This book, like most books, originates from many sources, too numerous to list in detail here. However, I would like to extend direct appreciation to those who served as models and helped to ’put flesh’ on some of these mythic characters: Maria Blanca Natal, Tatiana Podoliaka, Nancy Pitkin, Bill Page, Oriole Harris and Igraine Convery.
I am grateful as well to Jon Bennett of Chattanooga, Tennessee for his spurring and encouragement over the years, to Michael Huntington, and to the many friends and family who have all contributed their special piece of the Golden Thread.
Joseph Campbell, in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces, ” wrote that “Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural
manifestation.” Since childhood, when first exposed to the rich imagery of these stories, I have been inclined to agree. Over time their characters and symbols seemed to find a resonance with my own experience of life. This then became the source material of a visual poetry worked out over many years. I do not, in a strict sense, ‘illustrate’ myths but draw heavily on their undercurrents to create reflections on basic life themes: desire and destiny, love, loss, death and regeneration. I think these stories have held such long enduring interest for people because they reflect the transitions through which we all must pass in some way.
Almost all of these pictures have evolved out of a blend of traditional lore (usually from the Greeks, Celts and Nordic peoples) and more personal impressions. The last bronze rays of sunset filtering through a forest might transform it, just for a moment, into a sacred grove of Arcady or the enchanted land of Tir na Nog. A woman, brooding alone at a picnic table, would call up some sorrowful figure such as Echo or Cassandra. Like overlays of some fine, transparent substance these little moments of vision seem to fuse myth and memory into a fragment of the “fabric of dream” which underlies everyday human experience.
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Cover design: ‘The Weavers’ 1990 oil on canvas by Kevin Convery