Wednesday, April 18, 2018

want moar owls, and other decorations

in which our plucky heroine wishes for more owls...

Wee baby tarragon now in the sunny part of the backyard, planted in a large rolling planter pot, and surrounded by galvanized mesh to prevent squirrel depredations. I asked at the Master Gardener booth at the farmers market last Saturday if they had any tips about keeping squirrels from destroying garden beds, and they all laughed hysterically... I figure that caging is my only option.

Allowing myself a short break after getting the taxes done and sent off, I finished up charter #7. As part of my new concept, I have decided that doing the worst task of the day first, the "eat the frog" model, was not improving my functionality, but instead making it more and more difficult to summon up the fortitude to even get out of bed at all. There have been days when were it not for my hens, it would have been Not Good At All. So, instead, I have decided that my first activity of the day will be something creative I really enjoy doing, and for the last few days, this has been the material result (the immaterial result is that I am no longer malingering, but have been eager to be up, dressed, and doing)

As ever, with each charter my goal is to try new things, and learn, to improve my artistry at least a little bit each time. With this charter, I tried out some different gouache paint than I usually use, tried a different way of coloring the leaves, and most excitingly, I tried using my metal stamps on the Finetec (mica paint) golden areas, to get a textured effect similar to some of the diapered gold designs in medieval manuscripts. All three of the efforts, were, in my opinion, a win! The new gouache paint, borrowed from Marya, was easier to use than my pan paints, and gave a very good velvety opaque look. Here is the capital initial after the first base layer of paint is applied, before all the detailing.

And here is what it looks like completed, with shaded leaves, white linework, internal detailing, and textured motifs added to the background. I am very pleased with the way the leaves turned out, and will add this style to the model book* I am starting to develop, so that eventually I will have a hardcopy reference of my own, when doing scribal calligraphy and illuminations

I was inspired by a charter done by one of the other artisans in the Monday Scribal Arts Group, where Michael had used a stylus to indent a diapering pattern into the background around a capital letter, and so I wanted to try out my own metalworking tools and see if they would be possibly useful in a similar way. Indeed, a number of them were small or open enough that they could be used to create a delicate bas-relief texture even on painted paper. Most of my stamps were too large or too solid, but the few that do work can be combined in various ways.

I used two different stamps for detail in the gothic roundel, and some very simple stamping to create leaf veins... The original charter copy had the vine stem curving around in a loop with the ends cut off, for some reason (ends visible on the left near the leaves) I decided to add this little naughty corbie, in the style of medival manuscript drolleries, holding in its beak the snipped off leaves.

April SMART goals (x=extra)
1 celtic enamel pelican bathrobe shouldersbag to Goodwill
2 trapunto knotwork taxes donebag to Goodwill
3 pliers rackapple tree pruned spare lawn mower
4 charter #7 tunes moved -
5 x- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
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15 x x x


  1. Lucky person who receives one of your charters! The corbie is adorable. And I know what you mean about the squirrels - Evil Incarnate! Can’t imagine why anyone thinks they are cute...

    1. There are people in the neighborhood that actually put out "squirrel feeders"! Glad to know that I am not the only one who does not find squirrels aka tree-rats a treat. I call them rats with fluffy tails and good PR...

  2. Those are my precise feelings about deer. At a distance, they're so lovely. But given their druthers, they'll be on the side of the road ready to leap in front of cars, or in one's garden(s). Sixteen years in Wisconsin taught me that there are no deer-repellent plants that are successful in Zone 3/4! Rats with hooves...

    1. Oh yes... we don't really get deer here in the middle of the city, but when I lived in a more rural area, people I knew that were serious gardeners literally made closed caged areas for their kitchen gardens!