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Desiree J. Isphording

"Twilight Song of the Swan Maiden" by Desiree J. Isphording

SciFi/Fantasy Picture 32 out of 35 by Desiree J. Isphording.      ←Previous - Next→
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SciFi and Fantasy Art Twilight Song of the Swan Maiden by Desiree J. Isphording
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Prints Available!
• I offer a T-shirt and a calendar with this piece on them at the Autumnsphinx Giftshop
Like so many other of my pieces, this began as a humble, spontaneous dance of pencil on paper. As with the 'Deer Woman' image, it was not created initially with the expectation of being a full-blown, completed depiction but ended up asserting itself in that manner regardless. Her profile and basic facial features emerged first, followed by the delicate swirling patterns that became a strong visual indication of her nature. From there, everything else in the composition seemed to come of itself.
    In many ways, I have found this image to speak of a convergence of the Old World and the New. Very early on in the process, it was clear to me that this figure was somehow meant to be a Swan Maiden, a Faery creature I strongly associate with European lore. Yet I found myself placing aquatic plants of American origin, namely the White or Water Arum (Calla palustris L.) and broad-Leaved Arrowhead (Sagitta latifolia Willd.) in her hair, and I felt as if a Native American flute belonged in her hands. The landscape itself is a surreal location inspired by the lake by my home and my own mythic imaginings of the British Isles. And strangely, this particular Swan Maiden shares her affinity not with the quintessential Swan archetype embodied by the aristocratic tight S-curve of the neck and raised secondary wing feathers of the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), which hails from the Old World, but by the sleeker, less conspicuous, Tundra (Cygnus columbianus) and Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator), which naturally inhabit this continent. It is these species which are represented throughout: as the large zoomorphic knot in her hair, as the fetish on her flute, and even present in the background.
    Essentially, this image depicts what might be this Swan Maiden's final 'swan song.' She looks thoughtfully into the distance, and whether she has just played her tune or is at the moment preceding her melody, I do not know. There is but one other swan within her sight , and it is poised by the entrance to a hollow hill - perhaps an indication of an imminent transition. Storm clouds can be seen rolling over the horizon.
    Visually, I drew heavily upon Celtic tradition in this piece. It includes a few examples of Celtic-style knotwork, and her very skin is etched with swirls inspired by examples of Celtic spirals. Celtic myth also features extensive references to swans and Swan Maidens, some of which I kept in mind when working on this image. The media is pen and ink.

15 Sep 200445 Sally C. Walstrom
Awesome. I love it.
13 Oct 2004:-) Amy Rebecca Letts
OMG that's beautiful. I'm totally blown away by the detail, but the overall shape and design of it is what impresses me most. The detail is just a bonus to an already brilliant image that just leaves me GAWPING.
3 Feb 200545 C. C. Ballard
really nice attention to detail. beautiful texture and use of the medium. I like all the backstory on this, and how you've confined the drawing by the blank white perimeters, but it is still breaking lose.
27 May 2005:-) Xenia Eliassen (Swandog)
I SO love this pic; it's currently my desktop image. 2 BTW, I thought you had a DeviantArt gallery? 2I've never actually had a deviantart gallery.Update: As of January 2006, I do have a DeviantArt gallery and Print account!
11 Jul 200545 Khory
This is a beautifuly drawn peice of art, and the detail is amazing. I know that she is a swan maiden, but her neck looks like it's gonna break because it's so long...it she looks like one of those women who stretch their necks by putting rings around them, but the sad thing is, is that if they get taken off, they die, because they have no muscles in their neck. This is what this looks like. Maybe a little shorter? Beautiful detail though.Actually, I watched a program on those women who wrap coils of brass around their necks to enlongate them on National Geographic channel (or perhaps Discovery channel, I don't recall at the moment) and one of the girls actually took her coils off because she wanted to experience what life would be like without them. Although she felt sore and uncomfortable since her neck was unsupported, she certainly did not die from the removal of the coils.I should mention that in virtually all of my pieces I am not attempting strict realism. They are mythic representations of decidedly nonhuman creatures, faeries, deities, archetypes, etc. and, for me, depicting them often involves shifting "normal" ideas of proportion, anatomy etc. I am quite capable of drawing proportionate humans directly from life, but these pieces were never intended to be life drawings (Elfwood is a science fiction and fantasy gallery, is it not?).
27 Oct 2005:-) Luis Filipe dos Reis Peres
Magical ! And it works great in black & white.
11 Mar 200645 My name
Amazing! I mean, there's so much detail. It's fantatic! You're so good when it comes to design. I'd love to hang out with you and chat about your techniques. Anyways, just a bit of thinking. Your art is so commendable. This picture is an excellent example of that.
21 May 200645 Degen
Although I love all your work, I was driven to comment on this not so much by the beauty and power of your work - and it is both beautiful and powerful - but by the fury at such an obnoxious comment by one "missiattitude." As a protest against her anonymity, I'll for once include a means of contact.

The detail in this piece is astounding; her hair alone could be a source of inspiration for hours. I also admire the amount of attention you give to background, both in the piece itself and in actual research. It lends a feeling of completeness that is more difficult to find than it should be.

I wish I knew her story, although you are by no means obligated to write one. My imagination is already happily at work.Yes, "missiattitude/Ms.Upyours" has commented elsewhere, namely on my Another Deerwoman piece. Apparently she has too much time on her hands (although evidently not enough to come up with an actual critique of the artwork). I deleted her comment, although now I actually regret doing so, but it's now too late to un-delete it. If she had posted an actual critique of the piece, either of its concept or execution, I would have left it, but as it was it was just a waste of space.
16 Aug 2006:-) Sarah Taylor
Beautiful! I love how graceful she is!

While you did bend many anatomical 'rules' it is clear that you know enough to properly break those rules for a desired effect, and I have to commend your ability to do that so well.
5 Feb 2009:-) Heart narsisia foxglove Salaman
22 wow....
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'Twilight Song of the Swan Maiden':
 • Created by: :-) Desiree J. Isphording
 • Copyright: ©Desiree J. Isphording. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: American, Birch, Celtic, Faerie, Faery, Fairy, Flute, Ink, Knotwork, Maiden, Native, Otherworld, Pen, Shapeshifter, Spiral, Swan, Swirl
 • Categories: Elf / Elves, Faery, Fay, Faeries, Woman, Women
 • Techniques: Black Ink
Modpick •  Mod Pick at: 2004-09-09 11:51:59
 • Submitted: 2004-08-29 03:10:15
 • Views: 3734
 • Resolution: 558x792

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