January 3, 2017

What's New in the Studio - Nymph

        I finished printing this block on Sunday (another tough one to print cleanly.  Mysterious - and annoying.)  It represents a water nymph and I wanted to give her a bit of an art nouveau flavor.  I’m not very good at stylizing things, but at least I had fun with the curls and swirls of her hair.
        This is not just any nymph, however.  For the sake of my hypothetical future fantasy alphabet, I wanted to give this nymph the option of being a xana, the Asturian water spirit I discovered last year.  In order to make sure she can be a xana I had to give her curly, light hair, and I made sure that she was living in a habitat that could occur in northern Spain.  The willow and yellow water lilies (the smaller flowers) are common there.  They’re actually quite widespread and could be growing in many other parts of the world, as well.
        The xana of Asturian legend, like many traditional nature spirits, is what we might call chaotic neutral.  They may be benign or helpful, or they may be downright malignant, or they may simply look after their own interests without much caring about the effect on humans.  But I wanted to show a nymph with the same sort of curiosity about us as we might have for her: cautiously observing, intensely interested, but ready to sink back under the surface out of sight in an instant, leaving the human to assume that any slight sound or glimpse of movement must have been just a frog.

[Picture: Freshwater Life, rubber block print by AEGN, 2016.]


  1. Love it. Reminds me a painting by Waterhouse, Hylas and the nymphs.

  2. I like that one, too. Waterhouse's nymphs also look very curious about the man, although I think Waterhouse was also going for a bit more of the traditional association of nymphs with free sexuality.