For this fairy tale I read the version in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. To paraphrase this story there is a maiden whose father unknowingly trades her to the devil for riches. After The devil attempts to claim the maiden but is unable to due to her purity he eventually orders the father to cut off her hands, and the devil still can not take her. Her family offers for her to stay, but she decides to leave on her own journey, eventually finding a castle with a pear orchard which is surrounded by a moat. A spirit helps her to get across and to get a pear, one night the King sees her and wants to care for her and marry her so he does. She gets pregnant, he goes to war, the baby is born, a letter is sent to the king announcing the birth, the letter is intercepted by the devil who says the child is dog faced, the king responds with love regardless, but that letter is intercepted (this happens a few times) and changes the message to the maiden and child must be killed. The maiden escapes with the baby and lives in the woods for seven years and her hands gradually grow back, king returns is upset that is love and child are gone, he also goes into the woods for seven years they find each other and remarry...this is very abbreviated, it is an interesting story, so if I have peaked your interest, definitely look it up.
So now that that is all out, lets talk art. I made two paintings for this story. One under the instruction of Galia Alena in her lesson in Ever After 2016, and the second is my own version experimenting with different techniques. Below is the painting from Ever After and above is my own interpretation.
For mine (above) I wanted to use the significance of the number 7 in the story. so I made seven background layers using various techniques (collage, stencils, doodles, writing, spray paint, water colour, gesso) and then added my image on top. I wanted the water from the moat-as water is life, and change. I didn't want her to have her hands, and the trees are white representing the spirit that helps her. She is in white for her purity and her hair is wild as she learns more about herself and wild nature.
There were a few interpretations that rang true for me from this story. One is the question-where in my life do I cut off my hands in order to hide my nature from others? maybe for love and acceptance? After journaling about this story and my thoughts, and my emotions, where I am at in my life I came to the conclusion that this maiden was probably at the lowest low of her life-even more than when she hid in the woods she had her child. But when she left her house with no hands she had no plan and no one. She didn't stop, she made the choice to move forward. Over time (a fairly long time) she finds herself again, she has reclaimed physically and spiritually the lost pieces of her self.
My question is where have you cut off your own hands? What actions can you take to claim the lost pieces? The things about you that you miss or have forgotten that you love?
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.