Saturday, October 17, 2009

Medieval Manuscript Workshop

Last weekend I spent Sunday in NYC. I was lucky enough to attend Lynne Perrella's Medieval Manuscript Workshop sponsored by The Ink Pad. The workshop was held at the Westbeth Community Center.

The workshop space was wonderful. Plenty of space, we each got our own table. I love that. Of course even tho our supplies were spread out, we all brought so much junk that most of us ended up working in a tiny workspace, just like home!!! huh? what? oh, that was just me???
After a warm welcome from Lynne and The Ink Pad Staff, we perused a small sampling of Lynne's papers, a large selection of both Asian and Medieval collage sheets and some workshop essentials while we waited a half hour for the stragglers to arrive. I can't really complain about their tardiness, I left home extra early and the train broke down and I had to switch trains. Terrifying for a first timer. I just followed a lady with a cool poncho that I knew was going to the city!!! I was irritated that we weren't getting started at first, but pulled my head out of my ass and thought, ok, what if I had gotten lost?? One day it's inevitable that I will be the late one. Lynne was very gracious about it. I have been to workshops in which this is not the case. Nuff said. When we did dive in, we started with large sheets of "construction" paper. This is the type of construction paper hot, burly men lay down on your carpeting so they don't track their sexy boots across and dirty, ok, I'm back. Had a delightful visual there. What was your guy wearing? Mine didn't have a shirt on. Egads....Gesso, right, we painted a layer of gesso on and marked into it with all kinds of stamps, stencils, cardboard, layed cheesecloth down, anything and everything was being used!!

Here is mine completely covered.

Gratuitous close up One:

Gratuitous close up Two:

We hung the papers in the windows to dry:

After this we sat in a "dialogue circle" and 20 Artists with 20 varied and interesting stories talked for the next hour and 15 minutes. I was last. I am wonderful one on one or in small groups, but HATE talking in front of 20 silent people looking at me. My least favorite part of the day. Seriously, I just wanted to paint!!! I know a lot of people really like this type of activity, and I respect that, I am just not one of them. That's ok. It's all a learning experience and basking in Lynne's brilliance for the whole day made up for it. Are you thinking that if I participate in this type of activity enough I will get comfortable with it and may even enjoy it someday? WRONG. Never Gonna Happen. It's ok, I've lived long enough to make peace with most of my shortcomings. Not the size of my ass, though. teehee.

We broke for lunch and I saw so much beautiful and varied wrought iron. Only got one pic though. I was on a mission for food!! There was a grocery store and a Chinese food restaurant within 2 blocks. The location was really very convenient.
After lunch we got our creative juices flowing with an interesting exercise. We were instructed to cut silhouettes from an object in the above painting. I choose the dog/sheep thing. You can see my pathetic piece on the page.
We then taped them to the wall and made an interesting collage. A wonderful exercise for "thinking outside the box". Many times during the day, Lynne's teachings triggered "out of the box" thinking for me, a creative area in which I truly need to grow. I am so grateful to her for that. She was so encouraging and appreciative of everyone's work.
After the exercise, we added paint to our manuscripts. I used up the last of my Stewart Gill yellow paint. It was the perfect color for the day! I added some cheap copper metallic paint both with brush and brayer.
Next we added papers of all kinds. There was such an amazing and unique array of papers used by each artist. I used my handmade papers, tissues, napkins and collage sheets. Do you see where the 2 castle images mirror each other? Wonderful composition right? That was a perfect example of Lynne's personal guidance. She looked over what I had laying on the paper and said, what if you.......and boy was she right. Everything changed, the dynamics of the piece and what was going on in my brain!! Priceless!! The below picture shows how my piece looked at the end of the workshop.
Next we added black and white toner images. Lynne did a demonstration with Portfolio oil crayons, making stencils out of index cards, adding some paint here and there, and it was amazing to see her take something with a good start and make it Incredible!!

Here is Lynne cutting and folding our paintings into the manuscript/book format .
Armed with inspiration and new knowledge I started working on my manuscript when I got home. Above is the front page. How cool is that corset x-ray?? I'm proud of that idea. OUT of the BOX, dammit!!
View of the front page with some of the back page showing.
Second page. Oops, forgot to crop it. My bad.
Third page.
Some of the second page and all of the third page.
Fourth page. Lynne loved how the Maiden has her back to Men in Armour. Oh, I mean Armor. teehee.
Fifth page. Not finished.

Some of both Fourth and Fifth.
Last page. Not finished.

If you look close you can see where Lynne made the cut to make the manuscript fold into a book.

Here are the mechanics of the folding. I have lots of finishing touches to add. I'm also going to gesso and stamp the back side of the manuscript. I should probably make my bed too. teehee. I can't recommend Lynne and her Workshops, the staff of The Ink Pad, and the venue location, Westbeth Community Center, enough. I had a major growth experience just traveling to the workshop. Once there, I was inspired, taught to think outside the box by an amazingly generous and Talented Artist, and forced to get out of my comfort zone in a variety of ways. I wish I had a money tree in my backyard. Maybe I'll find one and be able to attend Lynne's workshop in Connecticut in 2010.......Now, Go Get Medieval. teehee. xoSusan


  1. I love the colors that were used. Very cool stuff. Where do people find the holepunch stencil? I think it's called a punchinella? Not sure. =] I've been looking and just can't find anything.

  2. Hi Susan, I followed Mary's link to your post and had a ball reading and looking through your pictures!(Thanks for a couple of giggles throughout). Your Medieval piece came out fantastic, and like Mary, you loved the experience! That is the bessssssst!!!!!! (Minus the chatting about yourself in front of the group :0) Thanks for sharing! Very fun read and the pictures are all super. LOVE the iron fence too!

  3. Hi Susan - I left a comment right after I read your post, but it didn't show up....wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reliving Lynne's workshop through your great blog post! I love the way your manuscript came out - so rich in color and texture - and I LoVe that Stewart Gill Yellow - it's the bomb!! Hope to see you in CT in the spring!! :-)
    Mary Z

  4. I was so anxious to read about how this class went, I must admit that I skipped some posts to get to it! It looks amazing and your work looks so Perlla-ized here, but still yours. I am big time impressed! Way to go girl - venturing out to do this, wowee!

  5. I was very lucky to take Lynns workshop at ArtFest one year. I LOVED it. I have used so many of the techniques that she inspired us with. Thank you for going over it all again. Your work is beautiful. And very strong.

  6. AWESOME post Susan! Exciting to hear about your experience and your piece turned out beautifully! Would love to do Lynne's workshop one day...found you from Mary's follower! Will have to check out your recent stuff since I see this one's from awhile ago:)