Sunday, 24 June 2012

N is for...


I'd never heard of these little guys until I started researching for this project. Living in Northern Italy they haven't made it into very many English books about Faeries. I think it's kind of odd that Faeries/nature Spirits can be found in virtually every culture in the world yet most of the books are full of those that come from Ireland, Scandinavia, Germany and the British Isles. Perhaps it has something to do with the literature of these lands and the many writers from these places who have kept the stories alive. But it's also good to see today's writers searching farther afield and bringing the stories and the creatures from other cultures to wider attention. I'm a big fan of 'Urban Fantasy' and love the novels of Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman in particular, some of which feature Native American folklore and raise the interesting issue of how the Faerie Folk cope with human immigration as their histories and stories are transported around the world.

As you can probably tell, I don't have a lot to say about Norggen that I haven't put in the pages of the book, having only brief details to work from, but what I can say it that I really enjoyed painting him in his smart little jacket and hat. I'd been beginning to feel a bit bogged down with the last few letters, taking so long to decide which creatures to depict, getting side-tracked by other projects and really not feeling 'in the right mood' to paint but I'm pleased with the way he worked out...

© Shona M MacDonald 2012. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

M is for ...


I guess most people are familiar with the tale of the Little Mermaid who gives up her fish tail and her beautiful singing voice to walk on the land in the hopes of winning the love of a prince. When she fails, in the original story at least, she becomes foam on the water. It's a sad story with numerous life lessons and you can't help but feel sorry for her, but the mermaids of folklore are very different creatures. Yes, they are beautiful, yes, they have beautiful singing voices but there the similarity ends. Rather than pay a price for magic to enable them to walk on land, they mostly prefer to lure their would-be lovers into the sea.

© Shona M MacDonald 2012. All Rights Reserved

There have been stories of Mermaids marrying human men and raising a family but these marriages rarely lasted and the Mermaids, unable to resist their true natures, would return to the sea.

The name Mermaid is thought to come from the French for sea, 'Mer', but the idea of a half human, half fish creature has been around in mythology throughout the ages. These fish tailed goddesses are found in many mythological stories, usually connected with fertility, love and the Moon. Even Aphrodite of Greek legend was born from the foam on the sea.

So, we've reached the halfway point in the Alphabet. Thank you for sticking with it this far. :) As I've been working on the book I've also been adding each new letter's illustration to a poster design that I'm hoping to make available. I'd be very interested to know if that's something any of you might like, so please let me know what you think. I'm also looking into the possibility of publishing the whole project in real book form so if you know of any publishers (or you are a publisher!!!) who produce books on this subject, please let me know.

Finally, a little plug for my other blog - Tales From the Wild Wood. It's a general art blog where I post stuff about my latest work, sketches, works in progress and witter away about whatever arty stuff is grabbing my attention at the time. I'm currently wrestling with the creation of a rather wobbly troll!!