Anita George demonstratesAfter 20 yrs as a Draftswoman/Tracer working for Engineering companies on the drawing board, computers arrived.

And I left.

I had another few years doing ‘Estate design landscape’, coloured pencils and all, but that too died.

My dislike of computers was born. Cold, divorced from reality, I found myself looking for the tactile, the bonding of paper, ink and my hand.

The Calligraphy Society of Victoria had that in abundance. The practice, the rhythm of the letters was actually therapeutic and rewarding. With O/S tutors the tightness was replaced with freedom. Rapid pen marks matched with flowing letters were gradually mastered.

RSI diminished my fine motor skills, but I had the experience by then to adapt to larger, full arm, flowing brush or nib. And i had moved to Warragul and a huge studio. Such freedom to work large and in different mediums and styles.

A workshop in Venice gave me even more freedom, and such an experience.

Using other people’s words is how we all start, but copyright is respected and with confidence I now use my own words.

My work is spontaneous. I might start with words, or a feeling/mood. The base triggers more words, the words more paint, until the layering looks ‘right’. Or a single brush mark—backed by 20 years—will just flow onto the paper, glistening like a deep river. The scratch of a pen, the smell of ink are all there in a moment.

Of course commissions, or some works require full design: ruling of paper, etc. Meticulous application of gold and paint require tiny brushes and patience.

By now the words are often illegible; they have given over to the feeling of the piece, inviting the viewer to step closer and look – job done.

‘Learn the rules before you break the rules.’

Once the letters are mastered, the freedom is amazing.