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Jacobean Card

I did some gluing up of cards today – 3 more to go.

Thanks to a post on a Scribies list about the Macclesfield Psalter, I found a page of Christmas Cards based on Medieval Mss

(thanks Motley Fool)

I kind of wish I’d thought of doing a more ‘Christmas-sy Medieval’ style card like the examples there – but I did choose the Jacobean Tapestry because i thought that my friends would like an example of my recent work without it having sleigh bells or something on it and so they’d just shove it in a drawer once the Season had passed. Still – the ideas at the FitzWilliam are a good compromise and there’d be millions of other suitable images.

Next year! :-)
Sally (MEtoo) is very excited at the idea of some pink notecards and matching envelopes with dragons on them, reproduced in the same way as I did Dianne’s writing paper and envelopes (“A little project” label). Her next birthday isn’t til next August tho.

Here’s one backed. I’ve got shades of brown for the boys on my list, and apricot colours for the girls, with consideration given to those who like bright colours. I was very glad that my splurge on “scrap booking paper” (like this linen press card I’ve used) that I had a few months ago came in useful.

While I’m here, here’s a scan of the greeting done in Dr Martin’s Irridescent ink in Copperplate Gold. I mentioned a couple of posts back that the ink’s coverage was nowhere near as good as the Pelikan Gold Gouache in pan, and now you can see the difference. Or maybe it’s a matter of carefully loading the pen for every stroke or two when you are using the Irridescent Ink so you get full pigmentation. Don’t know, don’t care – I like the Pelikan.
I can always use the Iridescent Ink for washes – tho it seems a bit of a waste. Anyone wanted a very slightly used bottle of Dr Martin’s in Copperplate Gold? I think I have two bottles of the dratted stuff.

The first is in the ink, the second in the goauche. They are actually more similiar IRL – the scan has really greyed out the ink and not let those little flashy particles sparkle – but still, the difference is very obvious.

I was actually able to do some gothic script practise this morning – the Gods with Snow quote. I don’t seem to have gone too backwards after missing practise for the time it’s taken me to do the Jacobean Card.
And i had a look at the script analysis and the questions the other day. It’s very in depth and complicated, and I kind of shuddered at the thought of getting my brain back around it – but get back around it I shall. I’m not that far from finishing, and being able to start practising the actual script. After that, an analysis of the illumination style, and then … I get to do a piece in the style.

My questions about glazing was meet with a dead silence. Meisterin Helene reckons the subject is a bit rarified and complicated. I’ll chase people like Randy on it when I’m back concentrating on lymning styles.
I do have to say that I am intrigued by the possibility of painting the Gottingen Model Book acanthus in a ‘glaze’ style, rather than using opaque goauche to do the shading. Using a glaze is exactly what the Gottingen Model book says to do, with thinned paint, but I kind of ignored that and blended in the colours of the opaque paint. Still looks good, but it’ll be great to see the differences in how they look.

Jacobean Card – writing

I’ve gone through and signed the prints of the picture. My first signed piece!
I’ll have to come up with a little emblem to say it’s me.

I’ve cut out and ripped the edges (using one of those rough-edged metal rulers) of lots of little squares of Bockingford paper to paste on the back of the cards. These will have the greetings and personal note written on them.

I was going to use Dr Martin’s Irridescent Ink – Copperplace Gold (11R) to write “Season’s Grettings”. I wrote out a test sentence using it and was disappointed by the uneveness of the pigmentation (even after lots of shaking and stirring).

I wet up my Pelikan Gold (Or – presumable “Gold” in German) goauche pan, and the colour was the same dark gold colour, with far far better pigmentation. I’m a convert. I’m actually getting a bit of build up/raised writing on the page.

Jacobean Card – Finished


Now to print 15 copies on good paper and back onto card stock that tones with the colours in the picture.

It’s 10 x 14 cm in real life. (4 x 5 inch-ish?) The scanning always does strange things to the sizing.

I’ll write “Season’s Greetings” on the back of each in some colour ink that shows up on the coloured card stock, and handwrite the personal greetings.

Jacobean Card

I think my hand is broken …………………. :-)

Stop Press – Jacobean Card

Taking the painting off the board and scanning it properly makes a lot of difference!

I feel a LOT better about reproducing it now!

* the leaf on the left is a much better shape but needs re-painting

* the fruit above are murky and need re-painting

* I went over the whole of the background with Doc Martens and then with the wash – the patch was showing up pretty badly. (and I’m SO pleased that finally I’m showing what the original actually looks like!)
The patch is now pretty much invisible – but look at the blue tone that’s left in the background!
The wash is a lighter tint of the colour used for the base of the big flower at the top – and it sure doesn’t look like it with the Dr Martens under it. I’ll have to mix a colour and go over it again to make a warmer background. It simply doesn’t make friends with all of the olive green and apricot.

Kit is helping me heaps with design/painting decisions – she picked up the blue tone, and gave me advice on the re-painting of the left leaf. We also discussed the main trunk, which disappears into the main flower, (we’ll see, once the main flower is painted) and the stem of another flower ‘floating in space’. She has christened the large apricot bud in the centre of the cabbage leaf ‘the pod person’. It’s a lot of fun discussing the painting with her as I do it.

I have to have Dianne’s writing paper printed out by Friday, and I haven’t been able to get the matching envelopes yet.

