In the beginning

I have two little nephews in Colorado, and one of my greatest privileges as Aunt is to buy them art supplies. Can you think of a more fun present to buy? Paints and markers and colorful papers—all of the fun and messy thing most people grew out of, when the grew up.

I suppose that is one of the best things about being an artist—you can be messy and colorful—it’s almost expected that you will get paint on the floor. But as a kid, it’s definitely expected, so it’s even more fun. And kids have no fear, they just start slopping the paint on, they are enthralled by the color on the page, the way the paint feels on their hands, the marks they can make on the paper.

My 4 and 1/2 year old nephew Simon is just learning his letters, and I was lucky enough to receive one of his handmade holiday cards this year, hand signed:

simoncard_front

(front)

simoncard_back

(back)

I would say this is the beginning of a budding career in hand typography, don’t you think?!

When I was visiting for Thanksgiving, Simon would ask how to draw a certain letter, and his mom or I would try to describe how it looked, or draw it in the air. He is in such a great stage—one where he is really excited by letters and still really thinking about how each one is formed.

Once we get past this stage and don’t have to think about how to make letters, we just start writing and never really think about it again. Doing hand typography, or any typography for that matter (maybe any art) forces you to try and go back to that stage of not knowing, of really thinking about what you’re doing. You almost have to unlearn what they taught you in school.

It’s a wonderful experience, perhaps the one I live for—when you are able to forget what everyone told you and it’s just you, the paper, and the pen. But it can also be really hard to let go. Those moments are a simple miracle when they happen.

Do you have any “zen moment” art stories? I’d love to hear them! Post a comment!

***Thanks to Simon for supplying the artwork for this post! You’re the best!

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2 Responses to “In the beginning”


  1. 1 Pica December 16, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I have a nephew called Simon too. I just love being an aunt.

    I do love this phase, where the world of letters is a world of infinite possibility. I like your practice of making letters all the time, everywhere, to keep you in that phase. I should do more of it.

  2. 2 Ricardo in Mazatlan December 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This would be a ‘Zen moment” of art appreciation. During night watches on our boat I keep an eye on the constellations as entertainment and a way to judge the passing time. Sitting at the helm on passage from Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan in the early early hours of the day in deep darkness and still air I was feeling small small small. Being a new sailor I don’t feel really at home out there at times like that. Behind me a whale breathed a great sigh like you or I would do if our nose were the size of a fire hose. I hadn’t heard it surface and was really startled and felt even more small and out of place. Feeling lonely I looked up and there was Orion, bow drawn, dagger at his side, slowly stealthily following the crescent moon that had just fled beyond the horizon. It was really a comfort to have that human image up there and I was grateful for it. For the next few hours I thought of the mariner, or shepherd, or caravan camel driver that might have first picked out that group of stars and made them into ‘The Hunter’. A great anonymous artist.

    During night watches on the boat I keep an eye on the constellations as entertainment and a way to judge the passing time.


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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."
~Rumi

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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