Because, Yes, I Need Another Drain on My Time ...
Yes, I am aware that they are completely separate disciplines. But I'm doing both because the only thing better than one time-draining new hobby is two time-draining new hobbies!
Actually, for all of my adult life, I've wanted to take up calligraphy. When we joined the SCA, that opportunity finally presented itself. Heavy fighter practice occurs every Friday for three hours, and there is also a simultaneous "A&S" (arts and sciences) meeting that goes on at the same place. So far as I can tell, most of A&S is catching up with friends, eating snacks, and doing the occasional craft.
Of course, the ever-ambitious 'gund could not abide with three hours of potential learning/practicing time wasted. (I say this sarcastically, but I know myself: It's totally the truth.) And since Bobby goes to heavy fighter practice every week now, then I thought, "Why not use those three hours to learn something cool?"
So I queried our barony's email list about calligraphy, hoping to find a teacher. I know the basics already, and I have some skill in art from dabbling in various disciplines (primarily sketching and miniatures painting), so all I really wanted was some light guidance: where to start, what to practice, and maybe an occasional critique of my progress.
Instead, I got a reply from a master illuminator: "Well, I can't teach you calligraphy, but if you want to learn illumination ..."
Once I settled down from squeeing and bouncing ecstatically, then I answered that, yes, I would love to learn illumination.
So Master Tristan (the illuminator) and I met on Friday during A&S to pore over samples of his work and talk about whether I'd be interested in furthering my study of illumination. Umm ... yeah? :^D
My philosophy on my own artwork has always been: if it can be done in four square inches, then why not try it in one? In other words, I love detail work; possibly my most treasured art tool is my detail brush that I refuse to let anyone else use (except Bobby, occasionally, under supervision).
Illumination seems a 2D version of miniatures painting. It uses the same kind of paint and many of the same techniques. There are even "non-metallic metallics." I tried my hand at non-metallic metallics last year for the Meryth and Talban models that I painted for digdigil. In the world of miniatures painting--where, admittedly, the bar is not set particularly high--non-metallic metallics are the crowning achievement. Anyway, I digress. Master Tristan's non-metallic metallics were one-hundred times better than my mediocre attempts at the same, but then, he's been doing this for thirty years and is a master illuminator, and I'm just an on-and-off miniatures painter who aspires to illuminations!
Today, at the Ren Fest, I found a book on medieval calligraphy, which I picked up.
So I am very, very excited at this point. My hands are itchy to give it a try; the next time we meet, we're going to look at some original illuminations, then I should get to start! Whee!