Sheila’s Song!

The answer to my purpose in teaching the craft and fine art of Calligraphy. I cannot say it better. May this be a gauntlet tossed down with an irresistible “Do it right!” and a mantle covering a puddle of half-hearted “Good enough”s.

portion of Roundel of the Seasons by Sheila Waters



Staring Inconsistency in the Face

I am starting again.

Yes, even though I have failed 100 times out of 100 at consistently posting and blogging and website managing, I am going for a one hundred and first time at consistently posting and blogging and website managing.

Starting now, January 2, 2016. Gratefully.

GRATITUDE“I maintain that thanks is the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G. K. Chesterton




















A New Place to Work!

With all the busy-ness of the summer past, I have ended it with a major move into a new studio. Brick and mortar. It feels so intelligent a direction. Credible. Crazy. But all in perfect time.

I’m upstairs in an old building in old Yorba Linda, overlooking the quiet, usual goings-on of Thursday on this old street. Downstairs in the front of the gallery is a stunning show. Mine. My stuff, some old, some recent is a reminder to me that art work is work, and takes time. The stuff in the show, shows a progression of style, with a lot of versatility and variety – how a calligraphic piece should be. The illustration embellishes the words; the words being the important part of each work.

So, first of all, if you are in the area, come by. Here’s the official flier with a bit of information…


Drop by at these times, or arrange an appointment. It would be best to call first, so I can straighten my studio and open the front door. Looking forward. Movin’ forward!

More pictures tomorrow!

Launching a Campaign


Irene has the best ideas.

I thought I had more ideas than skin pores, but, Irene knows how to do something with them! It often starts with “Mom, you should…” as in this project. Or campaign. She came up with this phrase. I was sold immediately with her statement of purpose.

In our home we talk about what we yearn to experience in our community, and even globally: peace and reconciliation and civil justice and unity and cooperation. We’re not talking fantasy or fad or fun times. We’re talking values and standards which permeate our Judeo-Christian mindset, though they are not perfectly implemented when the going gets tough, and when I need to exercise kindness, and be brave enough to be silent. We’re talking about including our enemies into our hearts, and embracing sounds and souls of a different drummer. C. S. Lewis, in ‘The Weight of Glory’ strikes at the heart of what I’m trying to say: “the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may, one day, be a creature which you worship or, abhor… it is with awe we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics”. And I would repeat, all, for therein lies the challenge and therein demands the exercise.


The Bible says, Love is kind; kindness is a fruit of His spirit; there is no law against kindness. And David was encouraged to wait for the Lord, to be brave, and wait for the Lord. Think about it. Exercise kindness. Feel it. Wear it. Wear your kindness bravely. And if you want to take this literally, we’ve made t-shirts, and notecards and signed, embellished prints to share the message: Be Kind. Be brave.


Twenty per cent of sales goes to individuals and families who can’t return the favor. Make this your campaign too!


I just found a new word: ensouled.I thought I made it up, then checked. It was already a word! A transitive verb, meaning “endowed, enriched, enlarged, inspired”.

To be ensouled, one must have a Source or Benefactor of that ensoulment – people, places, words, and some things inanimate – both visual and conceptual. And to elaborate, giving significance to this matter, the ensoul-ee becomes constrained to benevolence from the gut, the soul.

I am grateful for my ensoul-ors, contributors to my soul’s health. Not that they were created for me; they only passively participated. I have chosen to suck them into me emotionally, mentally, visually, and thus, practically. I am a satisfied, but not satiated, recipient. Grateful.

Not in any particular order: John Singer Sargent, Brooklyn, Henri Matisse, Thomas Ingmire, Julian Waters, C. S. Lewis, Pirate’s Cove Costa Mesa, in a Delta over the Gulf, Jane, Nancy, the words Grace, Kindness, Safe, Cedar Grove Road, N. Greenwood Ave, Redemption, Alexander Calder, the Hebrew words dayenu and nephresh, Calligraffiti, abandoned drive-ins…

There is in the heavens, and in my heart, the One Source of all life, the Giver of breath and spirit, the Restorer of souls, as King David sang in the twenty-third Psalm. All credit and thanks must go to the Lord, my Shepherd, who is actively participating in my soul’s transforming depth.

How about you?


Marie-Denise Villers,Young Woman Drawing, 1801, oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Marie-Denise Villers, detail of Young Woman Drawing, 1801, oil on canvas.                                                                    Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Gripping Maternal Observation

This has nothing to do with handwriting. Or calligraphy. Well, maybe only figuratively speaking.

OK, let’s call it, genetic writing.

It’s been interesting to me since I started having kids some 30 years ago. (SO interesting that I made an 11-year span of it, producing 8!) Phil’s grown up looking like his dad. Hope looks like my side of the family. Amelia takes after Ron’s sister. Teresa looks like me, but her nice calves are just like Ron’s mom… In some ways they all look alike, have like interests and like negative traits. They all mumble except Phil. They each dig in their heels when they have to do something new.

My great-grand father.

My great-grand father, Johann Aumuller.

