some thumbnails of my illustrations

some thumbnails of my illustrations
Please click on the links below to view my portfolio ........ Images copyright of Carrie Osborne

Monday, 23 May 2011

'Red Kite I,' sunflashing wings from a pot of gold...

I've been enjoying doing the odd Kells style bird lately - inspired from the wonderful Book of Kells, you've seen a few here already. I got the old metal leaf out for this one...! (a heck of a lot cheaper than real gold for experimenting!) I'm not sure what the little ivory handled tool was for originally, but its great for embossing the gold. Some of those original ancient illuminated manuscripts must have had gilding...

Since our recent trip to Wales a few weeks back the magnificent Red Kite has been brushing my thoughts with sun flashing wingtips and wilderness cries on the wind...
I thought it would be interesting to try and see if I could stylise one in the Kells way, but I was torn between being faithful to the natural markings of the real bird or digressing to the more decorative elements you see in the fantastical Book of Kells birds.
I ended up going for somewhere in the middle but had mixed feelings throughout really about whether I've captured anything of the spirit of this beautiful bird or just ended up with a rather over-decorative design...
What do you think?

I think I'm going to make this 'Red Kite I' and maybe do a short series to see where it goes... I did enjoy making him...

Using the metal leaf was interesting, I hadn't tried that before but we had some in the workshop so it made its way home and into my painting. I embossed a little design on the sun with the ivory handled tool in the first pic.
Then of course I had to try all kinds of angles to try and photograph it, trickier than I thought!

This last pictures a bit murky but does show up how bright the gold shines when the light strikes it... I think if I ever had prints made of this kind of thing I would hand embellish them with the metal leaf to keep that effect.
I really must put aside the playing around with Celtica soon and get on with some serious work, there are several projects that have been waiting far too long!
I would be interested to hear what you make of my Red Kite and the gold though, do please feel free to comment freely!


  1. It's just gorgeous, Carrie! I love the sparing use of the gold on the bird, and then the embossed golden sun above. Lovely.

  2. You've managed to nail the mixture of real red kite with the Kellsian style. Lovely!

  3. I love the gold leaf embellishment Carrie, it adds a wonderfully sumptuous element to your kite of many colours.

  4. It's beautiful, Carrie! Gorgeous, in fact.

  5. I absolutely love this bird. Not only have you honored the Celtic tradition but you have made him truly your own. I love using gold embellishment in my art too as I f eel it adds an extra dimension. Sometimes I use tubes of gold, copper or silver glass painting outliner and just let loose. Soo much fun. Cant wait for your next piece of artwork.

  6. Thanks for all the lovely comments folks! Really glad you liked this one...
    From the outset I planned to give the original to a painter friend who has just got the all clear after three tough years of battling cancer... he looks a changed man with that weight off his shoulders, though I am a little nervous of giving him my humble artwork - he's been a professional artist all his life...! But I wanted to do something to wish him well.
    My neighbour saw it and fell in love with it, so I may be making a few limited prints of it at least which if I ever get around to setting up an etsy shop, will most likely find their way there!

  7. Carrie, It is a beautiful piece of work and both the decoration on the bird and the gold embellishment make it a really special. It has a real feel of an old illuminated manuscript, you have captured it so well with the colours and gold touches. I want to go and get my gold ink out and use it on something.

  8. A beautiful bird and so elegant. Great work. :)

  9. Your Red Kite is wonderful, I love the decorative interpretation.
    Working with gold leaf is very tricky, you have obviously mastered the technique.

  10. I LOVE what you are doing here. It's like you've fallen into your niche with gusto. You have such a lovely delivery of this style and I agree with those who have commented about the superb gold-leafing technique. Beautiful. Keep sharing.


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