Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I had some time to finish an illumination that I started in April. The design is loosely based on a 14th Century French manuscript but the Little Butterfly kept developing into something more whimsical. Somehow he ended up with a bumblebee- type body and butterfly wings. I have seen so many other blended animals and bugs in medieval manuscripts that I thought this little Bumblefly would fit right in. The finished size is 4"x3" on 140 lb. Arches Hot Press paper. When I pulled the painting from its folder on my desk to finish it, I noticed that I had not gilded one of the little orbs. Interesting to note that the Rolco gold size was able to adhere the gold leaf even though it had initially been applied weeks ago.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For the Love of Letters

It's been a rewarding experience for an introvert like me to get out and travel to other guilds. I always wrestle with the fear of flying but once I arrive at my destination, I am so happy to be in an environment where I can share my love of letters. I am preparing for another teaching venue shortly and had to complete some commission work before I go.
I still get excited when I start to design one of these Victorian letters. I find it so peaceful and meditative and I often look back in wonder at how much the love of letters has shaped my life.
These three are done with the Staedtler Aquarelle watercolour pencils, 22K gold leaf and Diane Townsend pastels. Accent strokes are with my finetec gold metallic watercolours which are still going strong after almost daily use for three years!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Victorian Gilded Flourish

Years ago, Master Penman Brian Walker started encouraging me to add gilded touches to my offhand flourishes.I love being able to add the little hints of shimmering gold into my flourishing work. This 5x7 piece is done on John Neal's new diploma parchment with McCaffery brown ink. I have added shell gold highlights to the little cherub's hair and wings. My studies into the work of Kate Greenaway and Victorian ornamental scroll designs were underlying influences in this piece. I used watercolour as well as Derwent Metallic watercolour pencils to colour the design. The Derwent Metallic Watercolour pencils are very close to the palette that Kate Greenaway used in her work.