nymphs-rebecca cowan

Rebecca Cowan


We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.”
 C.S. Lewis

This set of nymphs encompasses several of the themes I have been exploring in my work for some time. First, there is the notion that modern society continues to be influenced by ancient archetypes. Second, I have long been fascinated by the ways people show their public and private faces, and how secrets, dreams and desires are kept hidden. Most recently, a close examination of seasonal trees has led me to consider the importance of nature in our technology driven lives. And just as the images bring together a variety of thoughts and ideas, so does the technique.

I have used a range of media and techniques to produce this work. Each piece begins as an intaglio monotype printed on semi- transparent Japanese paper. In most of the work, at least two different metal plates have been printed to create an illusion of the forest’s depth. Next, a coloured pencil drawing of the figure is done on the back of the printed image. Then, a wood panel is stained to enhance the colours of both the trees and the figure. The Japanese paper with its printed trees and drawn figure is adhered to the board. At that point additional drawing or painting, on the surface of the paper covered board, may be added. And finally the entire panel is coated with several layers of acrylic medium to seal the image.