Cat map?

I drew this years ago. A celtic style cat. I did a full colour acrylic painting afterwards but I don’t have a photo of that and I think my sister has it now.

I was trying to think of a subject for an illustrated map we have to do for college. I’ve been visiting a local lake recently and there is a hedge maze there. You cannot see the shape of it from the ground and it would be interesting in mapping it out, but I don’t own a drone camera! Then I thought the map might be based around ideas of the Staffordshire Hoard found in this area a few years ago. This was coins and gold sword ornaments and other pieces of treasure. I might base my map on these Saxon patterns. Then I did my original thesis on pre Christian celtic art, and that’s where the idea of a celtic cat came from.

Decisions…. What to draw…. Hmm

Celtic art illustrations.

Illustrations I did almost forty years ago of pre Christian Celtic art for my thesis.

This is in response to a post on the The Silent Eye by Steve Tanham this morning on Celtic Art. It was very interesting and informative. It reminded me how I was influenced by the patterns they created. It also made me think about the Staffordshire hoarde of Saxon treasure that was found in this area about ten years ago. Similar but different.

The skills of the artesans that made these was immense. In an age that had no technology except for the hand eye coordination of the makers it is incredible what they could make.

Thesis illustrations

I’ve posted these ages ago but since I deleted a lotof photos everything is jumbled up. These were drawings I did of a horses bit, and cast bronze fittings for a cart or chariot wheel.

I tthink I might have used a cartridge pen or a fountain pen to draw these. I can’t remember, they are almost forty years old. I can’t even credit the book I drew them from as I don’t remember and I’m not sure where I have put my thesis. I still like these…

Pre Christian Celtic Art

These are some of the illustrations I did for my  thesis on pre Christian celtic art from the fifteenth century BC to the first AD.

Sorry they are not beautifully photographed  but it’s 3.30am and I was excited because I found it and it’s the first time I’ve seen it for about 38 years!

I see now where I get my love of patterns from and that I could do some of these drawings now.  I don’t know where I started with some of them…. Oh the confidence of youth.

There are photographs in the thesis but I haven’t included them as they were taken by a friend. They are starting to fade but surprisingly the pen and ink drawings I did seem to have stayed stable. Probably because it’s been stored in a drawer…

Right. Bedtime I think.

Celtic art

I recently looked through some old sketchbooks. These drawings are from one from the 1990s.


I have been interested in Celtic Art for a long time. I wrote my thesis on pre Christian Celtic art and I think these were drawn a while after that. I know they were drawn in  the early 1990s as I found a drawing of one of my old cats in the book.

Drawing knotwork is not easy, the trouble is getting the pattern right. Weaving the lines is quite difficult and I think here I was practicing the positions of each line. There are other circular patterns where two or three parts interlink. If I remember rightly these can be used on brooches and sheild bosses.

I still try and do this kind of pattern occasionally, for example a painting of a snake recently which had this kind of feel. I  also like the animals that are used as terminals to the knots.

Recently a hoard of jewellery, armoury and gold peices were found in Staffordshire. This was a Saxon Hoard but you can still see the influence of knotwork in the peices. I want to create something like the figure of a woman (see top of page ) as a painting.


How to paint Snake and Ladder

What a random painting!

It started out as a series of splodges. I was not sure what it would turn into. I am interested in Celtic knotwork and also Saxon metalwork. The Staffordshire hoard of Saxon gold was found nearby a couple of years ago and there are many animals and monsters found in that kind of art and craft work.

Suddenly the idea of a snake popped into my mind so I added scales and a head to the pattern, but why would it be there, what was the reason behind it. I remember being intrigued by Snakes and Ladders when I was little. I always landed on a snake and slither down to the foot of the board .

I decided to add the ladder, but the background was too dark. I was modelling the 3 dimensions of the snake with dark and light paint but the snake was merging into the background. What to do!? I tried a green, but felt that was not the right colour. …why not a bold red? I had got a bottle of glittery deep red and I tried that. Bingo I’m pleased with the result.

That’s how you paint a Snake and Ladder. ….