Persephone

Persephone

So I hit a bit of a rut with my artwork during lockdown. Like most people, I think the strangeness of Covid threw me into a survival mode that involved playing a lot of Sims and being part of too many Zoom quizzes.Going outside for inspiration wasn’t really an option and so over the past 6 months as we’ve been coming out of the pandemic I’ve been trying to push my practice beyond my usual subjects and materials. And then I started to experiment with Posca pens. Game. Changer.

Shoes, glass, ceramics, nothing was safe. I was delighted when a good friend of mine asked me to customise a pair of docs for her wedding (keep your eyes peeled for that post!)

For the last few weeks though, I’ve been reading a lot about Greek mythology and started to incorporate those influences into my drawings. I decided a vase of mine was looking a little glum, so I broke out my pens and got to doodling. About a third of Lord of The Rings later (extended edition, I’m no quitter)I had a full illustration of Persephone, and a (kind of) new vase for my dried eucalyptus.

I’ve been trying to branch out into new elements when it comes to my illustration work; I’ve been drawing a lot from botanical reference books. Persephone seemed to be the perfect opportunity for a mixture of portraiture and plant life so I started furiously googling pomegranates and got started.

Queen of the underworld, goddess of Spring and eater of snacks, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken as his bride. In the immortal words of Julia Roberts, ‘big mistake, HUGE.’

Her mother and goddess of agriculture, Demeter, was ,understandably, not happy with this turn of events. She froze the earth and refused to let crops grow until her daughter was returned to her.

Unfortunately Persephone had already gotten hungry and eaten food from the Underworld, she was now forever tied to Hades realm. However Persephone’s new husband saw the mortal world dying and decided (regardless of how good for business this new famine was) that he would allow a compromise.

For part of the year Persephone would stay with him, and the earth would be cold and barren, but for the remainder, Persephone would be allowed to enter the mortal realm again to be with her mother. The weather would warm, crops would flourish and flowers would bloom again. This tale became the Greek’s way of explaining the changing of the seasons.

It’s also my very long winded way of telling you why there are so many pomegranates on this vase.

- Leanne


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