Not just for Christmas, of course. It's that time of year again when the galleries are preparing for their pre-Christmas private viewings and smaller paintings which will make good gifts are in high demand. For Norton Way Gallery in Letchworth I have painted a whole range of creatures great and small, including some more in my 'Night in the Garden' series of illuminations on vellum about which I have posted previously. I'm running behind as ever, and there are several starlings, a number of saints and a Nativity illumination unfinished on my desk...
I was so excited to receive a commission to design an illuminated letter B for a Californian boutique wine producer's new range of organic wines. The brief (an angel watering a vineyard) seemed like the perfect marriage of my diverse interests! We agreed the design and just as I started laying in the colour I received word that the company was making a change to its business plans and so my artwork would not be needed after all. Too sad... No doubt the drawing will get recycled somehow - I am posting it here as a little RIP to the project, together with a photograph of a wonderful medieval watering pot which I turned up while I was researching the detail. I want one, any potters out there?
Yesterday we woke up to the news that Norcia in Italy has again been hit by an earthquake. Thankfully this time there seem to be no human casualties, but word is that the ancient Benedictine monastery of Subiaco has suffered bad damage. I wonder how its famous fresco of St Francis has fared? It's thought that it must have been painted when Francis was still alive (on earth, that is) because it is inscribed 'Brother Francis', and there is no halo. A couple of years ago I was commissioned to make an small icon based on the fresco as a gift for Professor C H Lawrence, historian, who among his many achievements has written the definitive history of the mendicant orders in the medieval world. The scroll he is holding reads 'pax huic domui' - peace be on this house - with what I think must be a date underneath, 1228?
The view from my desk
Current work, places and events, art travel, and interesting snippets about Christian icons, medieval art, manuscript illumination, egg tempera , gilding, technique and materials.