Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reading Journal: The Lady Elizabeth

I really liked this fictionalized biography of Elizabeth I. It was an unabridged edition on 16 CDs--20 1/2 hours long.
The reader was very good, and I think hearing the story in her beautiful British accent added much to my enjoyment.
The story begins with Elizabeth a mere toddler, although a very precocious one, and continues through her childhood and her precarious teens. It ends soon after she ascends to the throne.
Even though I knew that she didn't end her days in the Tower of London or on the executioner's block as so many before her, the author still managed to convey a great sense of peril and suspense.
This is one of the very few times where I have purposely painted a background for a specific book. As longtime readers of this blog may remember, I generally paint backgrounds way ahead and then match a book to them. But in this case, none of the prepainted pages seemed to work for the images I wanted to use. I decided her portrait would look best on a dark, rich background, so I made a mixture of Americana's "Black Green" and Anita's "Wine." While this was still damp, I overbrushed it with Golden's fluid acrylic "Quinacridone Magenta" for added depth.
I wanted to use an image of King Henry, but not have him be an equal focal point with her; so I made him smaller, had him bleed off the page, and brushed him with watered-down gesso so he looks kind of ghostly.
Since the picture I had of Elizabeth was cut off just below the knees, I had to figure out how to keep that from looking unfinished. I decided to write the title and author on a kind of banner that would extend from the bottom of the dress. I had a small rubber stamp of a banner which wasn't nearly big enough for what I needed. So I scanned and enlarged it that way. I aged it by applying Tim Holtz's Distress Ink "Old Paper" with a holey sponge. To darken the folds, I picked up some of the ink with a waterbrush filled with blender fluid.
Continuing the theme of richness, I wrote the text out with Dr. Martin's Spectralite Gold and a pointed nib.


Dawn said...

Lovely pages! I really like the deep, rich color of the background and the gold writing. I checked and our library has the book, but I want to hold out for the audio version. I like listening to audio books during my 45 minute ride to work and back. Hopefully they'll get it by next fall.

Scrappy Cat said...

This sounds like a good book - I'll have to add it to my (very long) list. And I love the way you've illustrated it!