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The Second Coming - Paul Antonio's comments

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9 September 2006

The Second Coming - Paul Antonio's comments

Paul was incredibly kind, and provided a critique of my piece.

I originally started publishing stage by stage scans of the piece in a blog to entertain my non-calligraphy friends and keep them updated on what I was doing. However, the following comments are rather "calligraphy speak".

I have no idea why this post insists on having text at different sizes. I've tried re-formatting, removing all formatting, exporting and re-importing from Word, reformatted. I give up. It's supposed to be all the same size. I used colours to indicate importance.

Here are his comments, interspersed with other notes I made during our conversation.

  • Gilding
  • I mentioned that I knew that I’d laid the acrylic gesso down too thickly (I didn't mention the second 'coat' - to fix that I'd have to scrape back down to the paper).

To gild when the mordant is thick - use a double layer of glassine paper, and burnish very quickly and lightly.

Then use more pressure to bring up the polish.

-- -> notes

  • To research - the use of the term "brown" in gilding - ie burnished gold is brown.

Burnishing means 'darkening' of a material. It compresses the gold particles together.

--> research and then -> notes

  • The best teeth to use are those of carnivores, because they have the most enamel. He uses German Shephard. I don't know what mine is.
-- -> notes

  • Majuscule Importance (there must be a better term) and Decoration
  • The pen filigree (down the side of the left hand column).. well, it's a start.

The only way to learn is to look at hundreds, thousands of examples from the relevant period/region.

--> part of the Gothic Textura study coming up. Will have to incorporate into learning - do a seperate 'module' on it?

  • I used various methods of decoration for various levels of the Majuscules in the piece

ie any capitalized letters in the poem were rubricated with a simple blue vertical line.
first letter of each line of the poem were rubricated with a simple red verticle line
first letter of first word in each verse was a pen flourished versal
the poem heading was completely done in pen flourished versals

I did this after reading Christopher De Hamel's British Library Guide.

Paul pointed out that my 'levels', overall, weren't actually contemporary to the period.

Also that rubricated versals were a Dutch thing.

That I should have assigned versal letters to all capitalized letters

The script was too heavy to be used with pen filigree work

--> All of the above can be avoided in future by being more familiar with the decorative elements that typically accompany a particular script - region/time

  • With the decoration of the T and the S (the first letter of the first word of each verse) it's important to construct the design around the letter geometically, not just by copying

I just copied it and altered it a little to fit my versal.

Note that variance on the diagonal is less obvious than variance on the horizontal/vertical.

Pen work wouldn't have been used to fill the space for the T and the S (first letter of first word of each verse) anyway

--> construct decorative pen work geometrically in future

  • The Script

  • My columns are too narrow. I should be able to fit at least 5 words in each space (bugger)
  • In an earlier post I recorded that. June Francis made the comment, about my ascenders and descenders being too short. Paul agreed.
  • I'm inconsistent with the width of my letters eg an 'n' on one line compared to an 'n' on another line.
  • I'll wimper slightly here, and say that the layout caused me to write at about half the x –height I’m used to. I did try a narrower pen, but lost my thicks and thins – I like the script to be heavy.
  • I write my Gothic Quadrata letters too wide. 1 p.w. counterspace!

I do that at double the x-height, just lost it when I decreased it. *sigh*

  • That my x-height was squat

All these problems came from my script analysis of the two contemporaneous mss. What went wrong? (Plus, I obviously can’t handle writing at a small x-height, not without more practise, anyway)

  • That the diamond/slanted feet should only JUST touch the baseline
--> For all of this - practise the diamonds touching, and practise the script at a small x-height. (x-height used was 4mm)

  • Illumination
  • He really liked my painting
--> :-)
  • The vine work : - vines are always either the same width all the way along, or thickest at the base and getting thinner.

A good way to draw the vine at the same width – take a piece of paper and draw dots along one edge, removed from the edge by the width of the vine.

--> Notes
  • On the direction of the flowers in the bottom margin :

They should all face the same way, or L,R,L or R,L,R. to make a good design.

Important - that the original illuminators didn't necessarily always use design principles, and a little re-design may be necessary.

-> remember

  • For the future

A good way to learn is to copy mss, and think about each aspect, thinking ‘why is it this way’

That I should do a script analysis of

- The Bedford Hours

- Queen Mary Psalter

- The Geese Hours (German) at the Pierpont Library

And that these are examples of ‘High’ Gothic Textura script

To look at the Gothic script from it’s beginnings to the 19th century .

Did he say just Gothic Textura Quadrata or the entire Gothic family? I’ll have to check.

To study where the script came from and what it was like at it’s height. To use critical thinking.

That no book(Knight’s “Historical Scripts”, Brown/Lovett’s Source Book etc) has the depth of information that I needed, but Brown’s “A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600”was the best one on the subject, which I don’t have.

But I do have Knight, Brown/Lovett, Albertine Gaur “History of Calligraphy”, Donald Anderson’s “The Art of Written Forms” and Joyce Whalley’s “Students Guide to Western Calligraphy”.

He wants me to examine scripts, not just read and digest books.

I think I’ll start with just Gothic Textura Quadrata and find out how long it was around for.

Meanwhile, back to basics with the Gothic Textura Quadrata script in practice. And I promise that I’m not going to scream. I WILL get it perfect!

Next post on The Second Coming will have the details of the script analysis on the couple of contemporaneous mss I examined, the colours of the paints I used. I might as well put it all up in here neatly, as well as being scrawled in my project book.

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Anonymous dragonsally said...

Okay, you're right -a lot of that was way beyond me.
Just one little query though..."The best teeth to use are those of carnivores, because they have the most enamel. He uses German Shephard. I don't know what mine is" What wierd thing are you calligraphers doing with the teeth of poor defenceless critters? *grin?*

Sunday, September 10, 2006  

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