Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Woman on the Pier

It's been a little over a week since I last posted a story and painting from Folk Tales of the Sea People.

As mentioned before, this project works towards two goals from The List:
046. Write 10 original stories of 1000+ words
055. Create 52 paintings in 1 year 
Today's story and illustrative painting are named The Woman on the Pier and incorporates the Näkki of Finnish mythology.

This is a story that I nearly didn't share. There are a few stories I wasn't going to post on this blog for various reasons, and this is the one I originally discounted first:
  1. The main character is referred to using gender neutral pronouns
    They/their/themself, singular form
  2. This story is not suitable for small children.
    Due to certain scenes within

Anyway, here it comes. I hope you enjoy it! :)

The Woman on the Pier, July 2014

The Woman on the Pier

Once upon a time, in an ocean far away, there lived a Näkki. The Näkki-folk are a clever race, for they are able to transform not only their tails to legs, as many races of the sea are able, but they can transform their entire bodies, appearing in a great many forms, without spells or glamour. Most Näkki-folk are known for preferring just a few forms, though each member of the race has a great many choices in how they appear. It is a much-admired ability among all seakind, and although Näkki-folk are solitary souls, they are held in high esteem in all society.

The Näkki of this story went by the name of Maayan, and their favourite forms were that of a handsome Siren man and a curvaceous Human woman. As a Siren, their body was slender and supple and their hair fell in black waves about their shoulders; their scales were blue and their eyes were purple. As a Human, their skin was soft and pale as the moon; their body curved smoothly, as sensual as a calm ocean on midsummer’s night. Their hair was the colour that Humans think of as red and their eyes were green.
Maayan was a happy soul, and lived close to the shore, for on a moonlit night, they liked to go to the land and dance upon the sand.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Fairground at Night

Having realised that I have uttered the words, "I really need to buy masking fluid" a few too many times, I did something radical and bought some. ;)

Then I used it to paint this:

Fairground at Night, August 2014
Fairground at Night
For a first time at using masking fluid, I'm pleased with how this turned out!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Gentleman Traveller

Here's the next instalment of Folk Tales of the Sea People...

The Gentleman Traveller, July 2014

The Gentleman Traveller

In a town not far from here, which was close to the coast of the human-land, there once came a strange-looking traveller. He looked so strange that, as he strolled into town, everybody stopped and stared at him. Two boys, Hai and Kai, swam sneakily after him as he strolled through the streets. The traveller had arms and legs like a human, but his hands and feet were webbed like a frog, and instead of a mouth he had a beak. When he removed his hat (which he did before knocking on the door of the inn) the nosy little boys saw that the traveller had a bald patch upon his head, shaped like a dish.
“A stranger!” said Hai.
“A strange stranger!” said Kai.
The innkeeper came to the door to greet the traveller.
“Forgive my intrusion,” spoke the strange traveller. “I wish to stay in your fair hotel, should you have room for a small and humble wayfarer.”

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Rocky Road of Love, and Other Chocolates

It's been over a month since I last posted about any chocolate! I hadn't forgotten this goal, but warm weather meant melted chocolate, and attempts at eating more healthily meant less chocolate. But never mind that. Chocolate is good for the soul. And these bars are good for the taste buds, too ;)

Chokablok The Rocky Road of Love
Rocky road in chocolate bar form!
This bar is mostly milk chocolate, with cute dark chocolate hearts, marshmallows and biscuit pieces. The packaging doesn't keep the look of the bar a surprise, as it's a piece of cardboard and clear plastic wrap. I actually like this about Chokablok bars--their chocolate bars all look special, so it's good to see what I'm getting before buying!
One bar gives you 80g of chocolate, and it's actually pretty hard not to eat it all in one sitting. The chocolate is smooth, the biscuit crunchy, and marshmallows wonderfully squidgy. I imagine that this would be the perfect bar for dunking into hot chocolate during the winter! 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

How Helle Found the Monster

I wasn't going to post another story from Folk Tales of the Sea People for a few days, but my sister asked nicely. (Kind of. Okay, she demanded.) She's feeling rubbish at the moment so I decided to comply!
Feel better, sister!

