Excerpt from Psalm 90 written in Gothic Textura Quadrata with sumi ink, watercolour and acrylic gold ink on Arches hot-press watercolour paper.
My latest commission was a 50th wedding anniversary present from a wife to her husband. She wanted a silver birch tree with yellow leaves and a bold script.
My most recent commission was a quote from John Wesley written in Cancelleresca Corsiva. The client wanted celtic knots in the border although she and I were aware that it didn’t exactly fit the time period or style. However, a little extra Celtic knot never hurts!
In June I was commissioned by my church, Saint Andrew’s Scottish Episcopal Church in St Andrews, to create a goodbye present for a long-time congregation member who was moving way. They wanted the grace prayer and some sprigs of rosemary (her name was Rosemary) along with the Diocese of St Andrews coat of arms. There are a few purple rosemary flowers scattered throughout and some bees since our rector keeps bee hives.
© Letizia Morley 2019
My first overseas customer ordered this custom border along with the verses. She asked for thistles and celtic knots with a mostly blue colour scheme.
This April (April 15-18, 2019) the Transept Artists’ group of the University of St Andrews Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts is putting on its annual exhibition entitled ‘Space( )Between’. This exhibit explores in-between places and states of being.
I decided to calligraph a portion of Psalm 139 which describes the infinite space that God’s presence occupies and also mentions hell (Sheol). It encompasses the upmost heights and the deepest lows.
First I ruled the lines and toned the paper with a light tan shade. Next I wrote out the script. The script I chose was Uncial, characteristic of the British Isles between the 3rd and 9th centuries. I made a mistake with the first line but couldn’t erase so I’ll cover this up later with white.
Next I erased the pencil ruled lines from the text and went over the lines of the initial capital W with a Pigma Micron archival, non-smudging pigment pen.
I continued to first sketch with pencil, then trace over in pen all the elements of the border.
Then I added colour using Winsor & Newton watercolours. I wanted to give each ‘direction’ in the Psalm its own colour variation. The top is light blue to represent heaven, the bottom is a murky black-blue to represent Sheol. The left is the rosy-tinted East and the right is the slightly more orange-toned red. The ‘flame’ pattern at the bottom also hints at Sheol.
© Letizia Morley 2019
Next I added acrylic gold ink to the vines, the celtic knot border and finally to the illuminated capital letter W.
© Letizia Morley 2019
After many many hours of work, here is the final result. The first image is the final work before framing and the second is the framed work at the ‘Space( )Between’ exhibit in St Leonards Chapel on South Street, St Andrews.
A good friend commissioned this piece for her husband as he had just recently submitted his PhD thesis and this quote was a key part of his theme. The script is Uncial and there are small thistles inside the illuminated initial M.
Recently an acquaintance asked me to do an illuminated calligraphy piece for her new baby. She wanted wall art that included Celtic knots, thistles and rabbits with a colour scheme of coral, blue and green. I am hoping there are more clients who are interested in this kind of thing for either their own children or as gifts. The finished product was something I was very happy with and my client felt the same way, thankfully.
The first stage of this work began with my sketching out lightly in pencil the Celtic knot border. I had to look through many design templates to find what worked best for the dimensions of the paper and the style that the client wanted. The Celtic knots took quite a lot of practice…quite a lot
The next step after the Celtic knots and going over all the pencil with archival ink was to drawing the thistles and rabbits. These took hardly any time at all, with a few reference photos. I began to put paint on the piece after I had gone over all the pencil marks with black Sumi ink (Sumi is a Japanese coal ink that is very thick and long-lasting). I used Winsor & Newton watercolours.
© Letizia Morley 2018
Lastly, the blue green Celtic knots were filled in and the spaces between the lines painted in coral. Then the thistles were finished and voila!
My newest digital calligraphy work of Psalm 27 verse 1. One of my favorite verses to say to myself in times of doubt or fear. The script is Artificial Uncial.
Lately I have been trying to make some more Scottish themed illuminated calligraphy and decided to write out this Celtic blessing in the Artificial Uncial script. The Celtic knots here are identical, but are rotated in different directions for a nice contrast. It took a long time but I am happy with the result.
Here’s the text, which I think is wonderful: “May you have: walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, and drinks by the fire; laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all that your heart may desire.”
Enjoy and I hope you have some laughter and warmth today.
A few years back, a friend commissioned me to create this Psalm in calligraphy and told me what he wanted for the illuminations. He wanted oaks, trees, blues and greens, a monk studying the scriptures and a deer. I examined many manuscripts of the 1500s before I found the inspirations I was looking for. The script here is the Fraktur, a type of black letter script or font that was common in Germany starting the 16th century. I used watercolor for most of it but some gold paint for the initial capital letter.
From the archives, an early illuminated calligraphy work I did for my husband. He asked me to do this as a decoration for his classroom. The font, or script, is called Fraktur Miniscule, in use from about 1400 onward and very popular for vernacular works at the time. I used a Celtic Knotwork tutorial book to do the border. I used felt-tip pens instead of paint.