Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thoughts on Time Spent Painting

maypop flowerTime spent on these illuminations is a funny thing as the great effort of these pieces is somewhat devalued by the fact that they are handed out by the King and Queen free of charge to recipients. Scribes are the only artisans who are regularly expected to give away their art. This is why, years ago, I lobbied for and was granted Kingdom funds to purchase scribal supplies for members of the Trimaris College of Scribes and thankfully this funding is still being provided. We sometimes hold fundraisers and occasionally profits from events are donated to this account.

For those of you planning to volunteer at Gulf Wars, you can indicate the Trimaris College of Scribes as the recipient of the war profit split derived from your volunteer hours.

When I create commission pieces I have to ask for the recipient to pay the materials and framing costs. I didn’t always do this but one day I figured out what I had spent on several pieces I had created and realized that I was running myself into a financial hole. This is also why I have been working on the speed of my pieces and Canna Lily trying to limit myself to less than 5 or 6 hours per illuminated page for Kingdom use.

I have found that I must balance the use of my time and find the point where I can produce a good number of very good pieces rather than just one extraordinary piece so I can be more helpful in my contributions and more responsible with my personal time. I work full time and have several hobbies so I have to be realistic about how much time I can dedicate to this craft that I love, but from which I do not generally profit. 

The illustrations on this page were created for a brochure that I illustrated in 2009.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I wanna see your Peacock… feathers

Peacock feather border
This border is based upon a page from the Hours of Engelbert of Nassau which was illuminated by a Flemish artist known only as The Master of Mary of Burgundy. Painted bear Brussels circa 1485, this book was created for Englebert II, Duke of Nassau. This border of tromp l’oeil peacock feathers was inspired by folio 97, verso. 
This border is 5 inches by 7 inches, much smaller than usual SCA illumination used for awards but I was concerned that the intricacy of design would not scale well any larger.

I used this border for a Pelican scroll for Countess Grainne but I wanted to try just the border to see if this sort of design might be both acceptable for Kingdom use and a good use of time. The trouble with blank borders is that sometimes it can be hard to find inspiration when you are illuminating for an unknown recipient.

Also, I have found that I must balance the use of my time and find the point where I can produce a good number of very good pieces rather than just one extraordinary piece so I can be more helpful in my contributions. I created this piece in about 4-5 hours but I mucked about with the detailing for longer than I should have.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flowers of the Cleves Master

photo (5) Based upon the simple border of flowers and leaves from folio 70 of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves.

Produced circa 1440 in Utrecht by an anonymous Dutch artist known as the Master of Catherine of Cleves, this book includes beautiful tromp l’oeil borders and miniatures of increasing intricacy. This border is unique among design elements in the book, but appears in other works attributed to the Cleves Master.

Again, this piece was mainly done to get myself back into the design and styling needed for Kingdom use scrolls rather than intricate and elaborate commission pieces. Drawing, inking and illumination probably came to about 5-6 hours of work.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pink Flowers

photo (3)
Based upon a prayer book illuminated by Michelino Molinari da Besozzo. This illumination was inspired by  folio 44,  St Anthony of Padua, May 10th. Illuminated circa 1420 in Milan, Italy. The original size of this piece is 170 x 120 mm but I have scaled it up for easy SCA use. This page was mostly a speed exercise to help me get back into the swing of making less complicated pieces for Kingdom use.
  • Draw time: 1.5 hours
  • Gilding time: 20 minutes
  • Paint time: 2 hours
  • Total time: just under 4 hours

Sunday, January 22, 2012


photo (2)From the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, digitalis purpurea as a border with an imaginary butterfly.

This manuscript was executed in the early 16th century by Jean Bourdichon, a likely student of miniaturist Jean Fouquet. As official court painter to four successive French kings: Louis XI,Charles VIII, Louis XII, and Fran├žois I, Bourdichon came to be a wealthy man. Designing illuminated manuscripts, panel paintings, stained glass and even coins, Jean Bourdichon created countless works of art, many of which did not survive to modernphoto (1) times.

The book was created for twice Queen of France, Anne of Brittany who was married to Charles VIII and then to Louis XII.

This page was created mostly as a teaching piece to show a small group of students how to execute gilding. Afterwards I decided to finish the painting and hand it in for Kingdom use. It’s pretty bling-tastic but I hope someday that someone will like it.