If you read my previous post (OBT – 2nd Floor Text – Beauty Through Failure) on my creative process and failure, I won’t rehash that topic here. But, I did fail again. More paper went to its death in my trash can or rough draft drawer – possibly to resurrect somewhere in the distant future, but not in a piece that will hang on the walls of OBT.

Side note: I have the idea in my mind to use my big flops in a mat in the future – not sure what that might turn out to be, but it’s an idea! Or it could end up in the rough draft drawer all over again in a new form that still is a failure. I won’t know unless I try…

 Anyway, you want to hear about my second completed project for OBT. I again wanted to put something positive on the wall, but different from the other piece. I did not want this piece to be graphic and modern, I wanted it to be more calligraphic…more swirley and smooth. Which meant I had to use ink and pens a nibs.

I utilized a piece of Canson egg-shell paper with a very fine surface. It is designed for drawing and inks, so there is no running of the ink or spreading once it hits the paper. It is a nice surface for smooth lettering and yet it has crevices that make the ink skip along the lines – I like that look (and so does my handsome husband!) I filled a parallel pen with black ink, It had a 3.8 cm nib and the cartridge fits within the body of the pen. The quote is from Mother Teresa about joy, so I highlighted the first three words she used to describe joy.

My lettering will never be perfect. I was not going for perfection, I was going for a the idea of smooth flowing ease. Shouldn’t joy come to us easily? Let’s be honest, some days joy is easy to manage, other days it is a distant emotion that we can barely remember and hope to experience again some day. After failing multiple times – killing more paper and ink than I care to let me wallet admit, I reached the idea that I was excited to execute.

Once I finished the three big words – prayer, strength, and love – I thought they looked nice, but flat. I like color. Have I mentioned that? Can you tell in my work I like color? Duh! Remember that the inside piece needs to be a reflection of the papers in the mat – the two areas need to complement and not compete. (This mat was made from predominantly handmade papers from Japan, which are very delicate and intricate and special. I remember the store in Kyoto where we bought one piece I used in this mat, and I remembered the intricate way the store clerk wrapped my paper so I could carry it home.)

I wanted to add color to the black letters, so I thought delicate and light – crayons! I’m not kidding. I LOVE my crayola crayons, so I put them to good use here. I very lightly highlighted the flourishes on each letter in a different color of crayon, leaving a very light path along the letter. I then used a technique I learned in 7th grade geography class with Mr Nickerson, I pulled out a paper towel and rubbed the crayon so hard that it smeared. Of course I waited until the black ink was dry before I attempted this step. It turned out very fine and left a color trail along the letters, some darker than others.

The final fine letters of the actual saying are written in fine point magic markers with three different colors to add depth to the fine letter. If you zoom in you can see that the piece feels light, and airy, and joyful.  

I sent this picture to the interior designer with the dimensions (30″x30″) and it has been shippped hanging in the OBT center. I think it brings true joy to the quote. I like to think that Mother Teresa would be pleased.