June 2017


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Did you hear that loud whooshing wind last night around, oh, 9 p.m. EST? That was me sighing with relief as I finally, finally finished an illumination project that I think I've been working on forever. Well, that's an exaggeration, but it has been about a year. School interfered so that the only time I had to work was at Friday night SCA meetings, and if Master Tristan was there, it meant I spent the whole time running my mouth and not working. (Yes, I am totally putting the blame for my own indolence on him!) But, with school over, I jumped right back into it, determined to actually finish the darned thing ... and I did!

This is not my first illumination project. It's actually my fourth. But it's the first sorta-scroll-type thing. Yes, I am being wishy-washy because I'm still not sure that that's what it's going to be. It's also why it looks unfinished ... because it really is. If it is to be a scroll, then it will need calligraphy and the person's heraldry and such will be added. If I'm going to use it for myself, then I will probably fill in the border at the top and the other side and write a poem or something on it. But I don't know what I'm doing with it yet, so I've done the replication of the original until I decide or get some advice on it.

So, yes, this is my unfinished sorta-scroll-type thing or maybe-for-a-poem-type thing.

Here is the original. Click to view it full-sized.

Laudario 1300s original

Yes, there is a huge white rectangle in the middle of it and, no, that was not in the original. The story behind that is kind of funny. You see, Master Tristan picked this piece for me to work on. We were looking at it in the book one night and I wasn't really paying much mind to the miniature that belongs where the white rectangle is because I was looking at the acanthus in the border and the colors and the gilding, that is until Master Tristan said, "No, he's not putting on red socks and gloves."

Then I looked at the miniature and realized that it was a very graphic depiction of a man being flayed. Yes, that. You gotta love medieval illuminated manuscripts, where beautiful and lovingly crafted borders gently cradle scenes of gory and graphic torture.

I'm a blood/injury phobic. Most medieval art I can handle. I can handle the boiling and the burning ... even the drawing and quartering. But, for whatever reason, this particular painting really bothered me. I became light-headed and, throughout the rest of the night, I'd think on it occasionally and become faint again. I told Master Tristan that I would work on the piece, but I would not do the flaying scene and would Photoshop it out of the copy I was working from. And, being a kind teacher, when he sent me a scan of the illumination, it came sans flaying scene.

And I have left it that way (I don't even own an intact copy but I'm sure he'd send me one if I asked) because I don't want to subject Teh Flist to the icky flaying scene either. However, this miniature seems determined to weasel its way into my thoughts, no matter my efforts to avoid it. The Met museum recently did an exhibit of illuminated manuscripts and, while perusing a guide book, I happened on a page that looked really familiar, and when I looked closer ... flaying scene! Ack! The world got black and sparkly around the edges again.

So, now that you've heard the woes of an aspiring scribe who is also a blood/injury phobic, I give you my own work as it stands at this point. As before, click the image to view a full-sized version.

Laudario 1300s original

I do welcome comments, including critique, of my work, but this is not expected, of course.

As for self-critique, what I'd like to do better next time:

  • I need to be more aware of what is on my hands when I'm getting ready to paint. The margins of this piece look awful. I frequently dip or drag the heel of my hand into the paint on my pallet, and then I end up with drops on my work when my hand rests on the page. I erased the worst from the margins in Photoshop. (Luckily, they were confined to the margins.)

  • I need to be more aware of how the lines and shadows are working to make the acanthus appear three-dimensional. I would do rote imitation of the colors and shading and, only when I was finished, realize that those elements worked to create a three-dimensional effect of a twisted leaf. There are a few places where it is terribly obvious that I am faking it. If I was more aware of this, my work would look more realistic, I think.

  • My gilding is ragged and uneven, but I am much-improved now. I think this was the first piece I did after learning to gild so, all in all, not bad! :)

(Cross-posted to Hundrede Artes.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frenchpony.livejournal.com
Nice work, especially on all the frilly bits. But I have to admit, my attention was distracted by that big honking wodge of chant right smack in the center. I can just hear it in my head, I think. Been a while since I learned to read that kind of notation, but I think I remember enough of it to get at least the general gist.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
my attention was distracted by that big honking wodge of chant right smack in the center

OMG! Me too! It took me right back to choir practice in a Catholic grade school, when we actually used some books that had that notation. (I can't pretend I ever learned to read it very well--mostly relied on learning things by ear, and the better singers on both sides of me. They always put people me between two really gifted types!)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frenchpony.livejournal.com
I think that the clef is supposed to outline where C is, except that that example appears to have two different clefs, which is confusing. I think the pitches work the same as on a modern five-line staff, but there are notations having to do with rhythm that I can't quite remember.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nienna-weeper.livejournal.com
Me too! *chants*

