Each drawing is composed of layers drawn with graphite, pastel, and colored pencil, as well as Micron pen and a fixative. The version of Celtic Knots I draw follows a process that helps guide the geometries involved. I start by building up a frame in graphite pencil. In some ways this is the most critical and creative part. The frame will dictate the overall shape of the knot and the path of each strand within. The actual pattern is all but predefined by a specific set of rules if the end result is to truly crisscross at each new intersection. It took a while to discover some of these rules and ways in which three, four, or five strands can weave about the same point in space. With strands complete in pencil, I go over them all with Micron and erase the graphite. Next I’ll draw in the background with pastels. They provide a softer more neutral tone and they respond to erasers when my depth perception fails. With knots and background in place, I follow each strand and add shading, then color. The whole process can take anywhere from five to fifteen hours or more for complicated pieces.
When I started drawing I had no idea what to start practicing first. Trees? Characters? Buildings, dragons, landscapes? It was then I stumbled onto a tutorial on Celtic Knots not knowing it would consume many hours of my life for months thereafter. The theory behind it is fascinating and I never really know what each new work will look like until it’s finished. I always love the results, however, and the feeling of accomplishment from creating complex drawings with multiple layers. This was a very unexpected detour in my journey as an artist. I just never really drew. This was not my kind of art. Yet somehow the mixture of complexity in design and relative simplicity of execution drew me in completely. I’ve spend hours hovering over a particular part of the frame, drawing and erasing repeatedly, trying to figure out how that knot should fit into the larger arrangement of geometry. This journey led to many discoveries in pattern, shape, and form. Discoveries I tried to internalize through rote and repetition. Working with traditional art media like pencil and paper pulls me away from the digital realm (where most of my artistic practice resides) into something more tangible. It makes me feel more like an artist and less like a designer or engineer.