Muse du Jour

My name is Marianne Plumridge. I am an artist of mythic fantasy works and fine art images. I also satisfy my creative muse with sewing, cooking, writing and reading. These are my thoughts and adventures with whichever muse drives me each day. You can find more of my art at

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, December 08, 2006

Celtic Rhythms and Imagery

A little over two years ago, I came to a turning point in my artistic career. To a point, I had no career: nothing with any continuity or satisfaction. Just painting things I thought people at Science Fiction Convention art shows might appreciate enough to buy - or re-licensing to magazines, etcetera. I felt like I’d sold out, and had no idea how to again find the creative path I should be on. Where was my creative self hibernating, my real ‘art’? It felt like I hadn’t seen it in some years. I lay awake one night, looking meditatively at the darkened ceiling and asked the universe at large “How do I get back in touch with my painting? How do I find it again?” From out of the ether, I clearly heard in my mind…”Go back to the beginning…” Just a bit gob-smacked, I thought about where the beginning might be. It had begun, of course, when I was thirteen years old, and my beloved creative mentor, my Grandma Plumridge had taught me how to paint in oils like a real artist. My memories of those long afternoons in the 1970s reverberated, and I decided then and there to discard the later mediums and go back to my grass-roots lessons on painting in oils – with a small palette of colours. Determined to forget some of the shallow paintings I’d attempted and abandoned, I felt something more intrinsic call to me. Something more earthy and worthy of oil paint than I’d previously thought of. In honour of my Grandma, and her strong Scots heritage, I turned to the Celtic archetypes and imagery that had been filtering in and out of my imagination for some years. The following images are the result of that journey…

'Greenman – Mask'....4x4”, Alkyd/Oil, 2004

'Greenman – Disgorger'....5x5”, Alkyd/Oil, 2004

These folate heads, commonly referred to as The Greenman are only two of several styles of pre-christian nature archetypes found carved and painted on historic buildings all over Europe. The Greenman is the Guardian and Revealer of mysteries. As the Mask, he is linked to drama and the world of spirits, and of what lies behind death. As the Disgorger, he speaks of the mysteries of creation in time, of the hidden sources of inspiration, and of the dark nothingness from which we are born and are returned to upon death.

Below are the images of a more ambitious project: Cernunnos – Lord of the Forest. He is also a facet of the Greenman legacy. This is painted quite a bit larger than the first Greenman paintings. I like painting small because of the intimacy of feeling I get when I work on such a reduced scale. Larger paintings are always a huge challenge – and not all get completed.

'Cernunnos – Drawing'....14x18”, Pastel on Paper, 2004


'Cernunnos'....14x18”, Oil, 2004


Other divergences into Celtic imagery include:

'Green Spirit'....11x14”, Oil, 2004

'Sad Dryad'....11x14”, Oil, 2004

This was painted after visit to Silver Falls in Oregon in 2004. I felt such a wonderful connection to the woodlands there. Note the wood-grain skin, lichen hair, the feminine orchid that lives on trees, ivy décolleté, and sap tear.


'The Oak King'....11x14”, Oil, 2004


'The Holly King'....11x14”, Oil, 2004

The Oak King represents the Summer and the Holly King represents the Winter. In Celtic lore, they fight each other twice a year – at the solstices - to become the consort of the Goddess. Their life/death/rebirth cycle symbolizes the turning of the seasons. Their manifestations were semi-complicated ritualistic semblances of the waxing and waning sun each year, the planting and harvest, and home and community, material and spiritual survival of communities. And oh, so much more.

Other influences have shifted my vision away from the Celtic world this past year or so, but recently I have been inspired to return to work on my “Cosmic Greenman”. The masked Green spirit set amongst a nebula of my favourite colours. But that is for another post. :-D So, until then…



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