Do you ever have one of those days…

•March 29, 2017 • 6 Comments

…when you just feel like a bit of a horse’s arse?

I had a bit of an experiment with the dapples. In opus anglicanum horse dapples tend to be done by packing spirals of split stitch, I’ve done this many times and it gives lovely results. But the dragon hunter’s steed looked more like blue with circles applied on top, so that’s what I did. I think it looks lovely, but I’m not convinced it looks like dapples – to me it looks more like the way native americans paint their horses, in fact I was quite tempted to sneak in a white handprint, for the fact I’d already dappled his larger areas I think I would have done.

I don’t think this was really any quicker than the split stich version, either, since so much split stitch was overlaid across the couching.

The whole thing is rolled to the next stage now, and I’m working on the rider. I might be approaching the halfway mark.

In other news Gareth is shocked by the size of the parcel that just arrived from hotel chocolate. I don’t know why he’s shocked, since he knew I had a 50% off coupon and he has actually met me.

June, women’s labours

•March 27, 2017 • 8 Comments

Im trying to catch up on washing and stretching these for class next weekend, as I’d built up a backlog ( well, two).

June, with a correct Latin spelling ( I googled it). Dairy. That’s branston drinking out of the bucket, because he’s a little horror for stealing other peoples drinks – his favourite trick is spilling water all over the floor.

Dragon hound

•March 21, 2017 • 10 Comments

Just a small creature this week. I’m not sure he’d be much use at hunting dragons, he looks to me more like a spaniel who thinks he’s fierce.

I made two changes from the original ms, the first being the colour. I moved away from the original blue because he’s trotting along underneath a big blue horse, and that would have been too much blue. The second was that on the principle of blank space is a very bad thing in medieval art, I put a flower on the end of his tail. Although I’m not so sure it’s a flower, it could be a decorative version of those spiky clubs some dinosaurs had on the end of their tails?

Don’t ask me the name of the dinosaur though, it could have been Gilbert for all I know…

Women’s labours – May

•March 19, 2017 • 6 Comments

May is the May queen. Mr May is hunting, so his counterpart is hunting for love.

I adapted an image from the seal of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I fattened her out a little because the original would have made a catwalk model feel fat, and I replaced her crown, orb, and sceptre with flowers. Since she has Lillie’s in her crown I gave her bluebells and roses in her hands.

obviously she had to have a green dress for spring ( I think her theme song is “walking on velvet green” by jethro tull, which was always one of my favourite songs, although I recall that as a teenager I was quite grateful that my nana was too deaf to listen to the lyrics when she was telling me to turn it down). However I gave her the most expensive red cloak lined with fur to emphasise her queenliness.

and speaking of queens, mays cat is Riley. Riley was born feral under a vintage car ( hence the name, although other people always assumed we named her after Riley ace of spies). Her brother came in on Christmas morning, but Riley didn’t come into the house until I’d spent most of February crouching on the back steps with my fingers covered in cat food. She was a tiny little thing, but ruled her enormous brother with a claw of iron – the poor lad wasn’t even allowed to eat until Riley had chosen which dish she wanted, and even then shed sometimes still smack him.

thou shalt hev a fishie

•March 15, 2017 • 15 Comments

on a little …pattern

I was going to keep this until Friday, because that’s when you eat fish, but then I remembered that it’s Lent, so by medieval thinking you should be eating little else.

(I had sausages for dinner)

They’re very tiny, only about an inch high, but they took three evenings because they’re very detailed, and I had enormous fun with the colours and textures.

Btw, you might be wondering why fishies in a the dragon fantasy, but obviously the water dwelling dragons like Nessie need something to eat



•March 13, 2017 • 6 Comments

I was looking for something else, and I found these…

and I’m quite confused. I mean, it’s obvious these were painted by me, but I don’t remember ever doing them. I don’t paint much, I find it frustrating because I can never quite get the colours right (I’m stupidly sensitive to colours, I’m better since I replaced my cheap standard watercolours with natural pigment ones because they’re not as jarring, but I still spend 95% of all painting time mixing colours because they’re wrong) and I don’t paint flowers.

I’m confused.

And Branston is tired. He says parenting is hard, and how long until the little spotty git grows up?

Dragon maggot

•March 10, 2017 • 5 Comments

I think this one is a larval form of water dragon

The fact that he’s  a baby, albeit an ugly, lumpy sort of baby, makes it all the more sad that he’s being slaughtered.

I always had quite conflicted feelings about including a dragon slaying in this composition. (eventually I will get to the fantasy with all the everyday scenes in it, and I’m already wondering what to do about the bear baiting tableau. I mean, on the one hand it’s a vivid illustration of the barbarity that once passed for sport, but on the other I want to cry every time I look at that poor, sad bear). What swung the inclusion of this vignette was firstly that it provides a strong diagonal, which the composition needed, and also that the dragon slayer is so obviously shown as a grotesque – perhaps indicating the scribe felt more sympathy for the dragon?

Anyway, I felt so sorry for the poor little maggot that I put little flowers on the end of his blood spurts, which are just wavy lines of red in the psalter. And I comfort myself thinking about the crocodiles who produce hundreds of eggs for only a few to survive, lest the world be overrun with crocs – maybe this is a similar form of natural selection…