Sunday, July 25, 2010



“She Who Knows the Secret of the Book of Kells”

While in Dublin, I had the extreme privilege of viewing the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The book was written in the eighth century by monks on the isle of Iona, Scotland, in honor of Saint Columba. These monks, however, left no trace as to their identity. Because of the intricacy of the page, “Chi Ro, folio 34r, (the most famous) it was a medieval notion that the Book of Kells must have been created by angels.

Close-up, you can just tell she 'knows'

There are 339 pages and the Chi Ro folio 34r shows in a single area measuring approximately a quarter inch square, 158 interlacements.—some of which are distinguishable only with the aid of a magnifying glass. The book was produced on vellum or calf-skin and the most expensive inks in the world were brought in from Afghanistan and used in the illuminated text.

Close-up of my humble scribing

I have become passionate about creating artwork that corresponds to my journey last month to the UK and Ireland. My Lady of the Kells seems to be harboring a secret. Perhaps she is one of the angels who created the text.

View from the bottom

It took me the better part of the week to complete “She Who Knows…” and I was almost reluctant to place her for sale. I decided I could part with her only if I copied her image to fabric and paper and stitched and used encaustic wax to create journals of her. You can find these journals and the original on Etsy.

"She Who Knows..." with my Celtic Woman journal pages

I’m always amazed to see the way in which my art tousles me around. It was not my plan to spend my jet-lag week, which was over 95 degrees every single day, creating “She Who Knows…” but it certainly was my destiny. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Since I planned to post a picture of my journey to share for each posting, I am presenting this one. I happened upon this interesting looking man, obviously an intellectual, while in Dublin. He had perched himself in front of the oldest pub in Ireland. Perhaps he is hoping to be the first customer of the day and have a mental joust with another Irish gent. Hope you can use it in your artwork in some way.

Oldest Pub in Ireland-definitely worth a double click to enlarge

Since no pictures were allowed at the Museum of the Book of Kells or the Old Library which houses the Long Room, I found this informative video on UTube that I thought you might like to view. It is only a few minutes long and sets the atmosphere for the Book of Kells museum at Trinity.

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  1. Cher...she is beautiful and as always an outstanding piece of art from your heart. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I LOVE the photo of the gent in front of the pub. I think too that he is gathering his information for topics to discuss with his fellow pub mates..LOL!!


  2. What a gorgeous painting - I am not surprised you are so loathe to part with her.
    Years ago I went to an exhbition of illuminated manuscripts at the Royal Academy. I went not knowing what to expect and was totally blown away by the richness of colour, the detail and above all the age. They really are quite something aren't they?

  3. Oh my, the eyes are perfect .....the expression in them is amazing. I can imagine that seeing the actual Book of Kells was a very emotional experience and it shows in your

    The pub is so charming and quaint looking - I almost expect to see leprechauns and faeries peeking out from the flowers.


  4. I love it that I learn something each time I visit you, AND I get to see good art. I'm so impressed with everything you are showing us, even if we weren't allowed to see inside (what you saw) the Museum, it was fun to see things through your eyes, and through the eyes of the beauty you have created. Awesome post and lovely pub photo.

  5. Oh, I want to go to that pub! What a wealth of inspiration you have brought back with you, if your lovely Kells lady is an example.

  6. Your painting is wonderful, her eyes and her facial expression make her look as if she knows a secret.
    My dear best friend and youngest aunty always wanted to take me to the Isle of Iona, she loved the area. We never did get there.
    I am originally from Britain, born and raised there, left for Canada at age 17 with my parents. It's funny because I never did learn a lot of the history growing up, I was a bad bad student, and didn't listen in school. I really do appreciate it more now, thanks for sharing :)

  7. this took my breath away ....her face, the details, awesome!!!
    thanks for all the extras too!!!!

  8. She is beautiful Cheryl. I can hear in your writing what an amazing time you had over seas. Lucky you

    <3 Michelle

  9. What a wonderful inspiring journey you had. The Book of Kells is just marvelous. I recently moved from VA, I miss the beautiful mountains, but am glad I'm missing the heat.

  10. She looks mysterous... And what an interesting man before the pub....

  11. Gorgeous painting Cheryl, her eyes look very mysterious, love it.

  12. Oh, those eyes .... she is indeed holding a secret! And she is soooooooooooooo mysterious!
    I believe that gentleman in front of the pub has a bit of mystery to him as well ... I bet he has stories of his own to tell! :)))

  13. This is so mysterious and beautiful, I'm drawn into her eyes and REALLY want to know her thoughts! Gorgeous work as always!

  14. She is as spectacular as she is mysterious! It's wonderful to see the result of your inspiration from the Book of Kells.

  15. How intriguing and beautiful! I just stopped by from another blog to tell you how much I love your art! The mystery and beauty of the story, the words, and the woman's eyes really caught my attention. Thanks for the inspiration!

    :) Michelle

  16. Thank you for visiting my blog but it is not by far as interesting as yours - loved the post of The Book of Kells - heard about when studying librarianship - we had a lovely art history professor teaching us the history of books!
    Your art is beautiful! Will be visiting more often!

  17. What beauty she tells in her eyes, truly are the window to the soul. Cheryl, I think she is one of my favorites of yours.
    It must have been a real thrill to see the book of Kells. Thank you for including the video. I enjoyed it so.
    hugs Lynn

  18. just amazing! Have you read "How the Irish Saved Civilization?" it's a very good book about the period you talk about ...... your painting suggests that perhaps a real woman (not an extraterrestrial) may have done the beautiful and seemingly impossible artistry .... maybe so!!!

  19. She is certainly keeping a secret....what a beautiful job you have done with her, Cheryl. It's great to see you being so inspired by your journey. Nice pic of the gent sitting outside the old pub. Thanks for the video...I will definitely watch it when I have a spare moment ~ :)

  20. I am learning so much from your blog, it's facinating :) The pictures you've taken...the videos, your stories...all so much fun!

    You do paint the most beautiful eyes! The journals are a beautiful idea to share your art!

  21. Cheryl you have captured perfectly the fact that "she knows" oh my she is amazing!
    your piece is so vibrant, and the emerald of her cloak is perfect - you are such a star for sharing with us all xxxx

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