Sunday, December 13, 2015

charter painting

in which our plucky heroine enjoys coloring for grownups...

Last week the state of the world and the state of my life just rolled over me like a big storm, and the best thing I could do was to take a mental health break and spent an afternoon painting an award charter. (Award charters are blank scrolls, usually inspired by particular illuminated manuscripts, that various SCA artists have drawn artwork and done calligraphy for, and then copies are made and said copies painted individually)

I'd long wanted to try this, just for fun, but usually charter painting happens in the evening, somewhere on the other side of the city. My friend Marya offered me a chance to come over to Rex House and paint one of the new Summits charters... As it turns out, this sort of painting is wonderfully absorbing, taking just enough attention that all else troublesome fades into the background, before the simple challenge of trying new paint effects.

As I began the painting, after looking at the original inspiraton, I added washes of color in the large areas, trying to balance the warm and cool colors in a similar way

More layers of translucent gouache, and beginning to add some internal detailing of the built and wild landscape

A lot more detailing work, on the architecture, and the clothing. The dimensionality is really surprising, considering how simple the shading is

Fine linework on the bricks, color and more shading on the clothing and the Grail...

The completed charter painting, with a decorated border. The various personages in the scene have now been given a variety of ethnic diversity, to better reflect the Roman world

This is the actual image that inspired Marya to create this design, and I gave my best effort to do the painting in a similar style. There is always more to learn...


  1. Your piece is beautiful! I hope you awarded it to yourself in honor of excellent and skilled painting technique! Sending you many good wishes for a warm winter season, both inside and outside!

    1. Thank you Claire... charters are painted and donated to particular SCA groups, but I appreciate your sentiment! I rarely make it down to Summits (southern Oregon) but have friends there, so was pleased to be able to send a little bit of my efforts to add to the glory of my pal Vesta, who just stepped up as Princess.

      I hope to make it up to Seattle this winter, as I have need to visit the casting shop up there sometime in the next few months

    2. Be sure to let me know your plans! I'm planning some trips to sunny places so will be in and out! And I would love to welcome you and hang out!

  2. All I can say is wow! I wish I had better words, because reading about the things you do is always inspirational and encouraging to me.

    1. Thank you Cheryl... Most of my life is not this exciting, but I prefer to document and remember the bright parts. The charter painting really is like coloring for grownups, and I hope to do more of it in the future