CROSS OF COLUMBA

I had long felt a strong spiritual connection with St. Columba, Columcille, and the island of Iona. Especially after my book, Celtic Beasts, and the wonderful text by Father Dennis O’Neill that opened my eyes to the shamanic practice of the early Celtic saints. Father Dennis had gifted me with three ancient artifacts he had acquired from the Vatican. They were relics of St. Columcille, St.
Patrick, and St. Brigit.

Although I had commissioned some wooden stands to honor and hold these relics, I never felt this presentation did them justice. So I set an intention to incorporate them into my new paintings. In the very early days of my career I had a reasonable business painting furniture and selling it to a gallery on the King’s Road in Chelsea. I was used to painting directly onto wood and, since I
had already decided I didn’t want my new work to be hidden behind glass, wood was the clear choice for my next pieces. I still wasn’t completely comfortable with the acrylic paint I was using. It didn’t flow as smoothly as the gouache and the pen and ink outlining on top was challenging. I wasn’t getting the clean lines I had always been used to. I persevered and discovered my bigger challenge was actually relaxing my expectations. Especially my expectations around working with these sacred relics.

When I began the painting Cross of Columba I had no specific ideas in mind beyond incorporating
the Columcille relic. I will honestly say that I felt no connection from the spiritual realms at all. 

Cross Of Bhride 2011

I had long felt a strong spiritual connection with St. Columba, Columcille, and the island of Iona. Especially after my book, Celtic Beasts, and the wonderful text by Father Dennis O’Neill that opened my eyes to the shamanic practice of the early Celtic saints. Father Dennis had gifted me with three ancient artifacts he had acquired from the Vatican. They were relics of St. Columcille, St.
Patrick, and St. Brigit.

Although I had commissioned some wooden stands to honor and hold these relics, I never felt this presentation did them justice. So I set an intention to incorporate them into my new paintings. In the very early days of my career I had a reasonable business painting furniture and selling it to a gallery on the King’s Road in Chelsea. I was used to painting directly onto wood and, since I
had already decided I didn’t want my new work to be hidden behind glass, wood was the clear choice for my next pieces. I still wasn’t completely comfortable with the acrylic paint I was using. It didn’t flow as smoothly as the gouache and the pen and ink outlining on top was challenging. I wasn’t getting the clean lines I had always been used to. I persevered and discovered my bigger challenge was actually relaxing my expectations. Especially my expectations around working with these sacred relics.

When I began the painting Cross of Columba I had no specific ideas in mind beyond incorporating
the Columcille relic. I will honestly say that I felt no connection from the spiritual realms at all. When the painting was completed it was much admired by those who saw it. But for me it didn’t embrace the spirit I was hoping to capture and in the end it didn’t even include the ancient relic.
What I sensed was the completion of a very old cycle in my life, the turning of the final page of a much loved book. Perhaps the painting captures an aspect of the spirit I was hoping would be there. I’m not sure. Hopefully the magic is embedded in a way beyond my comprehension. Often in
my life when I have felt that I somehow missed the mark, the Universe, the Beloved has revealed in some what that whatever had disappointed me was actually exactly what it should be. A reminder not to beat myself up. 


The painting, now named Cross of Bhride, hangs in the Solas Bhride Centre in Kildare. The nuns love the piece. I recently gave the St. Patrick relic to a priest in Dorset. The other two are with me on the Hill of Tara. The St. Brigit relic sits at the center of the Transition painting. The St. Columcille relic sits on a shrine overlooking the nearby Hill of Skyrne where his remains were kept for a time. For now, perhaps this is their proper home.

ALL COURTNEY DAVIS ART IS STRICTLY COPYRIGHTED

Enjoy the art but please don't steal as it kills creativity

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