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This piece represents a personal impression of a genius loci or 'spirit of place'. I've sensed this particular faery many times while walking along the shore of the lake near my home. She tends to be elusive, somewhat sullen, but always watchful of her territory. Like many other mermaids (and lakemaids, for that matter) in world myth, she possesses a dangerous side, and her murky waters have been known to lure men to their death.



Even though the lake itself is man-made, I do not believe that she is a new inhabitant of the area; she very likely resided in the immediate vicinity when only the stream, which was dammed to create the lake, ran through the valley. I think it is very possible though that her haunt expanded as a result of the building of the lake. The larger body of water allows her a greater vantage point from which to guard and observe. As a creature of the dark, weed-choked waters of the lake, it seemed entirely befitting that she revealed herself as a CatfishWoman in this image. Specifically, her form and coloring are based on the Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), a species which actually does live in the lake. Sleek and scaleless, she is adept at slipping below the surface without leaving a solitary ring in her wake. Interestingly, another common name for this fish is "lady cat."



While in the middle of writing a book review, at a time when I had temporarily set this piece aside with only the foreground and midground completed since I couldn't determine the proper background setting, a strange verse suddenly came into my head:
    follow the Catfish Woman
    to the edge of the ravine
    but beware the ring of trout lilies
    all is not as it seems

In European folklore, rings of fertile grass or mushrooms were said to mark the circular paths of Faery revelry. That same body of folklore also cautions against tresspassing the boundary of a fairy ring or otherwise disturbing it. People who dared to pass into the ring sometimes never reemerged on the other side, and if they did return to the land of mortals it was often as great cost, for time passes strangely in Faery: a youth could step into the circle, but a haggard old man steps out; someone strong and able could enter, but the one who exits could be withered and lame. Scientifically speaking, the phenomenon historically called fairy rings are the result of a spreading fungus which grows outwards in a radial fashion. This little rhyme finally gave me the inspiration to finish the piece. In this case, the boundary of the faery ring is marked with Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum). These flowers bloom in early spring at the actual locations represented in the mid- and background of this piece.



A few years ago, a local artist had created an impromptu sculpture out of driftwood in the lake which appeared from the road high above to be the silhouette of some large serpentine creature gracefully arching its back above the surface while its head curled gently out of the ripples to peer around. It reminded me a great deal of the famous photographs of the supposed Loch Ness Monster, and based on that similarity, I personally dubbed the sculpture the "Nock Ness Monster." Unfortunately, the sculpture was dismantled/destroyed some time ago. While attempting to do some research on my area, I stumbled across the webpage of a storyteller who used to live by the lake, and in one of his stories he mentions the elusive Nock Ness Monster:

"As I leave the lily pads behind, I notice swirls of muddy water rising from the bottom alongside my kayak. My paddle must be coming close enough to the bottom to cause this disturbance. As I pay more attention the swirls are just off the bow, ahead of where my paddle moves the water. I'm not sure what the cause of this can be, until I catch a glimpse of lake bottom, and of a twenty inch catfish that is stirring the silt as it touches down in its search for supper. At about this same time, something large almost breeches the surface just ahead of my craft, actually pushing the filamentous weeds here above the surface. Another catfish? Or the Nock Ness monster?"


I do not know whether this man had seen the sculpture and had come to similar conclusions about it or if he too sensed some Other Presence in the area, but apparently the Nock Ness Monster lives outside of my own head and is known to others in some guise. It's especially intriguing to me that this author associates the Nock Ness with catfish. I wonder if my CatfishWoman and the Nock Ness Monster are one and the same creatures, perceived through varying lenses. Considering her ambivalent nature, it wouldn't surprise me if some people might view her as a monster of sorts.



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Daily Deviation

Given 2008-01-03
"sphinxmuse researches their pieces quite extensively and I feel that The CatfishWoman shows that the most. A great interpretation of what she describes in her description, this piece is plain amazing." ( Suggested by brennennn and Featured by stigmatattoo )
:iconchuckwhat:
chuckwhat Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Sphinxmuse.
Totally unique. Well drawn. The combination of fish and woman is thought provoking.
Reply
:iconredweatheredmuse:
redweatheredmuse Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2009
she is beautiful.
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009   Traditional Artist
Thank you.
Reply
:iconredweatheredmuse:
redweatheredmuse Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009
yer welcome :)
Reply
:iconelfin-grrl:
Elfin-Grrl Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Hello :wave:
I've featured your work in my journal, honouring my fave women artists...Hope that's ok? :) :heart:
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you, that is awesome :D
Reply
:iconleathalcoupe:
LeathalCoupe Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Student
such a masterpiece
Reply
:iconsinnesloschen:
Sinnesloschen Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
Its really beautiful... and I dont know why always a lot of people blame nudity of something inmoral... in fact, one of the best way to really show yourselve, is naked...

A great work
Reply
:iconyuraofthehairfan:
YuraofthehairFan Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
cute idea nice job XD
Reply
:iconmcjamie:
McJamie Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I am in love with the combination of the fish head with the woman head. This is absolutely lovely and very imaginative! I love the yellow color scheme!
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you, it was fun to try to incorporate the features of both fish and woman.
Reply
:iconkangel:
kangel Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   General Artist
Really interesting image! Excellently excuted too! Great job!
Reply
:iconmarcie4real:
marcie4real Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I keep clicking back to this wondering what I can say about it.

