(3) Portfolio of prints (work in progress)
(5) My Janus file: Some impressions of
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf

Monday, October 5, 2009


Print Size:  Approx. 30"x24"
Paper: Rice paper
Date:  1965
Edition:   5

I once made a print called Sea Beasts. This seems to be a good time to bring it out again!

It is a long and heartrending poem about a mother, who happens to be a 'Margaret', who loses her heart to a Merman. The drawing, its rhythmic character stemming from the fact that I was drawing to the music of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'.   It was a piece composed for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt which premiered in Oslow on February 24, 1876. (See footnote below re the Peer Gynt play)  The drawing became the multicolour woodcut seen above.

The lines that were borrowed from the end of the 5th stanza of Arnold's poem are as follows:

"Where the sea beasts ranged all round, Feed in the ooze of their pasture ground; Where the sea snakes coil and twine, Dry their mail and bask in the brine; Where great whales come sailing by, Sail and sail, with unshut eye, Round the world for ever and aye? When did music come this way? Children dear, was it yesterday?"

A fantasy play written in verse Peer Gynt tells of the adventures of the eponymous Peer.  The sequence illustrated by the music of 'In The Hall of the Mountain King' (Wikipedia) is when Peer sneaks into the King's castle. The piece then describes Peer's attempts to escape from the King and his trolls.

NB:  Thus, every aspect of the process of creating this piece, including a precis of the research above, contributed to the final Norwegian ambience of this print.   The rhythm of the music still rings in my ears.


  1. Gosh, I recognize the towers below.
    Cool pictures.
    I managed to get some vegetable suet at the English shop today and will save it for you. It's not beef which is better but might work in recipes.
    Did you see Weaver's post about English puddings last week?
    Yes, I'm liking the bigger pictures on Typepad.

  2. I definitely get a feeling of someone or something emerging, weed-strewn, from the depths. You've captured the sliminess of the whole thing.....artistically, of course!

    Can't help with the suet, I'm afraid.

  3. I have never seen the play but I read Peer Gynt while I was in college. I have Hall of the Mountain King on CD, a wonderful piece.

    The rose was about a hour in the making, setting up the shot and waiting for the right light. Also a little help from a garden hose until the droplets were just so.



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