minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Archive for the tag “Catholic”

Reading from Luke

Gospel reading from Luke. The Evangelical symbol of the bull belongs to Luke. Stuck to a more traditional book of hours scheme for the reading on this one. Lots of gold mixed with vines and wildlife.

Reading from John

Here is the reading from John. Was able to find some pictures on the net to reference the Evangelical Symbols. Johns is the eagle. I also chose to start the reading in Latin which will continue on the other readings.

December

Have a few updates I’m hoping to put out today. The last month of the calendar I completed about a weeks ago. I was very excited with this last calendar entry for a few reasons. I was looking forward to getting into new sections of a book of hours, (the gospel readings). December and Christmas are favorite times of the year and I had a lot of ideas for the art. I also planned to do some kind of Saint or Icon referencing the incarnation.

Really the first time to try drawing a Saint or human figure in the book. I know I have mentioned several times that I am a hack at this. Not really a refined artist, my calligraphy is not that great….. But drawing hands… yikes! I was happy with the Virgin Mary that I drew but those hands took several attempts to get right. I am satisfied with the final and hope this gets easier as I do plan to have more of this.

Ending the calendar I had planned for a while to have a winter scene with cardinals and snow. A simple scene of winter.

November

November kicks off with the feast of All Saints and follows with All Souls. I used the “Dia de los Muertos” as a theme. One of my favorite holidays, as a child and to this day, is Halloween. But All Hallows’ Eve, is really just the beginning of a multi day holiday which sadly has lost its connection to the “dear departed”.
In Catholic tradition, dressing up and giving treats, “soul cakes”, goes back about a thousand years; remembering saints days goes back to the first martyrs and as this calendar shows they are still remembered.  The Day of the Dead also has ancient roots in pre-Colombian indigenous Mexican cultures. Remembering the dead, praying for the dead, setting altars or candles at grave sites, reciting the names of saints or church members who have past away in the last year, writing the names of the departed in a book of the dead, are some of the ways the holiday is still practiced.

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Sugar sculls “Calaveras” are given to children and left at grave sites in “Day of the Dead” traditions. Sculls are a common symbol in Catholic art and iconography and are found in Aztec, Mayan and Toltec traditions as well. I still remember staying up late on the weekends as a kid to watch “Fright Night” which was a late night show that played horror movies. The opening was a green spooky skull.
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La Catarina is a popular image of Death in Mexico and a common costume when celebrating the Day of the Dead. This was my first attempt at a human figure in the book. Had to re work a few times. Being a hacker has its limits, but I do plan on doing some more human figures in the book so I guess this was a good place to start. There was also some intent here as the liturgical year closes at the end of November and begins with Advent which starts four weeks before Christmas during the last days of November.
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October

October I wanted another contrasting theme like I used in April and thought the transition of Autumn made the most sense as a theme. As a kid I remember the beautiful falls in New Jersey as October began. By the end of the month the trees were bare and I can remember being out in the dark for Halloween and seeing the black branches against the fading light. And yes a little nod to the Eve of All Hallows’. Couldn’t resist.

August Thistle and Rose

August was a re-visit to the Flemish art style. Flowers with shadows make the panel art seem to pop out of the page. My first try at this was in February with Oak leaves.

So the top picture is obviously a rose surrounded by gold foil, the side panel… Are doodle flowers and I’m not sure if they could be tied to an actual type of flower in existence.

On the second page is Thistle surrounded by gold and on the side panel are Geranium. These grew wild in Alaska and I had a few of these planted in my yard when I lived there. They came back every year.

July. Ivy and Peacock Feathers

For July I looked back on January. My first attempts in my book of hours were full of trial and error. I revisited what I envisioned and here is the result. I will probably continue to re-do the first part of the year in the second half to see where I grew.

Ivy with gold leaves and a few animals. I used watercolor pencils for the peacock feathers and took a quick lesson on you tube on how to make them. Overall very happy with July and seeing my progress.

