Like many of my finished pieces, this one began as a doodle using the supplies I had available at the time. Initially I did not have a subject matter in mind and was simply laying down some interesting forms and lines with the highlighter marker. The central portion of those forms became a wizened face, and the swirling area surrounding it was first a shroud, then hair, and finally an equally wizened tree. Due to the worn nature of the face and hands, the fungi, as well as the yellow tone of the marker, I tentatively titled this piece "Sallow Mushroom Elder." At that point in time it was still incomplete and I wasn't sure who this imposing figure was, I also had no idea if this figure was male or female.
One faery of folklore that caught my attention was the Hylde-Moer ("Elder Mother") or Hylde-Vinde ("Elder Queen"), who is the guardian spirit of a certain tree, the Sambucus nigra. It was customary to request permission from this spirit before taking any of her wood. She required a compact of sorts before someone took the task of cutting her tree: "Ourd gal, give me of thy wood / An Oi will give some of moine / when Oi grows inter a tree" and "Lady Elder, give me some of thy wood; then I will give thee, also, some of mine when it grows in the forest" are variations on that promise. In some cases, this tree was regarded as a witch in plant form.
Size: 5.5" by 6.75"
Media: black ballpoint pen, highlighter marker