High Tor Guardian

High Tor Guardianb

We start with an extreme close up, as one of the joys of painting for me lies with the textures that seem to occur naturally in the very act of lobbing pigments at a bit of blank paper. Here you can get a better impression of that. To give a sense of scale, in real life her face is about the size of a fat bumblebee.

High Tor Guardian

This Local Character came to me fully formed (more or less) on a Christmas walk out in the wilds of Dartmoor. I must admit I got into a pickle with the face as she looked a little too much like Bruce Spence from Mad Max 2, and even though there’s still a touch of the Brucies about her, I’m reasonably satisfied with her look of benign disdain. In my mind, she had much greener lips, but it looked ridiculous when I came to paint them so they had to be subdued somewhat. The only other deviation from my initial vision came when I stole her twiggy head piece from this awesome lady:



12 Replies to “High Tor Guardian”

  1. I’m not sure how relevant this even is anymore, but I love your web comic “sunsound” and I was thinking, after the Crooked Imp, maybe the Phoenix might be interested in picking it up? I get that it may be a bit long form for a regular publication like the phoenix, but I just think it’s really brilliant. Maybe an online run? I don’t know…

    1. Thanks Sam – it’s great to know somebody has read Sunsound! It’s probably not right for the Phoenix – in fact David Fickling (the boss) has seen it, which is what gave him the idea for doing the Crooked Imp, so if they thought it was their kind of thing, something would have happened by now. Crowd funded projects are all the rage at the moment, so it may be possible to produce it that way – I have part two all written and thumbnailed; it would be a shame not to continue the story…

  2. I just received my print this morning. Thank you! She really struck a chord with me. We were up on The Roaches yesterday in Staffordshire, and the rocks are not disimilar.
    I love her!

  3. So much about her says “shaman” to me. The headpiece makes me think of Cernunnos very much, especially the horns, and the repetition of the sticks and twigs, the bones she wears around her neck as well as the skeleton – I was surprised to find you named her the guardian, as she clearly is a shaman of the moors in so many ways. Very unusual and haunting image. Wonderful!

    1. Thanks Tatyana. You’re right, there is more than a hint of the shaman about her. I think at one stage she was holding a drum, but I got rid of it because it was a bit too much… It’s quite common to find the remains of various animals scattered about the moor; along with the mist and megalithic structures it gives the place a feeling of being a threshold to another world.

  4. Your wonderful illustration caught my eye because I have just read Remembering Deer Mother of Winter Solstice which traces her back to cave paintings. A fascinating image.

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