I was gone over the weekend and came home to an e-mail from John Neal Bookseller, a calligraphers Mecca in New York, that the 16th of August is World Calligraphy Day. More than one project involving calligraphy is perking in the back of my skull, so I thought I would do a little bit of practice and show some older pieces as well.
This is the Song of Amergin, an ancient Irish poem with many wildly varying translations. In the two pictures above, I’ve used my interpretation of an Anglo-Saxon hand using the Anlgo-Saxon runes thorn and wunjo. Several of the other letter-forms are also archaic, like the long ‘s’, d, f, g, k, t, and the ‘u’ used for both ‘u’ and ‘v’.
I wrote the poem out again using more modern letter-forms, but I goofed in line six. You can see the word ‘the’ beginning with thorn. Some habits are hard to break.
I did these without guidelines as an exercise; an attempt to get my hand to remember how to write these shapes. The images below are some old pieces I did when I played in the SCA. I think my hand was steadier back then.
Not all of our original concepts turn out to be practical. A case in point was my idea to paint each Zodiac sign as they progressed through a lunar month. (Aries with the moon in Aries, Taurus with the moon in Taurus, etc.) I got a late start on Aries, beginning it on the day the moon passed out of that sign, so I got it inked, but not painted. Then I only had one practical working day for Taurus and had to jump into Gemini the day after that due to other scheduling. Perhaps if I had consulted my calendar prior to diving in head first. Ah well. With a little retro-scheduling I think I have a timeline that works.
Aries first color: Naples Yellow and Garnet Genuine over a pale wash of Buff Titanium.
The result has been to take a more realistic approach to the project. I am attempting to ink the artwork while the moon is in the sign and the painting will be an ongoing process that has to fit around my other work. The goal is to have all twelve pieces finished in time for a show in May.
Taurus and Gemini. The calligraphy is done with a straight cut Brause nib and Calli ink. The line work with a Micron 005 marker.
A hopeful time-saver is laying out four images on a single sheet of Arches 140 lb hot press. Since I’m starting with an overall thin wash of Buff Titanium, I can do four images at once. The framework the roundel sits in will also be consistent in color. Even if this does not make the work go faster, it will make it more efficient.
Cancer is on the schedule for today. So off to work.