Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stars And Stripes

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.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Restful R!

These days are absolutely packed with travel, study, commission work and teaching. But I still love the time I get to try to plan and design one of these Victorian style letters. I spent the day studying Persian manuscripts. I think I am so attracted to the strong, vibrant colours while they are still technically pastel colours. I see the underlying white in the palette and I have been doing some experimenting with it. The dark black calligraphic lines intermingled with the pastel floral flourishes are fascinating to me. I wasn't brave enough to do the script letter in black but maybe next time. After filling my mind with beautiful Persian manuscripts I tried to go sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for my letter R. I recorded the sketch in my journal beside the bed and my little book light.
In the morning, I had the design ready and all I needed to do was transfer it to my watercolour paper and paint away! Finished design is 1"x 5" on Fabriano HP paper and is rasied gilded with 23 K gold leaf. I mixed bleedproof white with Sap Green, Hooker's Green, Rose Carmine, Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Blue and Horizon Blue to achieve the pastel colours. Diane Townsend pastel burnish in the background with Holbein Brilliant gold gouache accent strokes.