Categories
Myths and Legends

Undine (1811)

Cover of Undine, Told to the Children by Mary Macgregor, illustrated by Katharine Cameron (London: T. C. & E. C. Jack)

     Undine or Ondine is a dark fairy tale novella, written by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, that was published in German in 1811. The novella was such a big success, that it was eventually translated into other languages.

     The story begins with Knight Huldbrand is in the woods and comes across a cabin. He’s welcomed by the fisherman and his wife and is treated as a guest in their home. Knight Hulbrand meets their vivacious eighteen-year old foster daughter, Undine. Then the fisherman tells Knight Hulbrand the story of how his daughter had drowned and that very same day, Undine had appeared on their doorstep. And how the fisherman and his wife, had raised Undine as their own. 

     Undine is intrigued why Hulbrand was in the woods, so he tells her how he was smitten with the Duke’s foster daughter, Bertalda. While Bertalda and Hulbrand flirted, she gives him her glove and dares him to explore the dark forest. Hulbrand agrees and ventures into the forest, where he encounters dark spirits and creatures, and eventually finds himself at the Fisherman’s cottage. 

Illustration of Undine by Arthur Rackham (1909)

Everyone is stranded inside the house, after a violent storm and flood occurs. During this chaotic time, Hulbrand and Undine fall in love. Undine has a very precocious personality and at times, appears to have control over the weather. A priest named Father Heilmann is thrown overboard and finds himself at the fisherman’s house. Soon after, Hulbrand asks the priest to marry him and Undine immediately. Father Heilmann agrees to marry the young couple.

The day after the wedding, and Undine’s demeanor is different than it was before. She’s softer, kind, and gentle. Undine explains to her new husband, Hulbrand, that elemental beings exist and that she is in fact, a water spirit. She then goes on to explain that water spirits do not have souls, and can only obtain a soul by marrying a human. Undine further explains, that her parent’s sent her to go live among humans, in the hopes that she can gain a soul that way and that her marriage to Hulbrand has fulfilled that promise. Undine fears that Hulbrand will abandon her, once he learns the truth about her, but instead, he promises to never leave her. 

The flood begins to recede, so Hulbrand and Undine decide to depart to Hulbrand’s home. During their journey, they come across Kuhleborn, a shape-shifting water spirit and Undine’s uncle. Undine becomes frightened and begs her uncle to leave them alone, so they can proceed on their journey. Hulbrand attempts to attack Kuhleborn, but Kuhleborn vanishes into the waterfall. 

Illustration of Undine by Arthur Rackham (1909)

When Hulbrand arrives home, he’s greeted with a warm welcome and so is Undine. Bertalda is deeply upset to discover that Hulbrand is married to another woman and decides to become friends with Undine. One day, Kuhleborn comes to visit Undine and tells her that Bertalda real parents are her foster parents, the fisherman and his wife. Bertalda is the child, that they had believed to have drowned, but had not. Bertalda is devastated and humiliated to learn that her real family is poor and that she isn’t of noble descent. She publicly humiliates Undine, by calling her a witch. Undine’s theory is proven correct by Bertalda birthmarks. 

After learning of Bertalda’s horrible behavior towards Undine, both her foster parents and her biological parents disown her, leaving her destitute and desperate. Bertalda goes to Undine and begs for forgiveness. Undine accepts her apology and allows her to be remain a guest at her home, where sparks fly once more between Bertalda and Hulbrand, leading to tensions and drama amongst Undine, Bertalda, and Hulbrand. 

It doesn’t take long, for Undine to order the servants to seal the fountain in the castle’s courtyard. Bertalda is upset by this order, since she uses the fountain to gaze at her reflection and complains to Hulbrand. Hulbrand demands that Undine gives him an explanation as to why she’s closing off the fountain. Undine explains that she’s protecting the family from Kuhleborn and warns Hulbrand that he should never anger her near water or her family will take her away from him. Hulbrand reluctantly agrees to follow Undine’s commands. 

Angered and humiliated by Undine, Bertalda runs away and Hulbrand chases after her. Kuhleborn shape shifts and plays tricks on them. He is almost successful in drowning them, until Undine swoops in to the save the day, by calming the water and carries them home. 

