>Tackling the Walsh family crest


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Growing up, my Walsh family had two things it could count on: chaos and the family crest. I don’t know where the original came from, but dad had a copy of the full crest mounted in a large picture frame on the wall, and wore the pierced swan on a gold ring all his adult life. The motto is “transfixus sed non mortuus”, wounded but not dead.

My younger brother, Kevin, who knew I was trying my hand at painting hinted a while back that it would be cool to paint the family crest. He even showed me a spot on a wall in his rec room where it would fit perfectly. So, I researched, got the best image I could find to reproduce, and used an enlarger lamp device and copied the image onto a 16 x 20 canvas with pencil. I had seen my BFF Bindy enlarge computer generated images in this way and figured it might just work.

The first day back to painting class for a shorter, 2 week “intersession” I brought in the pre-traced crest image and my acrylic paints. Starting with a very large (1-1/2″ mural) brush, reasoning that I was painting a large area, Hazel came by, first told me to work with a smaller 16-round brush and not worry about laying the paint on the canvas in any good order to begin with since I’d be covering and reworking it several times. I had been trying to paint as one would paint a wall, strokes all going in the same way, but she explained that doing that would show subsequent brush strokes that couldn’t possibly mirror the same length and style of stroke I was already using so random, smaller ones were better.

This was an absolute b**ch to paint, pardon my french! I had not planned it out too well, the greenery around the shield was supposed to be exactly the same on both sides, and the “arrows” that look like eyes and nose are supposed to be identical in size. So much for perfection. And I do recall Kevin saying he wouldn’t be bothered by a loose interpretation of the crest. He just wanted something…

All told, I think I spent more than 20 hours on this, but am very, very proud of the effort. I know I’ll have a hard time figuring out how to ship it — he lives in Virginia, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Sorry about the lousy photo – it’ll have to do in a pinch.

I plan to do at least one more crest for another brother, and try to do one of the “Borch” family for my ex-husband. As my son’s family name, I figured they would appreciate the effort I put into the research and creation and I knew he’d like it too.

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About Maura Satchell, writer and artist

Novelist, artist, seeker. Curious to a fault, I rarely say no to an adventure and that gift has led me on some heart-stirring journeys. I regret nothing.
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