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Of Keys and Riddles

This creature appeared in the margins of a notebook some time ago and decided he wanted to make his way into a more refined piece. I began this picture last year, and I nearly forgot about him until rediscovering him tucked into a pad of drawing paper after moving into my first apartment, which seems entirely fitting. He seems to delight in obscurity and even now after completing the piece, I cannot say I know a great deal more about him that when he first appeared as a simple pen sketch.

What I do know is this: He possesses keys to all the doors that ever were (and never were), including those subtle, metaphysical ones. His collection includes keys to rooms in buildings which have been demolished decades ago, keys to rusty vehicles moldering on the junk heap, keys to gates that no longer guard anything at all, and tiny keys to diaries whose pages have long since been torn out and burned away. No door, no portal is ever truly gone, he tells me.

In this image, his fingers originally grazed the key to the doorway between life and death, but we thought the depiction was a bit too literal. Now, petals from the flower of the dogwood tree dance before his grasp. Evidently each petal represents one of his profound riddles - he reminds me that not all keys can be held.

Media: Prismacolor colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic, sumi ink, ink, collage (for the dogwood petals and flower)
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© 2008 - 2021 sphinxmuse
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uudii's avatar
Hi there! :wave: Your beautiful work has been featured in my journal . :)
eisenaugen's avatar
you are amazing!
sphinxmuse's avatar
Thank you kindly :)
uudii's avatar
I love your works! :heart:
Sleetwealth's avatar
beautiful! Im happy to see some new art by you:D
myceliae's avatar
I.... buh...


This touches something deep.
sphinxmuse's avatar
Thank you, he's quite a curious creature.
mrs-jessicat's avatar
"Froud-like" and beautiful! Love the colours, texture and the look on his face. Nice to read your explanation too :) It adds a lot to the piece!

sphinxmuse's avatar
Thank you. I'm definitely a Froud fan ;)
mrs-jessicat's avatar
:nod: I'm looking forward to see more of your art, there where so many enchanting pieces. And it's good.. I can see that you're inspired by (for example) Froud, yet you have a very unique and genuine style.
I'm happy to have "found you" ;)

take care!
Farfalla-Dea's avatar
I adore this guy. He looks like he's about to ask me questions, but yet could answer questions for me.

And he's about to break into some mischievous smile.

Very well done. I like the look and feel of the colors and really enjoy the flower elements. It all flows together really well.
aoibhinn's avatar
Fabulous atmosphere !!
Elfin-Grrl's avatar
Love this! Stunning tones and colours :heart:
NebetSeta's avatar
He grew on me. I am ashamed to say at first, I didn't really like him... But that's going away and I'm really feeling like this has a lot of meaning in it. Nice job - and it wasn't your job I didn't like at first. Please, tell the story behind him. :)
sphinxmuse's avatar
You don't need to be ashamed. Not everyone is going to like everything I ever make. You have to come to terms with that as an artist. Now, if you had posted some sort of ridiculously nasty comment about it (as opposed to a reasonable critique) that would be a different story :D
NebetSeta's avatar
I know, and I know that it's only a picture, but it bugs me because I feel like I'm judging based on stupid things. I've been judged all my life by my looks (not positively) and it hurts a lot. There is just something in this guys appearance that - I don't like. Anyhow, it is a good picture, as I have yet to see anything that I would say you didn't do good. Eh - I'm probably really not making sense or poorly trying to cover up my feelings. It's not you, as I said; I just feel bad because it's based on looks alone. Anyhow, :hug: I appreciate you understanding. :)
sphinxmuse's avatar
He does have ...unusual... features, and that was intentional. I'm sure they're not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay by me :) It makes sense to me that his appearance could be a bit disconcerting, his character is a bit disconcerting too!
NebetSeta's avatar
Well, I appreciate it. :hug: I don't know and have thought that he reminds me of someone... I can't place the finger on it though. Anyhow, I appreciate you understanding. :pray:
PaintedOnMySoul's avatar
:clap: :w00t:

Please forgive my fav and run .. but playing catchup after having company for a couple of weeks, :heart:Kat
sphinxmuse's avatar
It's quite alright. I'm very guilty of that myself!
Ravensrow's avatar
I like this piece on many levels. Very imaginative. Must fave:)
nars's avatar
His face looks a little bit strange but interesting. The colouring is fantastic!
woggermonster's avatar
I love how everything integrates with each other, and holy crap you must be patient with colored pencils. XD
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