Jacobean Card – Illumination Technique

I’ve worked out why I’m going nuts with this piece!
The obvious reason is that I have a bunch of work unfinished, and I want to get back to it all.

The other is that part of this unfinished work is the piece on my method of highlighting and shading. I learnt a lot about lymning (illumination) when I did research for other techniques of illumination when I was writing this piece, and as a result my own technique has gone a bit schizo.

The piece can’t scan well at the moment. It’s taped to a board – so I can put it off-balance in the scanner and get a shadow, or evenly balance it and have it a distance above the glass, which means a less clear image. I went for the shadow last post, the blurry image this post.

If you look at something like the cabbage leaf (the big green thing on the right in olive greens with a dark apricot centre, tho it looks red on the scan) you can see the tiny strokes that I’ve taking to doing with watery paint pretty clearly (by clicking on the image)
But the leaf opposite – for some reason it only worked by the ‘soft blending’ method I described in my piece.
And if you look at the stem of the pair of apricot and blue flowers near the bottom, there is dry brushing to shade the stem!

It’s just ‘happening’. I’m not choosing a particular method for each bit. It seems to be what’s happening with my brush at the time. I just happen to be on the other end of it.

I want to re-work that leaf on the left that is soft blended. It doesn’t look right. It should be the easiest element to paint, since it’s simply an acanthus leaf, au’naturel, and I’ve certainly painted lots of them.

I removed the leaf to the left of the carnation that I was talking about last post, and patched over the area. Unfortuntaely the Doc Martens is coming up when I put the coloured wash over it, changing the colour and you can see the patch. *bang head against desk*. I’ll think of something! Worst case, Kit can ‘fix’ the background on the scan by copying some other background over it in Photoshop, although I’d much rather have the original correct.

I think the dis-quiet I feel is because I’m going through an evolutionary process with my illumination technique as I paint this piece, as a result of the research I did and so it feels rather experimental and weird.

This is a good thing.

I really need to clean that ink from my scanner glass, don’t I!

Master Giles de Laval’s piece recently posted to scribes
(at is just to die for. Studying the image up close is really useful, as well as reading his essay at

Especially interesting is his use of azilirin crimson to form the shadows on the blue. To quote from his essay :

Rather than a simple dark blue, the shadow tone was based on alizarin crimson. Alizarin crimson laid over ultramarine is a painter’s trick from the Gottingen Model Book later adopted by artists such as Titian, as it provides a richer and more visually recessive tone than dark blue, making it ideal for trompe-l’oeil modelling”

Jacobean Card

OK, I’ve let myself into more than I planned.

Since I’m going to scan and print this piece to make into Christmas cards, the colours need to be correct. And they are so not correct on this scan! (the shadow doesn’t help – it’s because of the board the piece is on not fitting on the scanner bed).

The apricots (which tone nicely with the olive greens) are appearing red in the scan. You can see the proper colour in the right leaf next to the ‘carnation’ because of the way I painted it – so thinly it’s watercolour, not gouache.
I was talking with Kit yesterday who had a copy of this scan and she did a few mysterious things to fix the colour on her copy – mostly just so she could see what I’d actually done. Luckily she’s a graphics designer and knows about this stuff.

I’m finding it a little difficult/interesting translating between the original, which is a tapestry and is also kind of blocky – which wouldn’t work the way I want to paint it. So I’m using it as a basis and going with my own style.

The left hand leaf that accompanies the ‘carnation’ above the ‘cabbage leaf’ is totally hacked. I’ll have to take it back to the paper, or go over it with Dr Martin’s White and do it again.

I’m pleased with the green shading in the cabbage leaf, tho there is one folded over leaf at the bottom that I need to fix. Kit also pointed out that the bobbly things inside the cabbage leaf were meant to be buds, so I need to add that detail.

Need more coffee

Jacobean Card

I’ve added ticks to the Gods of Snow quote. It adds to the illegibility amazingly!

They started showing Christmas ads on TV a couple of nights ago, and I’m late in doing anything about it (Christmas, that is)

I shall have a break from script analysis work, and do up a card to print, and then make into matted cards for my friends. (I also have Dianne’s notepaper and envelopes to print out by the 24th of this month).

I’ll send a mail to the scribies tomorrow. I’m a bit concerned that there were so many hits on my blog, undoubted copies of the list of script analysis questions and the list is still growing and being refined as I work through the Bedford Hours script analysis. And doing this card will delay the finishing of this further. Also, I need to re-jig the Method of Shading and Highlighting piece as per Randy’s comments.

Anyway, worries aside (I’m remarkable good at pressuring myself), I’m going to do some painting! Yay! I love painting.

Here’s the design the card will be based on. It’s an historical Jacobean tapestry (another thing I’d like to do).
Please excuse my hack Photoshop work to remove some elements that are on the border that I won’t incude in my design

Here’s the rough of my design
I’m quite pleased with it. The central trunk and the big flower are slightly off centre, to add interest, and the flowers, leaves and berries kind of point around in an oval around the page to bring the eye around the picture.

A lot of colour mixing to do! I briefly considered doing it folk art style – I had a lot of success with a picture, that was vaguely similiar that I did a few years ago for a friend for a Christmas present that I did in the folk art style.
Then again, looking closely at the original, the threads look like lymned strokes – and I’ll have a lot of fun doing it traditionally.