Tag Archives: folklore

The Ratter

14 Mar
cath mis mai

cath mis mai

I’m tired and haven’t had a chance to do any drawing today – I’ve been slaving over a computer since this morning so I’m blogging a drawing of Sparta Puss I did a while back. She’s a fanatical hunter and she’s one of those cats who brings their prey home alive and sets the unfortunate creatures loose. My late father-in-law, a first language Welsh speaker, called her a “cath mis Mai” or a month-of-May cat and said that it was an old wives tale in Wales that kittens born after the month of May would bring home live prey, but kittens born before that would not. He said that his parents would always ask when a cat was born when they were getting a new one, and would refuse a “cath mis Mai”. I haven’t heard this from anyone else and can’t find any reference to it on the Internet so I wonder how widespread it was?

The Hidden People

8 Dec

This is definitely my last blog about my recent trip to Iceland, probably. Our most excellent guide, Olafur, told us about the hidden people, the Huldufólk,   supernatural beings who live in rock formations and only rarely show themselves to humans. Many Icelanders believe in their existence.

One day, we went off road in giant jeeps to the Gigjokull glacier. As we drew near the ‘tongue’ of the glacier I noticed a vast snow-covered fissure in the icy cliff which clearly had faces staring at our vehicles across the landscape. I kept pointing them out to Husb, but he couldn’t see what I was talking about. I snapped some photos through the bus window and when I got home and put them onto the computer, I could clearly see the faces, still staring out at me. Here they are below; the scale is enormous, people are like tiny ants at the bottom of the cliff.

adjust 2

I rarely work from photos but this one really inspired me, and spooked me out a bit as well, if I’m honest. I’ve spent the past week working on the piece below. It’s size A2 on paper primed with rabbit-skin glue and coloured randomly with thin washes of yellow, red and blue acrylic paint. I’ve worked up the image in black and white oil bars.

huldenfolk 2

The faces are so obvious to me, I can see four, dominated by a rather imperious woman. There are many legends about their origin. The one that interests me most is that they’re descended from Lilith, the first wife of the biblical Adam, who ran off with the fallen angel, Samael, because Adam was a bit rubbish. In the Jewish tradition she had many children by Samael, including the Lilin, her daughters reputed to steal newborn babies, but I hadn’t come across this Icelandic version before. This was very hard to draw, it took ages to make the faces appear, almost as if they wanted to remain hidden. Spooky.

That’s the last about Iceland, unless I can ever save up enough to go back. Many thanks to Discover The World for putting together such a fantastic adventure.

%d bloggers like this: