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Sallow Mushroom Elder by sphinxmuse Sallow Mushroom Elder by sphinxmuse
Like many of my finished pieces, this one began as a doodle using the supplies I had available at the time. Initially I did not have a subject matter in mind and was simply laying down some interesting forms and lines with the highlighter marker. The central portion of those forms became a wizened face, and the swirling area surrounding it was first a shroud, then hair, and finally an equally wizened tree. Due to the worn nature of the face and hands, the fungi, as well as the yellow tone of the marker, I tentatively titled this piece "Sallow Mushroom Elder." At that point in time it was still incomplete and I wasn't sure who this imposing figure was, I also had no idea if this figure was male or female.

Around the same time period I really began trying to investigate Teutonic faerylore. Resources on Celtic faerylore abound (there are some that seem to believe that the Celts have a sort of cultural monopoly on faeries, but this is definitely not the case), but I am also interested in learning about the creatures my ancestors may have recognized and honored. The Irish have been known to reroute new highways around trees and hedges sacred to the fae, Icelanders have been known to do likewise with stones sacred to the fae. The religions of the Germanic ruling classes have come down to us more preserved in the form of Eddas and Sagas than the beliefs and practices of commoners, but even in those we find the Light Elves residing in Alfheim and Dark Elves who reside in Svartálfaheim. Beyond the more "official" mythology, there is also strong faery presence in Teutonic folklore.

One faery of folklore that caught my attention was the Hylde-Moer ("Elder Mother") or Hylde-Vinde ("Elder Queen"), who is the guardian spirit of a certain tree, the Sambucus nigra. It was customary to request permission from this spirit before taking any of her wood. She required a compact of sorts before someone took the task of cutting her tree: "Ourd gal, give me of thy wood / An Oi will give some of moine / when Oi grows inter a tree" and "Lady Elder, give me some of thy wood; then I will give thee, also, some of mine when it grows in the forest" are variations on that promise. In some cases, this tree was regarded as a witch in plant form.

More to come!

Size: 5.5" by 6.75"
Media: black ballpoint pen, highlighter marker
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:iconivi-green:
Ivi-Green Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
good colour choice!
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:iconidakris2:
Idakris2 Featured By Owner May 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, amazing. I love it! Great artwork.
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011   Traditional Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconeisenaugen:
eisenaugen Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010
this is astounding! i really really really like your gallery! Blessed Be!:holly:
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:iconcelestial18:
celestial18 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
this is bad ass!
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:iconmonsterbrand:
MonsterBrand Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2009  Professional Photographer
I've featured this piece here: [link]

:heart:
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:iconanangelruns:
anangelruns Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2009
this is seriously beautiful
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2009   Traditional Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconlillygonzo:
LillyGonzo Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2008
Woa, this was wonderful!
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconkittykatlozzy:
kittykatlozzy Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2008
i lovethis piece the detail is amazing :-)
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:iconmirhiel:
mirhiel Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2008
Great deviation... if you like mushrooms come to see us... :gallery: [link]
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:iconarnivore:
arnivore Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2008
I love this! I like the choice of yellows and gray-blues, it's really atmospheric. The flow of lines is beautiful; the face looks so wise!
Reply
:iconcannibol:
cannibol Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2007
nice~
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:iconsilmuen:
Silmuen Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes it reminded me of an ancient looking queen presiding in the ancient forest :) Very very good image.. I love it.
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:iconzmxc:
zmxc Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2007
very nice!
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:iconrobertsloan2:
robertsloan2 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
This is so cool! Thank you for sharing your research too. I'm fascinated by Teutonic lore and I'm pagan with a Norse patron, so this aspect of your work is especially meaningful to me.
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:iconyaminokaze:
yaminokaze Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007
This is a fantastic interpretation of myth, the style is beautiful with a distinct ancient feel. I would have never guessed that a highlighter could produce such high quality, impressive art. The detail is superb, and the face of the tree is wonderfully sharp and individualized. She partially reminds me of the tree from pocahontas, perhaps because of the native appearance of the face.

