The Envelope as Canvas
Are you a calligrapher or lettering artist? Consider entering the Graceful Envelope Contest (deadline March 28, 2016). There's no entry fee and the contest is open to adults and children, judged separately.
The challenge is to use an envelope as your canvas, tie in this year's theme (communication), and incorporate stamps in your design. Entries must created on an envelope and mailed. Below are two examples . . . very clever.
The contest is sponsored by the Washington Calligraphers Guild and the National Association of Letter Carriers. You can find more information and get your entry form here.
Don't delay, entries are due March 28th.
A note about this year's theme from the Washington Calligrapher Guild:
Ever since Benjamin Franklin became America’s first Postmaster General, many of our most important messages arrived inside an envelope. Now your challenge is to design the outside of an envelope to highlight this—or any other—mode of communication. Your Graceful Envelope could honor the mail or the internet; the telegraph, telephone or television; person-to-person conversation or whatever kind of communication inspires your imagination.
And here's a link to some of last year's winning entries.
Special thanks to Lorraine Swerdloff, contest administrator, for the images!
Taking the Leap
Sketching ideas for the February Calendar of Days . . . lettering experiment (all I can see is the x created where the a and p intersect, that won't do), 29 days, 12 months . . . and a rabbit inspired by a collection of picture books I'm reading.
Finding the Light
January is nearly over, and there are subtle changes; it was nearly 5:00 yesterday afternoon when I noticed the light. The days are getting longer. I'm glad about that.
When talk of the weather comes up, I often say that I don't mind the cold of winter. Not usually. Though I'm no fan of a cold dreary day; the cold seeps in and seems to bother everyone when it's dreary outside. But when the sun shines, it takes away some of the chill. A lot of the chill.
Morning walks are my favorite. The air is fresh, there's a quiet only morning knows, and it gives me a chance to experience the seasons, each offering its own blend of sights and sounds.
Last week, just after coming inside from a bitterly cold morning walk, the phone rang. It was my brother down in Nashville. We talked about how cold it was—down there and up here. I mentioned my walk, and told him I noticed the birds were singing. I was surprised to hear the birds singing on such a cold January morning.
"They knew you were coming," he said.
It makes me smile every time I think of it and each time I talk about it. And I think he's right. Nature greets us when we take the time to see and hear what it has to offer.
Click on the image above to download and print the birds . . . it's a coloring page.
Name five species in your backyard!
Our January calendar asks if you can name five bird species in your neighborhood, can you? I can identify the chickadee, blue jay, dove, seagull, and yellow finch. And though I can identify the birds by sight, identifying them by birdsong is quite another thing. What about you? The National Bird Day website has a birdsong quiz, see how well you do!
A few years ago I experimented with drawing birds and came up with a sketch that is one continuous line (plumage added). The image above is from earlier attempts, too many lines. The image below is drawn with one line. The drawings are fun to color and embellish (different eyes and added plumage create entirely different personalities). If you're interested, you can download a coloring page here and if you'd like more pages to color, sign-up on our home page for access to two more coloring pages.
Birding can be a casual hobby or consuming passion. Serious birders enter local and world-wide competitions, can identify birds by sight and sound, and travel great distances to see rare species. For the complete newbie, The Big Year, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, offers some (Hollywood) insight into what it takes to win what is a real competition.
If you're interested in learning more, head over to the American Bird Association.