Monthly Archives: September 2016

Spiraling Out of Control

Maybe I’m addled from drawing too many spirals but this is starting to look like a face to me. I’m calling her Ermintrude. 😀 spirals


Gradual Illumination

Here’s the latest update to my Tree of Life design:


I’ve tidied up the sketch a little, and continued with the illumination on the “G”.  I’ve left the bottom spiral in an intermediate state so that you can see how the design evolves.  It doesn’t just pop out of my head and onto the screen.  I have to keep changing it and tweaking it.  I’m still using George Bain’s book for inspiration but now I’m also using Aidan Meehan’s book on illuminated letters.

If you’re wondering why these letters seem to be tipping up to the right, it’s not a mistake.  The old manuscripts that I’m trying to emulate, like the Book of Kells, often have the first few letters of a passage illuminated in decreasing order of size.  However, the rest of the letters in my sketch in the previous post are tipping up to the right, by mistake.  It often happens to my writing if I don’t follow guidelines.  I will have to remember to draw guidelines on the sketch before I finalise the rest of the writing.

Tree of Life – Sketch

Today is the day Catholics celebrate the cross with a Feast that used to be called Rood Mass.  One reason we celebrate the cross is because it demonstrates God’s great love for us.  As Saint Catherine of Siena says:

Nails were not enough to hold the God-Man nailed and fastened on the Cross, had not love held Him there.

Or, as John’s gospel says:


This is the sketch I made for my Tree of Life drawing that I mentioned in an earlier post. The body of Christ is traced from a photo of a crucifix.  That’s why it looks better than the rest of the sketch.  🙂

Getting Knotted #2

(For #1 click here.)

This post was inspired by a wonderful lady called Myra who started a blog to showcase her mother’s amazingly realistic crochet flowers.  I mentioned to her that I used to do macramé so she suggested I try Chinese knotting by following this video:

So I grabbed the first thick yarn I could find…  String vest cotton leftover from my dear nan‘s hoard.  😀


It wasn’t ideal but I had a go…

But I couldn’t stop there.  It’s just too much fun, and there are loads of knotting videos on YouTube.  Besides, I’d always wanted to know how to tie a monkey’s fist knot, so I went on a knotting binge.  Here’s another video I used, this time in English:

The string vest cotton wasn’t working out too well (although it would make a lovely soft vest – I’m almost tempted to make one).  So I scrounged around and found an old cord off a blind…

Thank you Myra, I had great fun!  😀

Key Pattern and Bees

First the bees.  Please could you take a minute or two to help keep a bee-killing insecticide out of Ireland?  Here is a link to the petition.  Thanks in advance to all those who take the time to sign it.  😀

I’ve got two art projects queued up at the moment.  I plan to do a painting based on the Holy Face drawing I did recently.  The other project is a digital drawing which I’m calling the Tree of Life.  These are both intricate works which will take a long time to finish.  For that reason I’m going to share progress reports as I go along rather than waiting to show you the finished pieces.

So far, all I’ve done for the painting is to set up a drawing board to prop the painting up.  I’m going to be painting on an MDF board that I prepared last year (or maybe even the year before that, I can’t remember) with several layers of (sanded-down) gesso.  I’ve never used this kind of surface before so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

I’ve done quite a few embarrassingly crude pencil sketches for my Tree of Life design.  Here is the first tiny piece that I’ve polished up in the digital version.  It is a panel inside one of the first of the illuminated letters I’m going to use.

The hard part was the grid, shown in green in the left-hand image.  It took me four tries to get it right.  It’s based on a design in George Bain’s book on Celtic Art that I mentioned in a previous post.  His design is in turn based on what he calls a key pattern found on a Pictish cross-slab called the Nigg Stone.  According to Bain:

The evidences available [Bain is writing in the 1950’s] show that the key patterns of Britain and Ireland arrived many centuries before the Romans, and that the peoples who brought them made contacts in their migrations with the tribes that later became the makers of the Greek Empire.

P.S. There’s a scheduled power outage in our area today so I won’t be able to reply to comments until the evening.


I wasn’t going to do any more purely Catholic posts but I just read something that made me feel like sharing the following quote.

“There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church….As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – in preface to Radio Replies

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen 1956

I used to hate the Catholic Church.  Well, maybe dislike would be a better word because I didn’t really pay the matter enough attention to get really worked up about it.  I believed all the anti-Catholic propaganda that I had absorbed through everyday life.  I didn’t care enough to question whether it was true.  Many, many people live like that.  I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to begin to care enough to discover my mistake.  I pray that all of you that think badly of the Church get the same sort of opportunity.

Painted Prosthetic Project

I LOVE this artist. I’m reblogging her post in case any of you can help support the “Painted Prosthetics Project” that she is taking part in. See the original post for more details.

busy mockingbird

What do I want to be when I grow up?  An artist?  Ahhhh, I would love to be able to sit around all day, painting whatever my heart desired, while sitting back and watching the money roll in.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  I have a day job, and thankfully it’s one I enjoy.  I’ve worked very hard to get to the day job I’ve always wanted, and worked a lot of cruddy jobs (truck driver, vending machine stocker, night shift newspaper printer, you name it) before this one.  Several years ago, my manager plucked me from a depressing job building small copy ads for a tiny black and white classifieds paper, and since then I’ve been SO grateful to be working for her, happily designing posters, flyers, and marketing material for army and family facilities on military posts, as well as any events that come through.  It’s an awesome…

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