There is One detail I often forget, Dear Readers, and that is to take a "before" picture when I start to work on any project that has been languishing for a while. I wrongly assume that I will be able to find a picture "somewhere" in my archives that shows just where I was when I stopped working on the project. I started painting the Saints years ago and have only worked at them sporadically, and it is really difficult to find any good pictures of progress. Saint Cecilia, patron Saint of Music, was one of the last I started working on, and I have the fewest pictures of her. The above picture shows her after I had done quite a bit of work last weekend! The only starting reference picture I could easily find shows only a portion of her while I was focused on designing the border "people".
You can get a sense of some of the missing details...
color on the cloak lining, harp details, the seat, the sword....
and that is just the most obvious ones.
I added those details and then remembered to take a picture!
Several more small details have been added to this picture...
(Halo, harp, blossoms, cushion, hand....)
And then I needed to add some details to Saint Matthew too...
Even here I had added some details before I remembered to take a picture....
In particular, the hand from the cloud above.
The most notable part of Saint Matthew that needed work
was the folds of his cloak....
here just under-painted with the white.
This image is one of the most challenging ones for me.
It is taken from a very old manuscript,
from the beginning of the ninth century AD,
probably made for the court of Charlemagne.
And the only version I have of it is in black and white!
I must guess at the colors....
and try to emulate the graphic details....
Here, have a look!
There is just something about his expression
that made me want to use this version!
Red colors tend to photograph as black,
and I am certain his cloak would not have been painted in black,
so I have chosen to make it red,
but the highlights are open for interpretation!
They could be a pale pink or a pale blue or even a green.....
But I have used pale green for his robe
and I need to keep the colors balanced with those of
the other Saints on the ceiling.
Mark is pink, John is pale blue.
And I wanted the details to contrast with the red,
so I decided to use bright blue.
Here you can see it with only the first layer of blue added.
But it immediately presented me with another problem....
Once the folds were blue.....
there was too much blue in this corner of the ceiling!
I plan to add some paler highlights
to the cloak of Saint Cecilia,
which will tone down the blue,
and I like the bright blue on Saint Matthew's cloak....
(what other color would work here?)
The only solution I see would be to adjust
the intensity of the floor under Matthew.....
Which is done by adding a grid of white and "checkers" of red oxide....
as if they are patterned tiles.
This shifts the blue just enough from brilliant to almost pastel.
And when I have added the paler highlights to the folds
of Saint Cecilia's cloak, I think the effect will be
to have tamed the rampant blue in this corner!
Here you can see the ceiling as a whole.....
And it is noticeable how much more intense the blue is
on this half of the ceiling!
Meanwhile, Dear Readers,
there are a few more Saints who still need attention...
Saint Lucia only needs a tiny bit of detail
added to her seat and her cloak....
Saint Nicholas needs quite a few small additions....
His Crozier needs defining,
his seat, his hands, his vestments,
and his "gifts" all need attention.
And Saint Bridget needs many small details....
her "church" needs definition,
her cloak needs many layers,
her seat is unfinished.... her halo too.
And finally, Saint Luke needs a few small refinements.
Most notably, the portrait of the Virgin,
his paintbrush (missing altogether), and his foot.
And even though I have made progress with Saint Matthew,
he is still far from done.
(That hand from the cloud!... the cloak..... the footstool....)
And Saint Cecilia too...
Her cloak and her gown and her seat all need layers.
But most of all, I am concerned that she looks too "modern" to me!
I am sure this is because there are so few authentic
Medieval images to use for her source.
I could only find one illumination
from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves...
and because she isn't holding a harp in that picture,
my version looks nothing like that one.
I might have to try to "age" her a bit!
So you can see, Dear Readers,
when it comes to the Saints,
I will be painting Details
for quite some Time!