Category Archives: Celtic interlace

Tree of Life – Update

This is the art project I was working on before Windows decided to “improve” my drawing machine with an update.  Here’s where I’d got up to:

Tree of Life new

Approved Version

This version of my Holy Face design has been approved by the person who requested it.  I’m happy with it overall but I think that the face itself and the lettering might need tweaking.

holyface2

Almost Done

Just some spiral patterns left to do, and a bit of tweaking here and there.

(The pencil underdrawing won’t be in the final version.)

holyface

Passion

Familiar words can have different meanings in Catholicism.  “Passion” refers to the sufferings of Jesus after the Last Supper.  The passion flower has been taken to symbolise these sufferings.  For example, the five anthers are said to represent Christ’s five wounds and the three stigma the nails.  I thought I’d try to draw a passion flower halo for my Tree of Life design with the 72 radiating tendrils representing the crown of thorns.  Today is the Feast of Christ the King.  A king who has thorns for his crown.  A king who is not only just, but also merciful.  A king who loves us more than we love ourselves.

passionflower

I’ve also done some more work on the border.

tree-of-lifesmalldovehost

Tree Progress

tree-of-lifecropped

So I got all the lettering done except for the initial “G”; the first draft anyway.

Please don’t ask me what is up with the animal head coming out of the “d”. I don’t know why his tongue has got knotted up with his mane. It’s just one of those things that happens in this kind of art. I guess the monks that spent so many hours of their lives making themselves blind doing this stuff liked to have a bit of fun with it. That, or they drank too much homebrew. Monks were/are pretty good brewers, or so I’m told.

Border Control

I’ve made a little more progress on my Tree of Life piece.  I wanted to take a break from spirals so I decided to start work on the border.  I based the border designs on ones I had sketched for an earlier project (which is currently on the back burner).  I also tried out some of the Book of Kells font that I created for that project.  For those interested in the technicalities, I created the font using Manga Studio but I’m doing this piece in Krita.  Sometimes one can export projects from Manga Studio in Photoshop format (.psd) and then open them in Krita.  It didn’t work this time though so I had to make do with just the bare image.

tree-of-life-cropped2

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:

tree-of-life-cropped1

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:

treeoflife

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.  🙂

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.