Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Useful Paint Niche

Recently at our scribal meeting, I was asked about how I use my gouache palette. Do I put out new paints for each painting session? Do I reconstitute the dried paint in its well? What do I do if the paint breaks into small bits? All great questions. 

This is what I do. You may find other scribes work differently.

I use a student grade plastic watercolor-type palette. Nothing fancy. 

When I set up the palette I usually let the paints dry in their section before painting. And I usually don't reconstitute all the paint in a well to a creamy, smooth consistency. 

When I begin using a color I take a big brush, like a #4 and drop a little water on the dried blob. As I work I dip my brush in water and rewet only the small area where I drag my brush to pick up the paint. I turn the brush each time I stroke the blob eventually creating a small "V". That niche points the brush tip as I work. Only the paint in the small "V" surface area becomes reconstituted.

When your paint breaks into small bits it is difficult to reconstitute. If you have a special need to keep that paint you can mix in a little gum Arabic binder as you try to rewet it. This may make the paint glossier too. Once the bits are totally dry or the well is used up I soak and clean off my palette to reset with freshly squeezed paint.  

I'm so glad scribes ask these questions and more. It's one way I find topics to post for you here.  Please, feel free to ask your own in the comment section below.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Enrich Your Calligraphy, Book Review

When I had two peerage scrolls on my calendar I surveyed my C & I supplies for missing necessities. I ordered them on John Neal Bookseller's website. I'm a sucker for books so I also looked for their's on clearance. I found Enrich Your Calligraphy by Diana Hardy Wilson and decided to take a chance on it.

Hardy's book is not an introduction to calligraphy or a "how to" guide. It does not cover scripts or their ductus. It has a niche topic that 
stimulates and encourages scribes, graphic artists, and modern calligraphers to advance to their full potential. The book is filled with detailed inspiration about scribal topics including
  • developing your creative process and visual awareness
  • investigating spatial relationships
  • developing and reviewing a reference collection
I particularly like the information and encouragement on developing visual awareness. While Hardy writes for calligraphers the information on seeing details applies to illumination as well.

Enrich Your Calligraphy is an easy to read book for the calligrapher who has more developing and exploring to accomplish, which is most of us. It's a unique book for a devoted calligrapher or lover of lettering. 

Related Prior Post: 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lonely Tower Shows Off Their Crafts And Skills

Demos are a common activity you find in the SCA. They educate the public about life in the Middle Ages, show off our crafts and skills, and help us find recruits. 

Today the Barony of the Lonely Tower put on a demonstration at the University of Nebraska-OmahaThe university's Medieval and Renaissance Studies Department promoted it, calling it "Encountering the Past: Costumes, Crafts & Combats". It was scheduled from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM on the first semi-warm day we'd had in weeks.

With the chosen "lunch" time we had a good turn out. Pesky day jobs do conflict. A dozen members garbed and brought their gear. They also brought their special interest creations to display.

Lord Miklos brought embroidered
bags and information.

Lord William brought painted
wooden game boards.

Lady Batilda showed off
her new loom.

Honorable Lady Cristina cooked beef
and other items for tasters.

M'lord Roger displayed his
archery gear and long bow.

A block away the fighters
had a huge field for practice.

M. Nesscia captured the
 fighting demo and viewers.

Lady Zafar and I combined our
scribal period materials to display.

The day's weather improved and the college students brightened our conversations. About a dozen UNO students signed up for future contact and more information. Plus we talked SCA projects and fighting. You can't ask for a more beneficial three hours.

Kingdom handbooks containing demo information:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Making Lonely Tower's New Cord Award Scrolls

Mini Scrolls Prior To Illumination
Have you ever had calligraphy practice come out of nowhere and fall into your lap? That's what happened to me recently.

With the new Baron and Baroness, Augustin and Aleit, came renewed inspiration for calligraphy and illumination. Their wish was to have a small 5" x 7" hand done scroll to go with the first award a person new to the Barony received. 

Her Excellency Aleit composed the  text and M. Rolf developed the two script styles. One used for Augustine's 12th Century persona, the other for the 15th century Burgundian, Aleit.  

