When I was doing my initial sketch for this letter it struck me that the ribbon script took on a bit of a striped pattern. It almost seemed Christmasey...like a Candy Cane. But as soon as I added the little star-like flowers, I immediately thought of Stars and Stripes.
When I started painted the letter, I had lots of colour combinations to consider. I did think of doing this design in Red, White and Blue but in the end, chose to stick with that Persian manuscript colour palette. The gilding stage of the letter immediately toned down that striped effect. The S and ribbon is done with permanent Sap green that I darkened with cerulean blue and lighted with lemon yellow. Opera Rose and Horizon Blue were used for the little florals. The piece is flat gilded using 23 K gold an Rolco aqausize. Diane Townsend pastels in the background as well as fine tec gold. The finished piece is 2"x7" on Arches HP paper.