Symbol, allegory, and dream: the art of Florence Susan Harrison
This Dog's Life

Myth, nature, and memory: Aleah Sato and Gina Litherland

In Bloom by Gina Litherland

Path of Needles by Gina LitherlandBirth Day

by Aleah Sato

The story is sketchy at best.
Owls gathered and the bark shed itself from the oak
As tears pooled into torrents of lodestars.
Tornadoes collided and the princes fell from their towers
Holding the gold of dragons and peasants.
I heard the bells rang thrice and the priests,
Against their rosaries, called, “Lord, bring us.”
I needed no milk. I took to scarabs, those chocolate clocks.
I rode the Cyclops, my brave heart, and called canyons
With the beating thrill of thunder.
The Goose Girl by Gina LitherlandThe tails of foxes bent into ?s.
The skunks danced and raided –
         My good kin.
The subtle mercy – I cared less for it –
Demanded fiction in the burning of skin.
“Kill her,” someone whispered.
Nails bent. A witch walked on water.
Even now, I court Medusa’s daughter –
The maker, the ender.
Someone released the Necromancer.
A writer flew from the hand of a muse.

Poems spoke my purpose.
Poems re-created the real of another’s imaginings –
Murmur of Pearls by Gina LitherlandThat was the key to my survival
And to grow my own vine to magic –
      Likewise, to misery.

                              Barn Owl feather

The poem above comes from Aleah Sato's terrific Jane
Crow Journal
, reprinted here with her kind permission. It seemed the perfect piece to end a week in which we've been discussing the mythic power of fantasy and the creative process.

The art today is by the extraordinary Gina Litherland, Wolf Alice by Gina Litherlandwhose work Midori Snyder introduced me too some years ago. (They both hail from Wisconsin.)

"I have always been interested in the interplay between myth, the natural world, and the domain of dreams and memory," writes Litherland. "As a child, I spent many hours exploring natural wooded areas and empty lots inhabited by multitudes of insects and wildlife. This, along with a fervent interest in reading, particularly fairy tales, laid the foundation for my current investigations as an artist. Much of my work is inspired by folklore, myth, and literature reflected in my own personal preoccupations, specifically themes of desire, femaleness, the natural world, the human/animal boundary, children's games, ritual, intuition, and memory. The painting techniques that I use, traditional indirect oil painting techniques similar to those used by fifteenth century Sienese painters, combined with textural effects created by using various tools other than the paint brush, allow me to create a detailed, layered, and complex surface of images recreating the experience of looking at the forest floor with its rich blanket of diverse matter in various stages of decay. Suddenly, an object emerges and comes sharply into focus."

Please visit Litherland's website to see more of her gorgeous artwork. Two of her exhibition catalogs, Gina Litherland: Recent Paintings (2007) and The Murmur of Pearls (2009), are available from the Corbett vs. Dempsey online bookshop.

Little Red Cap by Gina LitherlandArt above: In Bloom, The Path of Needles, The Goose Girl, Mumur of Pearls, Wolf Alice,  and Little Redcap.