Blog Archives

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.


Holy Spirit Symbol

holyspiritKells sketches without dotsI’m still making gradual progress on my annunciation project.

Here on the left is what I hope will be a component of the final image.  It represents the Holy Spirit entering Mary at the time of the annunciation.

The red dots around the circle are a common decorative device used in manuscripts like the Book of Kells (see image below for an example from the Book of Durrow).  They are supposed to act like a kind of highlighter, lifting the image from the paper, or so I’ve read.   Do you think it works?

Update: I’ve added the same image on the right but without the red dots so that you can compare them.  Thanks go to Hariod for that idea.

Haloes and Angel Wings

I’m still researching and preparing for my latest project.  I’ve done some more sketching based on illustrations in the Book of Kells.  I find that sketching  allows me to absorb more information about the way the illustrations are designed and coloured than just looking at them would do.

I sketched a few more crazy cats and a weird dove:

morecatsAnd some angel wings and haloes!wingshaloes

StJohnhaloBy the way, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Crazy Monks

My blog has been quiet recently because I’ve been doing research for my next project (which I mentioned in my previous post).  I’ve been looking at a lot of images on the Internet and reading about the use of symbolism in Christian art.  There’s not much to show for it except a head full of ideas.  Here is one of the ideas that made it as far as my sketchbook.


One of the styles I was considering was to make the image like an old stained glass window.  At the moment though I’m thinking about using the style of the old Celtic manuscripts.  Here are some cats and a peacock that I copied from a book about the Book of Kells.catspeacockSketch

As you can see, the monks who illustrated the Book of Kells weren’t going for realism.  I love the colours on the first cat.

I borrowed a book from the library that had a black and white photo of a page from “Cormac’s Psalter”.  Here is a copy I tried to make of it in my sketchbook.  (I guessed the colours.)


Unless you look closely (try clicking on the photo) it’s easy to miss the craziness of this piece.  For example, the mouthless heads at the top right are particularly baffling.  I love the interwoven laces in the background.  I tried to use this kind of random lacing in my “Deep Peace” drawing (behind the words “PEACE” and “TO YOU”).

Book of Kells Font

A few days ago I started getting back into using Manga Studio.  I found that I had forgotten how to use it properly.  It was very frustrating but I’m starting to get the hang of it again now.  My first job was to update my “Award Free Blog” image (see right).  Manga Studio comes with some wonderful “Materials” and I just loved the clouds [I’ve updated the image since I wrote this; the current one has trees, which are also standard material in Manga Studio].  All I had to do was add some colour and some lettering.  Which leads me onto the topic of this post…

I’ve had a request to do a series of images for a family member, but, as a bonus, it might be something that would be of interest to other people.  Anyway, the request is a tall order so I’ve said I will try but I’ve made no promises.  I’m not brave enough to tell you what the series is until I’ve seen whether it’s even feasible for me.  However, I can tell you that I will be trying to use Celtic interlace and “Book of Kells” style illustration and lettering.  So here is an idea of what I have so far.

Book of Kells Font2

It might not look like much but it represents hours of work.  It’s a scalable set of letters traced from Book of Kells images.  It still needs some work because some of the letters will be hard for a modern person to read easily.  For example, the word on the third line actually says “vester”.  And I don’t know what the monk was thinking when he designed the “f” (top right).  There’s something a bit naughty going on there (tell me it’s not just me, please)!

Ave Maria

Peace to You in 2014

I wish you all deep peace in the new year.


This is a piece I did a few years ago.  I wanted to decorate a piece of calligraphy in a similar style to the Book of Kells.  The verse is part of an old Celtic blessing which goes:

Deep peace of the running wave to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,

Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you.

Here is a close-up of one of the knots:


Resonance Patterns and Celtic Interlace

ResonancePatternOn the left Margam Stones 14 Carreg Fedyddiolis a screenshot from a YouTube video (see below).  The video shows a sequence of patterns (called Chladni figures) produced as a sheet of metal resonates in response to a tone of steadily increasing frequency.  The sand sprinkled onto the sheet bounces around and settles in the parts where there is least vibration.  There are lots of videos on YouTube that show resonance effects in different materials.  I picked out this one because some of the patterns (like the one above) resemble man-made patterns like those used in Celtic interlace (on the right).  This interlace or knotwork can be found on old Celtic and Christian masonry or in old manuscripts like the Book of Kells.  I also use it in a lot of my artwork.  If you look closely at the background to my blog you will see that it is a tiling of knotwork wheels.  I will post more about knotwork when my origami binge has fizzled out.

:!:As it says in the video itself, the audio is very loud so you need to turn your volume down. ❗