It's so interesting, really. Definitely an interpretation of a mermaid I've never seen before, and I've seen a lot of "anthro" creatures.

Is it colored pencil?
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
This piece was primarily created using colored pencils. I believe I may have used watercolor as a base.
Reply
:iconmarcie4real:
marcie4real Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2008
Really impressive. :D
Reply
:iconwonderlandalli:
wonderlandalli Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Your story reminds me of my feelings about Toledo Bend Resevoir in Texas/Louisiana (on the border). It's also man made. As a child I used to be compelled to build little bark shrines for the "lady in the lake" :)
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
I'm glad to know that there are other strange folk like myself who sense "ladies of the lakes" and the desire to recognize them :)
Reply
:icongleamchaser:
Gleamchaser Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
So very, very awesome....
Reply
:iconkinamorii:
KinaMorii Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is gorgeous.

I love the browns you used and all the research that went into this is just stunning. ^_^
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you. The color scheme is directly derived from the landscape, and brown is very predominant.
Reply
:iconkinamorii:
KinaMorii Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome.

Brown is one of my favorite colors. ^_^
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
I love brown too. Practically my whole wardrobe right now is brown and other earth tones. XD
Reply
:iconkinamorii:
KinaMorii Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
browns and greens and blues are basically my wardrobe.
Sometimes I use pink or red to mix it up a bit. XD
Reply
:iconbodang:
bodang Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
wow! :wow: The details is amazing; the trees behind her, the coloring of the fish helm(?) and the spots on her neck! The description is also so profound! This REALLY deserves a DD :clap:
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you kindly :)
Reply
:iconbodang:
bodang Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
you're welcome! :hug:
Reply
:iconviridianeye:
viridianeye Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I love the catfish element on her face. Gorgeous colors and technique. Congrats on your DD! :+fav:
Reply
:iconsailingbreezes:
SailingBreezes Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is a beautifully made piece :) The research you've put into it makes it even more evocative. :+fav:
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you very much. I too feel that the descriptions can add something to the piece.
Reply
:iconsbcuknowme:
sbcuknowme Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Student General Artist
i love how you tied this wonderful story into your drawing ^^ both your art and the description are full of detail and it makes the reader/viewer even closer to the scene. congrats on the DD too, its well deserved!! :D
Reply
:icontehtama-chan:
TehTama-chan Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
Absolutly gorgeous =]
I love the story behind it
very inspiring
Reply
:icondawnsartstudio:
dawnsartstudio Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
the 'gods of place' definitely deserve homage. Well done, indeed. :)
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thank you. I would love to see more artistic homages to the Gods of place.
Reply
:iconflamingbambi:
flamingbambi Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
very beautifully drawn. the colouring is also fantastic!

you have a great creativity :)
Reply
:iconimnotcrazy1:
IMNOTCRAZY1 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
shouldn't this have a filter or something?
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
I'm sorry, I honestly didn't think it would be offensive since it is not context of an explicity sexual nature.
Reply
:iconimnotcrazy1:
IMNOTCRAZY1 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I'm not offended. <.< >.> *pst. the coast is clear* They're just strict around here.
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Oh, I see. I'm surprised they would allow a DD on something without a filter if that is the case though.
Reply
:iconsuperpower-pnut:
superpower-pnut Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I suppose I'd be sullen too, if my stream was dammed up without permission. Ah, the trouble we cause in the name of ';progress'...
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
Good point. I hadn't thought of it in quite that way.
Reply
:icondemetrithegreek:
DemetriTheGreek Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Student General Artist
she IS indeed very pretty.
Reply
:iconfaerea:
faerea Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Bravo! Great technique and atmosphere in this one!
Reply
:iconopiumtraum:
opiumtraum Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
Wonderful image &, uh, documentary! I found myself thinking of a small pond that my friends & I used to be drawn to when I was young. We dared a volley of rock salt from the owners of the property. The pond over time has filled in & disappeared, which seems like a mirror for our relationship with things wondrous...we get older & they slowly disappear- reminds me of a line from Horslips (sp)..."turning sideways to the sun."
Reply
:iconmirhiel:
mirhiel Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
:judge:
Reply
:icongece:
gece Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
very interesting background story. excellent work.
Reply
:iconterminalcondition:
terminalcondition Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
Wonderful colours and organics.
Reply
:icongummysquid:
gummysquid Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
I am in complete awe. You capture her stunning beauty perfectly, the shading of this picture is beautiful. Everything looks round and soft, and it just looks as if it was meant to be.
Reply
:iconoddfacade:
OddFacade Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
Very good skill, worth a DD, but it also needs to be marked mature.
Reply
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
I have remedied the status of this image with a mature content warning.
Reply
:iconkittykittymeow:
KittyKittyMeow Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
beautiful :clap: Her skin looks so real!
This is a real work of art :'3
Reply
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Submitted on
January 4, 2006
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Mature Content
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