Entries in bird (4)
Digital drawing for the Singing Tree series.
Quite a large canvas, so those individual blades of grass almost pushed me to the brink of insanity. I find digital line drawing to be quite a bit more difficult and time consuming than pencil drawing. I think that this is because the digital pen sort of glides across the tablet, so you don't seem to get as firm a purchase on it as you might with a pencil. Sometimes, when I begin a new Singing Tree picture I have to make sure that I'm in it for the long haul, haha. And so here we are. I love the pink and red tones. I've been wanting to create something with minimal tones for a while now, so I'm happy to have finally got stuck in. My most cherished element of all is the sky with its strange constellations.
The girl is supposed to be leaving home and attempting to 'move in with nature', which is central to the concept of the Singing Tree series over all. She discovers that nature might not be quite what she had imagined from the relative 'safety' of her comfortable human home. The size of the bird represents how vast this hitherto unknown world actually is to her - and I also like to imaine the bird as some sort of oracle which she is hoping to consult. Have a feeling he might be quite merciless though - and this goes on to remind me of the Erl King, which is a theme that I have been hoping to indulge in for years!
On the subject of the Erl King, for those of you who loved Angela Carter's version, you really must check out this contemporary collection of fairytales (I have featured it a dozen times before!), which features a new take on the Erl King story by the very wonderful Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. I am reading the book oh so slowly (alongside three others, which is silly, I know), but have made my way through about three quarters of it so far - and not one story dissapoints. Here is the link to the Amazon UK version.
I may write more later, just so tired now and I didn't catch anywhere near enough sleep last night. Tomorrow evening I am supposed to be attending a psychic night with my friend at the local tavern. I don't wish to become involved, but am so intrigued by the whole thing. And tomorrow is the solstice...so make sure to be merry, and take care xxx
Individual pieces and parts :]
This isn't quite finished. I will probably return with an edited version at some point over the weekend. Maybe this evening. I am going to York tomorrow to visit a railway museum, which is really weird! Weirder than this image, I should think.
"We're not exclusive.......we're just alone"
They are triplets, I suppose, yet one and the same. Sharing the same thoughts, desires and wild imaginings, yet at differing levels of consciousness. Ultimately this is what they represent, three different states of awareness. I seem to be really into this sort of thing at the moment: like there's a part of me that has been aching to explore such themes, visually, for a long time. They are kind of like the 'nucleus' for me, the very thing which drives my desire to create. Always. Themes which have played an enormous role in my own life, and are incredibly difficult to translate outside of art. They are like giving voice to mute, unwordable emotions, as if the ordinary, physical world isn't flexible (or forgiving) enough to accomodate them.
The bird headed girl is entirely unconscious, mute, functioning on a primal level only. The wilderness posesses her, it's like a love affair that I might be almost envious of. Forever alert, unquestioning, a living dream. This is such a transient state, perhaps, like when we are very young children? A sort of short-lived, potentially deadly romance, in which the universe itself has the starring role.
The open-eyed girl, obviously, represents wakefulness, self realization and a battle to survive. This is the least enviable state, but the most nessecary. I don't know why. Can total awareness ever be devoid of some sort of pain? Her stare disturbs me. Her hair like a living fur cloak, protective, unhinged! And the bird headed girl inflicted the injury upon her forehead. Such conflicts are compulsory in this little coterie. How else can the unconscious, mute little thing get her messages across!?
Nightmares function a little like this, don't they? To bring forth a vital realization, the nightmare - seething with so many potentially terrifying truths, the likes of which our wakeful minds should prefer to remain oblivious - becomes manifest here as a living wound.
And speaking of oblivion:
The girl in the middle. She appears to be a bit of a contradiction. She appears to be the most serene, tolerant, restful, but this is merely the visage of blissful ignorance (I recall Dickens' words in 'A Christmas Carol', when Scrooge meets the spirit of death, who appears to be hiding two small beings beneath his cloak. When asked what they are, the spirit reveals two small children to Scrooge, as representations of the enemy of mankind. One of them is the symbol of 'want', the other the symbol of 'ignorance'. The spirit informs Scrooge that although less physically obvious, ignorance is the greatest enemy of all - I was really moved by this - my favourite version being the one with Patrick Stewart ♥).
The most important aspect of this work, for me, is the landscape. Lately, they seem to have come alive somehow, and will generally guide the rest of the image for me, once created. They consist of a combination of both digital and traditional painting, the layers of which I merge together for the final piece. These are living landscapes, which have as much to say as the human or animal characters that populate them. Recently, they are dark, twilit, or simply dismal looking, but I'm loving how the various elements within the image are somehow illuminated by the darkness, how it seems to lend them a special sort of potency.
So this is yet another fairytale, at the end of the day. Maybe even allegorical. I feel as though I am actually more 'present' in these latest pieces than usual. I just can't explain why. My explanations are like fumbling around in the dark, perhaps, but it has been fun trying to describe them. I don't tend to write very much about my images these days, and often fear that my words appear somewhat pretentious, even though they are just me at my most candid, really This is just the way my mind turns over when I contemplate what I have created. I only come to understand them after they are made, (like with dreams) rarely before, but I certainly experience some kind of feeling beforehand about where I want a certain image to go.