I recently finished a drawing celebrating Samhain which has just passed . Inspired especially by Victorian fairy paintings ( particularly those luminous works of Richard Dadd), I wanted to evoke that liminal moment , with lanterns and bonfires lit when we find the boundary between this reality and that of the Otherworld a bit more easily trespassed . If one wants to cross over into Fairyland, Samhain ( and Beltain) is your opportunity ; easy passage can be found also for the spirited Dead who may wish to cross over into our realm for quick hello with the Quick.
I love this Celtic recognition of two realms , side by side , each with inhabitants leading an existence separate yet interconnected to one another . A natural acknowledgment of what seems to be so apparent – I have only to refer to my own fertile dreamscape to believe that two realms run side by side . But which is the “real ” one ?
Colored pencil with chalk highlights on toned paper
18 by 24 inches
One of the many traditions I find so enchanting about this Celtic celebration, is the historic practice of carving humble turnips into lanterns – far more charming I think than the more photogenic pumpkin .
I also wanted to capture the spirits of the Dead , utilizing one iconic image over and over – that of the winged skull found on countless headstones .
I particularly like the idea of the Dead finding escape through ruptures in the earth , cave entrances etc – here I employed the turnip , that modest root vegetable that pleases me so greatly .
And of course, the ubiquitous bat .
Mumming and costume play, another tradition that I take delight in and hope I captured just a bit .
I had hoped to have finished this drawing on Samhain proper , October 31st through November 1st- certainly a broad window . But it just wasn’t to be . Though diligent , I’m not a particularly speedy artist .
Perhaps next Beltain I will revisit the realm of the fairy and the pixie and actually meet the deadline . Until then …