February 2017

February - Pices

Pisces appereth ithe form of two Fish. Ye paire are Phlegmatic, and rule ye fete. Thei gouern places of stilnesse, swich as pondes, hermitages and houses near water. When ye Mone schineth vpon ye Fish, than it is a time to enioi quietesse, but bewar ye temptacion of drunkenness. If Mercurie hath bisynesse wt the Fish, he coude be calming and easie, or he maibe a verie asse or idiote. When Venus paieth a visit, she endeth arguments peacefully, but she coude be idle and spend her dai abed and nat care for her reputacioun.

Calligraphy & Illumination by Mistress Eloise of Coulter

Persona:  Eloise was born in Coulter, a village in Lanarkshire, Scotland, lying close by the town of Biggar and the River Clyde, and ruled by Patrick Fleming, the Lord of the Barony of Biggar. Daughter of a prosperous sheep farmer, her brother is significantly older and the sole heir of her parents. In 1336 to hedge the family bets during the turmoil of the second Scottish war of independence, her family decided to marry her to a member of the English forces then “visiting.” Later when he returned to his home of Lewes in Sussex, England, she went with him and manages his property and household while he fights in Edward III’s wars in France as part of Earl John de Warenne’s and then Earl Richard Fitzalan’s levy.

Artist’s Astrological Sign: Pisces

What is the inspiration for your piece and why does it appeal to you?
I looked for an exemplar that would fulfill my current goal of reproducing historic documents to accurate scale, while still being aesthetically pleasing in the landscape format required by a calendar layout.

Materials used: Gouache and ink on Bristol board

Other notes of interest about your piece: The text that makes up the body of the fish is the original Latin text that make up the fish in the manuscript.

What drew you to participate in this project?: They asked.

What is your favorite medium to work in?: Gouache on vellum

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite?: I am not very familiar with early period scripts, as I don’t generally care for the aesthetics of the very early manuscript art.  The roman rustic in this piece gave me fits as it is much more spaced out than my favorite layouts.

January 2017

Aquarius taketh ye form of a Water-Carier. He is Sanguin, and ruleth the legges. He representeth places where waters flow to,such as riuers, diches, wells, fountains and vine-yards. When ye Mone croseth him, this indicateth a person of pale and waterie features. A visit from Venus signifieth a time to clene the bodie, trips to the ale-house, and fere complexiouns.

Calligraphy & Illumination by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte

Persona: English (circa Battle of Agincourt)


Artist’s Astrological sign: Capricorn

What is the inspiration for your piece and why does it appeal to you?

The Hours of Mary of Burgundy, late 1470s, Flemish. I especially enjoy this book as a source for the lovely cadels and acanthus leaves, as well as it being a reminder of spring yet to come since many of the images are reminiscent of spring outdoor scenes and coloring.

Materials used:
Holbein and Winsor Newton gouaches, Pelikan ink.


What drew you to participate in this project?

The East Kingdom Calendar project was something I have wanted to participate in for a while, but did not have time to do until now. I’ve enjoyed watching other artists who are both known names and new unfurl historic eye candy with each month for a good cause, and wanted to pick a source that would not only challenge my skills to keep them sharp, but also fit into my personal schedule when balancing the time needed to create the page, vs. what I wanted to make. Being asked to participate is a great honor, and I am hopeful that this year’s pages inspire other scribes and artisans to try something new, and discover new sources perhaps not previously known about as a source of inspiration. This book has several good sources with lots of blank or white space, but with fine detail in the painted areas.


What is your favorite medium to work in?
It’s really hard to pick just one medium; I have worked in stone, wood, cloth, parchment with Inks, and more. By preference I work in traditional medium of paper and paint or ink, but I can be flexible and would love to try tooling a leather piece sometime.


What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite?           
Interestingly enough, making acanthus leaves proved to be my most challenging area of work; I have a bit more confidence in creating human figures in miniatures than I did in acanthus leaves when I first started out. Even with starting out as a scribe with a background in a college art degree, I saw my first attempts at acanthus leaves looking like floppy seaweed. While some acanthus leaves are deliberately made to look that way in historic sources, there are several exemplars that aren’t, and look a bit more like coral branches combined with acanthus leaves, twisting around on themselves. Since I have used this source book many times over the years, I still find myself discovering something new each time I come back to it, and have been gradually working on improving my acanthus leaves to what you see on this page today – 16 years since starting out as a scribe in the East Kingdom College of Scribes. It took lots of practice, but eventually this technique became much easier as I kept trying it out.