WORKBOOK ONE /CELTIC SPIRALS AND KNOTWORK 2000
Paperback Published by Cassell
In 2000 the book commissions that came in were now mainly design work rather than anything illustrative.
Behind the scenes there were bizarre goings on that included private investigators, Swiss bank accounts, a ex-hyper manic business partner causing mayhem and my recent agents ending their business dealings with me.
On a positive note there was a trip to Tokio for an exhibition in the planning, sponsored by Virgin Airways.
WORKBOOK TWO / KEY PATTERNS & ANIMALS 2000
Paperback Published by Cassell
I am often asked how I plan my books, to be honest it just happens, though I mostly start at the front and back at the same time and then work to the middle. I would buy a book if it had just one interesting artifact or illuminated page I could use at some time in the future. As you can imagine, there's a very large library of pen and ink drawings on my creaking shelves.
There was no central heating or insulation in the barn and so I mostly worked dressed for the outdoors and with a Calor gas heater under my work bench.
With the ever increasing book commissions coming in from a variety of publishers, my day would start at 7am and often finish at 9pm with hardly any break.
I decided not to add slide shows of the 20 black and white design reference books from 2000-2009
TREE FREE CARD COLLECTION 2005
On one of my book signing tours I met with The Mountain tee shirt company who took 4 of my designs for their product range. At the time there was some connection with Tree Free Cards whose factory was nearby, and a meeting was set up on the same day to view my collection of art. They commissioned me to create a range in a size format that would fit their cards.
PETER STONE COLLECTION 2005
I was going through another of my Courtney Davis Art rebirths through 2005 after loosing rights and royalties from my books, prints and cards. Tree Free and Mountain were a great start to getting a money flow again.
Although after meeting many artists and shop owners throughout my trips to the USA and the many warnings to be cautious of Peter Stone (Not his real name, but nickname was the Shark), we finally met and seemed to get on all right. Originally we spoke of a small range, though in a few weeks there were 70 pieces mastered in Thailand and created in silver and blessed by Buddhist monks.
We seemed to have a good business and friendship connection going on and I often stayed at his home where we discussed other business opportunities to use my art.
GREY WOLF COLLECTION 2007
Peter Stone and myself opened a joint gallery in Bridport, Dorset where I was living called The Secret. It was a gallery, studio and also the base for Peter Stone Jewellery UK.
Back in 1999 I was in meetings with movie moguls to work on a movie of Finn McCool and was creating artwork of various scenes to illustrate the projects story outline, I had also started work on Celtic Beasts with Father Dennis O'Neil. Merlin seemed to step to one side at this time and another energy came through to guide my pen and brush. The movie eventually fell through, though disappointing at the time, it did give me more time for the book. Once the book was finished, Merlin returned.
In 2007 I felt impressed to start work on a Shamanic Collection, even though I had no contract for its use. The Grey Wolf connection returned, its influence only lasted a few weeks while working with the art and the Shapeshifter painting would be the first in the series inspired by that time.
The arrival of this energy coincided with the reunion with an old friend Shining Bear who was a shaman.
The completion of the group of paintings coincided with the business relationship beginning to deteriorate and the refusal to pay me royalties on the jewellery and other products. I was stunned, humiliated, and angry that this individual, already wealthy in his own right, would need to steal what little I had as well. As well as again losing control of my work.
My initial response was to hide away. I questioned my connection to Spirit and even contemplated suicide to get back at the Universe.
It was in this low ebb that the Grey Wolf energy brought with it a grounding presence. Symbolically when a grey wolf comes into your life it is a call to pay attention to what intuition is telling you. This energy embodied renewal, yet it was a renewal presented as the stark choice of submitting to my own darkness or rising from the ashes and using this new beginning as a source of inspiration for new artwork. Rising from the ashes.
There was freedom in this. The freedom of making my own choices and setting my own direction without being tied to someone else’s financial apron strings. Grey Wolf loves freedom and as a creative person this is vital to my ability to fully express myself. Yes, I had been financially comfortable. But my art was being stifled and directed by financial gain rather than by my heart. The Grey Wolf energy never spoke to me. And in that short time, it was with me I wasn’t called to explore the back story. Its powerful presence was enough.
The series of six paintings from that period reflect my inner struggle with feelings of anger and self-pity. Within my dedication to Spirit, how could this have happened?
How could I be treated so badly? Creating this new series under the guidance of Grey Wolf helped me recognise that the bitterness and pain I was experiencing were largely products of my own thinking. I was creating a story around these events that were a distortion of what really occurred. Within this, there was the strong sense of dissolution that I constantly struggled to keep at bay. Had I had eyes to see more clearly, what I was sensing was the pending dissolution of myself.
During this time a friend gave me a copy of the film Law of Attraction. It wasn’t so much the content of the film but the enthusiastic energy of it that served to re-ignite my passion. As the Grey Wolf energy stepped away, the ground was fertile for the return of the Merlin energy.
My former business partner still sells my art successfully around the world and without sending me any recompense. But I now see that situation with new eyes for the lessons learned and I am stronger because of it.
ANCESTRAL BEINGS 2007
Ancestral Beings was a wisdom card project I started in 2007 with Elizabeth Thomas while I was running the The Secret Gallery in Bridport Dorset. It was originally conceived as a new Celtic Tarot, but when Elizabeth went home and sat down to start, she was overshadowed by 45 separate entities. Each being was of a different time span and religious belief, and offered a short wisdom message and then left, making way for the next contribution to come through her. Trying to research the background to some of these beings was extremely difficult for her as their religion was perhaps very obscure or part in history was very short. The final person to share was from Auschwitz.
I began creating the art while working in the gallery, the Aboriginal card was the first and I was very pleased with its outcome. But as I completed the 6th piece, I was informed that I needed to leave the gallery by a business partner and not only lost the gallery but royalties from a significant jewellery collection, cards and books. Shock and depression followed so it never went any further.
In 2015 Elizabeth contacted me and asked if there was some way of putting the pack together in some way, so rather than creating more art, I put a black and white simple version of the pack together and printed it privately. Its now out of print but I am always amazed at its reaction with card readers who loved it.
KELLS CARPET COMMISSION 2009
I was commissioned to re-create an Initial Page from the Book Of Kells that would eventually be handmade as a carpet in India.
I worked from 5 different photo versions of the page and each one seemed to show up a different section of detail the others didn't. The overall length was 6 foot, and I needed to build a wooden frame to hold a 6 foot length of glass that I was going to work on, the plan was to light from behind so I could trace the design through onto a nice quality paper.
My home was quite small so I ended up with the structure filling my bedroom, with just enough room to sleep on my bed.
I drew a scaled up version with a grid so I could work on sections more easily and then stitch them together. This plan worked fine until I started to put the work together, I hadnt taken into account the change of temperature in the room and its effect on the paper. After working a full day, I would wake the next day to find the paper had shrunk or expanded so the next section wouldn't match up. I nearly finished it 3 times until each time discovering it wasn't working. Eventually I gave up on the good paper and changed to Cartridge paper that was more stable.
I got the artwork scanned at a local printer so that I could work on a colour scheme on the computer.
The artwork was sent off and then had to be turned into a template for the weaving of the knots. The project took a further 5 years to be made with some 5 million knots involved.
Shortly after that commission my life went into free fall and was living in my car.