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.

A Celt AoA with a monster

A Celtic persona will usually get a page out of one of two books: The Book of Kells or the Lindisfarne Gospels. This recipient got both.

For the top of the scroll I chose the letter P from the Lindisfarne Gospels, f 5b.
For the end I chose the letter A from the Book of Kells, f 26r.

I love the monster at the end of this scroll. I painted it because I wanted to work more on having an element of the design holding the shield, not just a shield in free space. The three headed monster from this page was the inspiration for the whole piece. The books themselves are similar enough in design that it wasn't difficult adapting the earlier Kells style to the only slightly later Lindisfarne style and creating a cohesive scroll.

I'm exceedingly happy with the red dots around the top line and initial. It took forever but the effect is just as I saw in the book and that makes me smile.

The crosses you see in the corners (which were erased before it was sent to the event) are my markers for the matting edge. Mistress Eleanor told me I wasn't leaving enough room on the edges of my scrolls for matting, and I've thought back to that every time I lay out a scroll. I now leave about 2" around the outside edge, which in some cases is very close to the amount of room around the text in a Book of Hours.

I also decided that spelling out Hundred was a bit much, and put in the Roman number instead. I do kinda wonder how many people noticed that. I did not do that on the cut sheet for the herald to read during Court.

Apollo's Arrow

French is a style that I have enjoyed for a while, and I really think I'm getting better at it.

This is an Apollo's Arrow, and no - the original doesn't have a huge banner hanging off the side of the castle, but I really like how this worked, and enjoyed adding the award badge as something other than a random floating circle somewhere on the page. I'm working on incorporating the badge or shield for AoA as an element of the design and while I sometimes don't hit the mark, I feel like I'm improving on that considerably.

One of the hard parts of illumination is people. I used to avoid them at all costs. Now it seems like I'm taking every opportunity to add someone in. I'm extra happy with how the fabric turned out in this one. I am less happy with how my shading turned out, but it is something I'm working on and I believe that I have improved on this technique. It's difficult not to let my modern sensibilities punch their way into my work, but I'm trying.

I'm also very happy with how the blue ink accents came out on this scroll. They're much closer to period than some of my other attempts.

AoA at 12th Night

Twelfth Night! eventually I'll go... but for now sending scrolls will have to do. ;)

This is an AoA in the French style, taken from Royal MS 10 E IV, f 6v - honestly, I chose this because there's a dog. I don't know if the recipient has a dog, but it was too cute of a scene to pass up. Plus, she's a cook, and the woman in the scene had an apron :)

I'm getting better with my white work (thank you Eva and Nataliia!) and while I'm not 100% happy with my calligraphy here, I know what I did wrong and have worked on it since. (spacing. I'm rubbish at spacing.) I'm also better with my color matching here, something that I have to work at more.

Shell gold again here.  I like it a little better, but in these you often have texture in the gold so it's seems to fit better. (I'm pretty sure I erased the lines before I sent it out.)

Silver Wheel in Persian style

This was an exciting scroll for me, mostly because of the recipient's persona.
I don't have the skill to attempt a pseudo-hand yet, so the hand is early Roman as it's a hand I am more comfortable with.

This is inspired by the Wonders of Creation, Incipit page, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.593, fol. 1b.

There are a few things I would do differently if doing this scroll again, not the least of which is getting minatum in time to use leaf gold instead of shell gold. I think the shell worked, but it could have been better.

One hallmark of this style, based on the Quran, is the very crisp geometry of the designs. Mine were a little more loose than they should have been. I didn't give this the time I should have, and I do feel it suffered for it.

Overall though, I am happy with the results.

An AoA for Barleycorn

Another page from the Book of Kells, f 34v and f 45r.

This is a combination of two pages within the book, both from the same section of the book. I love that there were multiple people who worked on the Book of Kells, and the differences in their styles show slightly. There are some changes on this scroll over the original text - I over embellished the capital letters, and did use some gold where there is none in the Book of Kells.

The knotwork on this is smaller than I've done in the past, and I think better as I'm learning more about how the knotwork flows.

This is not my best calligraphy, but I think it's slightly better than in the past.

Tyger's Cub

This was fun... A Book of Kells inspired Tyger's Cub for a child of Malagentia...

Calligraphy and Illumination by me, Words by Nicol mac Donnchaidh

Yes, I went crazy overboard with the illuminated letters. And yes, that *is* a tiny portrait of HRM Honig in the first letter of her name.

I had a TON of fun with this scroll!

I really enjoy having Nicol as a wordsmith - he's brilliant with words, and I strive to do them justice.

There are so many different folios that I used to create this scroll, it'd be forever to list them all. They are all from the Book of Kells. I wanted the whimsy that came from the various illuminated letters, and the chance to put the Queen's face on a scroll was too good to pass up. All in all I'm much happier with my calligraphy on this one. Mistress Eva taught me a few things about practicing calligraphy and they've come in handy.

I took it upon myself to style the Tyger's Cub differently than the armorial shows - it felt odd to put a French style Tyger on a Celtic scroll. So I dove into Kells and found a (mostly) upright Tyger and drew it into the badge for the award. I am extremely happy with how it came out.

We have our bearings, Captain.

I have been slowly working on the directives I gave myself a while back, or the one that is - to present more period work.

Having participated in some (but sadly not all) of the A&S events I set myself over the last year, it occurs to me that I really haven't been giving scribal the time it deserves. I'm changing that today.

As of today, the first full day of the newest Reign in the East Kingdom, I am committing myself to completing more assignments. Not just Kingdom assignments, but personal assignments too. I finished painting a piece that I started doodling at Pennsic recently. It occurred to me that I have a LOT of those sitting around - sketches I started but didn't finish, layouts half done and sitting in my scriptorium, just general stuff that I've printed out or bookmarked to "to do later"... yeah. too much.

So, I'm working on my A&S presentation book. I'm creating more works that will not go to a recipient, but will instead go into my book to show as the opportunity presents.

Here's the piece I was doodling at Pennsic and painted just a few days ago. 

Mistress Eva looked this piece over, and my color matching still needs work. This is, however, closer than I've gotten in the past and while I'm tempted to scrap this and start over, I'm not going to. I am happy with how it looks and it is relatively close to the original. This will go in my A&S displays in the future, with a discussion on how my color matching is improving.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Kells Ducks for an AoA

I wanted to do a Kells based scroll, but as this was before I was ready to do my own calligraphy I asked one of the excellent Laurels of our Barony to do it for me. She agreed.

Here is the finished scroll:

Burdended Tyger

This was illumination I did, which was later calligraphed by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng.

I have since gotten much better at leaving more room for framing.

gouache on pergamenta