May 21, 2013

Spirits in the Trees

I heard a story that my Ukranian grandmother would take a month off from her farm duties once a year to sit with her friend Anna Babinka underneath her large fruit trees to watch the spirits fly out from the limbs and leaves. I don’t know whether they were simply passive
observers or there was an active shamanistic tree exorcism involved. Either way it conjures up some interesting images.

I thought of this story once more when I completed a sketch that I did in the Ukraine of an old woman sitting underneath trees. The old woman was actually vending fruit by the roadside and not observing the trees, but I decided to pay homage to my grandmother’s annual ritual and draw spirits amongst these trees. The creatures that are floating or flying around in the trees were taken largely from images of the same that I saw in a local museum in Zaparoze, a small town in the Eastern Ukraine where we were staying with my father’s cousin. The drawing is in charcoal with highlights and shadows in grey, white and black pastels. I made the spirits diaphanous, in keeping with their ethereal nature.

No comments: