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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

29 November 2006

Jacobean Card - Finished


Now to print 15 copies on good paper and back onto card stock that tones with the colours in the picture.

It's 10 x 14 cm in real life. (4 x 5 inch-ish?) The scanning always does strange things to the sizing.

I'll write "Season's Greetings" on the back of each in some colour ink that shows up on the coloured card stock, and handwrite the personal greetings.

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22 November 2006

Jacobean Card

I think my hand is broken ...................... :-)

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19 November 2006

Stop Press - Jacobean Card

Taking the painting off the board and scanning it properly makes a lot of difference!

I feel a LOT better about reproducing it now!

* the leaf on the left is a much better shape but needs re-painting

* the fruit above are murky and need re-painting

* I went over the whole of the background with Doc Martens and then with the wash - the patch was showing up pretty badly. (and I'm SO pleased that finally I'm showing what the original actually looks like!)
The patch is now pretty much invisible - but look at the blue tone that's left in the background!
The wash is a lighter tint of the colour used for the base of the big flower at the top - and it sure doesn't look like it with the Dr Martens under it. I'll have to mix a colour and go over it again to make a warmer background. It simply doesn't make friends with all of the olive green and apricot.

Kit is helping me heaps with design/painting decisions - she picked up the blue tone, and gave me advice on the re-painting of the left leaf. We also discussed the main trunk, which disappears into the main flower, (we'll see, once the main flower is painted) and the stem of another flower 'floating in space'. She has christened the large apricot bud in the centre of the cabbage leaf 'the pod person'. It's a lot of fun discussing the painting with her as I do it.

I have to have Dianne's writing paper printed out by Friday, and I haven't been able to get the matching envelopes yet.

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18 November 2006

Jacobean Card - Illumination Technique

I've worked out why I'm going nuts with this piece!
The obvious reason is that I have a bunch of work unfinished, and I want to get back to it all.

The other is that part of this unfinished work is the piece on my method of highlighting and shading. I learnt a lot about lymning (illumination) when I did research for other techniques of illumination when I was writing this piece, and as a result my own technique has gone a bit schizo.

The piece can't scan well at the moment. It's taped to a board - so I can put it off-balance in the scanner and get a shadow, or evenly balance it and have it a distance above the glass, which means a less clear image. I went for the shadow last post, the blurry image this post.

If you look at something like the cabbage leaf (the big green thing on the right in olive greens with a dark apricot centre, tho it looks red on the scan) you can see the tiny strokes that I've taking to doing with watery paint pretty clearly (by clicking on the image)
But the leaf opposite - for some reason it only worked by the 'soft blending' method I described in my piece.
And if you look at the stem of the pair of apricot and blue flowers near the bottom, there is dry brushing to shade the stem!

It's just 'happening'. I'm not choosing a particular method for each bit. It seems to be what's happening with my brush at the time. I just happen to be on the other end of it.

I want to re-work that leaf on the left that is soft blended. It doesn't look right. It should be the easiest element to paint, since it's simply an acanthus leaf, au'naturel, and I've certainly painted lots of them.

I removed the leaf to the left of the carnation that I was talking about last post, and patched over the area. Unfortuntaely the Doc Martens is coming up when I put the coloured wash over it, changing the colour and you can see the patch. *bang head against desk*. I'll think of something! Worst case, Kit can 'fix' the background on the scan by copying some other background over it in Photoshop, although I'd much rather have the original correct.

I think the dis-quiet I feel is because I'm going through an evolutionary process with my illumination technique as I paint this piece, as a result of the research I did and so it feels rather experimental and weird.

This is a good thing.

I really need to clean that ink from my scanner glass, don't I!

Master Giles de Laval's piece recently posted to scribes
(at is just to die for. Studying the image up close is really useful, as well as reading his essay at

Especially interesting is his use of azilirin crimson to form the shadows on the blue. To quote from his essay :

Rather than a simple dark blue, the shadow tone was based on alizarin crimson. Alizarin crimson laid over ultramarine is a painter's trick from the Gottingen Model Book later adopted by artists such as Titian, as it provides a richer and more visually recessive tone than dark blue, making it ideal for trompe-l'oeil modelling"

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16 November 2006

Jacobean Card

OK, I've let myself into more than I planned.

Since I'm going to scan and print this piece to make into Christmas cards, the colours need to be correct. And they are so not correct on this scan! (the shadow doesn't help - it's because of the board the piece is on not fitting on the scanner bed).

The apricots (which tone nicely with the olive greens) are appearing red in the scan. You can see the proper colour in the right leaf next to the 'carnation' because of the way I painted it - so thinly it's watercolour, not gouache.
I was talking with Kit yesterday who had a copy of this scan and she did a few mysterious things to fix the colour on her copy - mostly just so she could see what I'd actually done. Luckily she's a graphics designer and knows about this stuff.

I'm finding it a little difficult/interesting translating between the original, which is a tapestry and is also kind of blocky - which wouldn't work the way I want to paint it. So I'm using it as a basis and going with my own style.

The left hand leaf that accompanies the 'carnation' above the 'cabbage leaf' is totally hacked. I'll have to take it back to the paper, or go over it with Dr Martin's White and do it again.

I'm pleased with the green shading in the cabbage leaf, tho there is one folded over leaf at the bottom that I need to fix. Kit also pointed out that the bobbly things inside the cabbage leaf were meant to be buds, so I need to add that detail.

Need more coffee

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7 November 2006

Jacobean Card

I've added ticks to the Gods of Snow quote. It adds to the illegibility amazingly!

They started showing Christmas ads on TV a couple of nights ago, and I'm late in doing anything about it (Christmas, that is)

I shall have a break from script analysis work, and do up a card to print, and then make into matted cards for my friends. (I also have Dianne's notepaper and envelopes to print out by the 24th of this month).

I'll send a mail to the scribies tomorrow. I'm a bit concerned that there were so many hits on my blog, undoubted copies of the list of script analysis questions and the list is still growing and being refined as I work through the Bedford Hours script analysis. And doing this card will delay the finishing of this further. Also, I need to re-jig the Method of Shading and Highlighting piece as per Randy's comments.

Anyway, worries aside (I'm remarkable good at pressuring myself), I'm going to do some painting! Yay! I love painting.

Here's the design the card will be based on. It's an historical Jacobean tapestry (another thing I'd like to do).
Please excuse my hack Photoshop work to remove some elements that are on the border that I won't incude in my design

Here's the rough of my design
I'm quite pleased with it. The central trunk and the big flower are slightly off centre, to add interest, and the flowers, leaves and berries kind of point around in an oval around the page to bring the eye around the picture.

A lot of colour mixing to do! I briefly considered doing it folk art style - I had a lot of success with a picture, that was vaguely similiar that I did a few years ago for a friend for a Christmas present that I did in the folk art style.
Then again, looking closely at the original, the threads look like lymned strokes - and I'll have a lot of fun doing it traditionally.

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4 November 2006

Script Analysis - Drawing up the Guidelines

I e-mailed Meisterin Katarina Helene Schultz today, asking about the discrepancies between the various measurements and she answered that these are because the pages were hand-done. The page where there is no float may simply have been forgotten to be floated by the scribe.

I think I'm seeing the work of two scribes. The various books (Codices Illustres etc) say that the calligrapher was unknown.
The script on the Codices Illustres page is more ornate and slightly more angled than on the other pages. I like it the best, and will use the various hairlines and placing of cross bars. (these are noted in the last post).

The next thing to do was to draw up a page of guidelines that would provide the correct spacing for practise of Bedford Hours and Psalter type Gothic Textura Quadrata.

I choose the most common measurements :-
1.5 cm for a set of lines, being
8 mm for the x-height and
3 mm for each of the ascender and descender lines, where the float line is the ascender/descender line.

In the middle I drew some I's (alright, so they aren't straight) and just left the guidelines in pencil at that point, so they appear to 'float', as they will in the final page I produce. (for fun)

I realised that I needed to add some questions to the Script Analysis questions.
One was "How long is each line". It doesn't matter hugely with the guidelines - but it is needed to be known. I did draw these guidelines with the correct line length of 17.5 cm.

I was having thoughts about the 'height' (or 'depth') of the text block. I was looking at my 4 images and noticed that the depths varied slightly. The blocks of text were starting and finishing at slightly different places on each sheet of paper. It wasn't much difference, but I wanted to check it out.

Overall, it wasn't a problem for the ascender/descender/float calculations I've just done. The sets of lines I was measuring on each page were all around 1.5 cm - so they were blown up correctly. But had I blown them all up a bit too much, or not enough. I wanted guidelines that represented the actual text block in the mss. Even if there is a bit of variation (in that the text blocks were a little different on each photocopied and blown up page) it all comes out in the wash. I'll end up working with averages measured. (Although next time I'll be more careful when blowing up my example pages)

So I went back to my Mss books.

Codices Illustres states the depth of the entire page (including illumination and margins) as 407 mm. If I measure that page reproduced in the book, it's 270 mm tall.
270x = 407
x = 1.5
So the page needs to be magnified by 1.5 to equal the real size.
The size of the text block on the page = 15.5 cm.
15.5 x 1.5 = 23.3 cm - so that is the real depth of the text block.

Backhouse states the depth of the entire page (including illumination and margins) as 405 mm.
If I measure the page reproduced in the book, it's 230 mm tall.
230x = 405
x = 1.76.
The size of the text block on the page = 13.4
13.4 x 1.76 = 23.6.

A slight variation, but pretty much the same.

However, my guildines, with 18 lines, = 27 cm. I was using too much space. (given I 'just picked' the x-height of 8mm, ascender/descender heights of 3 mm). The actual ascender/descender lines on the mss varied all over the place, as we saw in the last couple of posts.
So - to pick new measurements with which to draw up my guidelines.

Counting, there are 36 ascender/descender lines if there are 18 baselines.
I need the height to equal 23.5 (I choose 23.5 as an average between 23.3 and 23.6)
Keeping the x-height at 8 mm (just coz I like that height)

(18 x 0.8) + 36y = 23.5, where y = the ascender/descender height
36y = 23.5 - 14.4
y = 0.25 cm
= 2.5 mm.

Well, that sounds reasonable!

Having drawn up the guidelines, their depth is 23.5 cm. Yay!

I won't use this page as my actual guideline sheet (behind my practise sheet). The nib I used to draw them is too thick (not to mention smudging heaps). I've gotten awfully confused in the past when the guideline lines have been thick - because a kind of black hole results, the width of the guideline, when the script is written out using them. Lines that are above others are a tiny bit too high, because there's that extra bit of height. The x-height is that tiny bit smaller.,
Using a texta this time meant I could cheat while I was working out if the guidelines were correct without being as accurately straight as is needed using a 0.1 pen - it's quicker.

Anyway, now I know an x-height and ascender/descender height that will work, and know that I want my ascender/descender lines to equal my float line. And of the slight variations of the heights of the letters that have ascenders/descenders, which heights (and hairlines) that I want to use.
Yay is all I can say, because this exercise with ascender/descender lines just about bored me to death.

Next is to update the script analysis questions to gather the information I found that I needed to do this, and then to measure angles on all of the letters.

Ever on.

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2 November 2006

Script Analysis - Float, Ascender and Descender Heights

This entry will make a lot more sense if
is read first.

This is the marked up copy from Codices Illustres
There is no float on this page (!) unlike the page from Backhouse.

Most, but not all sets of lines (ie the distance from the ascender line down to the descender line of one line of script) are 1.5 cm. Some are 1.4 or 1.6 cm.
Most ascender lines are 3 mm height, with some at 2.5 mm.
Descender lines are 2.5 mm or 3 mm height, pretty equally.

I was looking for the difference why some sets of lines were smaller or larger than the others, but couldn't find a pattern. Sometimes the x-height is a bit bigger at 10 mm (opposed to the smaller x-height of 9 mm), sometimes the the descender height varies, sometimes the ascender height.
Note this x-height is larger than I'd discovered earlier (8 mm)

Why ???

The descender line of one set of lines is the ascender line for the next set in all cases except 2

Looking at the letters (and remembering what I call 'the general case' where an ascender or descender varies in being just below the line, or just touching, or being just over) :

B : just touches the ascender line
D : are all version 1. Finish 2 mm above the waistline.
F. the crossbar is 1 mm down from the waistline. The ascending line is general case.
I also noted two different versions of the F (different top), although Stan Knight doesn't remark on F have variants. The different version occurs twice.
G : The bottom most corner of the G is general case.
H : The bottom most corner is at 1.5 mm below the baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.
J : The bottom most corner is at 1.5 mm below the baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.
L : just touches ascender line.
P : just touches descender line.
Q : just touches descender line.
Both P and Q finish at equal points, rather than varying depths - which is why the descender line is different from the ascender line in two cases.
S : no flourish, unlike on Backhouse.
Long S : general case
T : the crossbar is 1 mm below the waistline. The top of the T finished 1 mm above the waistline.
X : no examples
Y : no examples
Z : bottom stroke finishes 1 mm below the baseline. The lowest point of the hairline is 2 mm below the baseline.

This is the marked up copy of the 1 st image from the British Library

The Float is back! In most cases, the float line is the ascender line is the descender line of the line above (as in Backhouse). There were 4 cases (like the 2 above) where the tops of ascending letters finished evenly at the same height, which was not the float line, so I felt that the ascender line was a seperate line to the float line. The descender line was always the float line.

