AJE Component of the month, blog, Blog Hops

Art Elements Theme reveal – Swirls

It’s nearly the end of the holidays which is a relief, this month doesn’t seem to have passed by quite so quickly… having the kids at home all day does that! Ha! We’ve had a good time though and took a trip to up to Lindisfarne to the abbey to see where the Lindisfarne gospels were created. I’ve always loved Celtic knots and swirls, so it’s perfect timing that Marsha chose swirls for the theme challenge this month. I treated myself to a book on creating knots while I was there, it was different to the others I have in that the descriptions show you exactly how to create knots to fit any shape. Another day out provided lots of beautifully shaped beach pebbles so I though this month’s challenge would be the perfect opportunity to put them both together. 

The book is fantastic and showed how the monks created grids to make their amazingly intricate patterns. Although the pebbles are rounded, I thought I’d try the grid technique out and see if it really was that simple.

In the book, it explains how to mark the grid with stops that create a barrier to the knots. You then draw the pattern without crossing over the barriers and that creates the woven design of the knot. This knot design is copied, but you have to start somewhere! 

I painted the rock with gouache. It’s not waterproof so will need to be sealed, but I love the colours and the matt finish!

After reading a little more of the principals of designing knots, I had a go at a couple of simple designs myself…

I’d like to make lots more of these, rock painting is really relaxing to do!

Thank you to Marsha for a brilliant challenge, it’s been fun to properly learn a new technique, and these will live in my garden as a reminder of a lovely summer!


This is a blog hop. I hope you’ll join me in visiting the rest of the team and special guests to see more spiral creations.

I’ll be away again for this reveal (we’re going looking at caves in Derbyshire!) But I will be round to hop at the weekend 🙂 


Guest Artists:














Art Elements Team: 





Jenny & Lesley 





17 thoughts on “Art Elements Theme reveal – Swirls

  1. I am in awe of the control of your paintbrush on a curved surface – beautiful work! I never thought about the grid pattern for use – that just opens thoughts and potentials (I may have to get that book to soak my thoughts into). Have a wonderful time finishing out the summer vacation! 🙂

  2. Wow, these are gorgeous! Vibrant colors, intricate patterns, relaxing pursuit – wins all around as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

  3. My first thought was Celtic spirals as I have a book here on how the Celts used their patterns in the written word 😀 Love your rocks they are fabulous 😀

  4. Such an interesting and original idea!! Would have NEVER thought of that … These are absolutely amazing, and I never imagined that a grid would be the base for Celtic Knotwork!! Which, by the way, I love also.

  5. Oh, I love your idea and inspiration and the painted pebbles you made! Especially your green design with the leaves is so beautiful! I want to paint pebbles right now too! 🙂

  6. I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do Caroline! Those rocks are fabulous! I just took a little Medieval class at my museum and would love to see those gospels, and see how they made them with the grids! Great post, thank you!

  7. Your blog is fascinating. I had no idea that Celtic knots can be made with a grid. Your rocks are gorgeous. I think your idea of copying one first is definitely the way to go. Well done!

  8. I thought about rock painting for this theme, but I’m positive my results would not have looked as expert as yours. I love celtic knots and your painted patterns are fabulous.

  9. Gasp. I have drawn and painted knot work many times in my past – and I am so so impressed. your results are gorgeous, and you had fun doing it. Wow. I find it satisfying, and feel productive – but wouldn’t call it relaxing. So cool!

Leave a Reply