Friday, December 30, 2011
Project completed for 2011. What a learning experience!
I had such fun along the way. It was great to play along with my dear friend Dana.
Along the way I learned many new techniques which I merged into a new workshop offering, The Enchanted Letter. I found more avenues to explore in designing illuminated letters which can be used with script lettering. One of the books I discovered along this journey is called Guide for the Drawing the Acanthus, and Every Description of Ornamental Foliage by James Page. The complete text is available online as a download but I did get a good quality reprint of this book through abebooks. I have been enjoying studying the various ways of drawing acanthus.
Overall, I think the best part of this journey for me has been making friends with a pencil! My previous way of studying illuminated letters was to take an historic example and update it with my own colours. This helped painting skills but did nothing for the design process. It also locked me into looking for a style of letter that would match my text. It was very empowering to find that I could design my own letters and foliate work to use with my script. I read a very important article on The Painters Keys this year about learning through copying the masters. It is valuable as a learning process but out of respect for the master that you have studied, we should destroy the canvas. I keep that in the back of my mind now as I look at historic examples to study! The historic manuscripts provide so much in the way of inspiration. I see them now more as a springboard to creativity rather than trying to copy them. I especially loved looking through the Persian manuscripts. Like the Italian manuscripts, their love of pink draws me instantly!
My personal studies in 2011 were very fulfilling. I am sad to say goodbye to this project but I am really looking foward to expanding it and seeing where else it will go. Thanks for reading and chiming in now and then. Happy New Year dear friends!
Friday, December 23, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Down to the home stretch with the illuminated letter project. I can hardly believe another year is nearly gone. While I spent the year exlporing techniques and learning more and more about the illuminated letter, one thing stayed consistent. My use of pink! I don't think I could ever give up pink in my palette or that Sakura clear stardust gelly roll pen. This letter is 3 1/2'' x 1 1/2" on Arches HP watercolour paper. I used alizarin crimson and carmine with a touch of bleedproof white to achieve the colour variations in the pinks. A very pale of wash of Hooker's green was used for the leaves. 23K gold leaf is flat and raised gilded. Raised gilding in the center was achieved with homemade gesso. Background burnish in Diane Townsend pastels. Finetec gold and Sakura clear stardust gel pen are added as accents along with silver hot foil.
Friday, December 2, 2011
When teaching the Enchanted Letter workshop, our first letterform needed to combine a simple script letter with an open area to flourish and decorate. There are no foliate extensions on these letterforms. I call these Embedded Letters. They are based on Victorian Embroidery techniques. The embroiderer would build up the script letterform with a satin stitch and then decorate the open area with buillion stitch roses, French knots, leaf stitch and even little pearls. Back in my embroidery days, I would probably have done a motif like this in whitework and embellished with shiny rayon or metallic threads. Painting the letter is much quicker! This 2"x2" piece is done on Fabriano HP paper and is gilded with Pallaldium leaf. This was my first time using palladium which made the letter Xperimental! It is a very different effect to look at your paper and see siver reflected back rather than gold. Initially, I did all the accent strokes in the Steriing Silver Finetec that usually lies dormant on the end of my palette. I still felt it needed the intensity of the gold and added some gold strokes as well. Background is pastel burnished with Diane Townsend pastels and the Sakura Clear Stardust gel pen adds some sparkle along with the silver hot foil. I thought the simple shape of X would work well to capture the Embedded Letter technique before I complete the project in a few weeks.