It really is a wonderful work. (:
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007   Traditional Artist
:laughs: You're actually not the first person to comment that her face resembles Grandmother Willow from Disney's Pocahantas!
Reply
:iconartfreakguy:
artfreakguy Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice! and to think it started out as a doodle! :)
Reply
:icondarkailechild:
DarkaileChild Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
omg... this picture is so great. *-*
I love this work. It looks so realistic and your coloration is so amazing.
Wonderful work
Reply
:iconjeff1966:
Jeff1966 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007
Another really nice piece. Good Job. Faves again.
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:iconsleepingtrinity:
SleepingTrinity Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007  Hobbyist Artist
I love the immense detail in this, and the fact that the only colour is yellow really makes it stand out.
I usually don't like yellow, but in this case, it's beautiful.

Great job!
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007   Traditional Artist
Thank you :)
I'm not fond of yellow myself, but I just happened to have a yellow highlighter around, and -vóila!- yellow became a major element of the piece,
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:iconrainy-day-fox:
Rainy-Day-Fox Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007
Amazing! Everything blends so nicely. Normally I'm not to fond of yellow, but it works so well in this piece.
Reply
:iconrej-:
rej- Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007
I so much love this image! Thanks for the interesting and deep explaination as well. :+fav:
Reply
:iconquaddles-roost:
Quaddles-Roost Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great adds to my :+fav: :highfive:
Reply
:iconendless-spirit:
endless-spirit Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007   Traditional Artist
You are really a wondrous artist! Every pic you do breathes beauty and magic.
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007   Traditional Artist
Thank you very much, that is a lovely compliment :D
Reply
:iconskoane:
Skoane Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2007
Fantastic drawing...very creative...great artwork!!
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:iconfionabus:
Fionabus Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007
I love your art sooo much!
Reply
:icontiamat9:
tiamat9 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
Beautifully detailed and stylized. I love the form and structure. Gorgeous organic look. Complex and elegant composition.
Reply
:iconbiddylicious:
Biddylicious Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007
incredibly beautiful! i love it
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:iconsnowtato:
snowtato Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Crazy detailed and dramatic!

This is a wonderful piece. I'd be insane not to favorite it!
Reply
:iconevil-santa:
evil-santa Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007
I really wish the first thing I thought of wasn't the 'mother' tree from the Disney movie Pocahontas but I suppose a female face in a tree can only designed so many ways.

Reading about the thought process' and mythology inspiring this design was very interesting and makes me wish that my cultural background was more colourful. Interesting how so much fantastical literature finds roots in European folktale and myth.

The way you have left the fungii white admidst the yellow reminds me of some Tolkien art I have seen before. Lovely work with the texture.
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
Ah yes, I do remember the Willow Grandmother tree from Pocahontas. I think she looked more like a nice little granny who would pinch your cheeks (of she had 'arms'), I'm not sure if this treewoman looks as kindly...
Reply
:iconkrishna76:
krishna76 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
I really love the line work hear and the idea of a highlighter as a marker wow .my first thought weaves how did they get that shade of yellow ?
I also really like the way you cant really tell if its hair forming a cloak or if it’s a face in a tree
I know its not what you were really going for but the well at the base of the tree reminded me of the well at the base of yaggsdrasil the world tree , there the 3 Norns or faits wove the tapestry of our lives because the hands look like they could be weaving
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
I think I may have had Yggdrasil on the brain at the time of this drawing! I have also been reading some works by RJ Stewart recently and one if his UnderWorld meditations features an inverse tree where the roots emerge from a well, although I hadn't read that particular book at the time when I actually added the well to this image the similarities are interesting.
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:icontheglome:
TheGlome Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fantastic work. I generally dislike yellow, but it looks great here.
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:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
Actually, I'm really not fond of yellow myself, I just happened to have a yellow highlighter at my disposal :D
Reply
:icontheglome:
TheGlome Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Improvisation is always a good thing, I think. :p So is opportunism. Hahah.
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:iconagateophile:
agateophile Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007
I respect that you so casually use a highlighter like that. It's a subtle jab at the definition of high-quality art. High Five.
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Traditional Artist
I take pride in using cheap ballpoint pens (my favorite are Papermate Write Bros, you can buy a bag of them for 2 or 3 bucks), highlighter markers, and the occassional Crayola Crayons :)
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:iconglorifiedsnapshots:
glorifiedsnapshots Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2007   Photographer
wowwwww
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Submitted on
February 27, 2007
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