'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

New paintings

Raven with the Sun
©
Sue Wookey

I've finally completed the colour version of the Raven with the Sun after posting the sketch for this in January:

Here a raven has the sun in his beak (as in the Native American myths where Raven gave light to the world), but the light is at the heart of a maze - in other words in the heart of us, at the centre of our journey. The feathers are souls that the raven is guiding inwards.

Ravens can have a lot of negative associations (Poe, anyone?) but I see them as a positive symbol, a guide through difficult transitions.

Indian Tree of Life and Knowledge
©
Sue Wookey

This has gone all colourful - it didn't start out like this at all! It's based on a wonderful 17th century bronze chola sculpture, although I've simplified it a lot. I just loved the shape and simplicity of the design. I've tried to incorporate a balance of opposites into it as the Tree of Life stands at the centre of all things, the place where the one separates into the many. When I finished it I realised that the tree looks rather brain-like, which is sort of cool and rather disturbing at one and the same time...

Monday, 9 February 2009

The problem with Ents...

I've been thinking around the whole knotty problem of Treebeard and the Ents (especially the Entwives) for a good while now and am still at the drawing stage, trying to work out what they actually look like. As Treebeard says, let's not be hasty. Tolkien's descriptions really don't help, creating additional problems like how does Treebeard's head work when there doesn't appear to be a neck as such? How do you stop Treebeard's barky 'trunk' with smooth arms from looking like he's striding about wearing an all weather gilet? And how do you make female ents look... well... female when they also must have rough barky skin and 'treeish' proportions.

I've only got as far as Treebeard's head - the rest of his body is still an unknown country - and he has come out very twiggy with peeling bark and lichen eyebrows, owl-like eyes and a circular, knotty effect that looks very satisfyingly like wrinkles and wierd facial tatoos all in one go:


Treebeard
©
Sue Wookey


The Entwives gave me a lot of problems. They need to be plainly female but if you make them too barky you can't refine their features and they look rather male, if you make them smooth they look rather naked. I've given them some strategically placed peeling bark that leaves most of their heads and faces clear. Here is a sketch for a Fimbrethil painting. She appears as Treebeard would have last seen her, bent and rosy cheeked, and if it was in colour you'd see the straw like, bleached colour of her hair:


Fimbrethil
©
Sue Wookey


It's not a final version and I've done some more Entwives since which shows them evolving a little so I expect she'll end up looking quite different when I get around to painting her! I have tall thin Entwives and a fat, jolly Entwife. I guess, like Ents and people, they come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. I think the bottom one looks as though she might be rather hasty, given half a chance:


Entwives
©
Sue Wookey