24 March 2012

The Children of Lir

In a compilation of work with a recent colleague and business associate, I have put together a new take on a retelling of the ancient Irish tale 'The Children of Lir'. For now, I am happy simply to add the piece to my portfolio and reflect on its construction, but there is room for revisiting the projects' status in the future.

*A Note on the concept:
While I try and be brief on this blog - despite my love of writing - perhaps a few extra comments on the concept of this piece would be sufficient?

For those not familiar with the Irish cycles, this story outlines the doomed adventures of the four sibling children of a fairy lord. They are 'Tuatha de Dannan' - 'peoples of the goddess Danu' - a Fey race once sovereign in Ireland.
Turned into four swans and made to occupy distant waters for 900 years, the children are finally released from the spell by the blessing of a monk. Due to numerous alterations and endings, sometimes it is Saint Patrick who frees them, sometimes an anonymous hermit, but while certain versions hold strong christian verses pagan tones, key Celtic symbolism always dominates.

I chose to crown the children with the playful, handmade wreaths of apple blossom, as an allusion to  their Otherworld kinship. The apple tree is a notable part of the Ogham, or tree alphabet, and was a symbol for healing as well as the eternal land of the Tuatha de Danaan. Even Avalon, or 'Emain Abhlach' in Irish, is 'Isle of Apples'.
'Lir' is the personification of the sea, though 'Manannan mac Lir' (son of the sea) tends to dominate in other stories as the active sea lord figure.

Here is the completed painting, followed by some of the sketching-stage imagery:

'The Children of Lir', 18x11", Watercolor, 2012
'The Children of Lir', Front, Watercolor, 2012
'The Children of Lir', Children Detail, Watercolor, 2012
'The Children of Lir', Puffin Detail, Watercolor, 2012
Final Drawing Stage:

And don't think I've forgotten about the second most recent blog entry of the 'Brigit' sketch! I shall be working on the painting now, and soon it shall be ready for viewing, (not to mention, purchasing!)*

* Previously I mentioned the coming of my greeting card site where seasonal cards and art prints will be for sale. More to come.

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