24 August 2015

Welsh Trilogy - Drawing Two {Horse} - "Rhiannon, Goddess of Horses and the Hunt"

{To learn more about the background of this trilogy inspiration, content material, mythological context, and over all goal, Read the first blog post of this series - "drawing one" - featuring Arawn, Lord of the Underworld, HERE}

As I've said in the first installment, I'll be sharing the collective process of each of the other two works of this series separately, in their own posts, once they are likewise completed.

So now, our first of the two remaining characters, immortals, both female - Rhiannon.

She is evocative, elusive, and tauntingly ethereal queen archetype, goddess of horses and the hunt, related to the Gaulish horse goddess Epona.

Introduced in the first branch of the Mabinogion, Rhiannon cleverly catches the attention of Pwyll, the Prince of Dyfed (West Wales) as a marvel appearing on sacred ground. Mesmerized and encouraged by her rare quality, who tries to catch her for days, though she perpetually remains ahead of him, magically ambling along on her shining white steed. 

With political prowess, Rhiannon chooses Pwyll as her consort over another to whom she is already betrothed.
The queenly Rhiannon and prince Pwyll's son is Pryderi, the hero of the realm, who inherits his father's lordship of the west. The mare-like goddess and her foal son are both associated with the horse totem.

With this trilogy series, I am making a totemic connection between mythological figures and their corresponding animals, because, in these Celtic origins, Nature is married irrevocably with human experience.
So Rhiannon is golden and fair, like the white steed for which she is known to appear upon, and horse-eared.

Rhiannon, Goddess of Horses and the Hunt, 2015
As with Arawn, for the trilogy set, Rhiannon is drawn in graphite on soft deckled Rives BFK, 10x13" (full page), 8x10" (live area).

She was drawn in about 15 hours over the course of two and a half days:

Original two inch rough concept thumbnail, 2015
Laying in the values, on the drawing board, Studio shot, 2015

I wanted Rhiannon to have a posture and an attitude that was reminiscent of those playful, forceful gestures horses make with their necks as they toss their heads and look back at you.

I liked the idea of how, when horses do such things, it can be beautiful, alluring, and equally uncertain as to whether they are feigning or truly ready to demonstrate their muscular power.

I worked the 's' curve into her stance, and emphasized the shapes within her, because I wanted to admire her anatomy the way we admire similar forms in horse anatomy - The arch in the neck, the curving groove of the back, the roundness of the hip bone... And of course let's not forget the great mane; Rhiannon needed to have great waves of wildly flowing golden hair.

Final Drawing, Detail, Graphite, 2015

The next and lastly drawn member of this Immortals trilogy is the Owl...

Follow up with the final installment of this trilogy series blog post for not only a break down of the Owl, but also a look at all three finished graphite drawings together, triptych style.


Coming up next!

-Mairin-Taj

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