First page had a huge blunder on one date where I put the Saint on the wrong day. Blotted out to cover and shows. Will start focusing on the illuminated letters going forward. I figure that once I complete the calendar and move into other parts of the hours I will allow more room for this and have some fun.

Second page had no big blunders. Mixing the gold leaves with a few greens, red berries, a bird and a snail.

June and Kells

I decided to try a few designs from the Book of Kells in June. I ended up looking through several old manuscripts that fall into the Insular style of art. These include the Lindisfarne Gospels, Book of Durrow, Cathach of St. Columba, and of course the famous Book of Kells. So my poor attempts at knot work fill the pages here. Will need to work on these for better consistency and in future attempts to make them smaller and more fluid.

The “J” majuscule was a copy of one found in the Book of Kells as well as the peacock on the second page. Keeping with the style of insular illumination I didn’t add any gold foil to the pages in June. Insular illumination draws from the complex designs and imagery blended with the bright and carried colors. Yellow probably being used the most, other colors include purple, red, blue and greens. Animals and people also find their way into many of the designs in these books. If you ever have a chance to look at the art from Kells or Lindisfarne, you will see many times that even the knot work is a construct of animal shapes that have been morphed into the knot work. Truly amazing art.

I am most happy with the peacock on this page. I spent a lot of time trying to get the

right right feel on this and in the end it is the main attraction for June. Looking forward to doing more of these Celtic style designs in my book of hours and with any luck my knots will get better. …

May full of Sunflowers

Final for May in my book of hours. Had some fun with sunflowers for this page. I was thinking about what to do on this calendar page and all I kept getting was that old rhyme about April showers bringing May flowers. So I went with it.

On the first page I added a few Celtic trinity symbols that seemed to go nice with the sunflowers. Gold leaf fills in the rest of the center. Also tried a 3D spiral on the header bar that I saw in a real book of hours.

My wife has planted sunflowers before and while you know they are a big flower, it’s still amazing to see them up close and just how very large they can become. Once they are ripe the birds came in and devoured the seeds in just a few days.

A few more Celtic inspirations on the second page with some knot work. My knots need about as much work as my calligraphy. Lol. Still I like the result. The page is full of light and life.

February and March

February calendar went a little better. Still had a few mistakes but didn’t need to patch anything like I did in January.

I tried a few different styles in February. The first page I tried to follow the look of a Flemish Book of Hours. Focus on objects shadowed to allow them to pop out of the page. Flemish book of hours often used natural objects like flowers, plants, vegetables and even animals like fish shadowed on a flat color background.

The second half I tried at a more Celtic approach. Found a design n the web that I thought would fit in the side panel and went from there.  I also took a different approach to applying the gold foil to keep it more flat and avoid the embossed look I ended up with in January.  Because the paper is rough I still don’t get a smooth shine but I am satisfied with what I get here.

March went even better than February, still working on the calligraphy, and seems I always get one date wrong and have to redo. Regardless, I felt much more at ease completing March as the process is becoming familiar.

The pictures this month were inspired by art I saw while in Mexico recently. The suite at the resort we stayed at was right on a pond with fish, turtles, frogs and iguana. I suppose this is the first month where I had a theme that seems consistent. January was just doodling, February had oak leaves timing it together, but March is all about the fish pond.

So a little about the calendar. A book of hours started with a calendar noting the various feasts and memorials of the church. Seems like there was always a day around the corner to remember, celebrate and maybe even prepare a special meal for. There are letters next to the calendar days which allowed the calendar to function as a perpetual calendar. These are dominical letters. A simple but brilliant idea. By adding these letters, from a to g for the days of the week, a person only needed to know what letter aligned with Sunday for the year they were in, then the rest of the letters would follow and they could know which weekdays each date corresponded to. For instance if Sunday (Domingo) this year aligns with “c” then every date with a “c” next to it is a Sunday for this year. That means that “d” will note Monday’s and so on.

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