May 2020 - Mythical marks - by Riikka Kovasin

Hello there! It’s Riikka here today with my take on the monthly theme of forest, magic and deep green. I loved the theme and the dark fir and bottle green is such a beautiful color. However, the first thing that came to my head when reading the poem, was a painting by Caspar David Friedrich titled “Wanderer above the Mist”. I didn’t end up using that in my make after all, but the poem made me think about the mystic, tranquil atmosphere in the painting.

It seems to me that I’ve started to treat these monthly themes as “Inspired By” – something Marsha Valk and I used to do for years. If you wish to see those past posts, you can find them under this label . The idea of the “Inspired By” was to find something to be inspired by and then we both would do a project using the same source. Along the years we tackled movies, books, different intangible themes and even products. Usually for me the original source was a jumping off point and then I tackled an aspect of it or used it as a framework to explore something. And it seems that I have done the same with a couple of the Art Daily Café projects now. The theme sets me on a journey, gives me a sketched map, not quite visible of a project and I then make it more detailed and clearer by using other sources of inspiration. For this project, the main source of inspiration was the forest. The second source was the word pair of “magic” and “witchery”.

Forest is a place of tranquility to me. It is either forest or seashore, where I’m headed if I’m feeling stressed and puzzled. I am not a hiker and do not actually enjoy sleeping in a tent, but I do love to roam in a forest for some hours and then head to the comfort of my home. I love the scents of a forest, especially after rain, the multitude shades of green and the textures of trees, plants and rocks.

I wanted to add elements from the forest to my make. So, while on a little walk with the family I picked up a couple of heather branches. I used one of those in my journal adding it to the back of the photo. I also had a piece of birch bark already home which I included to this project as well as a piece of a snakeskin my father picked up from our summer house that I have been storing for quite some time. The birch bark, skin and heather made me think, not only about the forest, but also about herbal remedies and through that, witches.

Even though forest is a magical thing on its own, I wanted to bring an extra touch of magic and myth to the piece. For that reason, I added some doodled symbols to the page. Some of them are alchemist symbols of fire and water, for example and others are markings found on a Sami drum . Sami people are an indigenous group of people, who inhabit Sapmi, a cultural area stretching across northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. The common name of the Sami drum in Finnish is “noitarumpu”, which is sadly derogatory, as the direct translation would be “witch’s drum”. But that is the reason that got me thinking of Sami people and the markings on the drum.

Thank you for stopping by today! Stay safe everyone! 

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