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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sea Hag

Mythos and the elements have been extremely heavy on my mind, lately. And, I've only really wanted to paint aspects of the elements which exist in popular myth. The canvas, this time, gathers the Sea Hag...

Sea Hag stories range from the Old World to the New...New Haven, CT, in fact, has quite a local history of their own sea hag. For them, the hag is a spectre that draws unsuspecting sailors to their death, pretending to be a damsel in distress upon the rocks. When the ships draw in to save her, they perish upon the jetty. 

The Celtic deity, the Morrighan, was said to appear as a crone, washing clothes in the river. The clothes she was washing would be those of the soldier about to die in battle. 

The Welsh had the Muilerteach, or the water hag. She was, in this persona, the goddess of the sea, but -- more so -- a personification of the sea, itself. Scottish mariners were quite frightened of her and often made sacrifices of their catch as tribute. 

And, of course, we know the stories of the Greek Sirens -- creatures with beautiful voices, who appeared to be stunning women, but were actually man-eating beasts. 

And, how could we leave out the Mermaid -- half fish, half woman. The sea creature who is often portrayed in art as beautiful and pale skinned. Unlikely. We all know what happens to our fingers and toes when we stay in the bath too long! I suspect the mermaid would be far more like a translucent ethereal being than a woman, but who am I to guess?

What does all of this tell me about my pondering and swiping of the brush on the canvas -- another side to water has become awakened for me. The dangerous side. The deadly side. The ancient side. Water holds the last truly unexplored place on our planet in its depths. The utter truth is that we do not know what it hides in the places we cannot go. 

The femme fatale lives in the depths -- a woman untamed, purely instinctual, entirely elemental, incredibly self-sustaining, dangerous, capable -- a FORCE of nature. This is what the Sea Hag represents for me. This beautiful, fearsome creature that does as she wills, with no regard. She is a part of me.