The three of them live in peace for awhile with no drama or near death experiences. They decide to take a vacation along the Danube to Vienna, where Kuhleborn torments them continuously out at river with storms, waves, and treacherous apparitions. The servants begin to suspect that there is something magical about Undine, since she’s able to stop the attacks. Hulbrand becomes resentful and scared of Undine. When a water spirit steals Bertalda gold necklace, Undine goes into the water and gives Bertalda a necklace made of coral to replace the one she’s lost. Hulbrand is disgusted with the gift and tosses it into the sea, believing that Undine is colluding with evil spirits and that she is sorceress. Undine knew that Hulbrand would never love her as a water spirit, so she disappears into the river and warns him to remain faithful to her. 

Hulbrand grieves the loss of losing Undine, and is comforted by Bertalda, who he decides to marry. Hulbrand goes to Father Heilmann and asks him to marry him and Bertalda. Meanwhile, Father Heilmann is receiving messages from Undine and begs Hulbrand not to take another wife. Hulbrand begins to have dreams of Undine and Kuhleborn under the sea, as they discuss Hulbrand taking another wife and that Undine will him if he does. Undine tells Kuhleborn that she has sealed that fountain of the castle, so she cannot reenter the home. Kuhleborn reassures her, that if Hulbrand ever decides to unseal the fountain or leave the castle, he will be doomed. 

Undine by John William Waterhouse (1872)

Hulbrand ignores the warnings in his dreams and decides to marry Bertalda anyways. On the day of the wedding, Bertalda demands that the fountain be reopened again for her own pleasure. The servants do as they are told and unseal the fountain, only to find a weeping Undine rise up from it. Undine enters the castle and kisses Hulbrand. He dies in Undine’s arms. Undine attends his funeral and transforms into a stream, encircling his grave, so she is with him for all eternity.  

Categories
Pop Culture

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid film poster (1948)

     Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid is an American fantasy film that was released in August of 1948. The classic film was directed by Irving Pichel and starred William Powell as Mr. Peabody and Ann Blyth as the Mermaid/Lenore. The film is based on the 1945 novel Peabody’s Mermaid written by Guy Jones and Constance Jones. 

      The film opens with Polly Peabody (Irene Hervey) telling a skeptical Dr. Harvey (Art Smith) that her husband, Arthur Peabody (William Powell) has fallen in love with the mermaid that he caught, while on vacation in the Caribbean. Arthur has a private consultation with Dr. Harvey and tells him what happened…

Film Still from Mr.Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

     Polly and Arthur leave Boston and go on a tropical vacation to the Caribbean. Polly reminds Arthur that he will be celebrating his 50th birthday in a week and he doesn’t take it so well. Arthur gets depressed about being reminded of his age, so he wanders the resort and hears singing from a distance. He later takes out a boat and travels to a deserted key. There he climbs rocks and discovers a woman’s comb. Later that evening, Arthur meets Mike Fitzgerald, who works as a press secretary for the resort. Mike introduces Arthur to singer, Cathy Livingston and Arthur is intrigued to know if she is the one who he had heard singing earlier. As Cathy sings for Arthur flirtatiously,  it ignites Polly’s jealousy. 

     The next day, Arthur goes on a fishing excursion by himself and to his surprise, catches a beautiful mermaid. He takes the mermaid to his hotel room and places her in the bathtub filled with water. When Polly returns from a shopping trip, she smells her perfume in the bathroom and confronts Arthur about it. Arthur exclaims that he caught a mermaid and Polly scoffs at his story and tells him to get rid of the “fish” in the bathtub. 

    Arthur, unfortunately can’t return the mermaid back to the sea. He names the mermaid, Lenore and teaches the mute mermaid how to kiss. He accidentally releases Lenore into the resort’s large fishpond. 

Film Still from Mr.Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

     The following day, Arthur goes to a boutique located in the hotel and purchases bikini tops for Lenore, so she’d be more modest. Later that day, Polly begs Arthur to stop seeing Cathy and in exchange, she’ll stop talking to her friend Major Ronald Hadley. Lenore sings her hypnotizing song and Arthur goes to the pool to be with her. Polly watches from a distance as Arthur and Lenore embrace. She becomes so angry, that she packs her belongings and leaves the resort without Arthur. 

