Thursday, 22 November 2012

FinFolk (Work in Progress 4)

A close up of part of the foreground in progress. You can just make out the coin bag that the FinWife has dropped beside the guardian hares.

Hope you have enjoyed the first few work in progress shots. I'm very keen to get on with the inking and will share more soon. 
FinFolk (Work in Progress 3)

A close up of the FinMan holding the shape shifting cat that his wife would send to communicate in the guise of a fish. I've started to think about the clothing he might wear.
FinFolk (Work in Progress 2) 

The FinWife was said to be a far more sociable and peaceable creature than her male counterpart. The female FinFolk were said to be born as Mermaids or Selkie like tailed beings and if they were to live out their days under the water they aged very quickly into Sea "Hags". To retain their beauty they would take a mortal husband and go to live on land mixing with the natives and going about their daily business. The FinWife has similar lore to the Wise Woman or Witch in that she earned her way by performing the Healing Arts for the townsfolk and was associated with her cat "familiar". Little did the natives know that she was attached to her equally amphibious husband still and would steal away to the shore at night to deliver her "earnings" in silver coins.

This is the first portion of inking showing the FinWife beckoning her husband. The puffin represents Orkney wildlife and the Hares in the foreground represent the shape shifting nature of the FinFolk. I see them as guardians to the exchange, other FinWifes keeping a careful watch on proceedings. Often in Scottish Witch lore the witch was said to change into animal form and the most popular association was of a cat or hare.

FinFolk (In Progress)

A1 on Illustration Board

My first artwork is based on the legend of the FinFolk from the Orkney Isles, a race of dark sorcerers living under the ocean. The FinMen were well versed in the Magical Arts and could control the seas and storms around the coast. Rising from the deep in boats fashioned without sails they would propel silently by magical means into the fishing waters of the island to pick up messages from their land dwelling FinWives who would send a shape shifting cat to them in the guise of a fish. A deeply feared and malevolent presence who would pull hapless fisher folks to a watery end should they venture into the FinMans path.  

I wanted a sense of silent, static menace with my FinMan. The deliberate stylisation of the face is representative of the Folk/Pictish style that I have been exploring recently and will continue in the pieces.    

Welcome to my first "Whisper of the Sith" Blog post. I am a full time artist living in Aberdeen, Scotland and Whisper of the Sith is a new body of work based on Scottish Myth and Legend.

The Project is supported by The Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Visual Arts Award Scheme.

My art is created by hand using ink pens and I enjoy most of all playing with intricate line work and pattern in a highly stylised manner. I create mainly pieces in A3 size and under due to the level of detail in each piece but the challenge of this project was to create a set of A1 size works in my style whilst retaining the level of detail and experimenting with composition and contrast. The award has meant that I can cover framing and presentation costs to a high standard and my hope is that this will form my first exhibition of large scale works. I will be creating 8-10 A1 pieces over the next 9 months and some smaller companion pieces.
I hope you enjoy following my progress.    

A big part of the project has been to research the Myths and Legends from my Scottish heritage. I have been keeping  a sketch journal of notes which I hope to share with you here as each piece unfolds. I also hope to learn a great deal about how I work and put together my finished pieces. I have always been a spontaneous artist, working straight onto the finished board and drawing and inking in short bursts working out the image as I go along. I guess my first "self discovery" was that this is how I am comfortable and side sketches and thumbnails are not my usual style. Certainly for the first piece I have found myself working this way and perhaps because it is "the first one" I am revisiting imagery that I am comfortable with, familiar symbolism and stylisation. Now that I have started I am interested to see how my workings develop in the other pieces, how I will push new ideas and if I will do more in the way of working sketches.
It will also be a new thing for me to talk about my work and share the stories behind the pieces. I am used to retaining a sense of mystery,allowing the viewer to interpret their own thoughts and stories so I hope in this Blog I can do justice to the fabulous tales I am unearthing. Scottish legend has traditionally been passed down through verbal story telling and it is often like grabbing for something through the mists of time across the heather, a fine subject for artistic representation.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Anita x  

The Project came about after creating an A1 sized piece which left me longing to do more.
"Five Familars" was created in 2012 on A1 illustration board. The piece was accepted into The Aberdeen Artists Society Annual Exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery where it sold earlier this year.