Still working at what I've determined is my maximum pace, I finished another week-long piece yesterday. The bulk of the progress was made Friday when Mike and I watched SEVEN movies, (five of which were John Carpenter) while our good for nothing cats^ slept blissfully on the radiator, not a care in their little pea brains.
The most intense but strangely hypnotic to work on part of this one was the water. I actually spent a long time wrestling with the sky, and had to make some (luckily positive) edits after finding I was having the same streaky paint problem I've had in the past. I'm pretty sure the problem is actually the particular paper I occasionally use, but both times I've had to rework the sky because of it it's come out better than I planned. Some close ups:
The image is based on an account I read in this really cool book:
Which is a collection of available information on the occult at the turn of the century (no new age junk). There's a Scottish story about the Macdonalds of Glencoe, who were transporting the chief of their clan to an island for burial when his body was lost in a storm at sea. From that point forward the phantom funeral skiff would appear to members of the clan as a portent of doom anytime something tragic was about to happen to them. It was said to be accompanied by ghostly female mourners loudly singing a dirge.
The candles are "fetch-lights" or "ghost candles" which supposedly appeared above an unburied body or at the place where a body was lost at sea, or as warnings of death. There's a bit of information on them in the Encyclopedia of occultism and even more in this book from the 70's, which has an incredibly cool cover:
The term fetch is generally applied to a vision of a doomed person's doppelganger before their death, which typically appears to a loved one or to the person themselves (terrifying!). Additionally the Irish and Scottish banshee (bean sidhe and bean shith respectively) is very much related to the tone of the phantom funeral skiff, as banshees are typically attached to a particular clan and appear before deaths of members until the clan has died out. Apparently if the banshee is the spirit of someone close to the family who loved them they appear calmly to escort the damned person like an angel, but if they are the spirit of someone who hated the family they appear to scream gleefully because another member of the family is dead.
Now is a good time to mention the fact that I grew up afraid of banshees and still think about what I would do if one showed up screaming at my window. Related to the fetch, my aunt on the Italian side of my family once told me about the superstition that family members see a vision of a person about to die and told me she saw her great uncle with whom she shared a birthday in a dream the night he died. Needless to say this was horrifying to me.
Incidentally the title of this post comes from a bit of fisherman's weather lore my grandfather told me about when I was a kid.
Anyway. Back to my perpetual panic. Up next will probably be a Devil Whale. I also still have one more bone to paint on but it's been impossible to sand down.