Hippocampus and kelpies are ‘water horses’, found most often in Celtic folklore. Stories about them tell of a terrifying, devilish creature which would lure lost travellers and children to dark pools of water, then drown them. Kelpies also link to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, as many people believe the monster is in fact a kelpie.
I think what is most interesting about this legend is that horses are generally seen as a ‘gentle’ creature, but the legends usually say that the kelpie has glowing red eyes, like a demon. The above drawings of kelpies with various fish and seahorse tails look quite harmless and whimsical, but if you know the legend you realise that the creatures are dark and dangerous. The idea of the kelpie is one I want to develop further through painting and collage.
I’m really pleased with these two pieces and want to explore this theme more; combining terrifying dinosaurs with ‘gentle’ animal heads, such as the deer and rabbit. The hybrids work well, and look convincing enough, with just the right amount of absurdity. I think it is interesting how if your eye is drawn to the head first, the creature looks quite harmless and gentle, but as you take in the body of the velociraptor you realise that a creature like this would actually be very dangerous and frightening, in real life.
This piece draws on a theme I was working on before I started exploring hybrids and fictional creatures; deer. I think this combination of gentle, wise deer head and bulky, reptilian t-rex body works really well together, as it looks absurd yet also believable, due to the mixture of two creatures that did and do exist.
This work is inspired by vintage posters of natural history, in this case, beetles created from vintage imagery of crystals and minerals. I think this piece is very successful, as the insects look very sci-fi and strange, yet at the same time, quite believable.
Working with the theme of creating creatures from images cut from vintage imagery, I created some crystal dinosaurs. The crystals are cut from a vintage print, and I don’t think the crystal dinosaurs work particularly well, but it was an interesting exploration. I chose dinosaurs and crystals because of the ethereal, almost magical properties crystals seem to have, combined with dinosaurs which seem very mythical (even though we know they existed), means the images appear quite sci-fi, and almost turn the dinosaurs into insects, which have hard, shiny casings, much like the crystals here.
These two pieces draw on the Bird Eggs pieces I made a few months ago, combining vintage imagery of eggs into a drawing of an animal with an egg for a body. The stegosaurus works well with the egg body, but the t-rex does not. I do quite like this idea of animals with egg bodies, as eggs are very fragile and dainty, whereas dinosaurs were massive, lumbering beasts.