Rolf also kindly figured the pen nib and grid size to use. Manuscript cartridge pen fine nib on a 9 squares to the inch grid. They would be done on natural Astroparche 65 pound card-stock.

The first thing I did was buy a ream of the paper. A bit pricey for more paper than I needed, but I thought it would eventually be used by other scribes in a preprint or small original scroll. Later I was glad I did.

I also went to the Incomptech's online graph-paper creator and made Rolf's prescribed graph. I printed this off on clear injet-friendly transperancy film to use with my light pad. This may seem pricey, but I know how much layout time it will save. 

These scrolls turned out well as you see in the picture before they were painted. What you don't see are the 20 some double-scroll pages I did to get to this point. 

I learned original calligraphy on card-stock is difficult to correct. Manuscript cartridge ink sinks into the paper's surface; scratching it off roughens the surface beyond use. A useful thing to know for the future, however frustrating.

The multiple unsuccessful pages were boons for my calligraphy. And I'm now familiar with M. Rolf's scripts. The unexpected calligraphy practice falling into my lap was a windfall. You don't know how much you will improve until you do the practice.

Related Prior Post:  
10 Ways To Practice Calligraphy

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

5 Creativity Levels You Find In The SCA

Archive Photo Of  Jantige's Fiber Arts
As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism you live to learn about and make things used prior to 1600. Being creative is a big part of what you do. It's is even in our name.

You have SCA friends at all creativity levels. Some are even geniuses. 

Each creative level is labeled different from an SCA honor. But I relate them to those in the SCA like this.

    Charlotte's Joy.
Intuitive--My 7-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte is at this level. Without training, she creates for joy, drawing or coloring to her heart's content. Those new to the SCA  often feel this as well, wanting to make everything they see as cool. 
Intellectual--After playing in the SCA for a time, I found my niche in illumination. I became a voracious illumination viewer, book reader, and painter. 

You may find you own niche somewhere else. Clothing production, cooking, fighting, heraldry. We become geeks in our chosen interest.

Inventive--With practice and knowledge you experiment in wider interest circles. Eventually, I found scroll production which added calligraphy and management of backlog scroll creation.
Scribal Arts' Display
Innovative--My continued explorations took me to paint production from powdered Medieval pigments and local rocks. Master Rolf Hobart has developed scripts in unique Medieval styles and foreign lettering. Master Sir RanthulfR AsparlundR has created whole Medieval books.
Inginus--Artistic geniuses develop ideas and accomplishments beyond explanation. The obvious person is Michaelangelo, known for his peerless influence on Western art development. 

I'm lucky to continue in the innovative category. I'm no genius.

You can make a whole career studying creativity. In Calontir, I find it enjoyable to watch and help scribes explore their way through the creative levels, making things up as you grow along. 

Related Prior Posts:
Playing with Powdered Period Pigments
10 Top Calligraphy And Illumination Artists

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy April Fools Easter

April Fools’ Day is a legend according to Snopes. It began in the 1500s when the Julian calendar changed to the Gregorian. Those who forgot the change and celebrated New Year’s Day as usual, then on April 1st, were teased as “April fools.” That's a little like being picked on when you forget the time change after we monkey with the clock for daylight savings time.
Even the dog got some pinata candy.

This year Easter falls on April Fools' Day. What do you do now? Which non-religious traditions do you celebrate? Is it Easter egg rolls or personal pranks? 

Amazingly you can do both if, like mine, whacking a pinata is one of your family traditions. While pinatas today are considered a Mexican tradition, it came to them from 
the Italian pignatta, where it was found as early as the 14th century.

My family took up the tradition several years ago when my step-daughter turned 40. To celebrate and be fun for the young kids her sister got two pinatas for us to whack-a 4 and a 0. It turned out great fun for us all.

The next year my birthday fell on Easter, so another pinata appeared.

The following year the kids thought that was the tradition on Easter and it's been one ever since. Even with the oldest child now in Highschool. 

