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Friday, August 11th, 2017

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How I Planned A Celtic Cross For My New Drawing, ‘God’s Magnificent Wisdom’

Hey! Would you like to take a peek at the plan for my new Celtic cross? I’m really excited about this new design and I’d love to share it with you! Here’s the sketch where I’ve been trying out different Celtic patterns and looking for which designs would work best.

My Celtic Cross Sketch

I began with the idea of filling the cross with maze patterns. As I mentioned in my previous post, I think maze patterns can symbolize the maze of our lives and can remind us that God, in His magnificent wisdom, knows the way through that maze, the path we need to take.

The diamond grid I drew for the maze patterns.

To try out different maze patterns, I first had to start by drawing out a grid of diamonds to provide the foundation for those patterns.

Then I sketched out two different maze motifs, one that was ‘solid’ and one that created an open diamond shaped down the middle. I decided to go with the open-diamond design because it provides a nice focal point and place for the eye to rest. I also like that it gives me an opportunity to insert a different pattern into that shape.

With that decision made, I began to draw the shape of the cross at about half the size that I’ll use for the colored pencil drawing.  Then, I filled in each arm of the cross with a rough sketch of the maze pattern I chose.

After that, I focused on selecting and sketching another maze pattern for the center of the cross.

Next, I moved on to the “sun-wheels” or the circular bands that connect each arm of the cross, this is typically what sets Celtic crosses apart from other styles of crosses.  I decided that it might be nice to use a few similar designs to those I’d used in the Abiding Faithdrawing of the blue iris.  So, I sketched out two sun-wheels with a row of dots filling the space between them.

At this point, I faced a bit of a struggle.  I couldn’t decide what type of Celtic motifs to use in the sun-wheels.  Should I use more maze patterns?  Or, spiral patterns?  Or, would some knotwork be best?

I decided to try some knot motifs because they also reminded me of the tangle that life can sometimes be.  I also chose them because Celtic knots are said to symbolize the repeated crossing of our physical and spiritual lives.  So, they remind me of God’s hand at work in my life.

However, I still wasn’t sure which type of knot patterns would be best.  So, I sketched out a few to get an idea of how they would look with the maze designs.  After much thought, I’ve decided that I really like the motion provided by the spiraling knot design in the upper left corner of my sketch and how it echoes the path of the sun-wheels.  I also like the idea of trying a small plaited knot on the innermost sun-wheel similar to the one I sketched in the upper left corner.  It’s a pattern that I haven’t used before.

Next, I moved on to choosing a design to fill the open diamond shapes in the arms of the cross.  After trying four different ideas, I’ve decided to use the trinity knot design on the top arm of the cross to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

After that, I tried out some different knot motifs for the border, one that I used in Abiding Faith and one that I have not used before.  While the bottom border would provide a nice connection to the Abiding Faith drawing, I really like the flowing, decorative nature of the top design.

To provide one more connection to the drawing of the blue iris though, I decided to repeat its corner design in this new drawing.

And, there you have it!  The upper left corner of my sketch and the top arm of the cross give a rough idea of what my new Celtic cross will look like.  I’m really looking forward to drawing it out to size!  Lots of measuring and compass-work ahead of me, but it gives me a great appreciation for the ability of the Celts to design these very intricate and mathematically based motifs thousands of years ago.  Just amazing!

Stay tuned for videos of the cross-drawing process, but first I’ve got to get ready for the new school year.  Course outlines here I come!

Thanks for walking with me on this new drawing adventure.   God’s blessings to you!

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