Book of Kells John Portrait


This is the my attempt at the Book of Kells John Portrait Page in progress, same materials, techniques and same scale as the original. Designed from first principles using geometry as the original artist would have done. Compare it to the original at

I’m aiming to finish it soon, still having issues with the cloak pigments!

Filling in the woad, on the original it appears in a range of tones, this is because of it’s preparation method . It was heated with gypsum in small batches to create a synthetic pigment where a small change in ratios have this effect.
Purple is from orcein producing lichen, in this case ochrolecia tartarea. The range of tones can be achieved by adding either acid or base chemicals to make it more or less violet. For the border it is applied with no binder in a series of washes to give the same effect as the original.
Red is from lead oxide produced by heating lead carbonate at a high temperature for a prolonged period. There are 2 tones in this page, the darker one is achieved by adding some oak bark ink to the pure pigment.

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