Celtic Art Classes with Michael Carroll

Celtic Art classes will commence this September at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, and at the LaGrange Art League in LaGrange IL. Minimal supply list, small friendly groups, come join us! See CLASSES page for details. Hope to see you there!

IDCA Conference, June 6-9, 2019

All are invited to the first International Day of Celtic Art conference, to be held in Andover NY from June 6-9th. Scholars and Celtic artists from Ireland, the UK and USA will discuss history, methods and techniques, and share hands-on practical application. I will be giving a short presentation on my own art, and to close the conference, a three-hour workshop on Maze and Key Patterns. Hope to see you there!
For more information or to make reservations, go to

NEW RELEASE: The Spirit of Truth

A newly-commissioned work now in the collection of the Warrenville Historical Museum and Albright Studio in Warrenville IL, The Spirit of Truth was done in acrylics on treated board...a very different medium from my usual gouache on manuscript vellum. The quote is by Malvin Albright, brother of Ivan Albright.

Now available as a limited edition giclee print, reserve yours today!


  • Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago IL, six-week sessions

  • Knotwork By Hand and Eye 2: Advanced Sundays, 10 AM-12:30 PM, Nov.4- Dec.30

  • Celtic Art Portfolio: Open studies class Sundays, 10 AM-12:30 PM, Nov.4- Dec.30

  • Cost: $125 IAHC members, $140 non-members

  • To register, contact Michael Carroll at monk@mccelticdesign.com or the Irish American Heritage Center at www.irish-american.org IAHC phone (773) 282-7035

Artwork in Progress

Update...work is moving along on the Ubi Dubium page, and a good number of panels have already been filled with knotwork, key patterns and zoomorphic interlace. A few areas have been partially begun and left blank until a wash of color can be laid down, after which the design will be completed. This allows for colored backgrounds behind the fine lines which otherwise would be impossible to paint between. There is historical evidence for this technique in several Celtic manuscripts, notably folio 30V in the Book of Kells where a yellow base fills several areas of the incomplete border. We can only detect the artist's working method because this page was never finished...possibly due the murderous Viking raids on the monastery at Iona.

Barring the improbable zombie apocalypse, I'm fairly sure that you'll be seeing the Ubi Dubium completed sometime this autumn. ;) The line work is nearly done, soon I'll be getting out the colors. More to come... :)

Ubi Dubium artwork in progress

Well, for my first post it's only fitting to begin with current news...after over a year of thumbnail sketches scrawled on everything from post-it notes to paper napkins, the framework for my next major page was finally decided on and refined into a master drawing. In the six months or so since then, it's been my task to fill each and every one of the dozens of odd-shaped panels. This weekend the last of them was fitted into place, and it's finally time to get out the calfskin vellum. :) Will be sharing more photos of the work in progress soon, but for starters here's how the master plan looked in the earliest stage. As detail panels were added, I made small changes to the border, the serpent finials at the tops/bottoms of the letters, and to the bird's head at top. 

The Latin text itself is difficult to read due to the stylized Celtic letterforms, but it is a old Roman proverb, author unknown: "Ubi dubium, Ibi libertas" (where there is doubt, there is freedom). 

Early framework sketch for UBI DUBIUM, IBI LIBERTAS, 2016

Early framework sketch for UBI DUBIUM, IBI LIBERTAS, 2016

Welcome to Michael's Blog Page

Hi there folks...thanks for stopping by our site and taking time to view my artwork. Since manuscript painting is a long process requiring hundreds of hours in the studio, I can create at most only one major page per year, or a couple of small ones instead. Despite that, I hope you'll check in frequently as I'll be trying to keep things fresh and unpredictable. Weekly blog posts may feature anything from helpful tips on drawing your own knotwork to breaking stories on new Celtic archaeological digs, current events and other items of interest. Or, I may just choose to speak my mind. They say we artists are known for that.