Siren Call – Painting a Water Witch
Sirens are creatures of Greek mythology – traditionally they appear in the shape of beautiful women who lure sailors to their deaths with their singing. They’re often depicted with wings or musical instruments, and in more modern day settings, as mermaids.
As mythology goes, the sirens seem to get overlooked in this modern day and age. Mermaids have remained popular, probably due in part to Disney, and this new obsession with unicorns is beginning to drive me up the wall somewhat. Especially given that I’m bisexual and people seem to think there’s some kind of correlation between bisexuality and unicorns. But sirens seem to have dropped off the radar slightly, as with many of the creatures of mythology. I believe there’s a film called Sirens that presents these creatures as half woman, half fish, but it feels like confusion over the mermaid myth. There was also the Red Dwarf* episode, Psirens, in which the creatures take on the internal desires of the crew members of the mining ship – I love that interpretation and Red Dwarf is still one of my all time favourite TV shows for the obvious reason that it’s a charmingly self-deprecating comedy with relatable and inherently flawed characters, but also because each episode explores a different science fiction or fantasy disaster that needs to be overcome. Back to Reality actually deeply affected me and I think my love of dystopian fiction came from that one episode that I would watch over and over as a kid.
Having already created a mermaid painting that was calm and seemingly benevolent, I wanted to paint another water animal that had entirely the opposite effect. And I wanted to give it a contemporary feel – a more modern mythology painting.
Again, the painting involves water, which has become a bit of a motif in my work. Although in this case, the water has a glowing aspect to it, which makes it seem slightly soupier than the babbling river in Woodhead Tunnel or the gentle rippling aqua of Florida Springs.
Sensual, but Not Overtly Sexual
Sirens symbolise temptation and desire, so I wanted my painting to be sensual. But I didn’t want it to be massively sexual – anyone who knows my work will know that I don’t shy away from sex, but I wanted to create a more animalistic feel in this painting – something halfway between a beautiful woman and a strange creature.
I used the pink and purple colours to represent femininity, and I wanted the bursts of yellow to look like light – electricity crackling from her hands across water like an electric eel; dangerous and deadly, but also intriguing. Her hand has been distorted by the water, almost as if she is melting into it and becoming liquid herself. I made her eyes slightly larger than life to emphasise her feral feel and her gaze is filled with desire, but whether it’s sexual desire or hunger is up to the viewer.
Purchasing and Prints
The original painting, Siren Call, is available in my shop and you can also get your mitts on prints, merchandise and downloads. Saatchi is your best bet for luxury canvas and framed prints, whereas Redbubble absolutely nail merchandise like clothing, stationery and home decor, as well as more budget prints and greetings cards. You can also download hi-res, print ready versions of this piece from the shop and make your own prints in as many formats as you like.
The original painting of Siren Call is available on the website.
Siren Call, water witch painting is available in all kinds of printing formats and across all clothing and home decor products on Redbubble.
Luxury framed or canvas prints are available from Saatchi.