     A week goes by and Polly’s car is found on the side on the road near the beach. Immediately, Arthur is accused of murdering his wife. Arthur denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance. Mike tells Arthur that there were articles recently printed of him being seen with a mermaid. Arthur admits that the rumors are in fact true, and that he loves the mermaid, Lenore. Mike reports the story to Hadley and Mandrake and the police are notified immediately. A worried Arthur, takes Lenore back to the key and proclaims that he wants to run away with her.  Moments later, Arthur is ordered to board the boat by the police and that Polly safely returned home to Boston and is with their child. Lenore begins to sing her siren song to all the men. Arthur immediately jumps into the water to be Lenore and shares a passionate underwater embrace with the hypnotizing mermaid. Arthur almost drowns to death. 

     Back in Boston, Dr. Harvey advises Arthur, not to tell his mermaid tale to anyone. When Arthur returns home to Polly, he gives the comb that he discovered at the key, proving Lenore existence. 

 

Categories
Myths and Legends

The Legend of Mami Wata

Poster of Mami Wata printed in the 1880’s by the Adolf Friedlander Company in Hamburg

June 25th is the feast day of a powerful water goddess in African mythology. Her name is Mami Wata or Mamba Muntu in Swahili. Mami Wata means Mother Water. She is a water deity or mermaid. She is deeply rooted in the ancient traditions and culture of the coastal Southeastern Nigerians.

According to Nigerian tradition, Mami Wata is a fertility goddess and is associated with sex and seduction.

Like most mermaids, Mami Wata can seduce, bewitch, and intrigue humans. She is a beautiful creature, shrouded in mystery, yet beware, for Mami Wata is a vengeful mermaid and not one to be messed with.

There is a lot of symbolism of the items associated with Mami Wata and her followers would perform various ceremonies in her honor. The mirror represented the movement from the present to the future; her followers would create their own reality imagining themselves in the world of Mami Wata.

Mami Wata has many priests, priestesses, and mediums in Africa, America, and the Caribbean who worship her and praise her.

In Nigeria, her followers wear red and white clothing to represent Mami Wata’s dual nature. They wear regalia of a cloth snake wrapped around the waist. The shrines devoted to Mami Wata are finely decorated in various colors. They have bells, Christian or Indian symbols, dolls, incense, and remnants of past sacrifices made to Mami Wata.

Her followers use music to praise the goddess, using African guitars and other instruments, while dancing heavily. Mami Wata’s followers dance so intense, that they appear to be in almost like a trance-like state.

 

Sculpture of the African water deity Mami Wata. Nigeria (Igbo). 1950s

According to one legend, Mami Wata was very beautiful black woman with a voluptuous figure. She had long black hair, an entrancing gaze, a beautiful singing voice, and the lower half of her body was a tail or serpent. Like many other mermaids, Mami Wata enjoyed mirrors, jewelry, and intricate combs. Mami Wata is often depicted with by a large snake wrapped around her torso and it’s head on her breasts.

Mami Wata is known for abducting her followers or random people, while they are swimming or fishing. She takes them to her spiritual world and/or underwater. If her followers return back to the human world, their clothes are dry with a newfound understanding of the spiritual world.

In other legends, men or river travelers, discover Mami Wata by chance. She is grooming herself, by staring at herself in the mirror and combing her long hair. Once she notices the intruder in her territory, she flees, leaving her precious items behind. The traveler takes the items. She later returns in the travelers dreams, demanding that they return her things. If he returns her items, he must promise to fulfill her sexual faithful to her and will receive riches. If he doesn’t, than he will be plagued with bad luck and misfortune.

While the stories of Mami Wata vary, based on region vary, one thing is for certain, that the symbolism, meaning, and powers of Mami Wata have remained the same. She’s a powerful water goddess associated with fertility,  wealth, the water, all while yielding sexual prowess and strength. She’s a water goddess that should be respected and feared.

 

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Pop Culture

Review: DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Fragrance

DefineMe Ariel Princess Perfume

I will proudly admit that my new favorite fragrance is the DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Perfume! It’s fresh, sweet, and woodsy, infused with Disney magic in every spritz!

DefineMe Fragrances has answered every Disney fan prayers by creating a beautiful fragrance that embodies Disney’s most iconic princess: Ariel!

Ariel’s adventurous spirit and yearning to explore the world above is captured in this fragrance perfectly!

The best way to describe the DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Perfume is the ocean waves crashing against a rocky shoreline on a warm summer’s day. It’s top is a sweet citrus neroli and bergamot. The center notes are jasmine and lilac. While the bottom notes are tonka bean, coconut, and driftwood.

