Friday, November 19, 2010

The Seven Virtues
I have this love hate relationship with colour. My work will either be brilliantly colourful or subtly soft. Often I’ll revel in the pure crispness of black and white where my calligraphic soul lies naked for all to see.
At the moment I am going through a “seven” phase in my life’s body of work. This rendition of The Seven Virtues just cried out for colour. How can you have “Hope” without colour, I asked myself.
Here I have used gouache as my medium not because I wanted the background opaque but because the pigment is more vibrant and stronger. The colours were simply laid on a water wash on 300gsm Arches hotpress paper taped to the table with 1” masking tape, brushed on with a chiselled edge and mixed where I wanted the colour to flow and meld.
While the work was wet I gently tooled a calligraphic moving mark into the wetness with a metal stylus. Working steadily, still while the work was wet, I spread layers of aluminium foil across the surface. With my fingers running atop the foil I gently creased and crunched the foil, just a bit, leaving some areas flat. I made sure the sides of the foil were ragged on the surface as well otherwise I would have been left with a straight edge, possibly up through the work. You can do exactly the same technique using kitchen baking paper and cling-wrap. You will get slightly different results leaving you with a myriad of textured marks thereon. Not only can you use gouache but you can use a variety of inks and water colours as well.

Next I allowed these to dry overnight, separated the layers and the results are what you see – backgrounds for calligraphic renditions of the seven virtues written in vivacious versals using Dr. Ph. Martin’s pen-white, drawn with a ¾ Brause with additional support in accompanying words in tiny caps with a ½ Brause.

The leftover backgrounds were handy to cut up and use to add a textured collage supporting the theme of the Virtues scattered throughout our lives.




The Seven Virtues


These postcards are reproductions of a series of artwork I have created for the Art Society of Tasmania members exhibition. They are for sale @ $20 for the set of seven with envelopes or $12 for the set without envelopes. Let me know if you are interested and we can talk EFT, PayPal or other. Please email me gblack@pcug.org.au The exhibition runs December 2010 & January 2011 at the Lady Franklin Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania.













Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ampersands & other Ligatures


Ampersands & other Ligatures - a two day workshop


Jill's experiments - all participants created pages and pages of examples.


The following are highly decorative ampersands from the Book of Kells. After much study of, and then research in pairs of both ampersand forms, the origins of the ampersand's nomenclature and it's variety of forms including Tironian Notes this was a relaxing way to wind down the workshop. On the afternoon of the second day we each took a different decorative ampersand from the Book of Kells and worked it in whatever fashion we wanted. The participants could use gouache, coloured pencils, watercolour or pen and ink and only had about two hours to play with these exquisite historic forms.

Some participants had illumination experience and others didn't but everyone enjoyed their results.



Sorry this one is a little blurred but I wanted to be inclusive rather than not.












My demonstration roll - nothing beats the glistening of wet ink flowing off the broad nib, yum!


My whiteboard - a very slippery demonstration surface.



The following photos are of the participants working in pairs on a research project I set them.

Angela & Lyndell


Some of the CCS participants at Urambi Village

Sara & Christine

Pamela & Ann deep in research


Maureen & Pamela


Jill & Jenni


Canberra Calligraphy Society President Jill Robertson & New Recruit Sara Posgay

Chris & Mike


Carol & James




Here are some of the photos from the weekend workshop in Canberra. It was a marvellous time of research, and pure pleasure revelling in Ampersands & other Ligatures. I was delighted with the response and the results of their research and subsequent work. Thank you Canberra for being the first to experience this Ampersands & Other Ligatures workshop ... who said anything about guinea pigs!

If anyone is interested in having me teach this fascinating two day workshop for your group please contact me and I'll look at my remaining 2011 schedule, though I am also making workshop bookings for 2012 already.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Canberra here I come!

Hello Canberra here I come with

Ampersands & other Ligatures


Sit back relax and enjoy the ride!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Looking forward to two days of uninterrupted creativitiy in the studio - woo hoo!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Letter A Week project Alphabet 1

Oboe reed nibbed to a square edge

Opening Page

A simple four hole limp Japanese bind



Monday, September 6, 2010



Herewith a new small piece I did today. Acrylics, bleedproof with, pens, rollers, brushes on unstretched canvas.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Our magnificent magnolia ... stunning in real life!

Friday, August 27, 2010

ALaW August letters

Just a taster. Go to ALaW blogspot for all the latest. Enjoy! x gb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010








These images are better for viewing. A very standard type of family tree.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family Trees






A couple of images from the James & the Baker Family Trees.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Am working on two family trees. Will send pics when completed ... watch this space!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Here are a few bookmark keepsakes for my Sturt winter school students.
They are worked in bleedproof white on ready-made artist's tradiung cards with twine & toggles made by me. The script is a pointed uncial after Mike Kecseg style which was one of three scripts the class was learning.

A side on view of the Churchill Honour Roll (just completed) ... you can just see the raised and embossed letters in the back ground. I though this a really cool pic.

Visit my website too!

Visit my website too!
In-class illumination demonstration

Something about Gemma

My photo
Blackmans Bay, Tasmania, Australia
I am an Australian, a letter designer & calligrapher. I enjoy working with letters and grounds, teaching and mixing with like-minded people.

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