(No further commentary at the moment; I have to hurry back to work 🙂 )
Today’s fuss-and-grumbling on twitter (don’t even look) got me remembering some old comics I did about family, which got me thinking about the memoir-y and family-stories comics I still want to do and keep planning out but not drawing, which also got me poking around through the rest of the pre-SPQR Blues archives to see what I might have already done.
Wow. I whined a lot when I did slice-of-life stuff.
I still whine a lot.
I should probably work on that.
(click the ones below if you feel like seeing them larger…)
commentary that went with this one:
Well, someone asked. But I’m rusty in the English-to-Latin department, and that’s more “cow-y killer” than “killer cow.” Back to the drawing board:
bos interfectorius seems to connote “deadly cow” as in “I am going to kill you with this cow.”
bos homicidalis would be your “homicidal cow” as in “Watch out, that cow is going to kill you.”
At some point, I seem to have decided that learning about and using authentically ancient paint pigments and other art materials is more interesting than, say, not poisoning myself so as to have a long, non-Van Gogh-style life. I reason: Go for broke! I won’t have any children to raise and I don’t have to worry about them licking my paint; who can afford retirement, anyway; I’m generally grumpy and irritating and annoyed about life, so live it up. On the other hand, not poisoning myself would give me a little longer to create more, less toxic art. It’s a conundrum.
OK, not really.
I’ll be bunny-sitting next month, and nothing is going to be around the bunnies that I wouldn’t lick or breathe myself, so that will make me behave for a couple of weeks. Mad Scientist Food Experiments will resume for a while. Before bunny-time starts, I want to get in a few more paint experiments.
As I am (well) over 30 (as this article attests), I have many memories of crying as my mother dabbed bright-red Mercurocrhome on my scraped knees (my best friend Christine and I tended to climb big rocks and jump off high things). The memory of its vivid (probably artificial) red very likely influenced my urge to try genuine Cinnabar/Vermilion paint. Mercurocrhome also had a distinct smell, as does the paint, but I’m not going to smell the paint further to compare.
My non-mercury-based Cinnabar-hue paint (pigment PR106) came out the best of my first experiments in making watercolours. It actually looks not that bad in the less successful first tempera recipe–an extremely rich neutral-to-warm red. I think I could get closer to Genuine Vermilion by adding a granulating (grainy) pigment, such as Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, or Mars Black. I’ll try it.
I’ve decided to be dramatically afraid of Genuine Vermilion, because I’m a person of extremes and if I don’t handle it with flamboyant caution, I’m likely to swing over to being too cavalier with it. At least I haven’t licked a paint brush in many many years.
Copper Blue and Green
I’ve already drank Egyptian Blue (copper calcium silicate) brush water, but it would have been more worrisome if I’d breathed in the powder. Lapis Lazuli (natural Ultramarine, sodium calcium aluminum silicate sulfate) makes a nice dark blue paint, but I hope to have success eventually with Egyptian Blue–the first known human-made pigment.
For green, I’m saving up for a small jar of slightly threatening Malachite (copper hydroxide carbonate) while in the meantime using nontoxic and economical earth pigments Verona Green and Cyprus Green. Each green earth deposit will have a different composition, which might or might not result in different shades. The supplier claims these are sourced from the same locations used thousands of years ago. I’m happy with the Cyprus green, which gets very dark. The Verona Green is yellower, more spring-like compared to Cyprus Green’s mossier shade. A yellower green is useful in a palette currently lacking an actual bright yellow.
top left pic: Lapis Lazuli made from pigment, and close match Faience Blue from the MaimeriBlu brand.
top right pic: “refined” version of Lapis Lazuli after precipitating out different grades of pigment from the first batch of paint.
bottom pic: Lapis Lazuli sky, and…I think…Lapis Lazuli over French Ultramarine on the cloak, because it sure looks bright blue.
Arsenic Yellow and Orange
I saw a supplier of Orpiment yellow (auripigmentum–“gold colour”; or αρσενικόν–arsenic) and Realgar orange (σανδαράκη/σανδαράχη–also a form of arsenic) powdered pigments and I thought, maybe I can try just a little bit and see what their qualities would have been like to a Roman/Greek/Egyptian painter…. I have respirator masks and special gloves and multiple sets of brushes, but I don’t think I can be trusted with this emperor-killer.
I’m sticking with earth pigments for my yellows: Cyprian Limonite and Jarosite, and dirt-cheap Yellow Ochres (US$4 for so much pigment I’m considering making wall paint from it).
A respirator mask is a good idea with any powdered pigment, of course.
If I were really dedicated to living Roman-style I would whip up some lead-and-fat paste and slather it all over myself. Having been raised to be terrified of lead wall paint lurking on the walls of old buildings plotting to chip off and force itself into children’s mouths, I feel absolutely zero urge to work with Lead White paint. I’ll be trying to make some Eggshell or Chalk White tempera soon.
I’m making my way through the pages of that Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook and, y’know, I don’t hate it. It’s ok. One good thing about it has been that, because it’s been such a challenge to see whether it can live up to its hype, I’ve been filling the pages with test pieces, instead of being too timid to “ruin” the book by doing art wrong.
This sketch took me a while to figure out, and the pencils were erased many times before the page was inked then the light wash was put on. The paper held up extremely well to all the erasing, and although it seemed to buckle a lot with the water, it’s flattening out. Not completely flat, but no worse than the previous pages.
I was going to watercolour the whole thing, add in more Felix-y details, and include Venus in the drawing, but started liking it as is. Of course, he might see Venus anyway. It’s hard to tell with him.
Alternatively, he might be describing a fish that got away….
Hmm. This just dredged up a memory. Once when I drew something and didn’t completely define each finger, the editor said it looked like the character’s fingers had been “fused together in a horrible industrial accident.” I’m not bothered.