I'm looking forward to sharing this again. So for us, that's how the family Easter tradition serves as an April Fool's prank, that started in the 1500s. Hope your family has a wonderful tradition to share too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tip To Seeing Like An Artist

See the details?
Have you been asking yourself when painting a preprint or charter why experienced scribes put the shadows where they do? Why the whitework goes where it does? Or how you transform what you see to the page? Here's an idea for you to try.

Before the huge number of illuminations on the internet, I would hunt down books that had enlarged the small pictures of illuminations. Today it's easy to do the same thing yourself with online images. 

Find a high-resolution digital illumination picture you like and zoom-in. Enlarge and expand them dramatically. Save them or print them out. Then take your time and study their strokes and details. Try to recreate them. 

On Pinterest, I have a few boards that may help you with this. 
I have confidence you'll figure things out. The more illuminations you peruse and pore over the strokes the easier it becomes. It's all about you recreating tiny details.

Related Prior Post:  

Related External Page:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Product Links Philosophy

Hello and
You may have wondered if my links to products provide me income. The short answer is "no". 

I include links to products for your convenience. One source you may use to find more about it or to buy it. At the time you read my post they may not even be the cheapest or best place to buy it.

Blogging does offer an affiliate marketing possibility. Income from each sale I make. An opportunity to earn a commission promoting products for others to you, my readers. 

That's wonderful, but not my mission. The reason I blog here is to help, inform, or entertain those interested in the SCA or things scribal. 

Therefore I don't link to the same source(s) for products. For commonly found items I may use an Amazon, Joann, or Michaels link. Once in a while, I use Hobby Lobby. For more specific items I often, but not always, use John Neal Bookseller, Dick Blick or Paper & Ink Arts. Sometimes I even use a general Google search link or a very specific link for something like vellum. 

By focusing on your interests I avoid the hassle of managing multiple affiliate programs. I personally receive more. More interaction and connection with you.  I see it as a win-win for us both.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Quiz: 10 More Illuminated Manuscripts To Match With Their Names

My first manuscript illumination quiz was so popular, I have another one for you. Like the last one, you match 10 pictures of iconic illuminated manuscripts to their name. 

These pictures are also Western European manuscripts from various locations and eras. Some served unique purposes. 

You'll find the images on the left and their unmatched names on the right. All you have to do is match the name with its picture. Can you match them all?

Yes, I'm sneaky. I have not always used the most popular or well-known images. Also, there are more manuscript names than pictures. But all names are matchable. It's just some manuscripts are known by more than one name.

If you are curious, stumped, or in a hurry to find the answer click on the word "link" in the caption below the image. It will take you to a Wikipedia page about the manuscript.

The manuscript titles in alphabetical order are:  Aberdeen Bestiary, Bedford Hours, Beatus Pierpont, Codex Gigas, Lindisfarne Gospels, Morgan Beatus, Psalter of Oswald, Ramsey Psalter, Roman de la Rose, Utrecht Psalter, Wenceslas Bible, Winchester Bible.

And the manuscripts are in no particular order. Enjoy.





Prior Related Post:  

Quiz: Can You Match These 10 Illuminated Manuscripts With Their Names?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

How To Find The Source Of Undocumented Online Images

Unidentified Pinterest Image
You know those lovely illuminations you find on Pinterest when you search for scroll inspiration. Your perfect source but it has no manuscript information. There's a way to find the source using the image. It's called a "reverse image search."

This technique is called "a reverse image search." It analyzes the image contents itself comparing  its colors, shapes, and textures with a known sample. It does not use a picture's associated keywords, tags, or descriptions.  

This helps you because you don't need search terms or keywords. It saves you guessing at words that may not be related or use people's fuzzy labeling. 

It helps you find images related to the sample or its popularity. It may also discover any altered or derivative works.

To reverse image search using Google Chrome:
  1. find your chosen internet image 
  2. right click on it 
  3. click on "search Google for image"
It's simple, really. You can try it on the above Pinterest picture. 

What did you find? When I did it Google found more than 5 sites to check plus several computer-designated similar images. One interesting enough to explore further.

While not something you'll use daily, it is another research skill for your tool-kit. A handy tool for those pesky undocumented manuscript images.

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