The Beautiful Mermaid
The water began to ripple, the delicate waves moved outwards. Hands emerged from the center of the ripple. A sensual woman came out of the depths, the only thing covering her curvaceous modesty was her long, flowing and very wet hair. To look at her was to become mesmerized by her. Her body called to me like a moth to the flame. She beckoned me to join her with the promise of sex and happiness.
Christopher Columbus wrote in his journals about seeing mermaids. History has long talked about mermaids. Cultures around the world have names for mermaids: Sirens, Lorelei, Morgans, Havfrau, and Ningyo. The story of the mermaid it seems is as deep as the ocean itself.
As an artist living on an island, I have painted my share of mermaids. Before painting a picture I would dive into my subject matter. If I’m painting a rare bird, they I dive into what the bird eats, what it does and why it does it. I do this so I know what the bird is like. If someone were to see my painting, even if they have never seen that bird before, they would get an idea of who that bird was. Now, the paintings were never a photo realistic example of the animal, place or person, but more of an impression of what and who the bird was. I had never done this type of studying for a mermaid.
This was the first time I had painted a picture without studying the subject. The weird part is that I had drawn or painted several dozen mermaids, without ever thinking about the back story behind them. Then I thought, “Oh, it must be because they are mystical creatures.” So, logically I started to think of other myths that I had painted. Each of those, I studied the subject, but with the mermaid I felt no need to study, it was almost instinct. I knew there had to be a back story behind mermaids, they couldn’t be just another pretty face.
I enjoy painting mermaids, it is one of the subjects I don’t really tire of painting. I seem to dream up new poses to put them in or new styles of fins to put on them. I can understand why I like to paint mermaids, because they are beautiful, sexy and mysterious. Looking around in pop culture, I realized that the mermaid is really a common icon in our modern, fast paced world. The mermaid hasn’t aged.
The Cult of the Mermaid
Mermaids have been around for centuries. If it was just a guy’s desire to see a pretty girl, then the mermaid should have exited this world once pin-ups, Playboy and the much tamer Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition came out. Guys can, more easily than ever, look at beautiful women. You can just go online and look at the hundreds of thousands of webpages dedicated to feminine beauty. Or why do so many women feel so in touch with mermaids? So why is the mermaid, in this instant gratification world, more popular than ever? How could we have something in common with Christopher Columbus, more than 500 years later?
The Adventure Begins
I never studied mermaids, because they were like a friend, something we instantly recognize as part of our cultural history, and something easy to describe. The mermaid was not only my friend, but a friend to most people in the world. Walk up to anyone and they could easily tell you what a mermaid was and how she looks. It was time I dived into the myth of the mermaid. It’s going to be an interesting adventure.