Monday, October 19, 2009

OOC: Be Careful

I am a member of a group that meets about twice a month to draw pictures, eat snacks & chat up a storm. We envision ourselves as Medieval Illuminators and Calligraphers and call our group a "Scriptorium." (And before you get the wrong idea, I will tell you right away that I am NOT an artist. I can fake it with the best of intent by using a light table, a french curve and a straight edge.) Most of what we do involves going through gorgeous period art books and internet museum sites and saying "oooooh I want to do that!" After we find an exemplar, we decide whether to reproduce it or just let it serve as inspiration. Because we mostly do borders for award scrolls, we usually choose to let the artwork serve as inspiration. I am NOT good at sketching so I always need a lot of encouragement from the others before I even attempt to think about drawing figures or cute little beasties and I usually get it! Yesterday, I had begun to gild a mid 15th century border I had prepared at an earlier session when I upset the gilding glue onto the card stock! This is not the first time I have spilled something on my scrolls: I am an impatient person and rarely take the time to carefully set up my work area. Needless to say, the paper was ruined and very very sticky. The glue dries a bit slowly and sometimes it never completely dries out. Fortunately, the border was a simple geometric that I had planned to gild, paint and then apply white work onto so I have spent a few hours this morning recreating my work onto another piece of card stock.

I started by measuring out the "frame" that will surround the calligraphy. The border is very simple geometric design with 1/4" edges surrounding a 3/4" center. I left white space of 1" surrounding the sides and top of this design and a 1 1/2" white space at the bottom edge so that the scroll can be matted by the recipient if he/she so desires. In the center of the bottom design is a 1 5/8" circle which I will leave unpainted so I can fill in the appropriate badge at a later date. In the center of the top and sides is an "X" made by the crossing of the two 1/4" edges. This gives a little interest to the design and is actually the way the exemplar looks. The small edges of the border will be gilded and the space enclosed by the gold edges will be painted bold colors of ultramarine, crimson and green. These larger rectangles will then be painted on top with what is called "white work."

After I measured out and sketched the design in pencil, I "inked in" the outline so I can see it better when I paint. And no matter how carefully I draw with the pen, I always make a mistake. Then the trick is to hide the error! So now I have a 9 x 12 sheet of bristol board with the outlines drawn in pen and a big mistake where I forgot to draw in the top "X." Now I must make a decision whether to draw up the design again or just work the error into the design. /me gets up to blog about being careful...

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