The finished scroll
The original exemplar. Urs Graf, 1521
Painting on Black to represent White Line Wood cut technique
Next assignment - Magdalena's Silver Rapier. I was please to receive this assignment because Magdalena is a good friend and fellow Sharc. I wanted to do something that would be close to her personna (15th century landsknecht), so I began digging into possible exemplars. Low and behold, I discovered some beautiful reverse block prints by Urs Graf that caught my eye. I found an entire grouping of Urs Graf white-line technique here
and specifically I decided that "The Bearer of Zug", which by the way is a GREAT name, would do very nicely here .
Urs Graf was an a jack of all trades in Switzerland, having been a goldsmith, painter and a printmaker. He was also a mercenary soldier, as is evident by his studies of the military subjects that he painted, etched and made woodcuts depicting. He was born around 1485 and died sometime in October of 1528. The particularly technique that he used was white-line wood cut technique. This is the opposite of normal wood cut technique, where the majority of wood is removed to allow for white space around the figure and the hatching is inked. The reverse technique allows for black to surround the figure and the white is the hatching, creating an image on a black background.
For more information on Urs Graf, I have the following links:
Art Institute of Chicago
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (contains early work)
The Cleveland Art Museum
Harvard Art Museums
I have done several black hours, so this seemed like a different riff on a similar idea.
So I started with some experiments on black paper to get the right color match. Permanent white did not have the right look, nor did gold goauche or mosaic gold.
The test swatches are below.
Next step was sketching out the figure, the placement of the words and the silver rapier. Many people don't include the messy bits, but I think it is important to include those to show people that the process can be messy and it is an important step.
Reflection: I was inordinately proud of this work. I think that this is one of my better pieces by far. I still need to improve my calligraphy but I am much more confident in it than I have been in the past. I think I might also balance out the legs a little more, giving the right sided leg more detail.