Mary Undoer of Knots


A friend introduced me to Mary Undoer of Knots.  You may have seen the baroque painting by Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner (pictured below) showing the Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by angels untying a long ribbon with her foot on a knotted snake, representing the devil. The painting was commissioned around 1700 by Hieronymus Ambrosius Langenmantel in thanks for keeping his grandparents together. A Jesuit priest prayed to “…raise the bonds of matrimony, to untie all knots and smoothen them.” Peace was restored between the couple and they never separated.


The knots in both my painting and in Schmidtner’s represent the problems and stuggles we face in life; the ones which cause despair and you cannot see any possible solution or positive outcome. For Langenmantel’s grandfather, the knot was the imminent separation from his wife. For me, it was for neighbourly peace.  In my painting, the Virgin Mary appears surrounded by roses in a beautiful verdant garden, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. Her foot is on the serpent which forms the end of a knotted blue silk ribbon which she is untying with her hands. The serpent/devil is illustrated as the root cause of the knots. If you look closely, instead of a halo or crown, you will be able to see a veil of dew drops on Mary’s hair glittering in the twilight.

I hope you like the painting and if you would like to find out more about the novena prayer attributed to Mary Untier of Knots then this article provides more information.

Video showing the evolution of the painting.


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Lavender Energy

I was inspired to create this painting after listening to Bob Proctor’s abundance meditation. He talks of a ‘beautiful cleansing lavender energy’ and it invoked this power image. I shared this meditation with my friend Dumle Kogbara, a writer and poet, who was also inspired by it. We collaborated to produce a painting and poem in gratitude to Bob Proctor for sharing his work with others.

Here is Dumle Kogbara’s poem:

Birthright Redeemed

And through that night of lack

Grace on the wings lavender

whispered caressing remembrance

Birthing images from a dim, forgotten land

A landscape opens in the clearing

A forgotten but ever-present land.

This was once my birth home

Sublime lavender fills and beckons;

creating imagined paths

Abundance of variegated forms

And that lavender gently dissolves

those images

For there is more

Incarnation- a birthright redeemed.

Dumle Kogbara, December 2017

(For Bob Proctor, in response to ‘Abundance Meditation’)

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St Jude – Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases and Lost Causes


St Jude - watermarked Harriet Muller

I came across St. Jude by accident; I was flicking through a copy of the parish bible when the novena prayer to St. Jude fell into my hands.  I was going through a difficult time trying to sell my flat with two sales falling through at the last minute and the deadline to move was fast approaching with no buyer.  I thought why not pray this novena? So I did, and on the ninth day, fifteen minutes after I finished the prayer I received a call from the estate agent to tell me that not only did I have a buyer, but he had already paid a deposit for my flat.

St. Jude continues to help in remarkable ways so I felt inspired to do a painting of what I imagined he would be like. The storm unfolds behind him with the lighthouse standing steadfast, its fire burning brightly to guide us through the wind and the rain. St. Jude remains calm through it all, offering us an image of hope when we think all is lost and everything seems impossible.

If you would like to learn more about St. Jude please click here. The Novena I prayed is the one below:

NOVENA TO ST JUDE (to be said 6 times each day for 9 consecutive days)


May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.

May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.

St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen.

Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Blessed be the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all eternity.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Prayer to Saint Jude

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honours and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.

Intercede with God for me that He brings visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly –

(make your request here)

– and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favour granted me by God and to always honour you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.



Slide show of the different stages of the St Jude painting




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How to Draw a Monkey

I’ve finished editing a new beginner’s art tutorial: How To Draw A Monkey.  In this one I teach how to recreate a simple version of the monkey which appears in my illustration for the children’s picture book, The Difficult Monster.

I hope you enjoy it and please share your drawings and thoughts with me.

How to draw a monkey Harriet Muller

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The Camino de Santiago de Compostela – An Artist’s Path

El Camino Eterno (The Neverending Path)

El Camino Eterno (The Neverending Path)

“What made you want to do the Camino?” A question posed countless times, and even after five weeks and walking nearly 800 km of the 9th Century pilgrimage to the shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostela, I still have no answer. I simply knew it was something I have wanted to do for a number of years, ever since I first saw the scallop shell way-markers on the side of the road on holiday in Asturias. I had decided to walk the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela on the west side of Spain.

