Saturday, 3 November 2012

Workshops with Alison Samain

Alison ran two workshops for Kickstart recently ,both in Leicestershire, looking at illuminated letters.

Using the colours of the medieval period, Green (Malachite) - the nearest now is winsor green, Blue (Lapis Lazuli) replaced today by Ultramarine, and Red (Cinnabar) using Vermilllion or Scarlet lake; we worled in gouache as it is opaque - giving a solid flat colour.

Alison provided participants with archival quality hot press watercolour paper - medieval documents of quality would have been on vellum or parchment which is still available but very expensive. 

Starting with painting techniques used in medievaltimes, participants practised building up blocks of colour using thin layers of gouache mixed with water. Traditionally egg yolk would have been mixed with pigment.
The first thinlayer of paint is very watery - an underpaint to even out the paper - the liquid is 'teased' across the paper working quickly.

each following layer is a little thicker and added on top when the initial layer is dry. This technique was used to add folds in fabric, shadows etc to old paintings.

When working on a letter the gold leaf attaches to anything sticky which can include the paint - so the 'size' the glue, is worked first before adding colour.
We used Miniatum made by Kolner; it goes on pink and you add a drop to the paper and drag it across the space with a fine brush which leaves a little mound of fluid - once the space is filled leave it to set for around 10 minutes minimum. The size must be thoroughly dry before applying the leaf and it will remain open for gilding for up to the next 20 hours. Due to the long open time, overnight drying is advisable to assure the highest degree of lustre.

Once dry you re-invigorate the dried glue by 'huffing' (breathing warm air through a paper tube onto the glue). Put the sheet of gold leaf over the glue and brush over the sheet with a cotton wool pad once - in one direction. Lift the leaf sheet and pass the cotton wool back over the leaf to remove any loose gilding.

This letter D is in lombardic style (1462) and is a Versal - Capital - used at the beginning of verses.
After the gold leaf is completed you can filin the other areas using one or more of the three colours.

Areas can be highlighted in white; three dots would mean the Holy Trinity.

Rosalind Wyatt is one artist to look at who combines calligraphy and stitch.
Look at The St John's Bible for a recent illuminated bible production

A completed letter D from the first workshop

No comments:

Post a Comment