Raise A Stone For All To See, Runes Carved To My Memory

Hey hey!
This will be my last post of the new year no doubt. Over 40 posts in the past year and virtually all of them included artwork I did so I can assume I managed to accomplish a good amount of work in 2010. I'm feeling pretty good about that right now, which takes the sting off of the reality that I am currently pretty behind on work for my show. Anyway, down to that business, I finished the second whale bone:

I decided to paint this guy after reading about a lake serpent described on the northernmost standing rune stone in Sweden:
This stone stood by the lake in Storsjön and supposedly depicted a serpent called Storsjöodjuret bound head to tail by a ribbon. In various stories the serpent was bound by the ribbon or by the runestone itself trapped in the lake circled head to tail around the island Frösön waiting to be freed to wreck havoc on the inhabitants.
It reminded me of the Midgard serpent and the Ouroboros in that it was a serpent coiled head to tail and that its reawakening meant doom for the inhabitants. There were also stories about the origin of the monster one of which involves it's creation by trolls.

"A long, long time ago two trolls, Jata and Kata, stood on the shores of the Great-Lake brewing a concoction in their cauldrons. They brewed and mixed and added to the liquid for days and weeks and years. They knew not what would result from their brew but they wondered about it a great deal. One evening there was heard a strange sound from one of their cauldrons. There was a wailing, a groaning and a crying, then suddenly came a loud bang. A strange animal with a black serpentine body and a cat-like head jumped out of the cauldron and disappeared into the lake. The monster enjoyed living in the lake, grew unbelievably larger and awakened terror among the people whenever it appeared. Finally, it extended all the way round the island of Frösön, and could even bite its own tail. Ketil Runske bound the mighty monster with a strong spell which was carved on a stone and raised on the island of Frösön. The serpent was pictured on the stone. Thus was the spell to be tied till the day someone came who could read and understand the inscription on the stone."

What's stranger is that in modern times the Storsjöodjuret has entered the realm of modern cryptozoology with people attempting to record evidence of it's existence. It was even supposedly added to the endangered species list for a brief time. There are a couple of websites devoted to the cause. Here it is:
um yeah...totally
In designing this particular creature I looked for images of viking ships and torc serpents and some celtic knotwork. Weirdly enough while I was home for the holidays I found some old instructional books on celtic spiral and lettering work that were my grandmother's:
It's always exciting to me to find something that belonged to her because we shared so many interests so I'm happy to have these, especially the lettering guide. As a person with the utmost appreciation for ridiculous life-wasting tedium and detail I can really appreciate stuff like the Book of Kells and other illuminated manuscripts and I think its unfortunate that most people only see this stuff as it has been appropriated into countless bad tattoos.

Oh also speaking of the Ouroboros , check out this REAL LIFE one I found out about yesterday:

"The Armadillo Lizard possesses an uncommon antipredator adaptation, in which it takes its tail in its mouth and rolls into a ball when frightened. In this shape it is protected from predators by the thick, squarish scales along its back and the spines on its tail."

One more thing and then I'll shut up. So, it turns out I collect Tarot cards. It wasn't really intentional but I kept picking up decks with artwork I like and it's gotten to the point where I think it's officially a collection. Mike got me the most amazing deck for Christmas, the Russian St. Petersburg deck illustrated by the Russian miniature painter Yuri Shakov.
What's especially amazing about this deck is the fact that all of the illustrations were painted TO SCALE, meaning the center images were painted at a size that is rarely bigger than 2 1/2 inches. Totally insane. I mean, I think I paint small until I look at stuff like this! I took photos of some of my favorite ones:

Happy New Year, creeps!

1 comment:

Amy Duncan said...

holy shit jeanne, that bone looks unreal!! that third pic where you've matched the broken part of the bone with the pattern on the serpent's back...amazing. wish I could see it in person.