Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sneak Preview! Stomping grounds

I believe I've written before that I don't consider (my) mermen to be part-fish--they're mammalian to me, more like seals, and any interpretation of them being half-fish comes more from how we describe things that are new to our world (by making them familiar).

For example, in a poem by Li-Young Lee, he relates how his sixth grade teacher called a persimmon a "Chinese apple."

It does kind of look like an apple, even if it's nothing like it, but it's the closest thing Mrs. Walker could compare it to, in order to help her other students understand the strange fruit in Li-Young's hands.

Likewise, we think merfolk have fish tails and angels have wings.

I contend this is all symbolic and to read it as anything else would be to take a literalist fundamentalist standpoint--which I do not. That said, I do have to look into the science, fantasy, and mythology of things to help my images make sense. But to take it too far would be like arguing if the Incredible Hulk could beat up Superman. (A subject for other minds to debate.)

Anyway, my point is, I don't think of mermen as being half-fish, but I do think about similarities they may have with the piscine world--like returning home to their spawning grounds as salmon and other fish do.

That's the journey this merman is making, and at the foot of a waterfall, he readies himself for the difficult climb. Let's hope a bear isn't waiting for him when he leaps!

Inspired by Hokusai's prints of waterfalls and having the generous Andre Fortier as my model (please visit his photography web site to see his beautiful portraits!), this latest painting in my Merman Series was a fun painting to make that mixed Western realism with Eastern stylization.

As usual, it also got me thinking: salmon return to their source to produce offspring; what do we create when we return to our sources?

Some of our best abandoned dreams are found in our childhood memories.

Invite Beauty,

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