Monday, March 5, 2018

Adding Arms and Blazon

For Barleycorn/ Ostgard Investiture I had an AoA assignment which I delivered and got to see go out in Court. It was awesome, and I was so glad she enjoyed it. 

So the recipient, Cailleach, sought me out and had me add her Arms and Blazon to the scroll. I've never been asked to do this before! She sent me an amazing photo of the scroll framed and hanging on the wall. I won't lie (or hold back) - I cried a little. To know that my work was so treasured, I was truly touched. It's the wish of every scribe to know that their work is loved, and displayed for all to see. It was the kindest thing she could have done for me. 

Of course I said I'd finish the scroll and we arranged for me to pick up the piece at Dancing Fox and return it to her at Mudthaw. Sadly I cannot go to Mudthaw, but a courier will take it for me. (I love my couriers very, very much - every scribe does. They are wonderful people who do a great service for this Kingdom.) 

The piece came to me well packaged and opening it back up and seeing my work I noticed all the places that I have improved, and the places where I did better than I thought. It was a little scary to work on my own piece again, and wonderfully fulfilling too. I am thankful for this chance. 

The finished piece: 

I left myself possibly the SMALLEST shield to put the arms in! This is a lesson I will absolutely remember in the future and I will give a larger space for the arms. I also didn't leave enough room for the blazon to be added comfortably. Again, a lesson that I am taking to heart for the future. My sincerest apologies to any and all scribes who've had to add Arms and Blazon to an AoA I've done! 

I think my camera was tipped a little, because the text is much more straight than it appears here. Overall though, I am happy with the results and, more importantly, Cailleach is happy with the results. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Urnes style AoA

Or, Aaradyn goes Minimalist

The SCA as a whole has a lot of Vikings. I think that's awesome, but it makes doing original scrolls tricky. See, the Vikings didn't illuminate the way other cultures did. This forces us scribes to think outside the box.

Or page. ;)

There is a Stave Church in Norway with the most amazing carved doorways. It's in the Urnes style, a very specific style of knotwork that shows up many places in Norse culture. I have a theory that the doorways were painted once, but since it's been around since forever the color is gone and the beauty of the weathered wood is all that remains. UNESCO - Stave Church doorway detail

It's still breathtakingly beautiful.

I received an assignment for a Viking AoA, and decided to use the church doorway detail linked above. There aren't an abundance of Norse period works to draw from, and it makes us stretch as a scribe to use artifacts instead of books as our inspiration.

In choosing something that is not already a vibrant color, as an artist you have a lot of options. However, to stay in period you need to know what your color palate is, and Norse works are no different. I decided to follow the color layout of the abundant runestones from the era, and chose simple red on a beige piece of pergamenata. I left off pieces of the work that would have lead off the page, and modified others to keep the design contained. Parts of this design do not exactly follow the usual course of knotwork from the 12th and 13th centuries. My knotwork techniques have improved since then.

The ink on this piece is Higgins, and is much closer to the consistency of period ink. I find it much easier to work with. I didn't yet have my Mitchell nibs, so this was done with a Speedball nib. This piece does, however, show the lines from my Ames guide, and I have Mistress Eleanor and Master Alexander to thank for my working knowledge of that excellent tool.

I have not yet done a Norse scroll using runes, and I am unlikely to anytime soon. I am not comfortable enough with writing in runes to attempt that yet. For the most part I do try to match the hand with the time period, but in the case of my Norse persona scrolls I tend to use Unical. I'm familiar with it, it's comfortable for me, and it is not glaringly wrong.

Goldwork for a Silver Wheel

Goldleaf is not my strong suit. I'm getting better, but yeah... it's definitely something I need to work on.  For this piece, the goal was even application and straight lines. I didn't quite achieve that, but I am happy with the piece nonetheless.

My other challenge with this piece was to use a faux Arabic hand for the calligraphy. I learned two things from working with this hand:
one, I need to work on my spacing considerably and
two, I need to relax my hand more when writing

That said, I had a lot of fun with this scroll, and I feel my white work was much better. Thanks again to Mistress Eva for her color matching lessons! I think my next lesson is to stop second guessing myself and trust my eyes.

This is a scroll for a Silver Wheel, referenced from an Iranian book of poetry to Muhammed.

French in the month of May

At Pennsic I was asked if I was interested in doing a page for the East Kingdom calendar 2018. Truth be told, I was overjoyed! I don't think I jumped up and down when Mistress Rhonwen asked me, but I might have...

