I wanted to re visit the collection that one of my Platinum Grand Armorial Patrons is currently putting together and which is still growing with some larger illuminated pieces scheduled to be added to this body of work.
The collection shows the varied and imaginative ways in which a coat of arms can be used. Travis Smith the patron has a love of medieval illumination and so it is no surprise that his arms appear in various medieval style guises.
The arms themselves are finely designed and the combination of colours and charges in this case works very well. It is strange how colours will affect a design, imagine if these arms had for example been primarily red and green I doubt the design would look quite so pleasing to the eye. I tend to think they have a somewhat fairy tale aspect to them and most certainly reflect the cold winters of Minnesota. I have now painted them many times and still have not tired of doing so. The challenge is to paint them with a slight difference every time especially the Griffin and the Falcon. I try continually to give them a new personality.
The patron asked me to experiment with the mantling on one occasion by powdering it with white snow flakes. He was not sure if it would look too much. I think it adds to the arms in an elegant way and is a very satisfying result and Travis agreed.
I am always honoured and flattered when patrons continually return to commission new versions of their arms. Some have my work from years ago and are very much aware that since those days I have honed and improved my techniques. In fact I am always striving to move my work forward, I think it is a necessity for me as an artist to not allow my work to stagnate and remain stale. As an artist I see it as essential that I should try to breathe new life into my designs and paintings every time I put pencil and paint to paper. I think I owe it to patrons to do the best I can. For example, I am always experimenting with new colour mixes and rarely do I use the same shade of blue for example.
Working for a patron like Travis is a great experience because he has great ideas and a good eye but he allows me the freedom to work without setting parameters that constrain or confine. Painting heraldry is of course somewhat confining in that the design, blazon, colours are set in stone so any kind of quarter given by the patron is always welcome.
I have added many of the works that Travis has kindly commissioned from here in this article and I think you will agree they make a wonderful collection.
Andrew Stewart Jamieson