I am half way through my second week of an on-line course I am taking from Trinity College, Dublin on the Book of Kells. I saw that amazing manuscript in 2014 when I visit the college. I have loved illumination for a long time and taught a unit on illuminated letters for several years. I've started one to work on while I take the class. I am about half way through with it so I thought I'd share my efforts so far.
Lots more to do on it...enhancing the heather and thistle, painting the background and, of course, adding the gold leaf. I can only work on it for about an hour at a time. I can't imagine how the monks managed to work hour upon hour and in such poor light. I am, of course, using more modern materials in mine but it gives me a real sense of the effort it took to complete the manuscript. When I'm done, this solitary letter will have taken about 15-18 hours. Imagine how long that amazing book took!