Ug. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this kind of trouble with a scroll. I guess you could say that I’m just "not feeling the love." Probably indicative of the problems I’m going to continue to have on projects of this type in the new Life After Baby. In addition to sucking the energy out of me, she appears to also be sucking the creativity away also. Hopefully that too will change with time.
I’ve been poking away at this thing for the last couple of months, but I’ve only just set pen to vellum last weekend. My first inclination was to blame my usual last-minute tendencies, but actually I’ve been pecking around the edges for weeks. The first problem was the layout. First I was going to use a layout from the Tres Belles Heures, then it was going to be from the Grandes Heures. My Jean de Berry obsession is showing, I’m afraid. Both are fairly grand in scope, and both are gorgeous layouts. Unfortunately, I just never fell in love with either one. I couldn’t come up with anything that worked for me. I also had an awful time with the text. Pelican scrolls always have this problem for me. I could have done the full blown document text and spent five hundred words saying nothing more than "the chick and I think he’s a cool dude so we’re giving him a Pelican." But I did that for his chivalry document and didn’t want to repeat. The problem with a story type text for Pelicans is that it’s really hard to wax poetic about behind the scenes service stuff and still sound reasonably majestic about it. I’ve done it, mind you, but arts stuff is so much easier to blather on about. But without a text or a layout that made me happy, it was kind of hard to commit ink to paper.
So last week I rooted through my books on the "I must make a decision NOW" urgency level, and came up with the Macclesfield Psalter. There were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it’s an expensive book that I’ve purchased recently, and in my mind this justifies the money spent. Secondly, it’s a style that I’m good at. Lastly (and mostly) the decoration in this Psalter allowed me to pick any two facing pages and be able to do a piece that was inherently indicative of the original work. That’s the hook on this one: it’s not large, it’s not flashy, it’s not encrusted with gold – it’s as exactly like the original as I can make it. It is the same size, the same proportions, the same number of lines of text per page, etc. I’m finding it pretty cool, actually. I’m also finding that when you take a decade off, you get *rusty.* Sigh. Hopefully he’ll understand. I think so. It’s not going to have the back of the hall "oooooo" factor, but I hope that the people with a clue will appreciate what I’m doing.
I wasn’t able to maintain the replication to the pigments. For one thing, I don’t have any minium and even if I did, I don’t intend to work with lead until I’m no longer nursing. So instead I’m working with cadmiums. :-) One big mistake I’m making on this is that I’m trying multiple new things in one project. Always a no-no. For example, this is my first time gilding with fish glue, although I think that once I’ve got a better feel for it that I’ll like it a lot. I can’t tell if the original gilding is raised or flat, but from the look I suspect it’s raised, and the analysis mentions a chalk base for the gilding. However until I slake some more plaster, for raised gilding I’m stuck with permacol. While that’s nice, and very effective, I wanted to stick to authentic materials – so fish glue it was. Thinned with gilder’s garlic. What a loooovely smell... I got a decent look of minium with a wash of cadmium yellow over cadmium red, and I substituted ultramarine for the original azurite again because it’s what I have on hand. The analysis of the greens wasn’t very conclusive, so I used viridian. The darker reds were lakes unfortunately, none of which I have (notice a theme?,) so those I mixed. Don’t ask me how – it was late and I don’t remember.
Note to self – I need to find my damn glass rods for mixing the slaked pigment into the glaire. Because right now I’m making a mess. They were in the illumination demo kit which was under the flat files when we lived in Middletown...
So. Text is done, gold is done, all base coats are down. Tonight I’ll start the whitework. I’d say that "tonight I’ll *do* the whitework" except that experience tells me that it always takes at least twice as long as I think it’s going to. Then I’ll just need to paint in the badge, and if I have time there’s a special detail that I want to add. I don’t know if that will be possible though. We’ll see.
Oh, and somewhere in there I need to sew the side seams of Charlotte’s chemise back up and make two meat pies for our lunch contribution. While still making it to two doctor’s appointments, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.
I didn’t plan this well, did I? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose...