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I’ve still got it!

But it’s very, very tired.

A little bit back, I not only took but *requested* an assignment for a laurel scroll. The recipient is a really great guy that I like a lot, and if no one else already had a request in I wanted to make that scroll. I got more information to work from than I think I’ve ever had, and based on that I even knew that I had the perfect exemplar manuscript to work from. Unfortunately, while I’ve owned this book for probably fifteen years, I haven’t worked from it for one simple reason – it scares me to death. The sheer scale of it is hugely intimidating. Unfortunately, it was perfect – created in 1455, it was within fifty years of his persona, and had the absolutely most perfect miniature of the construction of a city with masons and stone-carvers. What more perfect layout could there be for an award for excellence in stone carving? Not to mention that I’m a much better copyist than artist, and the appeal of being able to use the miniature unchanged was enormous.

Then I screwed the schedule. First there was the pesky problem of finishing a previously accepted assignment. Then there was the writer’s block (and this piece needed a lot of words. A LOT of words.) Then I got sick. So last week it was really coming down to the wire. Monday I lettered. Tuesday I finished the lettering and the layout. Wednesday I laid ground for gold. That took longer than I thought it would – there’s not much gold by proportion on this layout, but again – the *scale!* I’d hoped/planned to take a half a day on Thursday and all day on Friday off, but they only approved Friday. Not good. So on Thursday I laid most of the gold, and called it quits at 1:00am when I started making mistakes. Friday morning I got up at 6:00, took Charlotte in to day care, and sat down to finish the gold. I gilded, sketched, and painted for the next twenty-eight hours. With bathroom breaks. It got to be problematic at about 6:00am on Saturday when my hands started to shake – makes fine work difficult, which is why the whitework isn’t really what it could be. But at 10:00am on Saturday, I had this!

Yes, that's a 23" x 19-3/4" layout with not one, but two miniatures.  The bottom one is about eight inches square.  iNot bad for an old, washed up laurel!

There are things I’m unhappy with. The whitework and border filigree isn’t as fine as it should be. I completely forgot to put in line enders on the short lines. Just forgot. The faces are kind of “meh.” They need more depth – but I’m not very good at that yet anyhow. I delineated the edges of the buildings and the roofs completely incorrectly – what I *thought* I saw was not actually what was there in the original. The whole thing needs more detail. I could have put another eighty hours into it easily.

That said, I’m pleased.

Once I finished, we packed ourselves up and went to the event. We didn’t blow away in the 40mph winds, which was a good thing. Bob tried to shoot in the wind, and I tried to neither freeze nor blow away. Charlotte tried to convince us to go watch the horses all day. She DID get to pet one of them, thanks to Duchess Katherine. Everyone loved the piece, which made the insanity well worthwhile. Bob was good enough to watch Charlotte while I chatted (and preened – let’s be honest. I haven’t had a good ego boost like that for a while) and we were home at about 7:30. I ate dinner and fell over.

On Sunday I sat on the couch.

I think the next piece will be a bit more… moderate. This may have been over the top. Fun though. I’ve got a couple of backlog pieces to finish up. That’ll be next. I didn’t think I still had it in me. It’s nice to be wrong.  But I've got to say - the all nighters hurt more at forty-one than they did at twenty-one...


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
It was YOU who did that! He loved the thistles :-D
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Re: a-HA!
Oh good! I didn't know if anyone would notice them. The original had some generic blue flowers, but I thought thistles would be appropriate. :-)
Re: a-HA! - bytchearse - Oct. 20th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Every once in a while (like now) you do something so great something in the back of my head tells me I should have sex with you. The sex will never happen, but the feeling is sincere.
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you?

Oct. 19th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
that is truly zippy!
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
Unlike me on Saturday. :-)

Thank you!
Oct. 19th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
Thankee ma'am. Hopefully I can do some other things for a bit now.
Oct. 19th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Well done Mistress, well done.
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Why thank you. I'd been feeling somewhat irrelevant, so it was a nice ego boost.
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
I remember thinking during court that a) it was an awesome scroll and b) that's a lot of text. Gorgeous!
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry I missed you. But I was in such a fog I wasn't noticing much of anything. And of court Her Royal Toddlerness was dragging us back to the "neighs" as much as possible.

It's scary how much text that layout absorbed. I wrote a good long text, but kept it tight because while it was a large layout, the script was proportionally large also. Then I did a test gauge, and realized that I only had about half the text I needed. There was a lot of frantic editing!

Glad you liked it!
(no subject) - rosinavs - Oct. 19th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kls_eloise - Oct. 20th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
Wow! Very impressive and I especially like the rock mountains outside the city. They have a certain Seussian quality, don't you think?

Oct. 20th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
They're not really supposed to, but yes they do. I couldn't quite figure out how to do the mountains the way they had them in the original, but they work!
Oct. 19th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
...and this is why when I wanted someone to talk to me about painting the panel chest, I came to visit you! (Well, that and it's just so much fun hanging out with you guys.)

Amazing as always hon.
Oct. 20th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
I was thinking about that conversation at a few points as I was working up the layers!
Oct. 20th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
Oh. My gosh. Just...wow. That's a truly amazing piece.

And yes, you've still got it. You're a rock star.
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
For some reason I found myself particularly wishing you could see this one in person. I also was thinking that you would appreciate what my hands felt like after a 28-hour marathon painting session!
Oct. 20th, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)

I wish I were a QUARTER as talented as you ... and skillful... and determined.
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Talent is overrated. Skill comes with repetition. Determined - that's a nicer word for "stubbon," and that makes all the difference!
Oct. 20th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 20th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
I can tell that if I really understood how this type of thing worked, I'd be twice as impressed. As it is, it looks like the lettering must have taken FOREVER, and all the colours are so bright. When I was looking at the pictures I thought one might be the original and one your version but they're all your work right? It certainly looks like a page from a medieval book, anyway.
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
The lettering took a while, but since I've been doing it for thirty years, not as long as you might think. Longer than I had budgeted for it though! That ended up being a lot more words than I thought it would need.

I "cheated" a bit this time and used paint from a tube rather than making my own. I figured that on this scale I needed to stick to the procedures that I know like the back of my hand.

That's all my work - that's my foot in the lower left keeping it from blowing away while I tried to get snapshots, and when I do miniatures I always try to get closeups of them. I suspect I have better pics in the film camera, but I've got 14 more photos to go before I can have those developed. Ah - old-fashioned technology.

"It certainly looks like a page from a medieval book, anyway."

That is quite literally the BEST compliment possible!

I used to do tons of these. I lost count years ago, but I've done hundreds. Then I took a years long hiatus, and seriously doubted I could still do a piece like this. I think I have conclusively blown those doubts out of the water.

NOW I just need to learn to budget my time better.

(no subject) - golden_meliades - Oct. 20th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kls_eloise - Oct. 21st, 2010 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 20th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
That is a gorgeous piece of calligraphy!
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm particularly pleased with the lettering, so it's very nice to have it noticed. (Especially since I wasn't as happy with the lettering on the piece I turned in a few weeks ago.)
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )