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The Schafer Project by heatherkparks The Schafer Project by heatherkparks
Walnut Ink, Watercolor, Copper Leaf

A commissioned Illuminated Manuscript for a client featuring a poem he wrote for his wife. I've been working on this for about a month. I attempted to incorporate traditional medieval symbolism that pertained to the subject matter of the poem, some of these symbols are:

Owl-revelation/wisdom from the Holy Spirit
Cardinal- blood of Christ
Ivy- Eternal Life
Red and Pink Carnations- Married Love
Lilies- Purity of heart
Bees- Eloquence
Pomegranates- Unity
Ladybugs- Trust
Oak Leaves- Endurance/Strength of Faith

Orange- Courage
Brown- Humility
Green- Abundance

Because of its size, it has been difficult for me to get a good photo. I will also upload some closeups of the details.
Add a Comment:
Moonlight-Seraph Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, what a beautiful piece. I think you did a great job reflecting the spirit of the poem in the symbols that you chose. 
Galejro Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Is copper leaf legit in illuminated manuscript? I mean unlike gold it tarnishes.
heatherkparks Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
Depends on your definition of "legit." I wasn't going for 100% authentic historical accuracy on this, it was a commission for a client who wanted these colors. No, they didn't use copper leaf on illuminated manuscripts in the middle ages, but these days we have a lot of different things available to use. I have not had a problem with the copper leaf that I use tarnishing...yet.
juhhmi Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic creation! The text is well done and the details are beautiful! The fact that you added a level of symbolism adds depth! :)
BCcreativity Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
This is awesome. I am working on something like this, but on a darker side.
Great job.
Merwenna Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I looove the colors!
Elveanna Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:wow: It's gorgeous.
I have stared at it now for at least ten minutes and not started reading, but have been admiring all those details. Those ivy leaves...:heart:
Is that a script you learned from anywhere or did you make it up yourself?
heatherkparks Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thank you! For my calligraphy business, I try to take traditional hands and put my own spin on them. Then I give them names after classic novels, historical figures, and literary characters. I learned the traditional styles first, but I end up doing what looks good to my eye. This script is a blend of "Batarde" and other gothic fonts, I've added the hairline fourishes, and I call it "Vladimir"
Elveanna Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think that's great. How do you do this hairlines? *tries to learn as much as possible* :D
heatherkparks Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2009  Professional General Artist
I kinda cheat on the hairlines. After finishing the main calligraphy, I go back and add them with the fine tip of a pointed pen nib, like what I use for Spencerian fonts.
waterdelph Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2009
Stunning work, no wonder it took you a whole month!
Kalyfka Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2009
It's incredible! I love it!
It's a pity for that "find" but it's still gorgeous
heatherkparks Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much. The poem was very difficult to space because of the varying lengths of each line. I modified the spacing from the original and it was still hard to keep it looking balanced. In the original poem, many of the lines only had 2 or 3 words and then the next line would have 11 or 12 words, so I put many of the lines together and hopefully the poet will understand. I had seen some European manuscripts that had words going outside of the borders before so I felt that was the best way to handle it and it added a little visual interest to the copper leaf.
yousuf811 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2009
Your versal is exquisite...
heatherkparks Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much, that's my favorite part of this piece.
susieecool Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2009
This is beautiful and so wonderful!!!:love:
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  • Photo
Download JPG 2162 × 3239


Submitted on
July 18, 2009
Image Size
2.6 MB


1,271 (1 today)
28 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/500 second
Focal Length
7 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jul 17, 2009, 10:15:29 AM