Friday, July 15, 2016

charter # 13


in which our plucky heroine takes a half day mental health break...

Painted charter #13 Wednesday... This Russian style design* was a stretch for me - I used details from two different period originals to with the intention of creating a design that referenced the very intensely polychrome aesthetic of the area. Here is what it looked like as I began filling in the base colors, trying to get a good color distribution..
Always, while I am filling in the base colors, the page goes through a gawky stage where it all just looks awkward. For me, I try and remember that, and keep my focus on getting the colors balanced in a way that allows the eye to move nicely across the page, rather than on how it looks at the moment. Here, I started by placing the red, as red is a color that is attractive to the eye, then next the yellow ochre, as the lightest of the four colors... then I began to fill in with green, leaving space for blue, and always striving for a dynamic balance

All the base colors were filled in, with a few adjustments here and there to make sure that various colors were not so close to each other as to form uninteded larger blotches. Still need to paint the birds, after looking at some more manuscript images for inspiration. The overall look reminds me a bit of Ivan Bilibin, though his artwork is of a much later time, he also looked at medieval artwork for inspiration.

If I had wanted to, I could have stopped at this point (well, after painting the birds, too!) An original period page I was looking at for inspiration had a very plain wash of polychrome colors, with only a tiny bit of interior shading, decorating scrollwork:
The final stage of this AoA charter painting. I decided to add some fairly simple internal detailing and shading to the scrollwork, as most of the period originals had similar detailing or even more elaborate decorations

a closer view of some of the shading and linework. Truly, it would be possible to put in two or three times as many hours as the almost six I put in on this charter painting. The design lends itself to elaboration; I feel like I really need to learn more about shading and decorating scrolls, but I am still having fun nonetheless. And hopefully whoever ends up with this as their AoA scroll will enjoy it as well!

One of the two birds on this charter - I wasn't sure if it was intended as a peacock, since the crest rather looked like it. I just went with "generic polychrome avian" instead. I am still really happy with the tiny details I can add with my new paintbrush.

The other little bird from my #13 charter... This one I took most of the details, shading, and coloring from a period little bird. It looks a little bit like a ring neck parakeet. I had fun with the shading, and particularly with how I painted the birds tail - half red, half ocher, with the details counterchanged
For some reason the little (partially cut-off) birds caught my eye; at the top of this page, from "Gospel book, Armenia, Van, 1461, MS M.749 fol. 242r", in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum
:::

I have been really stressed lately, and when feeling powerless about situations both personal, and medical, and political, and global, sometimes I need to just choose a tiny bit of downtime. Painting charters, which is basically like coloring in, but with gouache paint instead of crayons or markers, is both self soothing, intensely satisfying, and of service to the organisation I have been participating in for the last twenty-umpteen years.
:::

July SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 pewter casting Thora cuff trim bag of hangers
2 charter #12 - yard waste bin
3 charter #13 - -
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11 - - -
12 - - -
:::

* charter master design by José Cabrera de Castilla

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