Thursday, August 25, 2011

Q is for Quick!

Still exploring the foliate elements of Persian Manuscripts and the influce can be seen in this piece. Although I simplified the shapes of the flowers and leaves I love the colouring style of the Persian illuminations. I am working with transparent watercolour instead of gouach but the colours are similar to the ones I have seen online. This Q was done quite quickly! Although I had the design drawn on my Fabriano watercolour paper, I didn't have time to paint it. This morning I used Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils for the design. The letter Q is mainly Cobalt Turquoise (a nice Fairy Tale colour) and was shaded with Pthalo Blue. The ribbon is Magenta and shaded with Red Violet. The leaves were done in Leaf Green and Light Green. McCaffery brown is used in the desing and flourishes and outlining were done in shell gold. The piece is flat gilded with 23k American shade gold. Finished size is 5"x2".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Illumination Class Day Two: The Fox and the Rebec

I enjoyed my last day of illumination class painting this little fox. Usually we spend a week in illumination class but this year we reduced the class to two days. This little fox was based on a 15th Century French Manuscript. I worked on goat skin from Pergamena for this piece. I prepared the skin with pumice and gum sandrac and found it held the painted lines beautifully. The finished size is 3"x2" and is flat gilded with 23K gold leaf. Such a wonderful day spent illuminating.

Illumination Class Day One: Leo the Lion

Three times a year I get the opportunity to study with Master Illuminator Debbie Thompson Wilson. She has a knack for finding the most whimsical medieval manuscripts to work from. She sees the beauty and potential in images that I would probably not give a second glance to. It is so inspriting to be able to spend time with her.The classes focus on painting techniques. We don't create an original image to work from but we take an existing medieval or renaissance image and try to transform it in some way. This little Leo the Lion is 1 3/4" x 1 3/4" on Arches HP paper. The lion is painted with Yellow Ochre, Brown Orchre, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna. We did light washes of the yellow ochre and then built up the fur in layers with a dry brush techqnique and 10/0 brush. This small little guy took nearly 4 hours to paint. I tried out Debbie's Haff ruling pen for the outline guilding. I had a hesitation with the ruling pen that is reflected in the gilding but next time I will be more confident! The background was painted in washes of cobalt blue, followed by French Ultramarine blue and then a shadow layer of Paynes Grey. Talons Rich Gold was used for the pattern work in the background which don't show up too well in the scan. On to a larger project today!

Friday, August 12, 2011

P is for Purple

I tried my hand with the painting the letter in gouache. While I like gouache, I am not thrilled with it on HP paper. I tend to get nicer effects of vellum. I miss the transparency of watercolour in the letter but the gouache stands up as a good foil to the bright gold leaf. Finished size is 4" x 1 3/4" on Fabriano HP paper. The foliage is painted with Holbein Leaf green and Winsor Newton Sap green. The lavender roses and buds were painted with my Diane Townsend Pastels and darkened slightly with Winsor Newton Mineral Violet. McCaffery brown and Finetec gold were used for accent strokes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to Flourishes!

I am very happy with Old World Iron Gall ink. It was such a treat to meet David Spitzer who creates the ink at the Phoenix conference. I came home well stocked up with the ink and wanted to try my line and wash technique with it. So far, I only use McCaffery's brown for this technique, but the Old World Ink seemed to do the job. The ink is more densely black than McCaffery's Penman's Black. It holds beautiful hairlines and shades. It is becoming a studio favourite of mine. This little bird flourish is 5x7 on Somerset Satin Soft White Printmaking paper. Another treasure from The Pastel Studio. The paper is very soft and slightly textured but is a perfect surface for flourishing. This piece was done entirely with an Esterbrook 357 pen point which is extremely sharp and flexible, but the paper did not resist the nib. The flourish is tinted with Derwent Metallic Watercolour pencils and then blended with a moist watercolour brush. Great fun on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.