Art Journal Page: Illuminated Letters [Part II]


I’m continuing my journey into illuminated letters with this layout. The  background has languished, completed, in my second ever journal for possibly years, and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. The stencilled motif reminded me of the mediaeval screens, so all I needed to do was find the appropriate phrase to follow my illuminated letter. I can’t quite recall how I got to it, but seem to remember I wanted Latin phrases. This one is associated with, I think, the Catholic tradition and properly means ‘happy fault’. But I’m a crafter, and think it better translates to ‘happy accident’. Which got me thinking, and for the rest of the day I was designing myself a coat of arms. Where do my days go? On flights of fancy!


I’ve chosen the different elements on my new coat of arms based on a quick bit of research into heraldic symbolism. The acanthus leaves apparently symbolise admiration of the arts, and the falcons represent ‘no rest until the objective is reached’. The entwined Greek letters of alpha and omega represent my Christian beliefs, and take the prime position in the shield. The stag represents peace and harmony (for some reason), which is what I’d like to achieve at some point. The swan-like goose shows resourcefulness. And my brand new motto? Well, assuming Google Translate has behaved, it’s meant to loosely translate as ’embrace happy accidents’. And if it doesn’t – it’ll stay the same, just so that I can keep doing it!

3 thoughts on “Art Journal Page: Illuminated Letters [Part II]

  1. This is a beautiful journal page, Neil, and particularly apposite at the moment as I am working on some Gothic designs in Inkscape to cut as stencils. I love this style. My hubby and I adore Victorian Gothic revival too – the whole Gothic style is a great combination of ornate and substantial which is intriguing. As for the coat of arms, this is tremendous! I love all the symbolism, and think I would probably have come up with something very similar! Your Latin motto is probably a lot better than mine – sic friat crustulum (that’s the way the cookie crumbles) lol lol!!

    In the journal page, I love your use of 2 different lattice stencils combined – the quatrefoil and the harlequin. Subtle!


  2. I love the new saying (in Greek) 🙂 To me, it seems to be a lot easier to embrace happy accidents than to embrace those that are not so happy.

    As it is,it’s hard for me to embrace either!!

    God Bless!

    Vanessa C.

    PS: I am venturing in to doing an art journal myself, looking at different things online . Do you think that gesso is essential, or can Mod Podge or the like be used to prepare your page? I love your blog, and admire your work.

    • Anything that seals the page is ideal when working with artist quality paints, or wet media. I go for what’s cheapest – cut price acrylics, gesso or even diluted PVA. I’d personally keep Mod Podge and other multi-mediums back for the more specialist sticking and sealing on the page.

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