Dancing Fairies


Art by August Malmstrøm

Imagine rowing quietly over a lake a summer night. You are in the north and the sun is betwixt dusk and dawn, still giving off a mellow gleam of pale yellow and grey light. Above the water a mist has gathered, twirling in slow motion in the stillness of the night. And that is when you see it. Is it just a formation of white vapor gracefully leaping in the air? Or is it something else, something you thought only existed in your imagination?


Photo by: Ingolf Endresen

Ever since the first people came to Norway, they have been asking themselves this question. Of course, fairies are not supposed to exist, but how can mist move so intently and musically without even a breath of air? The tales speak of fairies coming out to dance in the mysterious light of the summer night, disguising themselves in the glamour of white mist upon water.

What do you believe? Perhaps you are not so easily convinced of the existence of fairies, but if you were there, rowing quietly over a lake a summer night…you would perhaps not be so sure…

Image credit: The beautiful photo is taken by the very talented Ingolf Endresen. You can see more of his incredible photos here: https://blog.ingolfendresen.com/

The Weaver and the Underlings

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She weaves the flying tones of Linden-trees
Strong and true, through spindle-woods.
Earthlings, doomed to roam the undergrounds,
Grasp, by light of hollow-stars, at the spring of
The Faerie-sound.
Up and up and up they flee, by twigs of leaves
On dancing feet, up through birch and evergreen
Where hill-top grass lay glistening,
And the shadowed moon has laid her fate,
For them to dance through Elven-gates.

Pan’s Flute

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Enchantments coiled around my wrists
And over the field I hastened,
Through thistle-spun trees and lily-woods
But, alas, my feet began a’dancin’.
Through umbrella-leaves and parsley-blooms
I twirled in fields of goldenrod,
To pipes unseen and larks unheard.
And Pan himself must have laughed,
For he had caught me in his Faerie-trance.

Looking for the enchanted realm…

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Are you one of those who just wish, wish, wish you could see the folk of the enchanted realm, the ones many call “Fey” ? Well, I am! So I went looking for them! And see what I found! Can you spot them? 😀

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All the photos are of course taken by me in this one (since I was the only one there to spot them! :-D)

Fantasy Artist Portrait: Josephine Wall

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Josephine Wall is my favorite Fantasy Artist. I discovered her work in a little Fairy Shop in Galway, Ireland, when I bought a greeting card with my star sign, Pisces, on it, and Josephine Wall was the artist who had decorated the card.

Josephine Wall was born in 1947 in an English town called Farnham, which is in Surrey, England. She was an artist even as a child, she loved colors, fantasy and visual storytelling!

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Josephine Wall joined the Society of Art and Imagination in 1998, and she was one of the first artists to exhibit her work in London in their yearly Open Exhibition.

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“Pisces”

The world of Josephine Wall is a gentle world populated by fairies, castles, children, butterflies and mythical creatures. Josephine says herself that her art gives her the opportunity to portray the world as she would like it to be. And she wants her viewers to experience the same in her paintings.

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Josephine Wall’s art is inspired by artists such as Arthur Rackham, Salvador Dali and Margritte. She has elements of romanticism and surrealism in her art, and is also known for her keen interest in nature preservation, which is quite obvious to the viewer in paintings such as: “No More”.

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“No More”

Josephine Wall lives in Dorset, England, where she also has her Gallery, a place I personally dream of visiting!

Another place I dream of visiting is the beautiful luxury B&B, the Enchanted Manor, which is decorated by Josephine Wall herself, and which has a fine collection of her paintings. The B&B is located on the magical Ilse of White, a perfect holiday paradise!

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“Enchanted Manor”

What I love the most about Josephine Wall’s art is the tiny details hidden in each painting. You can just stare and stare for hours on a painting and still discover new exciting things! I have used many of her images in my Art Therapy/Art Interpretation classes for children, and they absolutely adore her art!

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Maybe if you live close to either Dorset or Isle of White, you can pop in for a visit, and please please please tell me about it afterwards! 🙂 Otherwise, you can always visit Josephine Wall on her beautiful website:

http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/

And here is the address of the Enchanted Manor website:

http://www.enchantedmanor.co.uk/

All the above images have been sourced from these two websites.

Norwegian Fairy Tales

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Norway has a rich history of storytellers, folk tales told on little farms in the darkness of winter evenings with only a blazing fire for light and warmth. These tales were full of trolls, elves, nisse folk, witches and other creatures lurking in the darkness of the deep forests. In the tales these creatures are either wicked, luring people into harm, or wise and helpful aiding humans through challenges and helping them solve mysterious riddles and seemingly impossible tasks.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Typical for Norwegian fairy tales is that the hero is always the underdog, the youngest son or daughter, the one who is humble, honest, kind, helpful, quiet, and often a little different than others. The villain, often a troll or a witch is the opposite, dumb-witted, loud, greedy, and selfish.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

The hero of the tale has to go through different challenges or tasks to prove himself worthy of the prize or reward promised to the one who solves the quest. This prize is often the princess and half the kingdom. The challenges include tests of the hero’s kindness, cleverness, perseverance, humility and bravery.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Our favorite hero is the “Ashlad”, who bears similarities to Cinderella. He is the youngest son of three brothers, he sits by the hearth poking the fire with a face full of soot and ash. He is unappreciated by his family who often judge him as a little stupid and a “good-for-nothing” kind of lad. He is the eternal dreamer, never caring much about money or material possessions.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Norwegian fairy tales also features talking animals, like polar bears, foxes, brown bears, hares, mice and birds. Some of the most famous fairy tales are: Soria Moria Castle, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Polar Bear King or White-bear King Valemon.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

The Norwegian fairy tales are full of folk humor, and they are not as romantic and fantastical as many of the other fairy tales from more southern countries. Many of the tales are made to solve everyday problems or explain things in nature. The tales belong to the people, and rather than celebrate kings and queens, they honor the ordinary folk, farmers and cottagers. People who live ordinary lives but who have extraordinary things happen to them.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

It was two men called Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe who, during the national renaissance in the middle of the nineteenth century, decided to embark on the gigantic task of collecting these folk tales, tales that up till now had only been perserved orally, told to children by parents and grandparents through generations, into one big volume. The first volume of Norwegian folk tales, collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe, was published in 1848.
The book became so popular that Asbjørnsen and Moe ended up publishing several additional volumes of tales.

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Jørgen Moe. Image credit: skoletorget.no

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Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. Image credit: skoletorget.no

One of the most popular as well as loved illustrator of Norwegian fairy tales is the Norwegian painter Theodor Kittelsen. He is still the most popular fairy tale illustartor today, even 100 years after his death.

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Theodor Kittelsen

Asbjørnsen and Moe’s volumes of Norwegian folk tales can be found in almost every Norwegian home, and Norwegian children still grow up with these magical tales of trolls, elves, witches and brave kind heroes who always win the prize at the end of the tale, not just because they are the hero of the tale, but because they have proved themself worthy by showing extraordinary kindness, wit, and generosity.

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An old volume of fairy tales

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A modern collection of the same folk tales. Image credit: dagbladet.no

All the images, unless informed otherwise, are sourced from wikimedia