Uncork the Color
Celebrating a Creative, Joy-filled Life

Thoughts On:

“Perseverance Produces Character; Character, Hope”

Imitation Magnolias

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As I was browsing through Wal-Mart’s craft section one day, I ran across some giant imitation white magnolia flowers and I got inspired.  So, in the cart the magnolias went and I raced home to begin arranging and photographing them.

When I had the arrangement I wanted and thought would work well in a composition for the third drawing in my “Enduring Roots” series, I began the process of cutting the background out of the photos I had taken using Adobe Photoshop so that I could layer the new Celtic cross design behind the flowers later.  I also started to research the symbolism of magnolias and how I could relate that to Christ and/or my Christian faith.


Magnolias can symbolize nobility, perseverance, and a love of nature.  The word ‘perseverance’ jumped out at me and brought to mind the verses from Romans 5:3-5 which tell us: “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Berean Study Bible)

So, I decided to use that as the focus or message of this new composition.

As I began to think about the symbolism of the different types of Celtic patterns, I decided to use mostly knots and spirals.  As we’ve discussed in previous posts (read here), knots can symbolize eternity and the interweaving of the physical and spiritual paths of our lives – the evidence of God’s hand at work in our lives.

As I thought more about the perseverance focus for this piece and Celtic knotwork, another layer of symbolism or meaning came to mind.

When we persevere, we continue on in the face of obstacles.  We refuse to give in or give up.  We overcome the challenges in our way.  I think that when we are in the middle of a difficult situation and trying to persevere, it can sometimes feel like a big, tangled mess.  Yet, I believe, God is at work in and through those circumstances, weaving it into something that He can bring some good out of such as refining our character, helping us to learn to trust Him more, or using our story of perseverance to encourage someone else just to name a few examples.  So, Celtic knotwork seemed to me to be a great visual representation of that.

4 Strand Celtic Knot

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Single Strand Celtic Knot

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Variation on a Trinity Knot with Smaller Trinity Knot insets

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Variation on a Trinity Knot

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It was also important to me to include some Trinity knots, or triquetras, and variations of them to represent the Holy Trinity.
As I mentioned above, I also wanted to incorporate several spirals into this piece.  Spiral designs can be symbolic of victory and Gaelic blessings when rotating in a clockwise direction, and can symbolize a warding off of evil when rotating in a counter-clockwise direction.  Additionally, triple spirals can represent birth, death, and rebirth, as well as the Holy Trinity when seen from a Christian perspective.
Triple Spiral

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Trinity Knots & Triple Spirals

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As you can see in the border on the Celtic crosses in this piece, I incorporated spirals connected to Trinity knots, and where those individual elements come together, they form triple spirals.  The thought motivating the use of that design was that through the Holy Trinity, we are able to persevere and have victory over the difficult situations we face in our lives.
At the center of the Celtic crosses, I used one other Celtic motif that I had not previously used.  Unfortunately, the flowers hid the design, but you can see it in this photo from my drawing of the Celtic cross on tracing paper.  I’ve used Photoshop to highlight the shape in yellow.  It’s called a triskele.   Because it has three “legs” or “arms,” it is another symbol that can reference the sacred number 3, which for Christians symbolizes the Holy Trinity.

By placing it in the center, I was reminding myself to center my life on Christ, and in doing so, I can be assured of victory in the end.

Highlighted Triskele from my Tracing Paper Pattern

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As a side note, those of you that are familiar with magnolia flowers will notice that the color of the leaves and the centers of the flowers are not accurate to live magnolias.  Because I wanted to incorporate bright, hopeful colors in the Celtic cross, the olive greens/browns that were present on my imitation magnolias from Wal-Mart were not a good fit.  So, I had to use my ‘artistic license’ and adjust the colors.
Imitation Magnolias

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"Perseverance Produces Character; Character, Hope"

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One of the great things about art is that each piece “speaks” to people differently.  I’d love to hear your thoughts or feelings on this piece.  Just leave your thoughts in the comment box below or send me an email from the “Let’s Chat” page.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me!

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