Schole: a night of learning copperplate calligraphy + a peek in my sketchbook

Several times throughout the year, my daughter's school hosts a Scholé Night (for more on scholé read this), and this quarter we got a chance to learn pointed pen calligraphy, specifically copperplate, from Cheryl Dyer and Laura Capp of the Letter Arts Alliance of Nebraska


It was a great evening spent learning a bit of the history of writing by hand, and of trying out the copperplate script for ourselves. I think my drawing background helped give me confidence in holding an oblique pen, and not to feel shy in trying out a new skill in front of others.  

Of course I had to try out this new pen in my sketchbook, and loved how much easier it was to create a variety of line weights in a short amount of time. 

Abstract mountainscape || in my sketchbook || Rachel Loewens

For those of you who have never used this sort of pen, the nib actually splits as you apply pressure which creates a thicker line. When I draw with my trusted Lamy Safari pen, I have to go back and thicken lines to create depth afterwards. 

abstract landscape || in my sketchbook || Rachel Loewens

The only downside to this type of pen is that you have to dip it in an ink well to refill which makes it slightly less portable and significantly more likely to make a mess!!

Do any of you use calligraphy pens in your sketchbook? I would love pen and nib suggestions!



Doodles and Sketches

Spring break is upon us and the weather is well, not very spring-like. We got rather spoiled the past few weeks so I have to keep reminding myself that a few days of cold and snow won't do me any harm!

Doodles and Sketches || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
Doodles and Sketches || Rachel Loewens

Last week, as I was cleaning out my studio, I found these two boxes of onion skin paper that I've had for ages and decided it was time to figure out a use for them. 

With some of my favorite pens at hand I started testing out marks. The pages are in order of being worked on from left to right, and my internal monologue when something like this:

"Thick short gold line with long skinny line on top. Nope. With short skinny line on top.  Man, I need to be more loose. Next page. Long lines with short perpendicular lines to get comfortable. Switch pens. V, V, V. Switch pen. V, V, V. Switch pen. Ah, this pen isn't working! Oh, wait! Now it is starting to! V, V, V, line underneath. Long line and then bifurcate v's. Hmm. Kinda like arrows? Maybe will work as a pattern? Next page. Yup that works. What else can I do?


I then thought the arrow lines sort of reminded me of evergreen trees and would be nicely situated in some of my landscape drawings. 

Doodles and Sketches || Rachel Loewens
Sketches and Doodles || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I had also been messing around with ink washes earlier in the day and tried these shapes out agains that background. I'm kinda excited to see what else comes from these doodles!

Doodles and Sketches || Rachel Loewens

I would love to hear what creative projects you other moms are working on while you have Spring Break at your house! We have another week of in about a month, and I'm always seeking out inspiration!

A quiet week

Quiet is a blessed gift. In this frantic world how we must cherish every moment of it, and carve it out for ourselves every chance we get.  Anne Ortland

After a few weeks of illness, snow storms and the general feeling of needing to catch up that occurs when your routine is all out of whack, it is so nice to just have a quiet week.

Jens in the kitchen || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
Art and science class collide || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
Brigs "teaching" AJ || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

We also hit the major milestone of completing our first semester of co-teaching our oldest. This has been such a great experience for our family, and we are so glad to know that her school is so successful that it looks like it will continue of for many more years to come!

In my sketchbook || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I've also been continuing on with my gold ink drawings! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do while making them!