When Michael was really small, probably around 2, he picked up a crumb on the table with his middle finger and thumb. How many people do that? Yet, I’d observed Ron’s dad use that same organization of finger-skill when fiddling with electronics, specifically, his ham radio equipment. Michael had not spent so much time with his Grampa that he decided to copy. No, it was a random genetic quirk. I call it a Renegade Vagus Gene. (Actually I just now gave it that label.)

THESE ARE MY OWN SUBJECTIVE OBSERVATIONS; NOT SCIENTIFIC, PUBLISHED FACTS. (When I click Publish, am I now published? Oooo!) Neither am I attempting to make some point.

It is just my observation over the 198.5 cumulative years I’ve been a mom that children are bits and pieces of their genetic past, yet, astonishingly they are unique and individual and “fearfully and wonderfully made, ” as King David said in one of his psalms.

Here comes the handwriting part…

My Dad. Same pump, 130 years later.

My Dad, Johann’s grandson. Same pump, 130 years later.

I think we learn the fundamentals from a classic foundation. How to print, how to cursive, how to script, or scribble comes from the examples of those around us. How we loop an a, cross a t, or swoop a g, comes from the immeasurable complexity of how we are constructed. A mystery and a marvel to me!

As far as presenting something instructional or practical to this observation – I hope you’re not looking for that – except to  smile or gasp with me at the unfathomable layers of what made up the person sitting next to you.

All to say… Bea


Last month, we visited NYC. The MET – twice! And still didn’t get through one-fifth of the place! My son Philip led me by the nose through the mass of people to the painting that inspired me as a child. Marie-Denise Villers’ Young Woman Drawing. I gasped. I teared up. I swallowed hard. Partly because here she was before me just as I remembered. Partly because he remembered me showing him the painting in the old ’51 edition of the Book of Knowledge; he was very young.

And, the Sargent paintings. Ahhh. I owe my love of John Singer Sargent to my figure drawing teacher, Richard MacDonald. So nice to meet you in person, Madam X. You are so very beautiful.

The Neue Galerie, an exhibit of Kolomon Moser – look him up, Art Nouveau – was exhilarating. And I fell in love with Klimpt again, both the simplicity of his drawings and the elaboration of his painting, his gilding. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, stunning! Oh, to stand beneath paintings I’ve only seen in books.

We went to the Brooklyn Museum and took in the Sargent watercolours. Again, masterpiece-ly designed, coloured, and executed by the master himself.

The visits to these monolithic museums, as does the Norton Simon and The Getty especially, always inspire me to push myself. Though primarily I am a calligrapher/illustrator, I was pushed to get out the paper and pencil again.

Babies and children and young women are difficult to draw, in that, we naturally want to put in too many lines.

The rule is: keep it simple. The more lines you add to your drawing, (this includes shading) the older the subject looks. And what woman – young or not young – wants someone to render every line on her face – there or not there!!

So, anyway, this is my granddaughter Beatrice, at 16 months, captured in all her tiny little sweetness.

Upcoming Shows…

I’ll be showing some of my  work at a couple of Orange County venues this fall. These are not juried shows, but “show-off” shows to promote Lettering, Penmanship, and Calligraphy, as well as the Book Arts.  Prepare to be WOW-ed!

Handmade Book Exhibit   Fountain Valley Library, October 1 – 31, 2013

Calligraphy Exhibit   Michael Punke’s Studio, Fountain Valley, November & December

Also, my fall class begins September 19 in ITALICS: The Classic & The Contemporary. There’s room for one more!

You want all my news at once? Our book is published. Is that cool or what!  Find it on Kindle today;  and coming in hard copy SOON.



Welcome to the Blog Party

I need to keep on bloggin‘.

Just write it.

Got pen?

ADD NEW POST is the beginning. EDIT is progress. PUBLISH is success.

Hands on your hips, a smile on your lips, spirit in your heart, we’re ready to start!

Cross-fit Calligraphy.

Stand tall, talk small, play keyboard.

It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you write.

Talk with your hands. Play with your heart.

Respect all, fear none.

Fly high, do or die, dare to dream, blog extreme.

Is this any way to write a blog? You bet it is!

So, this is what I’ve been up to, my sport! my passion!

Good Pass. Good Set. Good Bye.

for today…

just what you wanted… a Link!

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last blog. Or since I even looked at this blog! Anyway, I’ve begun putting some old art of mine on Etsy. Mostly prints of previously commissioned work, and more specifically, calligraphed and illustrated verses from the Bible. So, Etsy makes stuff available SO easily!

Next subject: Right after my last blog in November, I bought a Pilot Parallel Pen. I love it. Attached are a couple of things scribbled out. I love the spontaneity and gesture of this kind of writing. What do you think?

The Upright

let the peaceThy Way



Why the Bible? Though I respect the history and substance of  millions of wise and well-meaning men and women, nothing quite hits the mark like God’s Word. He’s laid out in this essential collection everything pertaining to living right. He’s amazingly set forth His standard for men and women to become wise! Anyone wanting a life of rightness needs a standard. Anyone wanting a supply of rightness – and here comes the gospel – need only turn to the man who is right all the time, Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

Thank you for taking the time to read my jottings… Be blessed.