From the time I remember learning to write I also remember admiring my mother’s handwriting. Actually, both of my parents have beautiful handwriting. They never forced or even talked about it, that I recall. But they did both seem to take pride in their penmanship. So when other kids sat in church doodling houses and airplanes on the church programs, I’d ask my mom to lay out handwriting exercises lining up rows of hash marks and stacking dashes so I could practice matching the angles and sizes of my letters to her marks. I did it over and over. We must’ve all done it because each of my brothers and sisters have their own unique and gorgeous style writing.
[caption id="attachment_7078" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="this excerpt from The Little Prince, painted in French, is written on three walls of this room"][/caption]
When I began my decorative painting business in 1999, I wanted to put handwriting and paint together to see what I could create. I offered my friend a glass of wine (only one!) to sit in my hallway and read an excerpt from one of my favorite novelettes, Van Gogh’s Bad Café by Frederic Tuten.
[caption id="attachment_7068" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="scriptures painted in Old English style on this 20ft or so wall. Each letter averaging about 7 paint strokes"][/caption]
Painting words on the wall is a little different than writing on paper with a pen; the letters are much bigger, each stroke is created using different amounts of paint and varying pressure… and you can’t just adjust the wall when you want to get into those tight little corners of a room; you have to adjust yourself squeezing your elbows and shoulders (even your knees sometimes) to get the angles you need to line up the words along those imaginary hash marks.
[caption id="attachment_7069" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="a collection of quotes and sayings personal to this family are painted in several different styles with custom postmark stencils to signify their travels together"][/caption]
I find myself focusing on each letter, just as I had in church all those years ago, and getting totally lost in the rhythm of the loops and lines.
Today, I create artwork from journal entries and memories adding a level of intimacy to the lines and letters.