Along the Rycha
We went to Tal Serth together with the priestess. We could see the smoke from the fires from the glass factory! This promised to become another interesting place for us to work! During dinner, we met the boss of the glass factory, Aine. She was a big lady with hands and face full of little itty-bitty scars. I started sketching her immediately, while master Jeran discussed our plans with her.
And when she had seen our work, she agreed of course! How could it be else!
That evening happened to be a bit of a party, so I got to dance a bit, and sketch dancing people, and drink cider. Getting up felt hard in the morning, but when I thought of seeing people make glass, of drawing and painting that, I got so excited I hardly managed to eat my fourth pancake or my second bowl of pease porridge!
When we arrived, we were first shown into a really nice room where the boss would sit down with customers, give them something to drink and tell them about the glass factory and what it could do for them. We got something to drink, Master Jeran beer, of course, and I got tea. It really was a very posh room, but… It would be so much posher if there were some painting around the wall!
So that was our first proposal: that on our return to Turenay, we’d execute a series of large painings depicting every step of the glass making process, with in the end, an overview of all their products. Now, painting glass is a really fun challenge! And a bunch of glasses all reflecting in each other, in different colors and different amounts of see-throughity, wow! I hope I can work on that one!
We also saw something interesting: a ball made out of pieces of differently colored glass melted together. That was something apprentices did with broken pieces of glass, it had become a bit of a tradition in Tal Serth, though, of course, the broken pieces could also just be re-used. I hadn’t know that there were so many colors of glass, and some so subtle, and some so loud. And that you could meld glass together after it was broken, that was new to me, too.
Then we got the Grand Tour, or the Really Hot Tour! We saw the glass being made from fresh sand and all kinds of minerals, people taking blobs of glass on really long blow-pipes and making all kinds of things, we saw molten glass being poured into molds, and then swirled around so only a thin layer remained in the inside of the mold, we saw glass being broken and glass being silvered into a mirror, glass made flat for window panes — though there would alway be a fatter dot of glass in the middle. There was fire, smoke, light, dark, people working working hard wearing not much more than a leather apron. And everywhere, we spent the time to note the light and dark, the contrast, the movement, the colors in our sketch books.
I got so many ideas twirling through my head like butterflies in the Ishey house’s inner garden… I almost got dizzy with all the things I wanted to paint!
Then I noticed that there was a room where the super-special colored window-panes were sorted in good pours and broken rejects, and I suddenly halted. My master bumped into me, sending me crashing on the floor.
What… If we created a painting out of broken pieces of flat glass? What if we made windows out of these glass paintings? How much would a temple of Mizran want a window with a design of Mizran in the south wall of their temple? How much money would we be able to earn with just making a design for that and have the glass factory make and sell the windows!
I waited until dinner to discuss this with master Jeran, and he was all like, “hm… That could be good. Tomorrow we’ll propose this to Aine, and while I am out making color sketches for the big paintings, you might spend the time making a design in color. Keep in mind, though, that there aren’t any sharp edges possible when melting glass together!”
I had already thought of that, and I also had already a solution: we could either paint some edges on, or use lead between some parts that needed to be separated with a stronger black. Or so I thought…
That evening I spent going through a number of possible designs of Mizran with a fox or a bear cub, each more stylized than the other.
So, next morning we put this to Aine and she agreed to let me paint one design on the full scale I thought we should aim for, and I did — and them wet the paper with oil so it became light-throughable, and we held it up in the door of the glass factory — fortunately south-facing, at noon (sorry, I am not bragging, but I am just really fast, especially if all I do is fill areas with a single color). And all the workers nodded and Aine grinned and master Jeran ruffled my hair.
And then we discussed this design with old, grumpy Senthi from the plate-glass triage room, and she liked it too. At least she said, “Hm. Okay”.
After that, discussing the whole set-up and the profit sharing for the design, and the possibility to commission new designs from us once we were back in Turenay, and so on took the rest of the afternoon. That was master Jeran’s job, though. My job was to paint the small modello of the last office painting: the collection of glass products. I made it a proper still life, and I even added a window in colored glass in the background.
Getting all the reflections and color casts correct was quite a trick, but, you know, I can make light in my mind, and I can make colored light, so I was just sketching from life!
We stayed in Tal Serth for a couple days more to wrap everything up, and then we went on. It was still beautiful weather, not too warm, not cold, a bit of a breeze. All around us everything went into bloom and blossom, there were butterflies everywhere (and also normal flies, those have the most amazing eyes, one day one stepped in my stand oil, and couldn’t get out, so I took a magnifier glass and studied its eyes, and sketched that, and then I dissolved a bit of sugar, and took a drop of turps to the fly’s legs and let it escape, and it drank of the sugar.
Master Jeran was rather a tease about this, though! “My journeywoman won’t even hurt a fly! You should just swat them!”
But they already don’t live long, even though they make a lot of babies. I once made a painting of a piece of meat that had gotten all maggotty, too, that was very interesting, though I had to put a scent-seal on my nose.
From Tal Serth we arrived quite near Tylenay. There were real mountains here, as promised. Then I noticed that there was a small village a bit uphill, in the woods, and master Jeran said, that’s probably a coal burners’ village. And I was all, ooh! Can we visit! We can make sketches, and then we can start a series of paintings, “work in Valdyas” — I bet the King and Queen would be interested!
And, of course, that’s what we did, and pretty soon we came to a clearing where there was a smoking mound of dirt, and people doing stuff. So we gave the mule a nosebag, got out our sketchbooks, and started drawing the workers. They were so intent on their job that they hadn’t even noticed us, but there was a small girl who was looking over my shoulder, and gave me a running commentary, “that’s Jeran, that’s Jichan, that’s aunt Raisse…” And so on and on!
When they were done, and had gotten a huge mound of charcoal out of the dirt mountainlet, they noticed us, and then we got an explanation of how this works, and they really liked our sketches, too, and invited us for dinner!
Dinner was nice! Not fancy, but really filling. And they had a great-grandmother! And I made a light and made an egg-paint painting of great-granny Maile, and here grand-children and great-grand-children on a nice panel that I had been saving for something fun, and then the next morning applied varnish and gave it to the village. It really was just one family, with some spouses (spice?) married in. I felt weirdly at home. And I didn’t want to ask them for money for this painting. Obvs great-granny wouldn’t live another ninety years, so this would make them all remember her!
And there was a boy who was gifted, and we took him with us, the next day, to find a master in Tylenay.
Tylenay was less than a day away, and we managed to get the little doctors to invite us to sleep in their place — it’s big enough! And there’s a house in the house, and that house is a temple to Anshen!
There’s a lot to do here — we need to buy paper, find a carpenter who can saw new panels for us, a drover to cart everything we’ve finished to Lesla in Turenay, so we have room again in the cart! And find pigments, and oil and binder and gypsum and glue, and…
I went into town one morning, and got into the cherry blossom quarter, where I got what I’m sure will be a preeeetty lucrative agreement from a pimp and her son to paint guests and whores in her house — not in secret, only if the customer would ask me too, half for me, half for the house. I’m good at painting people who are fucking, too, but that needs a good memory, and quick work, but madam Varyn says that I had better just keep to the people drinking, eating and canoodling in the main room.