Monday, March 4, 2013

Estrella Gift Scroll

Estrella gift-scroll to be presented to Atenveldt
Well, the annual Estrella War was held out in Arizona this past weekend. A while back, I received the assignment to produce something that could be present by Their Majesties to the Kingdom of Atenveldt, this is that piece. It was on display at Birka, however I felt it was inappropriate to post until after the event.

Firstly, let's get this out of the way - I hate the calligraphy on this piece. HATE it. I should have used a smaller nib, and for some reason I just couldn't get the ink to flow off the pen in a fluidly consistent manner. I think that my combining of a thin oak-gall ink with the dregs of my favourite is the root of the problem. I can try thoroughly mixing it with some more gum arabic for a better consistency.

Gesso application showing divots.
Lets instead concentrate on the things I do like...

This piece provided me a great opportunity to experiment more with the Ken Harris traditional gesso. My application technique seemed to improve the further into it I got, and I'm glad I chose to leave the largest areas until last. Initially I think that I added to much water to the gesso to soften it because once applied it dried with divots in the center. Once some of the water evaporated out of the gesso-shell, using the same application method it dried much more consistently.

Inital gold-leaf application showing
problematic areas in gesso.
The application of the gold leaf was about what I expected given the applied gesso. There were areas I was expecting to be problematic, and they were. The areas where my gesso-application technique had improved accepted the gold much better. To fill the divots I filled in with glair.

I've used a combination of modern (powdered) and period pigments for this piece. The blue is a mixture of "Ultramarine" and "Zinc/Titanium White" both purchased through Guild Mirandola (GM). I didn't have time to experiment with the lapis or azurite that I have, and I really needed to get the base colour laid. The red is vermillion purchased from Master John the Artificer, and the pink is a mixture of the vermillion and the GM white. I added some glair to the vermillion to give it a little gloss and depth as I did feel that the non-glair pigment was lacking something. The green is some malachite I had left over in a shell from a previous project.

The white-work is lead-white pigment from Master John, and I've quickly grown to LOVE the way that it applies to the page. Its such an elegantly silky pigment when mixed as paint. White-work application over dried base colour glides on effortlessly and retains it's opacity.

I've experimented with using less gum arabic this time around, and under first glance it seems to be working better by being less brittle. Hopefully this will hold up as the colours dry completely.

Scroll ID: Isabel C XXXIV