Folklore & More
With the Summer slowly fading into Fall, the general feeling is one of relief - from the heat, from general wildfire anxiety, and from a summer that was spent mostly in doors.
This change in the season has been welcomed greatly across society, I think, and it definitely brings its own aesthetic with it. Fall colours, cozy shows and spooky stories are here, adopted early into the season- not that I'm complaining - and so I have been reading, looking at and watching more history, folklore, fantasy, horror and Halloween-ish things lately..... and its been seeping into my artwork.
I created this collage after seeing all the Sleepy Hollow/headless horseman art and began thinking about lore around horses and ghosts in woods etc. But I also love adding a strong female to a lot of my art, so I began this idea of a nomadic woman who travel weary people could come to for guidance.
Here I chose a woman, who is a spirit, or maybe a witch that lives in both worlds, the living and the dead. Not unlike the many stories of a wise old woman who lives in the woods or along woodland trails, people go to her for help, advice, spells, medicine etc.
Sought after women with magical powers are everywhere, from German fairytales (typically heavily edited Grimms Fairytales), Slavic's Baba Yaga or 'forest mother', to a wild sorceress of British lore such as Morgan le Fay, and many in Greek Mythology like Circe and Medea. Lots of great inspiration there.
Where I really lost my way was when I began thinking about how horses are in a lot of tales, especially ones around the Wild Hunt (so many different versions there across time, regions and religions) but also kelpies, hippocampi, Pegasus, Tikbalang, the constant search for unicorns. Then on to history of burying horses with the dead or given special tombs along with special items as a way of showing reverence or ritual. Many cultures kept horse skeletons for rituals or talismans. Not to mention lore around horseshoes, or omens of the horsemen of the apocalypse.
I found all the horse history to be fascinating as we hear more stories with, say, cats, owls, bats, chickens etc being sought as sacred or familiars, but really horses were the most important animal that a person could have, especially to show wealth and gain favour with the gods. They were often used as symbols of agriculture and fertility and strength.
And lastly, I had these little skeleton men and birds because, well, they are cool and there's always little sidekicks, helpers, spirits, assistants, familiars, whatever, in any good story.
Do you love history, folklore, fairy Tales etc? OR maybe your family had different stories around horses, wise women, spirits? From fictional modern stories to non-fiction or even great documentaries, let me know!! I am a huge fan of recommendations.