Friday, 19 June 2015

What draws me to faerytales?

TEA! Say it with me, baby! Tea is my fuel of choice for art o clock, and I've dedicated a drawer now to tea, bang next to the kitchen table which is my studio space. The drawer is now groaning under the weight, and it's such a joy to see all those beautiful boxes, and sniff all those luscious leaves just jostling to be glugged down! These are some of my favourite cuppas at the mo:

Yogi Ginger, Orange and Vanilla, Yogi Rose, Yogi Classic, Pukka Womankind, Pukka Love, Pukka Three Mint, Twinings Everyday

Apart from rejoicing in tea, I have now restarted a notebook / sketchbook - it has been sooo many moons. It felt so good to scribble down all the ideas crashing into each other in my head like confused bees! I had some really good chats with my sweet mamma this week too. She is a creativity whizz and takes lots of art courses. She creates gorgeous silver jewellery of leaves and cups of acorn and tea, which I am very honoured to 'zoink'! We were talking about a lot of questions I had about the areas of art which get me fired up and came up with some whopping conclusions that have sorted out some really scrambly feelings I was having:

Contrast - the importance of light and dark in the painting. Both in terms of light and shadow aesthetically, but also a hint of some darker presence or element in a scene of beauty or innocence. Enforcing both the light and the dark by them being juxtaposed.
Which brings me onto - the importance of beauty! There is a super documentary about beauty in art, and this feels so important to me. 'Why Beauty Matters' by Roger Scruton. Such a fabulous analysis and well worth an ogle. Faerytale art seems like such an epitome of beauty to me. But also encapsulates that darker side effectively. As Neil Gaiman says,  

'Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.'

Why I want to paint faerytales - Being part of a long history or tradition feels so bewitching to me! Being able to connect with so many people who have shaped the malleable fabric of a folk tale or faerytale over time. It is so touching how these tales live, evolve, and grow - which Neil Gaiman has also discussed quite marvellously in a recent talk, which you can see on Brain Pickings!

'Stories … are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance.'

Such an eloquent and insightful musing! Love this bit too:

'Nearly half a century after French molecular biologist Jacques Monod proposed what he called the “abstract kingdom” — a conceptual parallel to the biosphere, populated by ideas that propagate like organisms do in the natural world — and after Richard Dawkins built upon this concept to coin the word “meme,” Gaiman suggests stories are a life-form obeying the same rules of genesis, reproduction, and propagation that organic matter does.'

So beautiful!! I love the idea of these tales existing in a sort of nebulous floaty realm, (and being reliant on human beans to stay alive.) It reminds me so much of Carl Jung's idea of the collective unconscious. Sort of like a big swooshy cosmic bog of experience squelching out universal symbols and behaviours which humans and animals seem to automatically know. And the faerytale realm is similarly a stonking great marshful of wisdom (or wishdom as I wrote first, he he) from which we can draw to gain knowledge of certain archetypes, plunder for life guidance and have a face whacked on abstract concepts (eg. trolls representing the shadows we have in ourselves) to make them more appealing to confront. Fascinating! 

I hope that all makes sense - I will research more and try and clarify more as I go along. But I feel like there's a lovely foundation now for launching from in terms of what fascinates me about these tales. I'm focussing first on East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and particularly the bit where the youngest daughter is riding off on the back of the white bear. Such a compelling image! I love how she grips his fur tightly as she rides off to her new life - such emotion you could capture in that gesture I think.

What draws you to faerytales, and just as importantly, what's in your cup?!

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