Colourful Celtic cats artwork by Lotti Brown...
Our favourite household pet, that cute kitty has a more mysterious side too!
And I think that’s actually why we love cats so much – a link between our everyday, hum-drum world and a world of grace, mystery and independence… can cats communicate something of their mysterious world to us?
Do cats really need us? Where do they go when they’re not at home? Why are they really with us in the world? What’s their story?
I wanted to share with you some of my new and recent Celtic knotwork learning for my own art practice…
This year, I’ve decided to spend more time concentrating on drawing Celtic knotwork and including it in my artwork – as well as learning Calligraphy.
These are both art forms that I explored in my childhood and loved!
My mum trained as an art teacher in the 1960s and did her dissertation on Celtic art in Ireland – specifically the Book of Kells. So I was lucky enough to be allowed to play with her dissertation, and she gave me the postcards she’d collected of the Book of Kells to play with and to inspire me.
My mum also taught me how to draw simple Celtic spirals – so that’s what I doodled as a child…
Celtic-inspired swans artwork by Lotti Brown.
My Celtic swans artwork was inspired by this graceful symbol of inner beauty and true love.
Swans are a frequent theme in Celtic legend and folklore – we currently have around 200 whooper swans wintering in the wetlands of the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve, close to my home, and often see and hear the swans flying over. In years gone by, up to 300 Bewick’s swans would over-winter in the area – in Celtic times, the numbers of swans both here and in the Celtic strongholds of Wales and Ireland must have been even greater – a real feature in Celtic life and not surprising they feature in so many tales.
We all know the story of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake – a story drawn from Russian and European folktales of a princess enchanted to be a swan...
And European folklore is filled with princesses and maidens who are turned into swans – often as punishment!
Beautiful Celtic-inspired barn owl art print...
My barn owl artwork is inspired by the beautiful and ethereal snowy-white barn owls that we often see in the fields near home.
In late winter, we sometimes see them around dawn and dusk – but sometimes, even in full daylight, quartering the fields and hunting for mice to feed their chicks, recently hatched.
Even in sunlight the barn owl seems to have an otherworldly and somewhat ghostly presence – a pallor that’s outside of our everyday world.
In folklore, the owl is often associated with the Otherworld and darkness – but also with being clear-sighted, all-knowing, and wise.
The owl is associated with the goddess of wisdom – Athena in the Greek tradition, Sulis in the Celtic tradition, and Minerva for the Romans. Sulis was the Celtic goddess of justice, echoing the perception of the owl’s knowing wisdom.
In the Celtic legend the ‘Quest for Olwen’, the owl is encountered as one of the five oldest beasts on Earth, symbolising the owl’s ancient knowledge and enduring wisdom.
Author: Lotti Brown
Artist, designer, and online drawing teacher.
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