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