Paper Gifts - Not just for first anniversaries

I was just home for almost two weeks in Portland, Oregon and one of the questions concerned family members and friends kept asking was, "Are you getting enough work?"  It's a valid question, so I think there was a fair amount of surprise, on their part and mine, when I could honestly answer, "Yes!"  The understandable follow-up question was usually, "That's great!  What kind of stuff are you doing?"
And then I'd go kind of glassy eyed as I rattled off the variety of projects I've been lucky enough to do in the last 6 months:  digital work, logo work, design for letterpress, giclée printing, gouache painting, handwritten, hand-calligraphied, envelopes, cards, signs, chalkboards, mugs... I hope the list never ends or gets less varied.   

I've only recently discovered gouache paint, despite all of the art classes I've taken over the years.  It was recommended to be a good ink for practicing calligraphy with certain nibs, and then after building up a bit of a color collection, I figured I should learn how to paint with it, too. It basically serves as a more opaque watercolor.  It dries quickly, maintains its color nicely and has a consistency easily manipulated by water instead of expensive oils like some other paints I've used over the years.    So I was excited to bring it into some calligraphy pieces as a way to enhance the designs with color.  

I got that opportunity when McKenzie contacted me to do an anniversary gift for her husband of five years.   After going back and forth with a few ideas, we thought that taking some lyrics from one of their songs and arranging them into three compositions, to be displayed together, would work best.  McKenzie mentioned the colors of the room in which they'd be displayed and I was a little nervous at first about incorporating gold - metallic inks are notoriously fidgety, but once I got everything down on paper, including some gouache detailing for the embellishments, I was really excited about the final products.  

And I heard yesterday from McKenzie that she and her husband are, too!  Which is the best part of what I do.  

Here are a few shots of how they turned out, and one that McKenzie sent after getting them gorgeously framed!