Here be Midnight

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Of Trolls and Dark Places

The tendency to draw delicately and paint in light tones is one I find difficult to break away from. Even with a 9b pencil and all the effort I can muster my bolder drawings are still referred to as "lovely and delicate" by my peers.  My standard response to this is friendly sarcasm, "Oh well, that's me". Then I wander off to the hot chocolate machine and ponder my own fragility. 
I appreciate a sensitive touch in art and do not wish to strike it from my repertoire completely, yet  I am continually drawn to the atmosphere created by overlays of darkness in other artists work.
Below is my most recent attempt. The darkness has been created in layers - probably a few too many if I'm honest- but the paper does not look too over worked and has a lovely, warm velvety texture in the darkest places.

When people see my paintings, the first question that is often asked is -  "Is this for a story?" And then I tell them that I'm sure there are stories behind all the pictures, it's just that they haven't been written yet. When I took part in a 'sketch a day' thread in an on-line community I was delighted when people would muse about the happenings in my doodles. Their minds had been coaxed by the picture into the realm of creativity and they were making their own stories. Justified or not, I felt proud that the work could have such an effect. Once, someone was so affected she requested that I draw breathing apparatus on a mouse that was swimming under water because she was afraid he might drown. So, happy to oblige, I fixed the drawing and reposted my sketch.
Sometimes I find myself staring at the pictures wondering what they are about.  If I stare long enough, a small part of the story appears and it seems as if it was there all along....


She lowered her head politely and muttered her question to the Oracle.
"Speak tall," summoned the Troll. "My ears are fullness of forest moss and insects. You must speak tall." The words chimed rhythmically as the Troll ambled and swayed, hither and thither around the forest floor. With every slow footfall, the ground shook and the pebbles leapt but as Unn started to speak again the Oracle crouched still and listened through the scuffling of her earwigs.
"I wish to know why there is no one place called home for me." Unn said with a numbed sadness. "The trees have roots, the birds have nests and the snails have shells but I have none of these things. I miss my home very much , though I have never seen it. I want to go home."
The Troll closed her eyes slowly. She began humming a low and resonant note that rippled through the trees and filled the air with a rich and rounded hush. Rocking back and forth on her feet, the Troll sang her spell-laden song until the air was so thick with stillness, that even Time reverently muffled its footsteps. 
With a snort and a spit the spell was broken. The Troll grunted. She prodded her ear with her fingernail and hooked a wriggling creature from within. Holding it before her lips she said with a gravelly sweetness "Measure your mind with muchness and mostness. New prints are at your foot."
Then tipping her head back she dropped a millipede into her mouth and crunched it thoughtfully.  "Journey with me and you will find your home." And with that she twisted her feet in the dirt and swaggered off....

Original size 172mm x 148mm


  1. Adore this watercolor!!! and your paintings in general! Loved the story too. When I looked at the two of them a few lines of a story popped into my mind. Certainly I can see your work in a book.

    :-} Lorraine

  2. Thank you soo much Lorraine. It is exactly what I love to hear, that the picture has taken you away for a brief moment into a story where your imagination cannot help but contribute. Can't help but wonder what your few lines were - I'm intrigued.
    Just had a quick peek at your blog...utterly delightful. :)


  3. The troll looked at the little girl. She knew that she was invisible to her, but that made the meeting all the more pleasurable.