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The old moon in the new moon’s arms

I’ve been pondering the moon in my pictures. The last illustrations I did featured a full moon but it was new moon when I did them. I looked through some of my other pictures – for example my “Wooden Man” – and there are many crescent moons and all of them sit facing to the right. Wooden man

My boyfriend told me that the moon doesn’t look like this in the northern hemisphere evening. So I checked out the moon the other night. It is currently waxing, creeping up high and visible in the western sky and it was definitely facing with its glow on its eastern side. My photo doesn’t show it very well. Crescent moon

However, I don’t mind which way around it is in my pictures…

Another thing I’ve heard about the moon at the moment, is its “earthshine”. How lovely, the moon picking up the glow from the earth! This is also known as “the old moon in the new moon’s arms”. There’s something beautiful about that! I couldn’t see any earthshine last night but I’ll know to keep looking in future.

Another special moon feature I saw once was over Victoria Falls. It was quite a long time ago and I vaguely remember the thundering waters. I went out at night with a full moon, and there it was, a moonbow glimmering magically over the waters. It was very special. Moonbows are lunar rainbows formed by light from the moon instead of the sun. They are rarer than rainbows but just as beautiful.
Writing by the Moon

Here is a picture I did last weekend entitled “Writing by the Moon”. I enhanced the blue colour in photoshop and now it has an underwater quality to it!

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Gazing at the moon again…

I’ve a fascination for wood at the moment. I’ve been photographing trees and gathering wood to paint which is now drying in my kitchen. I found a log and a flat piece with knots like flattened souls staring out at me on my allotment. The odd woodlouse finds itself lost on a desert of lino, but I think I’ve shaken most of the wildlife out. While I wait for them to dry, I’m turning to some illustration. Today I’ve finished two pictures, both feature trees and the moon as usual. This one has a girl transfixed by a full moon beside a wood full of eyes.
Girl and the moon

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Medusa

I continue to be inspired by Greek mythology. Here is my “Medusa”:

medusa

In Greek mythology, Medusa was a gorgon, a terrifying female monster of the underworld. Those who looked directly upon her were turned to stone. The hero, Perseus, slew the gorgon by severing her neck whilst looking at her reflection in his shield instead of directly at her and so avoiding being turned to stone.

Perseus gave the Gorgon’s head to Athena, who placed it on her shield as the Aegis.

Originally, Medusa was depicted as a grotesque monster but later on in the fifth century, vase painters and sculptors created her image as a beautiful but terrifying woman.

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Water2

…the dry stone no sound of water…..

…If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water…

Quotes from T.S.Eliot’s poem, “The Wasteland”.

This poem has meant a lot to me since I studied it at school. The recurring theme of water and lack of it, put simply, probably symbolises “faith” to the poet. I have been looking up the many and varied symbolisms of water, but first, what inspired me to follow this thread, was my “altered book” project.

I decided to make a visual journal or art book by using an old book copy of Marivaux’s plays that I bought from a charity shop. I decided to start with a sea/water theme as it is one I’ve been drawn to before with my mermaid collages and box etc.

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Water in dreams is interesting, it often represents feelings and emotions. Like the waters of the womb, it can also represent security, life and birth. The nature of the water can reveal your emotional state of mind. For example, if you dream of crashing waves or rocky seas, this may show that your emotions are out of control. A fast flowing river may show emotions that are rushing ahead too fast but if the waters are peaceful then so are you. I have dreamt of tsunamis, big seas and fish tanks!

A more mystical meaning of deep pools and lakes of water can represent the unconscious, or the “Great Primordial Mother”.

Here is a link to an interesting article, Water Symbolism:The Great Mother and Return to the Primordial by Krista Wissing.

There is good information about water symbolism at Professor Chris Witcombe’s site.

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I got on to reading about Greek mythology and water gods and goddesses. I stumbled on a passage taken from Book X of Plato’s The Republic, about the newly dead. In the last step before rebirth into their new, self-chosen life on earth, the dead must drink from the “stream of Oblivion”, Lethe, an underworld river. Those who were not “preserved by wisdom” drank more, and as they drank they forgot everything. But if they were initiated followers of the mystical religious movement called Orphism, they were instructed to drink just a little and then find and drink from the river of memory, Mnemosyne. In so doing they secured an end to the transmigration of the soul.

This picture is my own loose interpretation, “Drinking from the Stream of Memory”.

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New year 2010

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything so I thought I’d start the year with the resolution of writing more. Last year was a difficult year despite my doing some interesting things; I just couldn’t engage with it all, perhaps there was too much happening or the timings of things was all wrong. Anyway, this year has begun OK, quietly and with the snow which, I surprise myself by saying, I’m enjoying.

I launched into printing and selling cards last year and that keeps ticking over. I did another design in the “Spirits of Nature” series, which I’m calling “Holly Man”. It’s a Winter/Christmas version of the Green Man and I’ve just used it for my website home page so far, but I’ll consider having it made into a card for next year.

Holly Man

I’m now keen to get back into doing some art. I stumbled on a whole series of blogs that I find really inspiring, namely ‘Contemplating the Moon’ and ‘Beyond Words’. Both women bloggers make visual books and diaries and this is something that I really want to develop. I’m a diary writer and have been since the age of thirteen but it’s been mainly words with just a few pictures and photographs. Now I want to add more art to my books which can mean experimenting with mixed media, painting, collage and even encaustics. The latter is an ancient technique involving painting with beeswax often pigmented with colour. Bridgette Guerzon Mills’ blog has been a great source of inspiration for this.

So this new year I’ll take quietly. I’ll experiment and be braver about writing even when things aren’t going my way. Watch this space and have a Happy New Year.

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