Contemporary Illumination for the Calligrapher and Artist

Toni Watts
Contemporary Illumination gives detailed instruction for artists wishing to add gold leaf to their work. It explains the techniques used in medieval manuscripts but shows how these same techniques can be used to stunning effect to enhance lettering and paintings in contemporary styles. Alongside step-by-step instruction, it also gives practical advice on how to fix common problems. For both the novice and the more experienced, this handsome book unlocks illuminated secrets from the fifteenth century and shows how they can be applied just as beautifully to art of today. With fully illustrated step-by-step instructions for gilding and painting using readily available off-the-shelf products. For those with more experience, there are detailed instructions on the making and use of both manuscript gesso and shell gold, with examples of how they might be used both to enhance a calligraphic text as well as a painting or drawing. There are also suggestions of how to paint on gold, and how to combine flat and raised gilding in new and innovative ways. This book is a visual treat and an invaluable guide for everyone who wants to appreciate the art of illumination and to learn how to use traditional techniques in contemporary applications.
Contemporary Illumination for the Calligrapher and Artist by Toni Watts

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About the author

TONI WATTSis an internationally-recognised illuminator, and one of the few artists still using traditional manuscript gilding skills. She creates new work using age-old techniques and hand-prepared, natural materials. These include mineral and earth pigments, plant pigments from her garden, traditional handcrafted inks, vellum, 24-carat gold leaf and gemstones such as sapphires and emeralds. She specialises in manuscript illumination, but also draws with metalpoint and paints in egg tempera. Toni has had a diverse career – she worked for over twenty years as a doctor while pursuing a career as an award-winning wildlife artist. She then gained a master’s degree in art history, which sparked an interest in medieval manuscripts and the trade in pigments. This led to a year (2015-16) as artist-in-residence at Lincoln Cathedral, where she had the opportunity both to study its collection of manuscripts and create a new body of work. She now runs national and international workshops on manuscript illumination.

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