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Week #43
This work was done by Ann Rabinovitz in 1992 in New Orleans for the session “Foundational and Variations” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:

As we wound down a final year in Reggie‘s Primitive to Modern calligraphy class in San Diego California, I wanted to do a project with lots of gilding.

I had been doodling an idea for a painting, originally planned for a large canvas, that featured our two dogs in kind of a formal setting between two topiaries. This became the inspiration for this piece.  While searching for my original sketches, I was listening to Pandora when the song Lemon Tree by Peter Paul and Mary came on. It was a familiar tune from my childhood, and I knew that it was with this piece needed.

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

I would do the lyrics in calligraphy and feature the dogs and the lemon tree.  After some doodling, I settled on the two tree format. Next came the calligraphy. We had just spent the weekend studying the Codex Aureus (and watching Donald Jackson in the Illuminator again!), so I decided to do two trees and two dogs on a base in the style of the codex.

Posing the dogs for a reference photo proved to be the work’s biggest hurdle. One was up, the other was down. Both dogs were down, no dogs were up. One was looking to the left, one was licking herself. Finally, with the promise of cold cuts, both dogs sat at attention and the picture was snapped.


Working on Pergamenata paper given to me by Maria Helena, the dogs and trees were rendered in Windsor and Newton watercolors and gouache, the gilding was done using loose leaf gold, Moongold, and Palladium. I ran into trouble getting the Palladium to stick to the gesso base; it took a couple of tries. I definitely need to practice using this material. I had great fun working on this piece. Reggie asked me to do a write up on it, so I have had nearly a year to think about my study with him. I look back on that years experience as one of the most joyful in my life. I love our Gilded Girls and Reggie, and I learned more than I ever thought possible!

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