Inspiration can come from unexpected places. Like, Holland for example.

 Artist Lubna Zahid will be teaching the art of illumination workshop with Scripts ’n’ Scribes on March 4th and 5th. She has over 25 years of experience and recently taught an art of the illumination course at the Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. But, her love for art had a connection to, of all places, the Netherlands.

Lubna was always attracted to colors. She started painting at a young age. Her passion for art deepened when her father used to bring her art books and calendars from his travels to Holland. She said what she liked about dutch painting was that the colors were bright and had dramatic light effects. 

For Scripts ’n’ Scribes, Lubna will be teaching the upcoming illumination workshop. The art of illumination or tezhip as it is called in Turkish, a word meaning in Arabic “ornamenting with gold,” is a decorative art used to illuminate both religious and secular manuscripts and calligraphic works. The main theme in illumination is patterns, which are geometric in nature. The styles and colors in illumination varies in different regions and time periods. 

Lubna started learning Islamic arts on her own until she met Master Calligrapher Abbas Baghdadi. Working with Ustadh Abbas, she formalized her studies and learned the formal techniques of illumination.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience as a fine artist practicing both traditional and contemporary arts.

Q. How is the art of illumination different from other types of arts?

It is different in a way that it is very organized, has lots of symmetry and is well-balanced. It is also something that is connected to the Islamic Heritage. Her work reflects a combination of eastern and western influence.

Q. What is the best way to approach this art?

Love and passion is needed to study this art. And once you have those two qualities you quickly learn the color combinations and the motifs, and eventually recreate your own art. The new masters of this art copy traditional patterns that have been created before. It is important to keep the tradition alive, but also look for ways to make it better. 

Know the rules, to break the rules. In every art form, you have to know the element of design, principles of design and all the composition. And, once you master the fundamentals you can then experiment with it, and take it to the next level.

Q. Do you have any words of Inspiration for our students?

The art of illumination reflects the balance and harmony in the universe. The designs are infinite in nature, with repetitive patterns and motifs that starts but has no end.

To join Lubna Zahid’s workshop on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5 in Herndon, Virginia visit our registration page.

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