Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
First was a very handy little book called The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting, by Daniel V. Thompson. This book covers a tremendous amount of highly useful and fascinating material on the subject of medieval illumination and other kinds of medieval painting.
If you’re not an artist, the chapter headings can be a little confusing. Chapter 1, for instance, is entitled, “Carriers and Grounds”. However, I merely jumped straight to the subheadings in the chapter of particular interest to myself and my story: “The importance of book making”; “Parchment making”; “Vellum”; “Qualities of parchment”; and “Preparations”. These sections (which I heavily highlighted) taught me in detail how parchment was made, the difference between common parchment and vellum (“‘vellum’ means calf skin and nothing else, while parchment is a general term applicable to any kind of animal skin, including vellum”); and how parchment was prepared for the painting of illuminations. These sub-sections are followed by others not pertinent to my story, though they may be pertinent to yours, such as painting on wood, the use of gesso, creating a polyptych (multiple panels set in wood frames), and painting on canvas or plaster.
The second two sections that provide an absolute treasure trove for a researcher of medieval illuminations, are chapters 3 and 4, which cover the wide variety of pigments available to the illuminator and how these pigments were derived, breaking them down into their individual color groups: black, brown, white, red, blue, purple, green, and yellow (Chapter 3), followed by a lengthy section of colors derived from metals, with an emphasis on creating the gold gilding (Chapter 4) that truly gave manuscripts the brilliant, reflective “light” that “illuminated” their pages.
If only for this extensive and detailed section on pigments alone, The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting is well worth having in your library of resource books!
Finally we come to The Medieval Book, by Barbara A. Shailor. While similar in format to the research books I cited in an earlier post about illuminated manuscripts (i.e., lacking a useful index, but filled with helpful marginal headings to help you quickly navigate to the particular information essential to the story you are writing, as well as being liberally sprinkled with reproductions and photographs), The Medieval Book differs from those earlier sources by focusing on what it’s title suggests: books in general, rather than illuminated manuscripts in particular.
Not that illuminated manuscripts are neglected in this volume. They are indeed discussed, as any comprehensive resource on medieval books would require. But Shailor spends much more of her time describing how medieval books were made. Subjects covered include: pricking and ruling in preparation for the text to be added; ruling with sylus and crayon (the latter an innovation of 12th Century Europe outside of Itay); pattern books (mentioned in a previous post, and an important plot device in Illuminations of the Heart); the various styles of medieval scripts used by the scribes who created the text of the books; borders and miniatures (again, a nice section on illuminations); followed by how medieval books were actually put together (sewn, board attachments, pasteboards, headbands and edges, decorative stamping of the covers, and much, much more!).
These are by no means the only resource books available for information on medieval illumination, painting or book making. They are simply the titles I used in researching these subjects for Illuminations of the Heart. If you see comments listed on any of my posts, you’ll want to take time to check them out, as readers often share additional titles they’ve found useful on these subjects, thus widening all of our research knowledge on this wonderful and fascinating subject!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Next Monday, August 10th, kicks off a month long Book Blog Tour for my new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart! From Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 18th (excepting the weekends and Labor Day), you’ll be able to read daily reviews of Illuminations of the Heart by various bloggers, intermingled with an occasional online interview with me. And although copies of Illuminations of the Heart have been available online for a few weeks now, it’s finally beginning to appear in the bookstores, so I’ve decided to have a party to celebrate both events.
Where will this party be held? Over on my companion blog, at JDP NEWS! The fun will kick off at 9:30 AM PST with an Introduction. Then beginning at 10 AM PST, I’ll be giving away a prize an hour for a full eight hours, the final, grand prize being an autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart! To find out what the other prizes are…well, you’ll just have to show up on Friday and see. :-) (I'll drop just a hint for you guys, however...some of my early prizes may be more appealing to true medieval history buffs than the general reader, so you might want to check in early. ;-) )
So don’t miss the fun. Circle August 7th on your calendars. Pop in throughout the day to enter my contests and “chat” with me through the comments feature on my blog. Invite your friends to join us!
Hope to see you there!