Tuesday, September 7, 2010




I love drums of all kinds but I honestly had never heard of a Bodhran before I got to Ireland this summer. It is pronounced Bow-rawn. I noticed it being played at the Irish folk show we attended as well as at the castle and pubs. It is not played like a regular drum but rather it looks like the musician is using his drum stick, which is called a cipin, like a paint brush and “painting” the drum.

There is a lot of speculation as to the origins of the Bodhran. It is believed to have originally come from Africa, via Spain and then to Ireland. Wikipedia says it means “skin tray” and suggests the Irish used it to carry peat. Wherever it did originate, I can tell you that it definitely is the heartbeat of Irish music.

Bodrhan drum I brought back from Ireland

After being asked by a musician to play the drum (just for fun) at a pub one afternoon, I was hooked. I had to have one. I did purchase one in Ireland and believe me there is a long story about how I finally got the huge drum home. I’ll leave that to your imagination. I have a drumming ceremony once a year here at Woodloft, my home. I’ve been remiss in scheduling one for this summer because I was so busy with the UK trip but I am planning on having one around Halloween. Of course, I will have to learn how to play it by then and it doesn’t look easy. Maybe this will give me an excuse to visit our local Irish pub here in Roanoke, called Flannigans. I understand people with Bodhrans drop in and are happy to teach.

If you’d like to hear what they sound like, I found this very cute video of 2 fellows playing their bodhrans. They are typically Irish~

In the meantime, I decided to paint an Irish maiden with a Bodhran. She is a Celtic Angel and I have named her Megan, after my tour guide for the Grand Britain tour that my granddaughter, Marcy, and I took this summer. Megan truly was an angel to us. She is a high spirited woman who gives from her heart and soul. She danced, sang and absolutely threw herself into making our trip one we would remember forever.

There are all kinds of ways to travel abroad and I like every one of them. You can travel for adventure and live in a rugged setting in, let’s say, Africa. You can take a class in something useful, like a cooking class or in my case sculpture classes. You can drive a private motor car and travel at leisure, which has it’s place as well or you can take one of the escorted tours like I do with my grandchildren. The life of a tour director on one of these tours is a very difficult one.

Megan was up at the crack of dawn planning our day, making calls to be sure all was in order. She didn’t retire until very late at night, making sure we were all safe and sound in the many hotels in which we stayed for the 21 day excursion. She made sure all day tours were lined up, all rooms were appropriate, seating arrangements at dinner were proper and the list goes on. When our trip was over, she had to leave for her next journey-another long 22 day tour. Stamina must be her middle name. She made us laugh constantly and she wasn’t afraid to tell on herself. I asked her if she ever forgot anyone at the many stops that are made during these trips. She told me the only person she ever forgot was ….her mother! She said she had a hard time living that one down. She also told of the time she got out of the coach and climbed over the rock wall to show her group one of the bogs. She sunk waist deep, which actually was a great demonstration.

Close-up of halo

View from the bottom of painting

Close-up of texture

Megan made the remark while on the tour, “In another fairy tale life, I will one day have thick hair like Cheryl’s” So, I decided to be sure to give my Megan Celtic Angel a full head of hair. I’m sure Megan would never have guessed that her story would one day be posted on my blog, depicting her with thick hair and a halo. Maybe this is the fairytale she spoke of.

You can find my Celtic Angel for sale in my etsy shop by clicking here

I painted her with acrylic and used a technique I learned in Italy for the halo. I used Magic Texture Paste for the background celtic imprints.

Last but not least. Here is the real Megan. Can you see the halo over her head? I can.

Ted our driver, and Megan

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  1. Thanks you so much for sharing another of your beauties- and I'm so excited that it was one from your new angel series!! As I've said before, I LOVE these textures you incorporate into your work- it just adds so much depth to what is already beautiful.
    I just met one of the other artists at the gallery who works with encaustics and I told her about her work- don't be surprised if you have another devoted follower soon! Also, I'm thrilled to say that she wants to exchange blogging lessons for encaustic lessons!

  2. Beautiful post...wonderfully inspiring stories you share..gorgeous work! yay...shine on.

  3. Another wonderful piece, Cheryl! Megan seems like a lovely lady and it was so sweet of you to name your Celtic Angel after her. I'm sure she would be thrilled. It's mesmerising to watch the Bodhran drums being played...thanks for sharing the video with us. After you learn to play the one you bought, perhaps you will post a video of you playing it?

  4. She is beautiful, I love the 3 dimensional halo and the video was wonderful!! Great post!!

  5. You always have such fascinating stories to accompany your stunning art. I really enjoyed watching the Bodhram drums. I have never seen then before, so it's always fun to learn something new. And your art is stunning. I especially like the Celtic raised background. Such texture and detail.

  6. What a great piece and interesting post Cheryl! Loving the textures you created!

  7. Cher..Megan is beautiful. You are such a talent...in your paintings and in your words. I always feel as though I have taken an adventure with you...thank you!!!

