Monday, January 12, 2009

New Pelican!

The holidays were lovely - spent in the very strange Oklahoma. The weather patterns there have no pattern. That place is ruled by chaos! :P But it was a wonderful time.

While there, I recieved a phone call from Baroness Bianca, with the news that I was to start on the scroll that I've been itching to do for years - Vilhelm Silverhammer's Pelican. I knew it was just a matter of time; he is such an amazing man and embodies everything I want to be one day.

Unfortunately, with me being in another state, I wasn't able to start the scroll until I returned - giving me a week and a half to get it done. While thrilled for him, I was disappointed that I couldn't do something extremely elaborate (as he deserves) because of this time constraint.

I searched through my library for a piece that would be somewhat masculine, potentially have a layout and design that I wouldn't have to rearrange much, and still show the important elements that had to be in there.

I chose to go with Plate 16 of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, as it has a pelican in her piety right in the border. There is a combination of acanthus and ivy, and a couple of drolleries that would provide me with a little challenge, but not so much as to kill my deadline.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is speculated to be from about 1430. The scan I took unfortunately has two things wrong - the scanner washed out the color a little bit - the yellows are more lemon than the rich gold I used. The other issue is that it didn't quite fit on the scanner bed, so the edges are cut off. Rest assured that there was a sizable border on the original, with plenty of space to accomodate matting and framing, if desired.

The trembling in my hands, a symptom of Graves' Disease, is mostly gone, but it comes back a little when I strain them with tight grips. Unfortunately, that means that when doing calligraphy, by the end I'm pretty shakey and my hand hurts. I do try to balance this out with squeezing a rag in my left hand, and it helps some. I also have to take frequent breaks when the text is long. That's something for me to work on fixing.

I will also note that using red gouache for the blazon was a delight! It was smooth, crisp, and opaque. The quality of paint is a huge factor when using gouache in a pen nib, and I took the time to load the reservoir with a medicine dropper, which helped considerably compared to the last time I did calligraphy with gouache. The down side is that it took a while to get red paint out of my dropper - an important step since I use that dropper to wet all my paints with distilled water.