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The fox and the hare
20X30 Acrylic and Colored Pencil
30X36 Acrylic and Colored Pencil
28X38 Acrylic and Colored Pencil
9X9 Acrylic and Colored Pencil
flights of curiosity
This collection was created on an artist residency in Wales in Fall of 2016. During my residency I got lost in old books that were full of Welsh folk tales from around the area where I was staying. These allegorical paintings were inspired by these stories.
in her minds eye
40X26 Acrylic and Colored Pencil on Canvas
Inspired by The Aberystwyth Hiring Fair...
On a farm not far from the salty town of Aberystwyth lived an old couple. Huw and Bet. They were poor and had no one to help them on the farm, for they never had a child. They decided they needed a serving girl to help so they set off on foot for the November Hiring Fair in Aberystwyth. They found a plain, dark girl with jet-black hair named “Elin.” She was hired and started the next Monday. Elin made herself indispensable on the farm. She was also the finest weaver of woolens and spinner of yarns they had ever known, and soon the old couple were the best dressed in the country, and they loved this daughter they never had.
When the spring came, Elin took her spinning wheel outdoors and came back at the day’s end with her arms full of beautifully woven clothes. So it went on, until Bet began to wonder how one girl could weave so much. One day she followed Elin into the woods. She watched as the girl sat spinning, and soon she was surrounded by small figures, each with a tiny loom or wheel, weaving so fast that old Bet’s eyes could not catch up. These were the tylwyth teg (Welsh mythological creatures) and Bet knew that there would be a price to pay for this. That night Elin did not return, and the following morning the fire was full of grey cinders and no food was on the table. "The tylwyth teg have taken her; they always do," thought Bet.
One night Bet sensed someone in the room. Standing at the bottom of their bed was a man. He said, “Lady, I wish your help,” and his dark eyes told her he spoke no lies. She followed him and he led her along paths with mossy boulders to a strange cave with a great studded doorway. He unlocked the door and beckoned Bet to enter. The doorway opened into a bright bedchamber, all carved wood and chandeliers, and lying on a golden four-poster bed with red drapes was an elegant lady, in the pain of labour. The man spoke to Bet. “My wife, the baby has turned. You know midwifery? Help her?” Bet rolled up her sleeves and delivered the screaming woman a beautiful baby girl. The man said to Bet, “Stay a month, care form my daughter and wife. You will want for nothing in the remains of your days.” He showed her to a small chamber and brought her the baby. “Stay here. My girl will be brought to you each morning; bathe her once a day, rub this salve all over her body and into her eyes, but do not taint your own eyes.” And his dark stare told her she could not refuse, and he would be true to his word.
Day after day, she bathed the baby and rubbed the salve into her soft skin. Almost a month passed, and while she was rubbing ointment onto her cheeks, Bet’s left eye itched and without thinking she touched her eye, and her world changed. Through her right eye she saw the baby; blonde, blue-eyed and rosy cheeked, yet through it was black-haired, green-eyed and grubby. Through her right eye she saw a tall elegant man with dark sunken eyes; through her left eye she saw a small squat man with a bulbous red face and a squint. Clutching the child, she ran through the door and into the great bedchamber. Through her right eye she saw an elegant woman lying in a golden four poster with red drapes; through her left eye she saw a plain dark girl lying in a clump of dried bracken, with only a rushlight for brightness and the earthworms for company. She stared at the girl. “Elin?” The girl looked alarmed. “You can see me? Say nothing. Look around you.” Bet looked with her left eye and she saw small folk scurrying around her. “Listen,” said Elin, “my mother was fair folk, and it was arranged I was to marry their king. I ran, but he found me. My husband will not tolerate duplicity. If he believes you cannot see me, he will keep his word and return you to your man and care for you.
So Bet pretended she could not see Elin, and at the month’s end the king escorted her home, and told her she would never see him again, but she would want for nothing. At the years end, the old couple went to the fair in Aberystwyth and Bet saw a short man with a squint. Excited she ran up to him and said, “How is Elin? And your baby girl?” He squinted at her and said, “Through which eye do you see me?” She pointed to her left eye. He raised his sword and took out the eye and brushed the empty socket with a leaf of plantain to heal the wound, and all she could see was a tall elegant man vanishing into the crowd. From that day she never again saw through her left eye. But her right eye always reminded her of what her left had seen, and her memory painted pictures in her mind, of Elin and her beautiful baby, and the tylwyth teg.
of land and sea
20X25 Acrylic and Colored Pencil with on Canvas,
Inspired by Daughters of the Sea...