Pamplona sketch

Pamplona sketch

I started the Camino with trepidation. For me, the first day over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles was going to the be the hardest. I probably hadn’t trained sufficiently, but I knew myself well enough to know that I had plenty of determination to take on whatever that first day presented. It was long and tiring and I was glad of my walking poles which had made a stellar debut performance and practically saved my knees from weeks of pain. I arrived in the monastery in Roncesvalles elated and exhausted.

The first week was arduous, both physically, as I grappled with an infected blister and mentally, as sleeping in crowded hostels with a cacophony of snoring led to little rest. However, the camaraderie kept me going and I met some wonderful people who encouraged me along and distracted me from my tired feet and sore shoulders (I had obviously overpacked and was quickly developing muscles to help me carry the 8.5 kg rucksack I was carrying).

In Navarre, I made a diversion to see the Church of Saint Mary of Eunate, a 12th Century Romanesque church in the middle of nowhere. The origins of the church are shrouded in mystery but some attribute it to the Knights Templar or the Order of Saint John. I sought shelter inside alone, as a storm erupted outside and the wind and rain attacked the tiny alabaster windows. Among the shadows I felt the presence of others who had sheltered there, sick and injured pilgrims, some who recovered and many who died there and were buried in its grounds. I walked on to Puente La Reina in the driving rain and arrived soaked yet grateful to be able to eat the pilgrim dinner with wine.

Church of Saint Mary of Eunate

Church of Saint Mary of Eunate

Crossing the Meseta (in between Burgos and Leon) in 30 degree heat was surprisingly one of the highlights of the Camino. Many people miss this section out but I found it to be the most rewarding part of the trip. I decided to take the 2000 year-old Roman road which lacked shelter and refreshment stops. I walked alone for hours without seeing a single person or dwelling, only gnarled goblin-like trees which seemed to mock my thirst and fatigue. It was the perfect setting for deep contemplation. Through the heavy sunshine and thick heat I heard the footsteps beside me of the millions of pilgrims who had walked the same path before me. After five hours, I was led to a beautiful oasis with a fountain and trough and swings among thick grass where I rested a long while.



Climbing O Cebreiro was actually harder than the first day climbing in the Pyrenees. After the heat of the Meseta I was struggling with the early morning cold wind which left my hands stinging. As I grumbled to myself about the steep climb and every other thing I could possibly think of complaining about, a little robin appeared 50 cm in front of me. He looked back at me then jumped a metre ahead. As I followed him he continued to jump ahead all the way up the mountain until I reached the top where he bid farewell and flew away: his job completed. I left those burdens and many more on the top of that mountain and the sun made an appearance for the long, lighter descent.

Cruz de Ferro

Cruz de Ferro









As I approached Santiago de Compostela, a friend asked me why I looked so pensive. I admitted that it was not due to anything spiritually enlightening, I had merely been thinking about the possibility of buying a dress to wear for my meeting with my fiance at the airport. I realised my Camino was truly coming to an end and while it had changed me in many ways I was fully aware that it would continue to have an effect on my life for many years to come.

Monastery at Samos

Monastery at Samos

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The Seven Golden Odes

When I was first asked to illustrate a book about The Seven Mu’Allaqat, I must confess I knew very little about them.  The Seven Mu’Allaqat are the most important works of pre-Islamic Arabian poetry and are often referred to as the Golden Odes of pagan Arabia.  The odes celebrate and reflect the customs and way of life of the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian peninsula. Their central themes are love, war, tribal revenge, hospitality and the unforgiving but majestic beauty of the desert landscape.

The poems, which emerged as part of the Bedouin oral tradition, are incredibly inspiring and evoke vivid images.  With the help of two models and sketches I had produced during my travels through Egypt I was able to recreate a selection of scenes recounted in the poems.  What really fascinated me was the history of the poets, this was often as, if not more, exciting than the poems they created.  Here I will explore one of my favourites: Tarafa.

