While spending the month contemplating bees, I decided to start a new light drawing as a meditation on endurance. I plan to work daily on the drawing, focusing on small sections at a time. This will be a drawn out process, so I am not planning on showing the finished piece any time soon.
The initial drawing that I am working from (above) is a charcoal drawing that is printed onto a 2m long piece of paper. The image is pixelated and distorted, which I love. I am working on the main drawing along with 3 sheets of translucent drafting film underneath. It is like the translucent drawings become the ghost of the charcoal image. I have only just begun to see the translucent drawings in this way after recently reading about ‘familiars.’
‘Familiars’ was a term I had not heard of until reading about Max Ernst and his alter-ego, which was a familiar rather than an alternative persona like many artists, such as Duchamp had. I have become fascinated by this idea.
A familiar is a supernatural entity that follows or shadows a person. The term originated in Western European folk law and related mainly to witches. The familiar is said to help witches cast their magic. For Max Ernst, he believed his familiar was a bird, a symbol that often appeared in his paintings and drawings. Ernst’s familiar was named Loplop, and he often dressed in feathered costumes believing the bird was interchangeable with his own human form.
“familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as "familiars") were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal, but also at times as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound" by those alleging to have come into contact with them, unlike later descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form[s]".” (Reference)
The main purpose of a familiar was to offer protection, particularly for young witches as they developed their power in magic.