Saturday, 1 February 2014

Back again to the Oxford Arms

Inspired by the heraldic skills workshops with Tim Noad I am getting on with my piece to be exhibited with Oxford Scribes this year in our anniversary exhibition. It is the heraldic arms of Oxford City and I have included six shields of the better known colleges of Oxford University. The work is a personal project to put into practise some of the skills I have learnt at Reigate with Gerald Mynott and on the CLAS certificate of skills course with Tim. The writing, shown in an earlier post is a description of the arms and the blazon.

after doing all the lettering as shown in an earlier post I added the red lettering using a larger mitchell nib and red gouache

Next was all the gold - gesso with transfer gold and a top layer of loose leaf and the flat areas in shell gold. It was very difficult laying the gesso for the circles with a ruling pen attachment to my compass.

Now the fun part starting the painting - I practised first on an off cut of the vellum which I had used earlier to practise the gold on. Using scarlet lake I put in the red areas using Tim's wet in wet method and then the black with lamp black and a bit of zinc white.

 I had to touch up the lettering on the words Oxford City to make it look more opaque.

While I had the black paint on my brush I did the tiny shield for Magdalen college - I know it is pronounced 'Maudlin' now!

Next colour the blues using Winsor blue mixed with zinc white.
I have also started to paint in the features on the lion over the shell gold using Vandyke brown - I used watercolour first and then moved on to gouache which was more successful. I mixed a tiny drop of gum arabic in too to help it to stick to the gold. I have also used watercolour - Paynes grey for the helm and shades of brown on the motto ribbon.

The edges of the shield have been highlighted in permanent white - top and left side and grey on the right side. The wavy bands representing the river have also been highlighted top and shaded bottom but the shield itself is left the colour of the vellum.

I have added shading and highlight to the bull and the mantling too.

The ermine spots have been added in permanent white on the elephant but still need enlarging.

The green beaver is a shade of Winsor green mixed with zinc white but the grass on the mound is using Winsor blue and spectrum yellow. I have mixed a little white and yellow ochre to tone it down as the colours recede.

At least two full days work doing all the tiny shields and using a head visor - it makes my neck ache a bit but at least I can see the detail.

and another day to outline the arms using a mixture of ochre and perylene violet....

finishing after the sun has gone down - so this was taken in artificial light.

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