my mind to give the blog some presents for this landmark day: buttons. Yes, buttons. At the end of each post there are now pinterest, facebook-like, share on reddit, email, and tweet buttons.(I don’t like the counting feature on these buttons…if anyone knows how to change that feature, please let me know.)  Also at the top of my sidebar, I put a follow-me-on-Pinterest button, and, if you like my one page tutorials, you will be able to find them all gathered together on a Pinterest board: not all of the tutorials have been copied there yet, but I’m working on it.

This has been one of those all out birthdays. I’m glad you stopped by for the celebration.



Hand Lettering and the Universe

numberuniverse w It seems I’ve completely missed something that has just now come into my conscious radar:  hand lettering. I studied calligraphy eons ago, and I am aware of typography, but I didn’t realize that there was this whole niche of creating visuals with words that is somewhere between the two worlds that I already know something about. This is how it happened. I was looking on the web for some inspiration for making some numbers that had a good feel to them.

Orange two
My own playful 2

I have never failed so miserably in finding something than when I was looking for inspirational number forms on the web. But I persevered and somewhere along the way I started noticing lovely drawn letters.  Eventually I landed on Sean McCabe’s utterly awesome site. As well as showing copious examples of his work, Sean  creates context for this art form. I have to say that it was a relief to me to realize that hand lettering was actually something that people do. It feels so odd to have just discovered this. I mean, I see hand lettering on chalk board in restaurants but it just didn’t occur to me that it happened anywhere else. I did do what could be considered hand lettering on my Stuffed Grapes Leaves book, but I somehow felt like I was cheating. threes

I’ve begun playing around with hand lettering so that I can add text that I like to  a Number Line book. The quote at the top is mine though I think that the wording needs refinement. If anyone out there has any idea what I might be getting at, and would like to help me find a better way of saying it, I am open and hoping for suggestions. I was thinking of writing “the Number Line is a lot like the universe” but, besides being problematic grammatically, it has no punch. Both the number line and the universe are infinite, both in their largeness and in the depth of every point therein. They both contain everything that’s not imaginary. And the center of each seems to be right where you are at. This isn’t meant to be a lighthearted comparison. I think that there is real merit in looking at these similarities. But more about that later. I am putting this post to bed, and hoping to hear something from someone….

In the meantime, I am hoping to learn more about hand lettering. Take a look at my pinterest board. to see some examples of work done by hand lettering artists. What a natural fit for a book artist!