The Celtic legend of Ceridwen and other tales

Last month one of my pieces turned 5 years old, and it’s one of my absolute favourites, even after all this time.

ceridwen tagged.jpg

And it got me thinking, both about my past creations and how they grow old with little fanfare, and also about the initial inspiration of the above piece.

For the past two months on social media I’ve been reposting old work as they hit their anniversary – to celebrate my progress and the inspiration they brought me over the years. Some are 3 years old, 4 years old and at the end of the month I will be posting an image that’s NINE YEARS OLD. This is by far the oldest image I will have shared on social media. I still really enjoy the piece, so I hope you will too.

Last month I talked about how I stepped out of my comfort zone when I created my “classic fantasy” series – well “Ceridwen” is me IN my comfort zone. The gothic/dark art with just hint of fantasy and a heavy dose of mythology – that is the shit that motivates me. If I’m ever stuck for inspiration, don’t really have a clear idea of what I want to create, my go-to is gothic art and it never lets me down. Of course objectively some of the images I create end up being awful, but the process, the colours, the inspiration is what makes the art worthwhile.

A big inspiration for me when creating is Celtic mythology. Being from and living on the island of Ireland its no surprise this would be an inspiration for me. The mystical landscapes I see everyday can’t help but inspire me. Another point of reference I draw a huge amount of inspiration from is the work of author and poet Catherine Fisher. Her novels are bathed in mythology, folklore and legends of the Celtic past. Her books are so inventive and so richly detailed I cant help but be inspired when I read her stories.

One such book that stuck out for me was the novel “Darkhenge.”

Rob’s sister Chloe lies in a coma after a riding accident, trapped in a forest of dreams between life and death. But when a dark druid shape-shifts his way into Rob’s life, despair turns to hope. Because the druid knows the way through the Unworld, where he claims Chloe is imprisoned. Could the ominous black ring of timbers slowly emerging from a secret archaeological dig hold the key to rescuing her? And will Chloe want to be rescued from a world where the landscapes of story merge and blur, and she has the chance to be Queen? Catherine Fisher’s new novel combines a fascinating exploration of Celtic myth with a modern quest for understanding. Where is the land of the imagination? And if we found our way would we ever want to come back?
— Synopsis

This book alone helped me create many pieces. I never quite hit the heights I did with “Ceridwen” 5 years ago, but each image has been fun to create.

“Darkhenge” is based on the welsh legend of Ceridwen.

Medieval Welsh poetry refers to her as possessing the cauldron of poetic inspiration (Awen) and the Tale of Taliesin recounts her swallowing her servant Gwion Bach who is then reborn through her as the poet Taliesin. Ceridwen is regarded by many modern Pagansas the Celtic goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration.

If you ever get a chance you should definitely give “Darkhenge” a read – it’s a stunning novel and easy to read. It’s one of the few books I consistently re-read. It never gets old!