Sunday, January 31, 2016

Scroll Finished in Gouache and Pen

Award of Arms Scroll painted and finished

Detail - gold and red ornamented capital A letter

The grand finish on my Award of Arms scroll for the Society for Creative Anachronism.  I also got a detail photo of the big gold capital A in progress, though taking that photo showed me I needed to do a second layer of the gold. 

I used a 23.75kt gold dot from Jerry's Artarama, called "shell gold" because in the Middle Ages you would get gold ground fine as a pigment from a goldsmith, mix it with gum arabic and store it in a clamshell till it's used. Basically watercolor in which the pigment is real powdered gold. The best gold paint ever, anywhere, actual gold made into paint. 

Awesome cool and I always loved using it. These projects for the SCA let me really have fun with this sort of thing. Some scribes copy from medieval sources directly. I tend to freehand them and adapt designs and motifs, sometimes create my own in the spirit of the originals. This one combines style elements from more than one page in the same document, the Luttrell Psalter, dated to between 1320-1340 AD. 

Award of Arms is given for service to the society, which is extraordinary in the amount of credit and applause given to people who cook or clean up after events and meetings, do the paperwork of event permits and organize things. One way to gain rank is to be a really good fighter, win lots of tournaments and teach fighting and related arts. Another is the Arts & Sciences, my path, getting good at medieval arts and teaching them. Third is Service - the folks who check people in at events, cook and serve feasts, clean up after events, always stay late and get things done when people need help. Award of Arms is the start of getting rank in the Society - but if you'd notice, all three paths involve some sort of altruism, at least teaching people in your branch.

It's a unique balance that makes for well run, luxurious events that cost relatively little to attend compared to say a Renfaire, but are totally immersive. I've enjoyed it whenever I had access to it - something that takes having a car or a reliable ride to the local group, so that varied. If my housemates or the people giving rides weren't into it, I didn't really get involved. When they do, I love it.

This is going to dovetail nicely with my equine studies too because regionally the group's got a lot of equestrian activities - and that means painting or drawing knights on horses wearing gorgeous caparisons, but my own pride means I want to draw them and their steeds as accurately as Leonardo da Vinci or Botticelli, not as sort of awkward "hooved cat" animals. 

This is becoming a good chunk of my offline social life and it's a lot of fun. So watch for more medieval calligraphy and illumination among my posts. I've finally got my stuff together for it!

Dip pen came into it again with the pretty red decorations on the big letter. I used a Crowquill dip pen, which is the small handle with the teeny tiny pointy nib. Those are fun, like using Pigma Microns or Rapidographs but changing colors fast and easy, wipe with a facial tissue easy! I didn't have red ink yet so used Vermilion watercolor, which matched the Vermilion gouache that I used in the border and harmonized the big letter with the border. Now that it's finished I'm very happy with the colors in it!

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