Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mother Mansrot

Mother Mansrot
oil on panel

Every morning my three girls and I meet on our back patio for fifteen minutes of yoga. I like to provide a visualization to take with us as we go about our day. A recurring theme is to internalize a breeze or imagine a river that will carry us from one task to the next, never stagnant, always flowing, all day long. This means physically moving the body with fluid energy through their doings, also keeping thoughts flowing and evolving from one idea to the next.

In Mother Mansrot our figure may be sitting absolutely still, but there is a river raging through her head. Her thoughts are churning and moving. This piece represents one of the most poignant moments in the Old Rinkrank tale. As Brothers Grimm tales often do, the story makes a jump without inner dialogue or explanation. After years of being held captive by Old Rinkrank, and doing his work day in and day out...”Then once when he was out, and she had made his bed and washed his dishes, she shut the doors and windows all fast, and there was one little window through which the light shone in, and this she left open.” After this she makes her big escape. Life’s path can be drastically changed in just a brief moment, with just a small bit of action. What is the prelude to a moment like this?

Sunday, September 16, 2012


On this Sabbath day, may your burdens be light and your soul filled with comfort and peace.

Miniature for Howard Mandville Gallery's Small Works Show in Kirkland, Washington. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Old Rinkrank

Old Rinkrank is a story in the Brothers Grimm collection of folk tales.  Some time last year I read it and could not get Old Rinkrank and Mother Mansrot out of my head.  Images have appeared in many a drawing and project, and have eventually found their way onto paintings.  My invitation to be in a show with my friend Jeff Pugh at David Ericson Fine Art gallery in Salt Lake City proved to be the ideal forum to delve in and unravel my obsession with this tale.  My paintings, explanations of interpretation and symbolism will follow.

Old Rinkrank:
There was once upon a time a king who had a daughter,
and he caused a glass mountain to be made, and said that
whosoever could cross to the other side of it without falling
should have his daughter to wife. Then there was one who loved
the king's daughter, and he asked the king if he might have her.
"Yes," said the king, "if you can cross the mountain without falling,
you shall have her."  And the princess said she would go over it
with him, and would hold him if he were about to fall. 
So they set out together to go over it, and when they were half way up the
princess slipped and fell, and the glass mountain opened and shut
her up inside it, and her betrothed could not see where she had
gone, for the mountain closed immediately. Then he wept and
lamented much, and the king was miserable too, and had the
mountain broken open where she had been lost, and thought
he would be able to get her out again, but they could not find the place
into which she had fallen. 
Meanwhile the king's daughter had fallen quite deep down into
the earth into a great cave. An old fellow with a very long gray
beard came to meet her, and told her that if she would be his
servant and do everything he bade her, she might live, if not
he would kill her. So she did all he bade her. In the mornings
he took his ladder out of his pocket, and set it up against the
mountain and climbed to the top by its help, and then he drew up the
ladder after him. The princess had to cook his dinner, make his
bed, and do all his work, and when he came home again he always
brought with him a heap of gold and silver. When she had lived
with him for many years, and had grown quite old, he called her
Mother Mansrot, and she had to call him Old Rinkrank. Then once
when he was out, and she had made his bed and washed his dishes,
she shut the doors and windows all fast, and there was one little
window through which the light shone in, and this she left open. 
When Old Rinkrank came home, he knocked at his door, and cried,
"Mother Mansrot, open the door for me."  "No," said she, "Old Rinkrank,
I will not open the door for you." Then said he,
"Here stand I, poor Rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, wash my dishes, Mother Mansrot."
"I have washed your dishes already," said she. Then again he said,
"Here stand I, poor Rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, make me my bed, Mother Mansrot."
"I have made your bed already," said she. Then again he said,
"Here stand I, poor rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks,
on my weary, worn-out foot, open the door, Mother Mansrot
Then he ran all round his house, and saw that the little window
was open, and thought, "I will look in and see what she can be about,
and why she will not open the door for me."  He tried to peep in,
but could not get his head through because of his long beard.
So he first put his beard through the open window, but just as he
had got it through, mother mansrot came by and pulled the window
down with a cord which she had tied to it, and his beard was shut
fast in it. Then he began to cry most piteously, for it hurt
him very much, and to entreat her to release him again. But she
said not until he gave her the ladder with which he ascended the
mountain. Then, whether he would or not, he had to tell her where
the ladder was. And she fastened a very long ribbon to the
window, and then she set up the ladder, and ascended the
mountain, and when she was at the top of it she opened the
She went to her father, and told him all that had
happened to her. The king rejoiced greatly, and her betrothed
was still there, and they went and dug up the mountain, and found
old rinkrank inside it with all his gold and silver. Then the
king had old rinkrank put to death, and took all his gold and
silver. The princess married her betrothed, and lived right
happily in great magnificence and joy.

Instagram Ate My Blog

Wow, it's been a while.  I assure you I am alive and well.  More importantly, painting like a mad woman.  I have had the intention of playing catch-up, but would be entirely too much work.  Summer?  I don't even remember it, except it was lots of fun.

Summer 2012

You know what is a lot easier than assembling a blog post?  Instagram.  My handle is ecmcphie if you want to follow.  I have been keeping up regularly, maybe a little heavy on the small people, but I also post painting progressions as I work on various paintings.  I love watching how different artists go about their work. I am trying to show my process from start to finish.  I am working on a dozen paintings for a show at David Ericson Fine Art in Salt Lake City on 19 October.