I love the French style of artwork, and so listed it as one of the styles I'd prefer to paint. It was my assignment once they were announced, and with Rhonwen's help I found a wordsmith to translate the page into French. Many, many thanks to the research team that helped get the text sorted for me!

Then it was on to research! Tournaments are what brought me into the SCA, and being involved with the Deed at GNEW has solidified my love of the 14th century, so it seemed fitting that I chose a tourney scene. I chose a page from France, c 1330 - Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, Perrin Remiet 
(Royal MS 20 D I / f6r).  The text came from Froissart's chronicles:

A il la nul gentilhomme qui pour l’amour de sa dame voulsist faire aucun fait d’armes? 
Se il en y a nulz, veéz me cy tout appareillié pour yssir hors armé de toutes pieces, monté a cheval jouster trois coups de glaive, ferir trois coups de hache et trois coups de dague.
Si en ait qui puet et tout pour sa dame. Or verra on entre vous Anglois se il y a nul amoureux.

"Is there no gentleman among you who would perform some feat of arms for the love of his lady? If there is, then here I am, ready to go forth fully armed and mounted to tilt with the lance three times, to land three blows of the battle axe, and three strokes of the dagger. So let there be someone who can undertake such a feat, and all for his lady. Now let us see amongst you Englishmen if there be any of you in love." 

It was excellent, and perfect for the scene. I am exceedingly happy with how this came together. Mistress Eleanor was kind enough to be my calligrapher for this, and her hand is (as always) exquisite. 

gouache on pergamenata

An AoA in the style of a Carpet Page

Every now and again I get an assignment for someone I actually know - these, honestly, are the best and the hardest assignments. Pressure! But the good kind ;)

When I received this assignment, I immediately reached out to get confirmation on some ideas I had from the one who wrote him in, and everything fell together wonderfully.

The finished scroll: inspired by the Book of Kells, containing wolves instead of cats as was the preference of the recipient.

Gouache on Perg
Calligraphy, Words, and Illumination by me.

The Book of Kells is available online, however, I pulled this image from a book I own. In the original Book, this is f 187v, The End of the Gospel According to Mark. I chose this specific page because of the text placement.

I replaced the Book that Mark was holding in the original with a shield for the recipient's Arms. The lion on the right was done partially in blue to allude to the East Kingdom's blue Tyger.

The recipient loves wolves, so the cats that originally appeared in the uprights on each side were replaced with a Celtic style wolf, modeled on a wolf that appears elsewhere in the Book of Kells.

I am, overall, very happy with how this turned out. I did trace the general design of this scroll from the original page. All detail work was done freehand. The colors were matched to the online images from the Book of Kells as the book I have is a poor quality for color matching. I used Higgins ink and a Mitchell nib, and I am never switching away from Mitchell now that I know how easy they are to use. The control was significantly easier.

When I was doing the layout for this scroll, the original has very few words in the center sections. It took a lot of trial and error to get everything to work out. I did intentionally lay out the text so that the word East is centered and the only word on the line.

This broke one of the "rules" that I've set for myself in the past, that the illumination should encapsulate all the text, including the signatures. I wanted to follow the original with the text size as much as possible, and using a scan of the page and a text editor I was able to reach the look that fit best. This couldn't include the signature lines, so I placed those below the finished piece.

A new year, a new role

At Crown last year I spoke with the East Kingdom Clerk Signet and after much agreement and some reassurance on both sides I took on the role of Central Region Deputy to the Clerk Signet.

I'm happy to have the chance to serve the Kingdom in a role I've served my Barony in for a while. I love helping people with all things scribal, and I hope that people feel comfortable coming to me with their questions. That said - if you have questions, please ask!

Yours in Service,

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A map in the style of Tolkien

I was asked to do a map for the Battle of 5 Armies and, of course, I said yes. Pass up a chance to paint Smaug on a map????? Never!

So, a few weeks, a lot of acrylic, a portable backdrop stand, and a paint drop cloth later...

here's the 5' high by 9.5' wide unstretched canvas map.

(it took up my whole living room. no lie. I moved furniture and it took up half the walkable space. It was worth it though!!!!) It was hung in the Gate area at 5 Armies by thumbtacks, survived the weekend, and now lives with the Shire of Quintavia.

This piece is a piece of raw canvas and a lot of burnt sienna acrylic paint. Zero period techniques went into creating this. I rough sketched the map with pencil and dove straight in with paint. Nothing is labeled with words as it was necessary for there to be flexibility.

I kept a few different maps handy to keep the style in mind, but only the specific map of the campground was strictly followed.