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About Illuminated Arts

What is Wildlife Illuminated Arts and how did I get the idea?

The conceptualization for the term Wildlife Illuminated Arts came about by using my textile design background, the foundation of painting, and inspiration from the history of the illuminated manuscript. The very word " Illuminate." means to bring the story or the narrative," into the light." My designs for textiles, illustrations, and murals have always had elaborate and decorative! The calligraphy, illuminated lettering, and embellishments utilized by artists of the 13th through the 15th century was a natural evolution for me to use this technique for my wildlife art/endangered species because it brings their story into the light.


What inspired my work?

 I am inspired by calligraphy and found illuminated Medieval and early Renaissance manuscripts rich in this exquisite technique. The manuscripts contained large regal gold embellished letters with beautiful decorative borders that are an important characteristic of my work. This was my artistic inspiration.


I am inspired by the fact that I live in one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments, Laguna Beach, California. It is a community that has long been supportive of artists and of protecting endangered and threatened wildlife species. My hope is that through my art I can support and aid our planet’s endangered and threatened wildlife.


Illumination: A Brief History —

The art of the illumination manuscripts and the decorative elements within them can be traced back to the Egyptian Book of the Dead dated 1310 B.C. Kings, emperors, religious leaders, heads of state from the Middle Ages through the early Renaissance periods had their court artisans design and make illuminated manuscripts to record their history, events, and great accomplishments. That work was primarily conducted in monasteries and royal courts. Only religious leaders or those born of royal blood had the ability to read these manuscripts; however, the decorative artwork and pictures could tell the story to the masses who were largely illiterate.


What were the steps used to complete an illuminated manuscript? (Brief Summary)

  • First, the Page stretched, dried, and prepared the parchment paper for the manuscript.

  • Second, the Scribe wrote text by hand in calligraphy fonts such as Uncials and Black Letter popular at that time.

  • Third, the Illuminator Artist had the most important task of preparing the egg tempera paint by hand from natural elements and pigments/color from dried flowers. These elements were ground to a fine powder and combined with an egg’s yolk to form the tempera paint to which natural lavender was added as a preservative. Only after the scribe had completed all the text with calligraphy, could the illuminator artist add the artistry of figures, events, to each page of the manuscript.

  • Fourth, the Book Binder would take the illuminated pages and sew the pages together into a bound book with a cover to complete the manuscript.


What websites can you look at to see historical examples of illumination?

Please visit the website of The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Search for the exhibit called, “Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination;” June 2003. Search for the famous manuscript titled, ”The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry”; November 2008 featuring the art of the Limbourg Brothers. Also, check the web using search terms such as illumination and manuscripts and calligraphy of the 13th through the 15th century.

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