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A griffin

This is the product of a day's workshop offered by my College, on creating illuminations - that is, the style of painting monks used to illustrate things like the Lindisfarne gospels, the Book of Kells and so on. See here for examples and descriptions.

I duly turned up, and a lady named Penny Price, who is one of the College scribes (what an awesome title!) showed us the whole procedure, starting with tracing your chosen image and transferring it to vellum using red dust (Armenian bole), then following with inking, gilding and painting, before putting on the final black lines with a very fine brush. It's incredibly intricate work, even on a relatively big piece like the one I chose, and thinking about the monks doing this day in, day out, with bad light in a cold room, hunched over their desks for hours on end, fills me with awe and makes my back ache.

So anyway, this is my griffin, from a bestiary dating, I think, to around the 15th Century. I modified him quite a bit - he's got a more fierce expression than the original (and I was sorely tempted to give the pig a sweatdrop!). There was no sun in the background, and the gold leaf on the two circles was a little more ornate. There are a lot of flaws (they didn't use compasses - so we didn't get to either!), but I'm still really pleased with him, and it was a lot of fun, not least because it's exploring a different way of making pictures ^^

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