Tarafa, whose real name was Amr Ibn El Abd, was the youngest of the poets, who tragically died at the age of 26.  He was described as a wild impulsive youth, imaginative but hot-headed and prone to violent outbursts.  His demise came after his stay at the Court of Amr Ibn Hind, King of Hira.  One day he was sat with the prince when the princess walked passed.  Though he looked away, her saw her image reflected in the silver goblet he held and recited the following verse:

“Oh you with the roe’s neck bending, earringed sweet ring-wearer,

Had the king been away, how would your mouth not have kissed me.”

The King became aware of these verses and was not pleased with Tarafa, particularly since he then went on to create verses criticising the king.  The King sent for Tarafa and his uncle, Mutalammis who was also a poet and had offended the King as well, and sent them both away laden with gifts to the Governor of Bahrain which was also under his jurisdiction.  He gave them each a letter, as if recommending them.

Mutalammis grew suspicious and before leaving Hira advised that the letters should be opened.  He ordered a boy who could read, to open his letter and read its content.  The boy read that the King commanded the recipient to kill the bearer.  Mutalammis threw the letter into the Euphrates river at once and fled.

Tarafa, in his arrogance thought that the King would never do such a thing to him since he was of powerful heritage and thus proceeded to Bahrain and delivered his letter to the Governor.  As the Governor was one of Tarafa’s kingsmen, he sought to save him by telling him to escape at night before anyone saw him.  Tarafa, however, thought he was trying to cheat him of some reward and refused to leave and consequently was thrown into prison.  Nevertheless, the Governor refused to kill Tarafa so the King sent a man to Bahrain to kill both Governor and Tarafa.

It is said that Tarafa’s ode was written before he came to the Court of the King of Hira, whilst he was in the desert, approximately 550 BC.

These are a few of the illustrations from the ode of Tarafa:


The Noblest Breed

“She rivals the swiftest camels, even of the noblest breed, and her hind-feet rapidly follow her fore-feet on the beaten way.”



“She floats proudly along with her flowing tail, as the dancing-girl floats in the banquet of her lord, and spreads the long white skirts of her trailing vest.”


“When you visit me in the morning, I offer you a flowing goblet; and, if you make excuses, I bid you drink it with pleasure, and repeat your draught.”

A selection of my illustrations can be found by visiting my Etsy shop.

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Beginners Tutorial – How to Draw a Horse

Following on from my last tutorial on how to draw a horse’s head, I was asked if I would do a beginners lesson on the same subject.  This one focuses on how to represent the dimensions and composition accurately with the option of adding a bridle to the horse’s head at the end.

I do hope you enjoy it and if there is anything you would like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.


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How to Draw a Horse’s Head

Horses are one of my favourite animals as I have been riding since the age of three.  My best friend from the age of six was even more passionate about horses than I was and when she moved away to Germany we would send each other letters with pictures of horses.  It’s thanks to her that I learnt how to draw this graceful animal from such a young age as I would send her drawings of horses to adorn her walls.

Moving on 25 years, we are still friends and now she has her own horse called Whisper.  An added bonus of going to visit her is that I get to ride her beautiful horse.  So here is a video showing how to draw Whisper.  I hope you enjoy it!

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How to Draw and Paint a Rose

Roses are one of the most beautiful and romantic flowers.  This is a technique for creating an attractive image of a rose in a short amount of time and without having to be too precise.  I use a watercolour wash to mark out the colour and tone of the rose first.  This is followed by using a dip pen to draw the detail in black Indian ink.  It produces a painting which is full of movement and captures the essence of this magnificent flower.

All you will need are watercolour paints, watercolour paper, a paint brush, a dip pen and black Indian ink.

Let me know how you get on.


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How to Draw Still Life

Still life is a great way to improve every aspect of your drawing technique.  It improves your ability to observe and then record what you see accurately.  It is also an accessible activity and one that you can set up at home very easily.  You can then experiment using different pens and pencils or using a paintbrush to create a wash.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on…

Pen and ink on paper

Pen and ink on paper

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