“The story is set in Cardigan Bay, near the Irish Sea, often hit by powerful storms. It tells that Dylan the sea god, who lives under the waters of Cardigan Bay, envies an old man’s three daughters. Dylan calls up a great storm, and sends a huge wave to steal the girls. Their father is heartbroken. Regretting his evil deed, Dylan turns the girls into seagulls, belonging both to the sea and the land. Since that day, when the old man walks on the beach and calls their names, three white gulls fly to him from the sea.”
of charms and illusions
19X25 Acrylic and Colored Pencil on canvas
Inspired by Blodeuwedd (Flower-face)...
Blodeuwedd was the most beautiful woman alive and was made of flowers by charms and illusions and was to be the wife of Lieu. See, Arianrhod had decided that Lleu couldn’t marry any mortal woman. This severely limited his options, and, unfortunately, Blodeuwedd really wasn’t the woman for him. She appeared to be at first, even she thought so. But when she opened her home to a hunter in need of shelter she truly fell in love. After a lot of plotting with her lover, they figured out their best bet for killing Lieu, but they still failed in the end. Blodeuwedd ended her life as an owl, the bird that hates the day, because that is the shape that Gwydion (Lieu’s uncle and guardian) turned her into.
24X12 Acrylic and Colored Pencil on Canvas
for the love of moss
18X24 Acrylic and Colored Pencil on Canvas
the green man's daughter
19X25 Acrylic and Colored Pencil on canvas
Inspired by The Green Man of No Man's Land...
One day a man challenges Jack, a young miller, to a card game; nothing strange in that except this man is green from top to toe. The man bids everything he has, including his castle, and Jack wins. The man asks for a rematch, and Jack loses. The stranger speaks. “I am the Green Man who lives in No Man’s Land. If you can find my castle in a year and a day, it is yours; otherwise I will hunt you down and cut off your head.” Jack thinks. A year and a day is a long time and a castle should be easy to find. “A deal is a deal,” says Jack, and the Green Man is gone.
Jack sets off to look for the castle. He encounters many people on his search and no one knew of the “Green Man who lives in No Man’s Land” until he came upon a woman and an eagle who had just been with him. He followed the eagle. The old woman told Jack that the eagle would take him to a great lake. On the lake would be three swans. She said to him, “hide in the rushes by the water’s edge; the birds will come to the shore and shake off their feathers. While they are bathing, take the third swan’s feathers. She will find you, for she is the Green Man’s daughter. Ask her to take you to the Green Man’s castle. No matter what she says, do as she asks you, and do not take no for an answer.”
Jack follows the eagle to the lake with three swans. He hides in the rushes and steals the third bird’s feathers. Two fly away, but the Green Man’s daughter finds Jack. “Give me back my feathers’’ she says. “Only if you carry me over the lake to your father’s castle,” he replies. She places Jack on her back and swims across the lake to a great castle. Jack knocks on the front door, it opens and there stands the Green Man of No Man’s Land. “You have found me, Jack? I was looking forward to chopping off your head. You’re not a bright boy, one of my daughters has helped you, but which one?” Jack says nothing. That will cost you five tasks, Jack.
For the fourth task, the Green Man says to Jack, “In the middle of the lake is a glass mountain. On the peak you will find a bird who lays only one egg. Bring me that egg.” Youngest Daughter removes her shoe and wishes it into the shape of a boat. He climbs into it and she sails him to the glass mountain. She transforms into a white ladder, and tells him he must step on every rung, not to miss one. Jack climbs and finds the egg at the top but in his eagerness, he steps over the last rung. There is a cry of pain and the ladder changes back into the girl, but her little finger is broken. “Don’t tell my father,” she says. He presents the egg to the Green Man, who knows his youngest daughter has been there.
“Jack, your final task is to choose your bride. My daughters will fly three times around the castle in the shape of swans. Find my youngest daughter and she will be yours.” Jack watches the swans in flight, all as white as snow, all with yellow beaks, all with orange feet, all beating their wings with a humming sound. He notices one of them has a broken wing feather and he points. “There is my bride.” And that is why you will see Jack walking around with his head still attached to his body.