I’ve been wanting to make larger pieces of calligraphy. I would have scrolled past Loredana Zega‘s post on Instagram if she hadn’t titled it, “CALLIGRAPHY WALLS“! I’ve been learning about sign painting lately and I think larger letters would reach more people. I have more to say now than I used to want to. Loredana included several slides of inspiring murals with that post and I pretty much sent her an email right away.

After I registered, I got an email from an extended family member asking if I could write some special phrases on her family wall at home. When it’s right it’s right! I agreed to do the mural after taking the class.

Loredana sent a simple list of materials to the class and sweetly tacked on a few more things later. I already had most things and I just wanted to get started writing on the walls!

She taught the Calligraphy Walls course over 4 days, starting with thumbnail drawings and taking them to large scale work. This was so helpful! I needed more practice at thoughtfully placing my layouts in pencil before even thinking of picking up a calligraphy pen. I’m fairly experienced in things going differently than I expected. I’m moving toward things going as planned!

Large letters for calligraphy walls

Large Brush Calligraphy

At the same time I was taking this class, I was enrolled in an online Italic calligraphy class with John Stevens. Writing calligraphy with such a large brush was new to me, but I was glad to have understanding of beautiful calligraphic hands to be working in. I fell in love with writing with a large brush. It’s so juicy but elegant at the same time. I felt like an expert calligrapher while doing it. This was just for me to get an idea of the size of the letters and what it would feel like to write with a brush at the wall.

Layers of paint and text for future calligraphy walls
Here we were practicing a dry-brush technique to layer other calligraphy on top of. I share this photo with the note that this was for me to quickly participate in the experience and not necessarily the quality of my work!

Layering

Loredana taught us all about how she chooses and mixes her colors and how they work together. It was easy to understand and put into use. She showed us how and why she chooses to place her strokes and colors for her fantastic calligraphy walls.

My hands before I washed the paint off of them, covering a mockup sketch for calligraphy walls
I have pages and pages of calligraphy experiments, testing sizes and pens, overlapping text with lots of notes.

Playing With Text Weight

This is where we got to add nuance and interest to our design. These elements seemed to draw the viewer in and make the mural or piece something the viewers could spend some serious time with. This is important to me since murals often occupy shared spaces.

Overcoming Fear

This is a cornerstone to this type of work for me. Not only does one have to be a skilled artist to operate at this scale, one has to be willing to have others view their work. Fear of not being perfect — not “adequate”, but perfect– stops me in my creative momentum all the time. Just get the paint on the wall! See what happens! I needed this encouragement and permission. Even though I was excited to start.

Mixing up paint with a BIG brush to write on practice paper
I always forget how much I love to just keep writing, painting, or printing when I have a whole creative station set up. I’m using the 1 inch brush again here to mix up blue paint. I had kraft paper taped to the wall to practice writing on.

Joy of Creative Play

This is a concept that I keep coming across lately — the importance of letting loose and experimenting for the fun of it. I think we only learn by doing and that experience lives in the body with all of our emotions. The more experiences I have with joy, even as I make mistakes and course-correct, the closer I navigate toward alignment.

And the more I get to see what I like and share it with others! The less hung up I am about doing something perfectly, the more freely my creativity flows. So just getting errors on the wall, making strokes and shapes with my arms, and feeling what it is to put a large piece together brought me to a new space of awareness.

Loredana showed us a few things we can do when we make a mistake. She even showed us how to incorporate it into our calligraphy walls. Murals are somewhat temporary by nature, and I was surprised at all the possibilities the shorter lifespan of the work opened up.

"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time." Kristen Mayer
The final piece I did for class using most techniques Loredana taught us. Of course, I had plenty of notes and will improve from here!

And Now . . .

It’s time for me to get more paint onto the walls! Here’s a link to the first mural I painted in my home before the class: “Gather”, and a link to the first mural I painted after the class: Layered Calligraphy Mural.

I would love to personalize your space with words that are meaningful to you! Use the button below to submit a request or schedule a mural consultation with me.

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