Fenris Devouring the Sun, the rebirth of an old monoprint

this traditional mixed media print depicts fenris the wolf devouring the sun during ragnarok, the norse end of the world.

I mentioned in “The Many Faces of Daedalus” how I liked to re-examine or even re-use old art to try and perfect an idea or turn it into something new entirely. Fenris Devouring the Sun is one of these pieces! The colorful background of this piece is in fact a very old monoprint of mine depicting the Sirens from the Odyssey. I never did anything special with this print, and when I finally pulled it out of my student portfolio a decade later I still enjoyed the vibrant colors but I was deeply unsatisfied with the clumsy linework. Experimenting, I turned the print this way and that to see if a different orientation suggested a new picture.

The results excited me. As the hair and faces of the sirens my lines were wholly unsuccessful, but as the body and rays of the sun and some suggestions of Fenris’s fur, they were perfect! I hastened to design Fenris around the lines I liked from my old monoprint and then soaked the old print in water and printed upon it with black. In fact, this image from the “ABOUT HEATHER” page shows me carving Fenris from humble typing paper with my trusty X-Acto knife. In the background at the far right, you can see my old monoprint too!

heather landry aka sandpaperdaisy working at her kitchen table

Then I continued to experiment, using watercolor, COPIC marker, india ink, just anything I could think of really. The result, I’m pleased to say, took a Juror’s Choice Award at the 2012 DOOMSDAY show! It also got the following comment from the judge:

“Heather Landry‚Äôs Fenris Wolf is a high-intensity nod to the near universality of end-of-the-world archetype across cultures.” -Rob Millard-Mendez, juror for the DOOMSDAY show

fenris monoprint and juror's choice award ribbon from the 2012 doomsday show at angel mounds, evansville indiana

So there you have it, a successful makeover of a very student monoprint. Have any of you had good luck with revisiting a piece?

Road’s End

A dissected car with human internal organs shuffles towards the ultimate ending, a maya road totem beyond a precipice

This collage was originally intended for the December 2012 “Doomsday” show on that same date in the Mayan Calender, but another traditional piece depicting Fenris the wolf devouring the sun from the Ragnarok of Norse Mythology got in instead. (Look for Fenris coming up!) Road’s End went on to debut at the PG Gallery and Cafe soft opening in early 2013.

If you took a look through my 2010 Sketchbook Down My Street, you will have seen this same car in a less polished form. I was happy to be able to expand on my idea and do a more finished piece starring the car. I still intend to do a lineart version.

I envisioned a car with a human set of internal organs for my story “Sacrifice” examining the emotions I feel whenever I drive past a cross by the side of the road. The car is full of meat and organs which are of course, very vulnerable and subject to injury and destruction in a car wreck. Thinking of these tragic circumstances always reminds me of a passage from the Maya Origin Legend the Popol Vuh, about the death gods (Wing and Packstrap I believe) who determine that some people should die upon the road. I end the story by comparing the sad little road crosses with their touching floral tributes and stuffed animal offerings to a Maya totem containing the road (depicted in Maya art as a ribbon with footprints on it).

a dissected car filled with human organs hovers above a road cross and an article about a car crash

two demons or lords of xibalba emerge from the parts of a car engine, resembling something from a painting by hieronymous bosch

wing and packstrap from the popol vuh ensure people's death upon the road

And this is their domain: that people should die in the road. Then there is death in the road and suffering whether one is coming or going. And this is their domain. -Popol Vuh

a maya totem depicting a road shown as a ribbon with footprints on it along with a road cross and stuffed bunny erected as a tribute to a fatal road accident

The next story in the book, “R_VE_ _” also opens with the theme of the road demanding a sacrifice, this time an accident with a dog I witnessed in my childhood.

a car chews up a helpless dog in this, one of my most disturbing and vivid childhood memories.

I plan to do “R_VE_ _” properly as a black and white comic for an upcoming collection of one-shots including The Ruby Machine and The Stone Squirrel!