Friday, December 28, 2012

Celtic Teenager Art


I found this very intricate watercolor of mine just lying on top of some dusty furniture in my sleeping room at my parents' house. It had been there for years, ignored and untouched except perhaps by me. I clearly remember doing this piece. This is what can happen when a young artist (19 years old) with good close vision has a lot of time to do non-paid work. I traced a repeating zoomorphic pattern square from a photo of the Book of Kells (or some similar Celtic illumination) and repeated it 6 times in mirror-fashion on the two red-bordered panels. I also traced the roundel in the center. I designed the top two mirror-imaged crest pieces myself. I used tracing paper which I covered with graphite to "print out" the design when I traced over it. Then I inked the designs with a tiny crow quill pen and colored them in watercolor. The artwork is dated "January 29, 1972" on the back, the day I finished it. 

In those days I was fascinated by Celtic artwork, which I learned about while taking art history courses at university. 1972 was still within the "psychedelic" era of art and graphics, in which Celtic art was used as a source. Nowadays Celtic art and ornament is still in fashion among Pagans and science fiction fans and gamers, tattoo enthusiasts, and costumers, most of these being the same people across the interests. And traditional Celtic designs show up of course in Irish dancing outfits. There is a darker side to Celtic ornaments in that they can also be used as a mask or code for white supremacist beliefs. The Pagans and the fans probably don't know this, and I certainly didn't when I did this work. I would never do this again, because I don't have either the patience or the eyesight to create such a thing.

Celtic piece is ink and watercolor on thick paper, 3 1/4" x 6 3/4", January 1972. Clickonthepic to show obsessive 19-year-old at work.

3 comments:

Mike said...

The intricate details are excellent.

Tristan Alexander said...

Have I mentioned how much I hate you? I love how Celtic knotwork looks but I can not do it worth a darn! This is very nice! And you did it when you were 19..

Pyracantha said...

Tristan remember I traced it, didn't design it myself. I had some obsessive sort of patience to do this.
Meanwhile have you had any luck trying to find out what happened to BIll Shawcross' art collection? He had some important pieces of mine too.