Over the weekend I finished what will probably be the last of the medium sized (this is a loose term, medium is pretty small for me) paintings for my show. It's a Sirin, or maybe an Alkonost, Russian half bird women, not unlike Greek Sirens. The image appears very often in embroidery and paintings and was later appropriated into Russian Orthodox iconography. The descriptions range a lot and I think that's probably because of the fact that the lore has changed as it moved from pagan to christian beliefs. Here are a few excerpts about them:
"These half-women half-birds are directly based on the Greek myths and later folklore about sirins.They were usually portrayed wearing a crown or with a nimbus. Sirins sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off."
"The Alkonost is described as having an upper half in the shape of a young woman and the lower half in the shape of a huge bird. She has a counterpart known as the Sirin and is said to be one of th hosts that lives in the land of the dead called Rai. Her task is to torment the souls of the damned by wailing her fearful songs and giving eternal punishment"
My painting is actually a fairly traditional representation:
The headpiece she's wearing in my painting is a kokoshnik , a traditional Russian headdress. There are hundreds of different kinds and they're all really cool. I recommend a google image search. A related note, the headdress usually included a cap on the back to hold the woman's hair, because as in many cultures, loose hair was a sign of loose morality and an invitation to evil. This is why female evil spirits are all described as having loose, or unbraided hair. The bells in the background are a reference to people using them and other loud noises to scare off Sirins.
As usual the real color lies somewhere between the scan and the photograph. I used metallic gold paint which really doesn't scan correctly. Whatever. I'm tired.
In other news, since I know a lot of people who read my blog listen to metal and weird shit I'm just going to suggest you check out Sal's records . Tons of good stuff he is very sadly selling after being denied student loans (after a bazillion years of hard work). He's an awesome guy with cool records so maybe you could bid on something? Pretty sure he'll be adding more too.
Also after a lot of pestering on my part my friend Ryann finally made a website for her work. She does amazing creepy stuff that's nearly impossible to capture in a photograph as it is screenprinted layers of glass over top of photographs. People standing in bleak apocalyptic landscapes. Super cool, and grim. Check out Ryann's website and see her awesome work!