Fragrance Notes for DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Perfume

The combination of the woodsy, floral, and citrous isn’t a combination you see everyday in fragrances. And for that reason, the Ariel Disney Princess Perfume evokes the sense of the ocean (woodsy notes), curiosity (floral notes), and adventure (citrus notes). Just like Ariel!

Every fragrance by DefineMe Fragrances is unisex, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and Made in the USA.

With every purchase from DefineMe Fragrances, they will donate $1 to empower and educate women in developing countries.

DefineMe Ariel Disney PrincessFragrance

Every time I wear my Ariel Disney Princess Perfume, I feel like a Disney Princess!

It’s a must-have fragrance for fans Princess Ariel!

 

 

 

 

You can purchase the fragrance here:

https://definemefragrance.com/collections/best-sellers-1/products/defineme-ariel-disney-princess

 

Categories
Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Swell Obsessed Swimwear (SOS)

Swell Obsessed Swimwear (SOS) is a unique swimwear line that offers an array of styles and colors that are anything but basic. SOS is best known for their seamless and versatile designs, that are made in the USA.

These swimsuits are comfortable, yet sexy.

SOS was designed for every woman who feels a calling to the sea and a love for adventure.

Swell Obsessed Swimwear Ad campaign

To understand Swell Obsessed Swimwear more, I asked it’s designer and owner Maria a few questions about her line of unique, versatile, and sustainable swimsuits.

What inspired you to create SOS?

The very first aha moment was in Costa Rica on a surf trip- realizing I had quite specific taste for small details subtleties in other suits and being suggested I should just make my own ones.

No brainer- I had studied design and had worked in fashion for years before that “aha”
Moment. (I had the tools in my belt to start experimenting/trying things out)

How would you describe SOS?

A whimsical, premium swimwear brand based on simplicity, versatility, and sustainability.

Swell Obsessed Swimwear

What’s it’s connection in design or concept with mermaids?

1. The brand aesthetic- Caribbean life growing in PR with many historical influences of colonization and legends of sirens/pirates. I’m fascinated with the idea of balancing Male/Female. To me make is represented by the concept of a Pirate/surfer/waterman. And female is respresented by Mermaids/Sirens/Fairies.

Overall I love History and Fairytales. I’m also a space cadet and daydreamer so when I’d surf I’d just get mesmerized staring at swells come in- that’s how the name came- my friends would say I’m “Swell Obsessed”

I’d do super long road trips all around California and PR just chasing the swell..

2. The daydreamer in me- lost in time, time travel, escapist, believing in things I’ve never seen

3. The Siren- Ultimate symbol of femininity goes in hand with my design aesthetic. I’ve been told my designs are very “pretty, feminine, and clean” this matches my interpretation of the mainstream depiction of a “mermaid/siren”

4. The power of narrative, dynamics on voice losing it etc, righting some wrongs her story etc. There’s quite a lot of fluff and negative connotations (in my opinion) about what a mermaid is and what she symbolizes /represents. Legends say the siren song would bring forth storms, death for sailors. The siren song could capture the hearts of those who hear it and swallow you into the sea. The story of the little mermaid- well, she has to give up her voice to fulfill her wishes.
I started Siren Voices to help redefine/reposition the concept of voice with Sirens to connect it with a more empowering, uplifting, and overall positive tone.

Check out Siren Voices series on SOS IGTV#sirenofsos

5. My lifestyle growing up raised the water baby of the family. Water sports, (scuba, sailing, sup, swim team, surfing)

cancer is my astrological sign- I’ve always been the water baby in my family

The letters in my name: Mariamer (Maria Mercedes)

Mar: ocean in Spanish
Mer: ocean in french
Mer: beginning of mermaid, etc…

 

 

 

To check out Swell Obsessed Swimwear’s amazing line of swimsuits, check out their website!

https://swellobsessed.com 

Categories
Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Review: The Cape Cali Gallery Tails

The Lindsay Rapp Mermaid GalleryTail by Cape Cali

Cape Cali is a Southern California based company that specializes in a 4-way stretch scuba knit fabric that is soft like butter and feels great on the skin. Every tail by Cape Cali doesn’t have a casing, which makes the swim tails, lightweight and durable.

Cape Cali’s GalleryTail is their luxury swim tails that were inspired by art and fantasy. The GalleryTail was designed to fit the Mahina MerFin as well as the Linden monofin.

Hannah Mermaid Golden Wave GalleryTail by Cape Cali

And the best part, is that the GalleryTail is easy to clean and maintain. Hand wash, lay flat or hang to dry (just like you would for your swimsuits).

