Mat cutting weekend

Spent the past couple of weeks working on a project that ended with needing a mat cutter. More to come about the project..

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New goals

It’s that time of year again to look at past goals and set some new goals.

I did get a start on painting this year. I’ve been working on bamboo for the last few months. Next year, I’d like to work on other plants and flowers.

The perennial goal that I seem to never be able to do is create completed works. For some reason, I am super focused on learning and practicing, but not having works to show.

I shouldn’t have an excuse anymore. I have small seal script and one clerical script under my belt, so I should be able to complete a work.

For 2019, I’m making my goal more specific: two works of calligraphy. One by June, and one by December. Ideally I would like to do more, but since my past attempts have yielded none, it’s probably best to start small.

In terms of scripts, my goals are to learn a new standard script, and a running script. Depending on how well those go, I would like to start on a cursive script.

In 2019, I really need to put more effort into Western calligraphy. I need to get to a point where I am as comfortable with a Western calligraphy script as I am with any of my Chinese calligraphy scripts. My goal is to keep on practicing brush Roman Trajan. I also need to work on basic exercises for Copperplate script.

These goals do not seem like much compared to past years, but perhaps I was being too ambitious before. Or maybe I have hit a point in my practice where I know what needs to be done and it’s just a matter of doing it. Do you have any calligraphy goals for 2019?

Reviewing compared to learning

Ritual Vessel Stele was one of the first scripts I learned. I’m reviewing the script again after practicing seal script for quite some time.

When I first learned the script, I did not have any preconceived notions. Now, I am writing again with a lot of experience with seal script. It is a good transition since clerical script evolved from seal script. In particular, Ritual Vessel Stele still has some traces of seal script.

I am finding that I need to make an effort to emphasize the difference between clerical script and seal script to make sure the clerical script looks right.


Chinese seal carving: rubber stamps

A year ago I took a workshop to learn how to carve rubber stamps. The motivation for learning was as a stepping stone for carving seals. I decided to give it a try.

I used Blick Readycut for these stamps. The material has a grey upper layer and a white lower layer. To create the stamp, the grey layer is carved away.

In seal carving, there are two styles. 朱文 means red characters. 白文 means white characters. I tried both. I did 月 (the character for moon) in 甲骨文 (oracle bone script) and 篆書 (seal script).

Here are the 甲骨文 examples:

And the 篆書 examples:

I think it’s a pretty good start. The 朱文 style is definitely more difficult. Rubber is pretty flimsy, and the cut away portions would always touch the ink pad or paper when I pressed down. The material is also pretty thin. It’s probably not the best for 朱文.

This was a fun exercise. The stamps are not as small as regular seals, but I don’t think I have fine enough tools to do something that small on rubber. It does make me want to learn more about 甲骨文 since I have not practiced it my calligraphy studies.