When a farmer who is cutting peat discovers the head of a red-haired woman in his bog, it sets in motion an investigation that involves an archaeologist and a visiting American pathologist. They are consulted because peat bogs preserve bodies so thoroughly that it's difficult to know how long one has been dead. When the investigators find a 16th-century ring in her mouth, the initials engraved on it, along with local folklore, lead them to suspect that the head is that of a woman who was executed for killing her infant. But where is her body? The police aren't too interested in solving a 500-year-old mystery, as they are occupied with the disappearance of the wife and young son of a local entrepreneur, Hugh Osborne. Gossips whisper that he did away with them, and accuse him of fathering the little daughter of Una McGann. There are, of course, other suspects including Una's dour brother, Hugh's cousin Lucy, and her teenage son Jeremy. As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that someone is trying to scare the scientists away. The who and why make for an entertaining tale.
I was pleased to find this illustration in a book about Ireland, because it shows a building with a tower like the one in the story. I spent hours working on this spread, even after using Mark Van Stone's "easy" instructions for drawing the Celtic knotwork border. Actually, he does simplify the process, but I'm so spatially challenged that it took me forever, and is far from perfect. But I like it anyway. I'm also happy with the way the lighter greens in the background that I painted before doing the knotwork, give it a dappled look, as though sunlight is reflecting on it. This is something that I could have never planned for. This is why I love slopping acrylic paints down on a page. Sometimes I get such a wonderful surprise like this after completing a spread. I truly, truly believe in my artistic muse. She only came into my life 3 years ago when I learned to just let go and trust the process. For too many years I had been a perfectionist, and wouldn't even try something until I had planned out the whole thing. I was transformed while taking Judy Melvin's class that she calls "Don't Think, Just Get It Down." And I will be privileged to take it again in September when she comes to Houston.