When I was looking at the Backhouse image, I wondered if the float varied for lines set against the historiated initial. I was unable to find this pattern on any of the other images.

Most of the sets of lines are 1.5 cm, with some 1.4 or even 1.3 cm.
The ascender height varied between 2.5 mm (in one case) and 45 or even 5 mm !
The descender height (float line) varied between 2 and 3 mm, with most at 2 or 2.5 mm.

Again, I can't spot a pattern in the varying of any of these measurements (ie the descender/float height is always smaller leading to a smaller measurement for that set of lines)

The x-height varied between 8 and 9 mm, with most at 8 mm.

For the letters :

B : just touches the ascender line
D : all were version 1. Finished 2 mm above the waistline.
F : the crossbar was 1 mm down from the waistline. The top of the F just touches the ascender line.
G : the bottom most corner is general case
H : the bottom most corner finishes at 1 mm below the baseline. The hairline finishes at the descender line.
J : no example
L : general case
P : just touches descender line
Q : just touches descender line
S : no flourish
Long S : general case
T : cross bar 0.5 mm below waistline. Top of the T finishes 1.5 mm above waistline.
Half R : has a flourish on the left hand side finishing 1/2 mm below the baseline.
X : no examples
Y : no examples
Z : bottom strokes finishes 1 mm below baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.

This is the marked up copy of the second image from the British Library :

Float is here too, varying between 2 and 3 mm, mostly 3.
The float line is the ascender line is the descender line in 7 lines. In 11 of the lines the letters with ascenders in the line finished evenly but not on the float line, so I drew in a seperate ascender line.
The letters with descenders always finished on the float line.

The measurement of the set of lines varied between 1.4 to 1.7 (!) with most at 1.5 (just).

The ascender height varied between 2 and 3 mm and i'd say 2.5 was the average.
The descender height varied between 2 and 3 mm, with 2.5 the average again.

The letters :
B : just touches the ascender line
D : version 1 finishes 2 mm above the waistline. Version 3 finishes 1.5 mm above the waistline.
F : the crossbar is 1 mm down from the waistline.
G : general case
H : finishes 1 mm below the baseline, with the hairline going down to the1.5 mm below the baseline.
J : no examples
L : general case
P : general case
Q : general case
S : no flourish
Long S : just touches ascender line
T : cross bar 1 mm below waistline. The top of the T finishes 1 mm above the waistline.
X : finishes on the left hand side 1 mm ABOVE the descender line. The hairine extends 1 mm below the descender line.
Y : An exaggerated "V" shape, as with the Backhouse image. The point of the V finishes 0.5 mm ABOVE the descender line. The lowest part of the flourish finishes at the waistline below.
Z : Bottom stroke finishes 1 mm below the baseline.

Well, that nearly bored me to death! And all those differences!

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1 November 2006

Gods with Snow - Verticals

I've had a go at writing out the Gods with Snow quote with a pen width that matches the one shown in the copy of the quote shown in Drogin, and at the same x-height. My Brause nib matches the nib width (a bit smaller) - yay - I love my Brause.

I'm pretty drugged at the moment - been mainlining coffee but it hasn't had much effect, so I'm not proud of this writing, - there are some non-straight lines when I know perfectly well that I can do better - but it does show something interesting.

Part way through, I was disappointed about the shape of my verticals (not being evenly shaped and edged verticals lines) so I raised the height of my chair a bit, sat up straighter and made sure that I was holding my pen upright. I've marked the point where I did this with a purple pen.

Have a look at the improvement in the shape of the verticals it made! (See it better viewing at a larger size by clicking on the image).
Many more of the lines are crisp and less likely to bow.

I know that the other important thing in getting straight lines (rather than ones that bow) is remembering to move the elbow when drawing them - tho these lines are so short at an x-height of 1 cm that it's hard to get any movement going

I've written it out again - more crisp verticals this time.
However, there are still problems. I'll whip the page out of the scanner and mark them up and then put it back in .......

No, I'm not being too hard on myself. I need to know where and what the problems are in order to fix them! :-)

I forgot to mark on the page where I've bowed the tops of Ms and Ns.

On the spacing front, as usual I'm putting my I's too close after the last vertical, and my width of my N's is a bit variable. All the counterspaces of the M's are even, which is some kind of miracle. Spacing the words a bit far apart.

I'm very happy with some of the letters ....

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