Don't mind me. It's the week before Holy Week and I'm over immersed.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 02:30 am (UTC)
independence1776: Drawing of Maglor with a harp on right, words "sing of honor lost" and "Noldolantë" on the left and bottom, respectively (Default)
From: [personal profile] independence1776
That's gorgeous! I am in awe that you can do that.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
I am absolutely impressed, Dawn. Quite an accomplishment. I tried to see the ragged gilding on the blown up version, but gave up. You could have fooled me. I believe the original of that is at the Cloisters of the Met. (Are we ever going to make that trip?)

I think I have told you that I have a similar reaction to horror fics? Your reaction sounds more intense than mine, however.
Edited Date: 2009-04-03 02:46 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
Terrific that your sister and sis-in-law are visiting and Ireland, wow! Fall sounds fine to me. I'm one of those wimps who wouldn't be excited about the idea of trekking Uptown in the heat of summer. (Have to do it often enough to see the Avari and the baby, et al. in the Bronx.) Also, one can't hide out in air-conditioning at the Cloisters, because one spends a lot of time outside.

That is very interesting about heredity and your phobia.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 07:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tarion-anarore.livejournal.com

School over? I'm jealous.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 08:00 am (UTC)
ext_79824: (books luv)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
I really love the lush colours in this piece. I find it hard to see if stuff is uneven, but perhaps I should see if there's a difference with my glasses on (my monitor is further away on my desktop). But I believe you when you say you have to pay attention to what's on your hands. Back then those monks must have had the most clean hands (and also steady hands) ever to make such gorgeous works.

Oh and I read above that you and Bobby will go to Ireland... *want* It will probably take us years before we're off on vacation again.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
I think the colors are just gorgeous - it's absolutely lovely!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fegie.livejournal.com
It looks crazy professional, i think.

I did not know you were a blood & injury phobic... I'm kind of the opposite, which i guess sounds really sadistic. (eheh)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fegie.livejournal.com
You're welcome!

Heheh, well, if you're a wimp, then mayhap i am a freak. ;) I find them more intriguing than anything else, maybe.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Wonderful work, Dawn, and from the detail of the illustration (and based on my limited knowledge of the painstaking methodology behind it), I can see why this took a while. The detailing is incredible. You captured the style beautifully.

And I can see how your mentor might be distracting. :^D That reminds me a lot of my relationship with my piano instructor when I was in high school. Roger -- a brilliant eccentric guy who was taught by Soulima Stravinsky (Igor's son) -- and I would yammer and yammer, eat something he had concocted and an hour would go by with only a few notes played, or I'd bug him into playing Lizst for me. Needless to say, sometimes it would take me months and months to nail down a relatively straightforward piece. So I can totally relate with you yammering away with your master.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angelica-ramses.livejournal.com
Really beautiful. And yes, those monks has all the time and concentration in the world to do things perfectly.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-04 06:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
The flaws you pointed out are not very evident to me, and I think you've done good work so far as it is very close to the original.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-06 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-wayfarer.livejournal.com
Aha! I knew I heard some sort of wind outside last night. *sage nod*

WOW! That is just gorgeous work, Dawn, I honestly cannot see any raggedness, it's all smooth and silk-like to me. Especially the pink swirls! It's still useful to have a self-crit though, good idea. And, having seen the flaying miniature (eek!), I can totally sympathize with thinking along the lines of red socks and gloves being put on. >_< Not a blood/gore phobic here at all, but I can see why the flaying and the beheading right next to it would disturb you. *huggles* The surprise factor of it too, that the red stocking was actually...urk.

SCHOOOOL'S OOOOOUT! *\o/* -->pompoms being waved~

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-07 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-wayfarer.livejournal.com
Eeee, I meant pompom waving for youuuu~ ♥ (My school's gonna drag on for 3 more months, heheh.)

Yay! I was afraid that I'd sound silly calling them 'pink swirls' because they probably have a name, and I don't know it, but you should definitely be proud of 'em. Beautiful.

Ahhh gushing blood. I am fondly reminded of Kill Bill where the unrealistic blood-spurting really took it to new heights. xD; Maybe they had inspiration from medieval paintings...

*shudders wiiiith* I can't imagine what kind of a mind came up with flaying... T_T