The Fisherman's Son (Feathers of Tales IV)2020
Ink and watercolour on acrylic paper. 405 x 508 mm (16 x 20 in), 2020.
"Well" said the Gruagach "you won't see your son to-day. At noon-to-morrow I'll put a whistle in my mouth and call together all the birds in my place, and they'll come. Among others will be twelve doves. I'll put my hand in my pocket, this way, and take out wheat and throw it before them on the ground. The doves will eat the wheat, and you must pick your son out of the twelve. If you find him, you'll have him; if you don't, you'll never have him again." (From "Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland" by Jeremiah Curtin)
It wasn't easy to pick one tale where the white dove plays a major role, but I chose "The Fisherman's Son and The Gruagach of Tricks" because it had these typical folk tale elements in it that everyone knows: a fisherman, a boy, a "man of high degree" as a villain, and magic, and the dove.
In the painting I wanted to create that gloomy atmosphere that folk tales have, when you know in the end everyone will live happily ever after, but the story is scary, and the fate of the heroes is to suffer and go through trials. I might not tell you a big spoiler when I say the fisherman will save his boy, but the route to that moment is full of darkness and hardships.
This is #4 in my Feathers of Tales series, based on birds of Irish folklore. Fun fact: the model I used is a common grey pigeon you see in every city, but I "bleached" her while painting.
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