What is even more impressive about Cape Cali is that their swimtail’s, have the highest ratings by scuba divers and oceanographers for safety and durability

Mermaid Elle Miami GalleryTail by Cape Cali

When I used the Cape Cali GalleryTail, I was impressed with the elasticity of the waist (which made it easy to put on and off) and the invisible zipper at the fluke of the tail.

The vibrancy and exquisite detail of each GalleryTail is incredible in person.

The entire time I wore the GalleryTail, I was comfortable and was living my childhood mermaid dreams. Flipping my tail and embracing my inner mermaid.

What is even more astonishing, is that Every tail is made to order in the USA and takes about4 weeks for production. Which is faster then other tail makers such as FinFolk and MerTailor, which take longer then 2 months.

And don’t forget, when using GalleryTail,  never swim alone.

 

 

 

 

 

You can purchase your own GalleryTail by Cape Cali here:

Mermaid and Merman GalleryTails by Cape Cali

 

 

 

Categories
Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Interview with Ashly Lovett

Book cover of Ashly Lovett’s colored adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy of The Little Mermaid

Ashly Lovett is a very talented American artist, whose art and style is gaining a lot of attention. We asked Ashly a few questions about her art, career, and upcoming projects. 

How long have you been a professional artist?

 I graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration in 2010. Since then, I’ve been taking illustration jobs, but I didn’t start doing full-time freelancing until 2015.

What medium do you use for your art?

 In 2015 I started working exclusively with soft chalk pastels on paper. And more recently, I’ve been taking those pastel pieces and coloring them digitally in Photoshop.

How would you describe your artistic style?

 At the beginning of my career, I was never good at describing my style. It’s hard to step back and look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had others calling my work dark, ethereal, luminous, or haunting. My good friend Cory Godbey gave the best description with his Forward in The Little Mermaid. It was a feeling I always had about my artwork since I was a child. It is an almost therapeutic feeling that made me want to draw in the first place. I’ve never been able to put it into words. It was a warming surprise knowing others interpret my artwork the same way I always have deep down. Cory’s words were a gift. Here is a small excerpt of the Forward:

 “Ashly’s work is transportive. With ease, she guides the viewer from the familiar world to one dappled in a strange light. That world is steeped in a kind of bewitched nostalgia. There’s nothing mawkish or wistful there, rather, Ashly’s haunting portraits feel like a pang of remembrance, the shudder which comes from recalling a forgotten memory at long last.” 

Excerpt from Ashly Lovett’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid

What inspired you to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?

 It took me a while to find a story intriguing enough to dedicate two years to its creation. What I loved about the story was the tenacity of the main character, the little mermaid. Although naïve, she pursued her deepest desire to know the lives of humans and have her own soul. In the original story, mermaids live for 300 years, but they become seafoam when they die. They don’t have a soul that lives on even after your body dies. But if a mermaid were to join in a union (marriage) with a human, they would become one sharing the soul. 

Also, I knew the imagery would be right up my alley. I love drawing the flowing organic shapes of the mermaids and their long hair. The story is rather dark with a bittersweet ending, which appeals to my style. These are all visual narratives that played to my strengths. I went a step further and added my own elements. For example, I gave the mermaids bioluminescent hair to play up the luminosity. I gave the little mermaid a skull collection of creatures from the world above to make it more haunting.

Who is your favorite character in The Little Mermaid? And why?

 The protagonist, the little mermaid, is my favorite character. She’s never apologetic about what she wants and remains kind. At the beginning of the story, I do think she may have been impulsive to give up so much in hopes of finding love and an eternal soul. And although the ending is sad, her journey only made her stronger. I admire the emotional and physical strength it took, and in the end, she sacrifices herself for someone she loves. She never became bitter when she had every right to be. 

Illustration from Ashly Lovett’s colored adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid 

What scene was your favorite to illustrate in your book? And why?

 That’s difficult to say since each illustration presented its own challenges and enjoyment. But if I have to pick one, it would be the moment when the little mermaid rescues the prince from the shipwreck. I’ve always had the illustration in my mind. It was also a type of scene I’ve never tried to illustrate before. It was a sea landscape with a burning ship during a severe storm. I drew a lot of inspiration from Howard Pyle, an American illustrator from the 1900s responsible for the classic illustrations of Treasure Island

What lessons do you think people can learn from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?

 The biggest takeaway from the story for me was to go big or go home. The Little Mermaid made some overwhelming choices and sacrifices, but she was bold and stayed true to herself. She grew from her pain and became something more remarkable in the end. 

Illustration for Ashly Lovett’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale of The Little Mermaid

How did you find out about your publisher, Eye of Newt Books? And what’s been your experience working with them?

 I met them at a convention through a mutual friend. Eye of Newt Books has been very agreeable to work with and believed in my project. They’ve been very respectful of the book and my creative choices. Their enthusiasm was just what I had hoped for when imagining the future for The Little Mermaid.

What was the biggest difference between having a book published through Kickstarter vs having a book published traditionally?

 With a Kickstarter, you have to do everything. Not only do you have to have a finished high-quality product, but every Kickstarter campaign begins with budgeting. You have to find a manufacturer, choose materials (paper type, bookbinding, cover style, etc.), then work out the logistics of shipping, shipping materials, extra rewards, and then figure in how those rewards will affect said shipping and budget. Then you have to make a realistic funding goal.

On top of that, you have to create graphics, text describing your project, advertise for it, and there’s a considerable amount of customer service involved. Then there is shipping fulfillment and all your deadlines. I could go even further, but I think you get the idea. If you’re up for the challenge, it can be gratifying in the end. A funded campaign is always a source of pride and future income with the final product. 

The steps with my publisher were much shorter. They purchased exclusive rights to publish the book after a detailed contract was drawn up and reviewed by my lawyer. Afterward, I provided the InDesign files, and they took care of the rest. They took care of the logistics of choosing materials, manufacturing, advertising, etc.

What advice do you have for fellow artists and illustrators who want their work to be published either through Kickstarter or with a traditional publisher?

 Suppose you’re not someone who likes doing Excel sheets to work out a budget, logistics, schedules, customer service, shipping, etc., I would not suggest doing a largescale Kickstarter. It takes a lot of organizing and good budgeting skills to make sure you can have a profit at the end of it all. The most common mistake with a Kickstarter is underestimating the costs. I have a detailed article on MuddyColors.com titled “Check List for a Successful Kickstarter.” It goes over how to best prepare for a Kickstarter project. 

Going with a publisher is undoubtedly easier, but it’s not always a straight path to getting your foot in the door. I was fortunate to ask the right questions and be introduced to an art director in person. This goes back to the advice I give to all emerging illustrators. It is all about networking and getting to know others in the industry. I highly suggest attending conventions and workshops when possible. Some of my favorite smaller, more intimate conventions are Spectrum Fantasy Art in Kansas City, MO, Lightbox in Pasadena, CA, and Illuxcon in Reading, PA. The bigger conventions aren’t bad either. These would be the comicons in Chicago, New York, Seattle, etc. Always have plenty of business cards with samples of your work on the back. I love Moo.com for my business cards.

Do you plan on illustrating more fairy tales in the near future?

 I do. The one I’m currently working on is called The Book of Fairy Tales. It is a collection of fairy tale stories featuring famous and infamous fairies. There will be some well-known fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and other lesser-known stories like The Water of Life. You can learn more about it at AshlyLovett.com/kickstarter. It’s been slow progress in finding stories I want to illustrate. I prefer illustrating tales with profound lessons and admirable characters. That can be difficult with older public domain stories.  

My long-term goal is to create a collection of books centered around the theme of fantasy. The first has been The Little Mermaid. The second will be The Book of Fairy Tales. And the third will likely be about mythology. I like having long-term personal projects that I can really dive into and create something different with my own voice while also having others interested in my passion projects too.

 

 

 

 

You can purchase Ashly Lovett’s book here: https://store.eyeofnewtpress.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-little-mermaid

Ashly Lovett’s Official website: https://ashlylovett.com

 

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Who is Hans Christian Andersen?

1836 Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen by Christian Albrecht Jensen (H.C. Andersen Museum, Odense, Denmark)

Hans Christian Andersen captured the world’s attention, with his fairy tale of The Little Mermaid in 1837.

But who is Hans Christian Andersen?

Hans was born on April 2nd, 1805 in Odense, Denmark and was the only child. At an early age, Hans father exposed to literature as a child, most notably Arabian Nights. Which had a lifelong impact on him, considering Hans father had an elementary school education, while his mother was illiterate washerwoman.

His father passed away in 1816, when he was 11 years old. His mother, remarried in 1818 and sent Hans to the local elementary school, so he could receive a basic education and have a career.

Before he became an author, he was an weaver’s apprentice, and even became a tailor.

Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen (1869)

When Hans was fourteen years old, he moved to Copenhagen to become an actor. He was enrolled in the Royal Danish Theatre as a soprano, but had to stop, because his voice changed. A colleague at the theatre had advised Hans to become a poet. Hans took this advice seriously and started to write.

A director at the Royal Danish Theatre had sent Hans to a grammar school in Slagelse, and had persuaded King Frederick VI, to fund part of Hans education.

In 1822, Hans had published his first story titled The Ghost at Palnatoke’s Grave. 

In 1829, he would publish his first successful short story, A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. From there, Hans Christian Andersen, began to write for the local theatre and wrote, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower. 

Hans later went on to receive a small travel grant from the King in 1833. This allowed Hans to travel through Europe and meet some very prosperous and influential people of his day.

Illustration by Christian Birmingham for The Little Mermaid

Between 1835-1837, Hans Christian Andersen had written his collection of fairy tales, titled Fairy Tales told for Children, that were published in three installments. The first installment that was released in May 1835 contained these stories: The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Little Claus and Big Claus, and Little Ida’s Flowers. Ida Thiele, was who Hans had created these stories for, she was the daughter of an early benefactor. Her father, folklorist Just Mathias Thiele, had paid Andersen thirty rixdollars for the manuscript, and the booklet was priced at twenty-three shillings.

His second installment, that was released in December 1835, contained the following fairy tales: Thumbelina, The Traveling Companion, and  The Naughty Boy. Thumbelina was based off the story of Tom Thumb about miniature people.

The third and final booklet, which was released on April 7th, 1837, contained The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes. It would be The Little Mermaid that would propel Hans to stardom, cementing his career as a writer.

Illustration by Christian Birmingham for The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was written for his homosexual lover, Edvard Collin, who was the son of his benefactor and official guardian Jonas Collin. Hans was known to flirt with both males and females, and was known to fall in love quickly. He and Edvard had formed a fast friendship and Hans was smitten.

Unfortunately, Edvard didn’t feel the same romantic sentiments as Hans. When Edvard announced he was marrying a woman, Hans was devastated and felt utterly betrayed. So, he poured his heart into his work and wrote The Little Mermaid as a love letter for unrequited love for Edvard.

It is also known, that Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was loosely based and inspired by De la Motte Fouqué‘s novella Undine that was released in 1811. Undine and The Little Mermaid have very similar themes. Most notably,  a mermaid who must marry a human prince (knight) to retain a human soul.

The Little Mermaid wouldn’t be the only story, that Hans would write for an unrequited love. In 1843, he wrote The Nightingale for Jenny Lind, a famous singer, who was nicknamed ‘Swedish Nightingale’ to express his love for her.

In 1849, Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen was the first illustrator to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary fairy tales

In 1845, his folklores and fairy tales, were translated in English and his audience grew worldwide.

An interesting fact about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, is that they were originally published without any illustrations.  That is until 1849, when Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen, a Danish artist became the first artist to illustrate the fairy tales.

In 1872, Hans Christian Andersen, would pass away, a lifelong bachelor, who yearned for nothing more in life than to be love and to be loved in return. In his lifetime, he had written over 100 children’s stories.

Over a century has passed, since the death of Hans Christian Andersen, and his life and his beloved fairy tales are immortalized in our culture. His classic children’s fairy tales have been adapted to films, ballets, operas, tv series, songs, etc.

His stories have withstood the test of time and will for centuries to come. We shall always remember the man who captured our hearts with The Little Mermaid.

“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” – Hans Christian Andersen

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Disney's The Little Mermaid Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Fernl2606

Digital Illustration by Fernl2606 of a comfy Prince Eric, Ariel, and Max

Fernl2606 is a very popular digital artist on Instagram, whose is best known for his digital illustrations of all things Disney. Most notably, The Little Mermaid.

His passion for Disney, mermaids, and digital art is prevalent in his work.

Fernl2606 describes himself as an amateur artist, but you would never know it, by looking at his work. His work is the epitome of professional and captures your heart and imagination instantaneously.

Digital Illustration of Ariel rescuing Prince Eric by Fernl2606

Fernl2606 use of color, contrast, saturation, and lighting brings his drawings to life. What is most impressive about his work, is without a doubt, his details. Fernl2606 use of details is exquisite, making sure that no detail is too small.

Neverland Mermaids digital illustration by Fernl2606

I highly recommend, that if you aren’t following Fernl2606 on Instagram or Facebook, that you should.

You won’t shell-regretic!

 

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Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Feast of Li Ban Muirgen, The Irish Mermaid Saint

Saint Li Ban Muirgen of Ireland

January 27th is the feast day of Saint Li Ban Muirgen of Ireland. She is a lesser-known mermaid Saint of Ireland and her story is miraculous and mystifying.

Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story dates back to the 6th century and passed down generation to generation with the oral tradition of scéalaíocht or storytelling. It was also was preserved in the medieval manuscript of Annals of the Four Masters, which isa compilation of medieval Irish legends written by Irish monks in the 17th century.

So, who was this mermaid Saint?

Our story begins in the year 558. Li Ban (meaning beautiful woman in old Irish) was the daughter of Eochaidh, King of Ulster.  When her father’s kingdom flooded, drowning all its inhabitants except for Li Ban and her dog, forming the Lough Neagh Lake.

Li Ban spent the next year, living under the lough with her dog. She would pray to the goddess Danu, asking to be turned into a salmon, so she could swim with the fish for company. Danu, did grant Li Ban’s wish, but only half of it. Li Ban’s dog became an otter and she was transformed into a mermaid.

Li Ban swam out of the lough and out into the sea. She lived in an underwater cave and like most mermaids, had the most beautiful singing voice. Li Ban drifted for three-hundred years, fulfilling a prophecy:

Liban will swim eastwards, westwards, hither, thither, over each sea.

300 years had passed, when Comgall had founded the monastery  in Bangor, that is known as the Bangor Mor. The Bangor Mor was revered throughout all of Ireland and became a place, where many young men came to study.

One day, Comgall sent Beoan and the monks to Rome with a message for Pope Gregory. While they were out at sea, Beoan caught Li Ban in his fishing net and she promised to return to them in a year.

A year had passed, Li Ban came ashore as promised, and Comgall baptized her with the name Muirgen. Li Ban passed away not long after her baptism. Comgall had promised Li Ban a heavenly reward and she became known as the Mermaid Saint.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story is that there are remnants of it today. If you journey to Bangor, there is an abbey that remembers Comgall and the mermaid with a quilt, hanging on the transept wall, depicting the story of the mermaid.

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Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Yasu Matsuoka

Serenity by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsuoka is a self-taught Japanese artist, who creates beautiful mermaid and mythology-themed art. He creates art for a variety of spaces varying from private collectors to art galleries to interior design installations.

Honored by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsuoka’s digital illustrations are so unique, because they tell a story of his own imagination. His passion for fantasy worlds, mermaids, and stories is apparent in his work.

You’re instantly drawn to the world he’s created with its vivid colors and exquisite details. The juxtaposition of his pieces are reminiscent of classical paintings.

Mermaid Transformation by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsouka also known as Yasu Art Studio on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter has gained a large following for his awe-inspiring fantasy art.

I highly recommend that you follow him. You won’t shell-gretic it!

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Myths and Legends Pop Culture

The Sultry Starbucks Siren

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world, and it’s synonymous for it’s addicting coffee and siren logo.

It’s not a coincidence that since Starbucks was founded in a port city, that it’s logo and name would be inspired by the sea.

Starbucks got it’s name from Starbuck, a character in Herman Melville Moby Dick. The company’s founders added the “s” at the end, so the name could be more conversational and easier to remember.

The medieval mermaid that inspired the original Starbucks Siren logo design

Starbucks sultry, bare breasted, two-tailed logo was risqué when it opened it’s doors in Seattle, Washington in 1971. It’s founder’s found a Nordic 15th century woodcut of a bare breasted, twin-tailed siren and they thought she was perfect! The mermaid exemplified the seductive and alluring nature of the sea.

It has also been speculated that Starbucks Siren could’ve also been inspired by a very famous medieval two-tailed mermaid…Melusine.

The medieval siren, holding up her twin-tails revealing her genitalia signifies the power of femininity and fertility.

As the years progressed, the Starbucks logo became less risqué and more refined. Overtime, the designers decided to cover the siren’s bare breasts with her long, luscious hair, another notable feature of a siren. Sirens were known to comb their luscious locks of hair to lure sailors to their untimely death.