MerMay: The Mermaid Month Art Challenge

For my last blog post, I thought I would share with you my first illustration for MerMay. For those of you who do not know, MerMay is an art challenge in the month of May, where every day or once a week, you create an illustration of a mermaid. The rules are flexible and there are many prompts you can follow. Obviously, due to my love of folklore as established by my previous blog posts, this challenge perfectly suits my interest.

I hope everyone has a great summer, and I hope to come back this fall with more art for you all to enjoy!

Manifestation Monday: Money

Hello everyone! I have decided to experiment with a different topic for the last couple weeks of the semester. The new theme I will be working with is the theory of magical or metaphysical properties of different naturally occurring objects that can be used in manifestation, prayer, or spell work.

Today, I made a digital painting showcasing a few highlights of items that work well to manifest abundance and financial security. These include: wheat, pomegranate, citrine and adamite crystals, basil, almonds, coins and Jupiter placements (days of the week, zodiac, etc.)

Happy Manifesting!

Fine Art Fables: The Dragon After His Winter Sleep

 

The Dragon After His Winter Sleep is a very brief Chinese fairytale. It is just a few paragraphs long. It describes a scholar in his study, who suddenly finds a glowing little firefly burning marks along his table and books as it moves around, as if it were on fire. He took the firefly outside, but when it did not leave, he went back inside, put on his ceremonial robes, and took the bug back outside again. This is when the firefly transforms back into a dragon form. According to Chinese belief, the dragons would hibernate during winter much like all of the other scaled creatures and insects. It is also believed that when the first storm in the springtime comes, the dragon flies into the clouds. 

 

My own artistic inspirations lead me to draw a small firefly in front of a more massive dragon, drawn how the Chinese would have depicted a dragon, instead of in the western style. Because of the fact the dragon flies into the clouds, I made the dragon form the color of a sky, while as a firefly I used more warm tones, as if trying to keep warm in the winter months. 

Here is a link to where I found the story.

Fine Art Fables: The Golden King

The story we are familiar with through modern retellings of El Dorado originates from an old story originating from Muisca Mythology in Columbia, South America. It is also known as El Hombre Dorado (“The Golden Man”) or El Rey Dorado (“The Golden King”). However, the more modern stories tell the tale of a golden city or empire, the original myth covers the story of a Golden King. The Golden King describes a King of the Musica people. As an initiation rite or coronation for a new king, he had to cover himself with gold dust and then submerge himself in Lake Guatavita. While in the lake, people would throw gold, emeralds and other precious stones into the lake. It was a sort of offering to the god the Musican people worshipped. After the Spanish came to Columbia, that is when the story began to morph over time to become a golden city or empire. Of course, any researchers trying to find this city have never been successful. 

 

Intrigued by the original myth of the story, I drew a rendition of a Musican king walking into the lake during the initiation process.

Fine Art Fables: The Bear Prince

The Bear-Prince is a fairytale that originates from Mexico intended to teach children about key aspects of Mexican culture. The fairytale begins with a woodcutter, chopping down trees in the forest. A bear is mad he is doing so, and stops him by grabbing the ax. The man says he must chop down trees or else he won’t have money to feed his three beautiful daughters. The bear says that the only way he will not kill the man is if he gives him one of the daughters to marry. Ninfa, the youngest daughter, volunteers to marry the bear. The two marry, and when they go back to the bear’s cave he transforms into a human. The bear-prince tells her that he was cursed into being a bear by an evil witch. Eventually, Ninfa returns home to see her family, and because the bear-prince is rich is is adorned in nice clothing and jewels. Her sisters are envious, and she tells them his secret. However, this breaks their promise of secrecy and the bear-prince runs away to the Castle of Faith in which Ninfa must now find. She encounters many different ‘beings’ along the way, including the Sun and Moon personified. Eventually, it ends with the prince being permanently transformed into a human and they two can be together. 

 

My artwork this week features the key elements of the story, with the bride and groom figures standing apart from each other and the bear figure in the middle.

Fine Art Fables: How The Rainbow Was Made

How The Rainbow Was Made is a creation story from the Ojibwe Nation, a group of Indigenous peoples that occupy the northern midwest and northern plains of the United States, and the southern portions of Canada. 

While I cannot find the most reliable source material for the myth (it’s mostly online forums or blog postings where I’ve found it discussed) the gist of the story remains the same. The story starts off with Nanabozho, a shapeshifting spirit that is prominent in Ojibwe storytelling, looking out the window of his house by a waterfall and being bored by the fact all of the flowers were white. He gathered up paints, went into the meadow, and began painting all of the flowers. However, two bluebirds were playing, zipping through the skies around Nanabozho. The birds brushed through Nanabozho’s paint pots repeatedly. The paint on their wings dripped into the sky, and through the mist of the waterfall turned into the first rainbow. Nanahozho was pleasantly surprised, and ensured that the rainbow would float permanently above the waterfall. 

The image I made for this week includes the core elements of the story with the two blue birds flying by a waterfall and a rainbow. I thought it might be a little too hard to depict the waterfall itself, so I added a splatter of blue/white to mimic mist. I do not wish to represent the Ojibwe peoples in an incorrect or insensitive way through this artwork/blog post, so if anything is inaccurate please let me know in the comments!