Virtue: Behaviour showing high moral standards; a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person; a good or useful quality of a thing.  

I wasn't looking for virtue when I found it while walking down Sussex Drive.  I looked up through the pouring rain and found it stuck to an office door. 

So if you're looking for virtue and are unsure where to find it, it's located on the second floor of an office building on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Good luck! 


I continue with the illumination class - only two more to go.  It has been a great experience and a very creative one.  Once finished and I start to think about different kinds of projects I want to incorporate these techniques into, I'm sure my imagination will take off.  

This M, for moon, is a replica from a 1521 L'Arte Della Stampa, Ventiis per loannem Antonium.  A set of illuminated letters for manuscripts.  

Working with White 

We practiced working with white on different backgrounds and different weights of paper. 


In researching different types of images and illumination, I came across the MacDonald sisters, Francis and Margaret.  These ladies started the art nouveau movement.  

This piece was inspired by Francis MacDonald's image and I added a quote by poet, Mary Oliver.  It was done on Arches paper and dyed with two different types of tea.  I added dry pigment to give it some sparkle and painted it with water colours.  

This piece was inspired by Margaret MacDonald's, 'Opera of the Seas'.  I followed the lines made by the streams of paint, when I decorated the background.  Cavities were created and in each cavity I drew a face.  I followed the upper line of each cavity with a pen and created different patterns under each face.  I used water colour, gold and bronze paints.  This was done on printmaking paper.  

O for Opals.  The beautiful colours in the background of this  piece made me think of the different colours found in opals.  We were practicing different backgrounds to our illuminated letters so I chose the metal grating which is part of a very large sculpture found in Toronto's Distillery District and created squares in the background.  Every second square, in the background, was painted with gold calligraphy ink. 

The large sculpture at the Distillery District in Toronto 

Metal grating in part of the sculpture 

Close-up of the metal grating 


Many, many years ago I learned how to make this rose in a ceramics class.  I have used it many times over the years and I find it has again raised its beautiful head in my current class. 

Practicing painting the rose and its effect on parchment paper. 

I did an R for Rose and combined heavy and light lines to this piece.  It was done on parchment paper with water colours. 

This nautical medieval wind rose compass was done on  water colour paper.  I decorated the background and then created the image.  The star in the center is painted with a bronze acrylic paint.  The instructor said the compass needs more colour, so at some point I will add more colour to it. 


In one of the classes, we practiced uncial lettering.  

Using a chisel brush and gold calligraphy ink, I created the h and decorated it with a pigment pen and water colours, on parchment paper. 

Is it a W or an M?  I created this as a W on kozo paper.  It was an interesting process working with the paint and paper together.  Once dried, I used a pigment pen to decorate the inside of the letter.  When discussing our work in class, my classmates saw it as an M.  

So, is it an M or a W? You decide.  


Continuing the practice of illuminating letters on decorated backgrounds, I created:

F for Forest on water colour paper 

E for Energy - the decoration on the water colour paper, prior to creating the letter, looked like an explosion of energy in different colours. 

That's all for now.  I hope you are enjoying beautiful weather, where ever you reside.  

Wishing you well, until next time



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