I’ve been itching to play around with my guache paints for the past couple months but what with planning and cooking a feast for the first weekend of January and sewing garb for Birka there were other priorities. Fortunately I was finally able to play this past Saturday.
Of course I wasn’t able to get started until late afternoon by which time the sun was well on it’s way to the horizon and my usual “light box”, aka the window, for tracing was less than useful. So I “borrowed” a photo frame from our room that was made with a glass back. For a photo this makes the wall behind it become the “mat” for the purposes of a light box it was perfect. A cardboard box just big enough for the frame to lay across and a clip-on area light set inside and viola! Light box!
Now I’ve only been able to really play with my scribal materials once and I wasn’t brave enough to use the good paper instead using printer paper. I was determined to get it right this time though so I chose a few manuscript pages and, one by one, taped them down, secured a sheet of vellum surface bristol on top, and got to tracing. I wore a pair of white costume gloves that I bought for the purpose so that I didn’t get any hand oils on the paper.
I didn’t get to paint all of the pages that I traced but I did finish the two smallest scroll blanks. The manuscript page shown below is from the Siete partidas (Seven-part code) a Spanish manuscript from the 13th–15th centuries. The scroll blank on the left is a portion of the illuminated page border. The vine and leaf from the border of the blank on the right is from an English Missal ca. 1320, MS M.107 fol. 302v. The rest of the design is, I admit medieval-inspired. I wasn’t working from a specific source at the time (months ago now), I was merely doodling to pass the time with no access to books or the internet.