Secrets of the Stones
Secrets of the Stones is a series of oil paintings influenced by a visit to Ireland’s Newgrange Passage Grave. The intention of this work is to perform an excavation of Celtic cultural history. The paintings are archeological landscapes, which begin to reveal part of Ireland’s ancient past. I have tapped into my cultural memory, maybe a part of my DNA, while reading historical and archeological texts, mythology and folklore, forming a foundation of knowledge, upon which to build this body of work.
I am profoundly awestruck that my research and travels have taken me back 5000 years to the Boyne River Valley, where Mesolithic Stone Age people built enormous structures, specific to the winter solstice sunrise. For centuries, Celtic Chieftain’s ashes were placed on a stone bowl, deep in the chamber. On the Winter Solstice, the sun broke the horizon with a shaft of light, which penetrated the narrow entry, illuminating the stone bowl and releasing the Chieftain’s soul to the heavens.
The massive curb stone at the entry and the stones along the passage are elaborately engraved with zigzags, concentric circles and triple spirals, which I depict in my paintings. These ancient graphic designs suggest “secret knowledge” held by early craftsmen, druids and monks. A visual storytelling of mysterious ritual, superstition and lore is present in the paintings. The use of color is an important element in its expression. Layering of images and ironic (or not) juxtapositions of objects, press contemporary connections with ancient ways.
Like many Irish people, I am a story-teller. I feel compelled to research the secrets of the standing stones, the sacred pagan sites and the mysteries of the passage graves, so I can retell the stories through my paintings.