    Love the Bodrhan drums. I hear tiny little faery feet dancing. Hope you make a video of the Halloween drum playing session. Another adventure with you without leaving home ^_^


  8. Cheryl, you're so interesting! I love how you soak up everything that happens in your life, and Megan truly does sound like an angel--she would love this!!

  9. She's a lovely angel...and thanks for sharing the Irish tradition. I just love this lively Irish music.

  10. Cheryl, you always weave a wonderful blog post! And yes, I think I DO see a bit of a halo over Megan's head! Your lovely angel is such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful spirit.

    Love, Love, LOVE your drum! I can only imagine that it must have been a very creative way that got it home in once piece. I'm sure that's a story unto itself! Hugs, Terri xoxoxo

  11. Cheryl, this was a great post. What a wonderful painting. You definitely lead a very exciting life. The drums are great. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week.

  12. Love your drum Megan, fantastic creation.
    Hugs Anja

  13. What a great story Cheryl. I once took part in a drumming workshop which was quite something. We all had hangovers at the start (as it was the morning after the office Christmas party - who planned that?), but miraculously a lot of drumming seemed to cure them!
    Great painting!

  14. Your posts often go beyond simply entertaining us, they are also enlightening, and quite often inspiring. This post was no exception. I immediately had flashbacks to the many times I was encouraged by my Grandma McAdoo, to do the Irish jig (clog dance). Due to my health issues, my clogging days are past but now I am now on a mission to find a Bodhran drum. God bless!

  15. You really did have an Angel of a tour guide,Megan sounds wonderful, I don't know where some people get all of their energy from.
    How lovely that you would created such a beautiful painting in honor of her :)

  16. Wonderful piece and I love both Irish music and that particular kind of drum!

  17. Cheryl, I am sorry, you are just too divine not to share. I put you on my facebook...only because I couldn't find her email...and I knew, knew, knew, when you brought the drums out, she needed to meet you.

    And yes. I see the halo! I can see people that radiate...thank God(dess) they are here.
    Sometimes I feel like an alien...and then I spot one of my kind.

    I've rambled enough.
    Peace and Love

  18. I didn't ramble enough.
    Your Megan is magical!

  19. Such a beautiful drum you have brought back with you and what an inspired work of art Cheryl- just stunning. I have always loved the Bodrhan from Loreena McKennit's haunting music!

  20. What a wonderful story and beautiful painting....I had never heard of the Bodrhan so I loved listening and learning all about them...Please let us know when you learn to play.....Your post are so interesting and I love coming for a visit....

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving such sweet comments.....

  21. Cheryl one thing I can say is I'm sure learning a lot about their history from your adventures! Your painting of Megan is quite lovely, I do hope you gave her your blog address so she could come and admire your art!
    I'd never heard of a bodrhan drum. What a fun party your planning. Oh you could dress in costume and play your drum, how cool that will be! Be sure and take pictures to share with us all!

  22. Your drum is wonderful. The drum is used in most Pagan/Druid ceremonies.

  23. It's also used in Scotland too! Great story Cheryl, Megan truly sounds like an Angel. I imagine that job is incredibly exhausting but very rewarding, I am sure she would be thrilled at how you have immortalised her in your gorgeous work of art.

  24. Cheryl another fabulous posting and art piece.She is a beauty,I love her.
    I learn so much from "Clever" you.
    Thank you for sharing,Hugs Laura. xoxx
    Enjoy your day...

  25. Wonderful post Cheryl! Your drum is beautiful, and watching the video was great, to see the technique in action - it doesn't look easy, but it does look like it will be fun to practice and learn!! Your painting is beautiful, and I'm sure Megan will love seeing her magical angelic fairy tale self :)
    xox K

  26. Another fabulous work of art and post, Cheryl! I so love reading your stories ... you have such a way of weaving a magical tale. Though I know yours if of truth! :)

    Megan is lovely, as are all of your maidens. She does look though, as if she beholds a great secret and a bit of mischief! When I see the real Megan, I see where your angel received her persona. You captured an essence magnificently!

    No doubt you would be a great traveling partner ... but I fear you would wear me out or I would slow you down! With so much bounty to soak up, I fear I would be long lost behind, still mesmerized in beauty!

  27. Both of your Megans are such lovely ladies! Your travel adventures with the "corporeal" Megan sounded like such fun. I'm intrigued by the technique you used to make the halo - it reminds me of the wonderful head bones of the Minbari of Babylon 5, which always fascinated me!

    I've been a fan of the bodrhan for years since a member of a praise band I worked with at my last church job introduced one to our group. It added a very interesting sound to our arsenal of percussion instruments. Yours is absolutely beautiful. I'm very fond of the intricate Celtic designs, and one of my "do-it-before-I-die" projects is to incorporate it into a quilt or two!

  28. Cheryl

    The comment service is screwed up right now...I loved the video. I always learn something new here..thanks so much!

  29. Oh Megan,....the textures and the hands Cheryl - really a work of art from the heart of a beautiful soul.

  30. Once again you have created another beautiful woman. Megan's eyes and hands are so expressive. The Bodrhan drum will be a marvelous addition to the drumming ceremonies! Trish


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