Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Keepers of the Flame

Oh yeah, you have to remember to push the publish button when you've finished the post!  These older brains are something else - one would think I had never blogged before.  Apparently, the procedure was in the short term memory and we can see how good that is...

This image, "Keepers of the Flame" is part of the mythology series from Ancient Celtic Mythology.  In doing my research I found many references to the Pashcal Candle of Christianity, and how the symbol was carried on from pagan religions. In the time of the Druids and before, when religions were matriarchal, the interpretation of the candle's light was an honored symbol of Juno, or the local goddess of the moon, stars and sun.  It was believed that she gave newborns their gift of sight.  Personally, I think the candles were all scented and, hygiene being what it was back then, the more candles you could keep burning the better the smell.  My "Keepers of the Flame" represent all those feminine mystics from long ago who, like Motel 6, kept the candle in the window burning.

Keepers of the Flame
7.5 x 8.5
Solarplate™ intaglio
Akua intaglio ink, a la poupeé
chine collé

The long burning candle was also from ceremonial rekindling and encouraging of the new sun at the Winter Solstice.  If the candle extinguished before the specified time it was a sign of bad luck for the coming year.  Roman, Greek and Christians did away with any possibility of that happening by inducting the custom into organized religion and putting someone in charge of keeping that thing burning. The Romans left it up to the temple of Juno and the Christians to the church. Many of the old pagan festivals involving bonfires, torches, candles and other lights were originally dedicated to the Goddess-as-sun, or to the Goddess as controller of the sun and its cycles.  Well, thank goodness we got over that - I would hate to think women were saddled forever with the responsibility of the sun coming up every day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Procession of the Birds

My artist statement says that I am trying to reach back and get in touch with my Celtic roots and that has involved some reading about early European mythology.  Some of the myths I have, more or less, tried to illustrate - not by any forethought of mine, I don't consider myself an illustrator, but it seems to have happened none the less.
Birds play a very important part in these mythologies - everything from being "familiars" (helpers to witches), to being the souls of the dear departed, to being just messengers from a parallel universe.  Feathers were symbols in many ancient beliefs: the early Egyptians believed that every seventh incarnation was a bird, Manx sailors never left on voyage without a feather from the sacred wren. It was traditional to slay wrens on New Years Day on the Isle of Man.  Birds and feathers often symbolized air as one of earth's basic elements. So - birds were important.  The image of a group of women traipsing through the woods  to release the birds came from nowhere in particular, maybe I wanted to free those wrens on the Isle of Man.  Since that particular period in our mythology evolution was one of matriarchal religions  women are everywhere, in all different ages, shapes and sizes and they all dance and sing with reckless abandon.

Solarplate™ intaglio inked a la poupeé
Akua intaglio inks, Somerset Satin paper
7.5" x 8.5"

I've become rather attached to these folks and think they will probably surface in a woodcut now that I have no particular deadline and can take my time!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Which Witch?

It is time to get around to posting again - it seems like years since I've entered anything.  Come to think of it, I was always like that with diaries, too.  Xmas would come and I would always get at least one and in the end I have a library of diaries with entries through the first two weeks of January and blank from then on.  That was mostly because I felt that my life was so mundane and uneventful that there was nothing interesting to write.  Little did I know that those would be among the most interesting days of my life!

But, just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean nothing has been happening around here.  Which Witch? was a fairly easy print to compose, but getting that black, black, blue black background was a bit tricky.  And finding the right chine collé paper was a task with pitfalls, too.  Paper too thin, too thick, not the right color - eek.  Finally, I went with what I had in the drawers and was pleased with the way the green grapes and the table cloth compliment.  At the opening of the exhibition Friday night I was amazed at the number of people who couldn't find the witches even when they were pointed out!

Which Witch? is a Solarplate™ print measuring approximately 14" x 16.5" and printed intaglio.  Incidentally, those witches are both very nice, gentle people, strictly vegetarian, maybe a glass of potion now and then, but basically of high moral character and pillars of their respective covens.  Nothing to fear from these two - they haven't cast a spell in so long that they have completely forgotten all incantations.  They were good studio mates and kept up an interesting banter throughout the process.  ;-)