Sing a New Song:
I had come back to this “design” several times over
past three or so years. My first version was on dark
blue paper with pink ink. Quite interesting and
horrible at the same time. There were sketches and
color samplings in between. Then this. I picked the
idea up again for Reggie’s class this past year when
the homework was to be something italic. I found at
my studio the former trials, all neatly together,
and even a ready deer skin that I had obviously
planned to use, already lined in pencil. Ready to
go. So I decided to make learning day out of it.
This piece is mostly study in texture and color,
layout came third and is rather basic if not a bit
lopsided in alignment. My study was to use two
slanted lettering styles together, each with a
different slant, not often done, I guess. Have them
play off each other at different angles. See if it’s
any pleasant to the eye. I used rather simple narrow
italic and very flourished copperplate. It is
obvious on that piece that my italic is a bit rusty.
I don’t practice it every day as I do copperplate.
I also reversed the basic historic manuscript color
rule. I did more important lettering in black and
rather unimportant part in red.
Yet the combination is absolutely classic and almost glows on the
skin, as anything would. The red script is just a lacy
decoration for the serious black text. Play on contrast in more ways
Then I went right on to my own “rule”, or character flaw, some would
say. It is: more is more, more is never enough, if you can add, just
add. (Actually I’m trying to make “Step away while you can!” my new
rule. But here I obviously added this interesting light violet blue
and rose god watercolor leafing to the design to literally fill all of
And even though the interlinear space is nonexistent, totally squeezed
out, the piece has overall light and airy feeling if you step back and
look at it at the distance. The black letters seem to float atop of
the lacy elements. Even though the Black was done first.
The metallic watercolor gives it just a bit of illuminating lift of
subtle shimmer, as true gold gilding would have heavily overpowered
the feel of the piece.
Materials used: deerskin parchment, black sumi ink, various gouaches,
metallic watercolor, Mitchell nib, pointed pen, ruling pen.