Toodle Oo Colouring Book Completed, Firework celebrations, and Samhain Festivals in Scotland

So, this week has been nothing but eventful! Full of excitement, and deadlines, I have finished the illustrations for the ‘Toodle Oo Ruby Blue Colouring Book’, due to be published late Nov/early Dec, just in time for Christmas! Click here to read more about these drawings and the book.

Also, this week things have been hectic at the Scottish Crannog Centre. We had to prepare for the final big event of the season; the Samhain Festival. One of the biggest festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is seen in archaeological finds from at least the Neolithic (the Mound of the Hostages, on the Hill of Tara in Ireland). Samhain, for the Celtic peoples, celebrated the end of the harvest period, and the beginning of Winter, which we now know more commonly as Halloween! At the Crannog, we celebrated this ancient festival with storytelling in the Crannog around a lit fire out over the loch, with mystical magical fire displays and talks about the historical significance of the flames; incense displays, and hot soup and rosehip cordial. I was asked to produce my own shadow puppet show for the children, telling the oldest known story that references Samhain. My story was taken from the ‘Boyhood Deeds of Fionn’, a 10th century Irish story. It describes the battle between the mischievous demon Aillen, and the hero Fionn, set on the Hill of Tara in Ireland (which is interestingly also the earliest archaeological site that has links to this festival)!

The best bit of this week for me however, was our own little firework show down on the loch for bonfire night. We ate cold apple pie and ice cream, drank whisky and watched the fireworks with our sparklers in the drizzling rain and crisp night air, lit by the lights from our paraffin candles and the bright November moon. It was absolutely perfect, and great inspiration for some more paintings!