Actually, it's just taken me far too long to post these, so let's get down to business!
I was approached by Dame Varia to do Dame Annys's Laurel scroll, as there was rumor that she enjoyed my work. I was terribly flattered by the compliment, and of course accepted. I didn't have a ton of time to complete the piece, so I tried to find an inspiration manuscript that could be done in minimal time but still look amazing and have a touch of the "wow" factor (i.e. sparkle). Having done a piece from the Stephen Lochner prayer book before, I was thrilled when I found copies of several more pages from which to pull inspiration.
I spent hours upon hours trying to find the perfect set of supporters and a way to integrate the Pelican that Annys already had into the piece. I couldn't make it work the way I wanted, so I opted to do a standard mantle with the pelican in her piety, with the laurel wreath surrounding the coat of arms.
The gold flourishes are all done in gold gouache, but emulates what shell gold would have looked like. I'm saddened that this piece did not fit on my scanner bed, which resulted in this scan being cropped in a very sad way.
I also learned a very valuable lesson when doing this piece: double check your blazon before you do anything! If you know much about heraldry, you'll notice that the blazon in the text does not actually describe the image of the coat of arms. It's backwards. I learned (too late), that the blazon I was given was incorrect. I was able to paint the image to look as it should, but the text is wrong. Le sigh.
I was unable to be there for Dame Annys' ceremony, but I do hope that she had a memorable time, and that she enjoys this part of it.
The second scroll was created for Jean-Richard de Holloway, who is one of the most talented artisans I know. He has taken to studying and recreating many Japanese things such as armor, clothing, and more, so I felt it appropriate to finally delve into my passion for the East, and give Sumi-e a try. I'd been wanting to try this out for a long time, and finally had the perfect opportunity.
Let me first point out that this is done in English. I found a pseudo-script which I used as a guide, and converted it to my slightly more elaborate version you see. If this resulted in any actual kanji characters, it is by pure accident, and I cannot be held liable for what rude things it may say. It can be read starting at the top right, reading downward and to the left.
The first line reads "For embracing the virtues of the dream." I'll let you try to read the rest on your own, if you dare.
To create this piece, I used authentic sumi ink, which I ground by hand into an inkwell. It is written that this part of the sumi process is vital, as it is part of the meditative mindset, and I'd agree. The consistent pressure and circular motions help your mind focus. to achieve the different shades of ink, I had to separate it into different wells and add water.
I must admit I'm not 100% happy with the result, but I have a new respect for those who have created masterpieces in this elegant art form. I would defintely try it again.