Minoan Bull in Ink

In autumn I tend to get a strong urge to pack a backpack, put on my walking boots and head out the door. I sometimes wonder if humans have ever had a history of seasonal mass migration. I just feel the pull of it. However, since such things have not been an option for me health-wise for quite a few years now, I think I will settle for a re-read of Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien. It gives me the same wild and mildly dangerous sense of being on a long journey which I get when I travel.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (J.R.R Tolkien, 1954)

I’ve been looking back on previous adventures over the last few weeks. In my late 20’s I made a second trip to Crete with my partner and we spent some time learning more about the ancient Minoan culture in and around Heraklion and the Palace of Knossos. It was wonderful. We were put into a group by the museum there with a young woman who had a doctorate in Archaeology and had done her thesis on “The Place of Women in Minoan culture” (I’m not sure of the exact wording of the title). It was one of those times when you just click with someone. We were eager to learn and she was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. Seeing the Palace was fascinating in itself, but seeing it through her eyes, so to speak, was like entering an ancient wonderland. The temperature was around 40 deg C that summer but I hardly noticed it. It was such a good trip.

This week’s art is an ink drawing of a Minoan Bull with a Labrys (λάβρυς – double-bitted axe) and a Labyrinth. It’s a way of remembering that trip.

Here are the pencils with the very beginning of my inks…

I had quite a bit of trouble with the inks for this drawing. I just couldn’t get the textural feel I wanted for the bull. In the end I used a worn out ink brush to scribble in the darkest darks and then worked from there with small circular scribble-like marks. Then I added tone using graphite. I didn’t quite get it to how I had it in my mind but it did end up having the feel I wanted.


4 thoughts on “Minoan Bull in Ink

  1. No worries, Jo, I completely understand, take your time and above all take care.

    By the way, autocorrect somehow managed to render what I meant to type as “own” as “end”, but in the context of labyrinths that sort of makes a kind of sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny a lot of my Quaker friends have a thing for Labyrith’s too. (PS: Sorry I took so long to get back to you, I’ve been unwell.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We were virtually on our end when we visited Knossos one early Easter in the 80s or early 90s, and had a good wonder round soaking up the not so hot atmosphere. I have a thing for mazes and especially Cretan labyrinth patterns, so it was a delight to visit in memory through your post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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