I was intrigued when an announcement popped up on my social media that the David Parr House in Cambridge was running a course over two evening by artist Nagahan Seymour to make our own Turkish designs. When I saw the materials needed were HP paper, 000 brushes, gouache and gold leaf I immediately applied as I have all the materials and her designs looked beautifully rich and enticing.
We were taught in a small group on Zoom. We learned a little about the history of Tezlip designs and were soon shown how to draw the leaves and flowers. By the end of the first session I had drawn my design out on tracing paper so my only homework was to transfer the design onto my paper.
The second evening we learnt that all the leaves, branches and stamens needed to be gold. My design was a bit complicated so I just did the one side and as much as possible on the second side before the next instruction which was to paint the flowers. After this we painted the flowers with a darker version close to the stamens and later added yet another even darker colour on a smaller patch next to the stamen.
By the end of the second and last session I had very nearly finished painting the flowers and continued after the session had finished.
With my Winter Open Studio looming, I was unable to add the background until 10 days later. I made the inner circle crimson, knew I wanted the outer circle ultramarine but was very hesitant to paint it. I felt the colour might be overwhelming and the black lines surrounding each layer of drawing would become invisible. So I posted my half finished design on social media and asked for advice.
I had a lot of replies including one from my tutor, that ultramarine was the right choice. Still a bit unsure I got myself a piece of acetate and placed it over my design. I painted ultramarine straight from the tube on part of the background and added a touch of white to the blue on another part. Magic, I knew what to do. I mixed a quantity of ultramarine with a small amount of white and painted the background onto my original image.
I will make another design and will think more about the flower colours and where to place them making sure I use ultramarine and crimson in the background. I may even make the branches slightly thicker so there is more space between the colours.
I really enjoyed the course and learning something new. I haven't used gouache for years, I might invest in the primary colours with a more professional and therefore more opaque colour. I might even make some medieval designs using the same materials, watch this space!
Painter living in Cambridge. Mixes fantasy and realism and loves medieval art and it's detail.
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