How Helle Found the Monster, July 2014

How Helle Found the Monster

There was once a girl of the Selkie-folk, who lived in a deep northern sea where the waters never turned cold. Her parents named her Helle, and she was a good and thoughtful child. Ever since she learnt to talk, Helle had asked her parents, “Why is the sea always warm?”
They would answer, “The sea is always warm because beneath it there slumbers a monster with fire in his belly.”
That was answer enough for Helle, until she became a little older and did not believe in monsters anymore. She learnt the ways of the sea, and she learnt of sunlight and magic and other ways in which a person might warm the water, but she could find no answer that satisfied her. An old grandfather had once told Helle that the sea had not always been so warm, and if she should chance to swim far enough east or west, she would find the water became delightfully cold, sometimes cold enough that she would have no choice but to keep her cloak on all day and all night.

Helle liked to think of cold water, for she found the water of her home was sometimes too warm, and she longed for the day that she was old enough to travel far alone, she would seek out the cold waters of the eastern and western north.
Since her parents remained certain that the water was heated by a sleeping monster, Helle sought out the opinions of the grandfathers and grandmothers of her people.
“Why is the sea always warm?” she asked each one.
“There is a monster sleeping beneath the sea. He warms the water with his fiery belly,” said a grandmother.
“Yes,” said another. “He has eyes as bright as the sun and scales so big you could make a roof of one. He is fearsome.”
“It is good for us that he sleeps,” said a grandfather. “For if he did not, we would be in sorry trouble.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Pearl For Your Daughter

It's been a few days since the last instalment of Folk Tales of the Sea People, so here's the next story. This time, a cautionary tale...

A Pearl For Your Daughter (July 2014)
A Pearl for Your Daughter

There was once a mermaid queen, who gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. The queen was very pleased, for she was a pompous lady and only liked the best for her family. Her daughter was the perfect picture of a Mer-child, with golden hair and bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks and glittering green scales upon her tail. The queen named her daughter Mira, and proclaimed that, as the first-born, Mira would become queen of the kingdom after her.

When news spread that an heir had been born, people flocked to the palace to bring gifts and good wishes. The Selkie emissary brought a cloak of fine silver cloth, which would keep Mira warm when the waters turned cold, and help her to walk the Human-land if she chose. A Kappa prince brought an emerald-green cucumber that would never go bad or run out, no matter how much Mira ate, and would taste of any meal she could imagine. When the Siren ambassador visited, he brought music written by the finest composers, especially for Princess Mira. When she sang the special song, Mira would have the power to draw the attention of any man. The Nereids brought a golden circlet which, when worn, would take away a headache. The Swan-folk brought bracelets of silver, inscribed with magic words that when said, would allow the princess to fly. The Vodyanoy brought a pot of magical algae, which would heal any wound, and the Rusalki brought a potion of fish-bones and shells, which would lift any spirits. On and on the visitors came, with their beautiful, magical, wonderful presents.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Progress Report!

I've had this blog for a few months now, and it seems a reasonable time to take stock and look at my progress.

There are my goals that are In Progress...

001. Fill a sketchbook with artwork/studies of only one subject
I picked a subject! Obviously I'm a glutton for punishment as I decided upon hands as my subject.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery: Part 2

I covered the first part of my trip to Brighton Museum & Art Gallery in my previous post.
This post covers some of the upstairs portion of the museum & gallery (which also houses a cafe!)

As I ended the last post with sandals from Ancient Egypt, I'll begin this post with Brighton Museum & Art Gallery's fashion section! It includes fashion through the ages, along with alternative fashion and - as above - international dress. I love the rich colours in the clothes shown above.

Such colours are quite a contrast to this skimpy, black and nude number! (And this is quite a contrast to the stiff-looking Victorian mourning garb found elsewhere in the fashion exhibition!). I like that, within a small collection, visitors can see how fashion has progressed through the eras, but also appreciate the dress of other countries. There is also a collection of outfits that cover alternative fashions. 80's goth, 00's goth, punk and skinhead stands alongside hippie, traveller and teddy boy!

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery: Part 1

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, with token gull
Yesterday, I met up in Brighton with a school friend, V, and we had a nose around the museum and art gallery!
Asides from injecting a little culture into life, this is also another step towards a goal from The List:
010. Visit 30 museums/art galleries/exhibitions
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is at 19th century building tucked away in a corner of the Royal Pavillion Gardens, originally part of George IV's stable complex!

