Painting the Magic of Loch Lomond
The beauty and mystical feel to Loch Lomond makes for the perfect setting for a summoning spell. Couple that with the rich history of Scotland and the tragic stories of its “witches” and you’ve got a whole backstory formed before you can even lay paint on paper.
My First Witch Painting
Dabbling in Magical Realism is fairly new to me. When I was in my early 20s, I went through a phase of drawing fairies with watercolour and ink pencils (Derwent, of course) which led to a spate of straight forward commissions, but with fairies thrown in on top. Through a series of unfortunate events and a relationship I didn’t see coming, I even ended up with having one of those paintings back in my possession: Ophelia with Fairies was, at the time of painting, both a challenge and an excuse to study a master. It took 90 hours to complete and I still felt that I missed out an awful lot of details.
There’s nothing wrong with fairy paintings, of course – in fact, I have some planned into my pipeline. But I’m interested in the mysticism of women and the feminine in general, so closing commissions to concentrate on my portfolio of magical paintings has allowed me to experiment. Summoning Spell was my first witch painting and I didn’t want to go with your bog standard black, pointed hat and black cat familiar… not just yet anyway.
Scotland is My Favourite Place
I absolutely adore Scotland. Edinburgh is my favourite place – the beautiful buildings steeped in history and full of the ghosts of the past. In fact, so obsessed have I been with the place, that I created a witch dunking painting, called Devil’s Mark, based on the legends of the witches of Scotland and their harrowing past, but with a slightly more hopeful back story. Water and witches has become a bit of an unintentional theme for me – as I mentioned in my blog post for Woodhead Tunnel, I first painted water back in 2004. Maybe sitting on the ley lines with those ghost stories swirling around in my head was a portent of what my career as an artist would become. Mermaids and sirens and the mythology around them have become a feature.
Loch Lomond has always appealed to me, and though I haven’t made it there yet, I find myself staring at pictures of that stunning scenery. It’s just magical. So I wanted my first witch painting to have a Loch Lomond-style setting. A great body of water with a mountain backdrop and a slightly wild feel. I added a stone to the water for my witch to perform her spell on – if you look closely, you can see the pentacle inscribed there; a symbol of nature-based religion. I also wanted there to be flaming candles in the picture, but when I researched floating candles decided they would get lost in the water and overwhelmed by the vastness of the surroundings, so I decided to create floating gas lamps and made them copper to add a flash of orange colour to the calm greens and blues of the scenery.
I’d already decided that my witch had to be wearing a long, white gown, although I left it ambiguous as to whether it’s billowing because of the brisk Scottish breeze or the spell that she is casting. She holds her arms clasped skywards and she wears anklets on both legs. I wanted to create a feeling of strength and sexuality, but without being distractingly sexual, so while the dress is revealing, there is no actual nudity.
Purchasing and Prints
The original painting of Summoning Spell is available to purchase direct from my website, or via Etsy or Saatchi. 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 Summing Spell painting is available to buy direct from my website.
Summoning Spell is available in all kinds of printing formats and across all clothing and home decor products on Redbubble.