Bit opulent for horses, isn't it?!
I like visiting this place, although it's been quite a while since I last went in.
Exhibits include:
  • Pottery
  • Local History
  • Natural History
  • Fashion
  • World Art
  • Fine Art
  • Loads more!
I took a load of photos, so am splitting this into two posts: Upstairs and Downstairs!
This post covers some of what can be found downstairs...

Of course, I have to start with the lips sofa...

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Clam Keeper and the Sailor

Here comes story number five in Folk Tales of the Sea People. This was actually the first one I wrote, but when I came to putting them together as a set, I juggled them around a little.

For anyone new to this blog, Folk Tales of the Sea People is a project I started in order to work towards two goals from The List: to write 10 stories of over 1000 words, and to paint 52 paintings in one year (goals number 046 and 055 respectively). Click the link above to read more about the project. It will open in a new window so you can still read this story...

The Clam Keeper and the Sailor, July 2014

The Clam Keeper and the Sailor

Long ago, when land-walkers still sailed the seas in wooden ships with sails, there lived a clam keeper. Her name was Maya, and she dwelt in a house of shells at the edge of the clam fields. Upon her birth, the gods gifted her with great beauty. Her hair was a deep green and fanned about her like a cloak, and her scales were a flawless, iridescent grey which shone like armour. Maya’s eyes were black as the abyss and her tail strong and supple, and she was very much sought after by the men of her tribe. Yet Maya cared little for their promises of countless children and grand houses in the centre of the kingdom’s biggest cities. When she came of age, she left her family and went to tend the clam fields on the outskirts of the kingdom.

Monday, 4 August 2014

You'd Be Forgiven For Thinking This Was An Art Blog's not. But paintings and short stories are all I've been posting lately, aren't they!
Apologies for the lack of variation.

Honestly, I haven't been doing much recently. Other than painting... I have a lot of paintings to share, not all related to Folk Tales of the Sea People. My introverted nature has been at its peak, and I've not felt like going anywhere!

Next month, I intend to actually do things (now there's a radical idea!). I'll attend a concert, but am also hoping to go to some events at a local village festival. In the past, that festival has delivered some really good stuff (including a medieval fair and a day-long free music event).

Meanwhile I am still looking for ideas for things to add to the list. I want to do things! Suggest away!

For the time being, here is yet another painting. This time it's an example of what happens when Things Go A Bit Wrong...

Dissolve, July 2014
Dissolve (July 2014)
Originally this was much brighter, but I thought the shadowy figure stood out too much. So I decided to wash over the page with a darker colour, to make it moodier...completely forgetting the nature of watercolours (in that they will absolutely run!)

Cue trying to fix it. I added in some misty mountains in the background, and 'washed' more of the figure across the page.
I'm not 100% happy with this, but I'm OK with the fix. I wasn't in the greatest of moods when I originally painted this one, and I was trying to 'paint out the mood'. I think the screw-up and figure being dissolved by the wind ended up evoking moodiness fairly well, really.

I have painted more 'silhouette' images, and have a trio to share at some point. Right now, however, I'm stuck on a title for them... Watch this space to see if I think of one! ;)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Golden Scales

Here comes another Folk Tale of the Sea People, but first a couple of notes...

I'm sorry these paintings and stories have been the only content recently! Although I have some other content to share, I'm still waiting for my image editing software to turn up. Amazon shipped a replacement to me today, so hopefully everything will be back to normal by the middle of the week!

As for this story, I feel I need to put this here:
Warning: contains themes of domestic violence, self harm, and an ending that may be found dissatisfying.
(I wasn't sure whether to post this one or not because of this, but in for a penny...)

Golden Scales, July 2014
Golden Scales

Once upon a time, in an ocean far away from here, there lived a handsome Merman. He was much admired by the Mermaids, and much envied by his fellow Mermen, for his scales were a beautiful, shining gold. His hair was a lustrous green, the colour of seaweed in the sunlight, and his eyes were the colour of jewels. Glyndwr made a fine figure, his torso strong and his arms muscular. He had a great many admirers, and many a woman wished to court him.
But Glyndwr was incredibly vain, and thought them not beautiful enough to be seen at his side. The woman to swim at his side must have a beauty and radiance to match his own, he thought.
Still, Glyndwr enjoyed the compliments and gazes of admiration he gained from other Merfolk, and the wistful sighs he heard whenever he passed by young Mermaids. He ignored the jealous Mermen, who rolled their eyes and called him Glyndwr the Vain.