One of the first entries in this collection – ‘The Pilgrims‘ – played a crucial role in shaping the overall look and themes of the many fantastical artworks that would follow.
Fast-forward a few years and, after a run of some ambitious paintings, Ann decided to take some time to reflect on the journey so-far. Perhaps, to revisit an early work and catch-up with the subjects to ‘see how they were getting on’. So it seemed obvious – and appropriate – that of all our early artworks, it should be to our Pilgrims, that we return. Like some of you, we’d grown tired of wondering ‘What’ve they been up to?’
Well, wonder no more, for I’m very proud to introduce you to ‘Pilgrims Rest…’!
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As you can see, we’re still out in the snow, although things aren’t quite as bad for our heroes as before. Despite being out on an exposed, snowy hillside, they have at least some spiritual protection. Our Hare has dismounted and is preparing the camp. Usually, you’d expect hopes to be raised by a roaring fire, but instead we’ve got something quite magical. Look closely at the lamp on the ground, and you’ll see that there are TWO streams of vivid fireflies linking it to the glowing helmet-lamps. And yet, we’re so high up here, on a cloudy & snowy night, that there shouldn’t be any fireflies at all! Then again, in this magical world, things aren’t always as they seem… Right next to the lamp, can be seen an old, weathered Celtic Knot engraved into the living rock. The last time we saw one of those, was in ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ and, sure enough, we have another Owl here too, perched on the cairn in the background. Keeping watch and ensuring that all is well.
Last time, the Owl sent out its message via the ‘pearls’, but not today: it doesn’t need to! Look below the lamp and what do you see? Yes, some more Anglo-Saxon runes, that are glowing in the darkness. Their message?
Well it’s actually an excerpt from John Bunyan’s ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’. The full passage reads:
“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
Let those words sink in. Roll them around your mind. All that you need to understand this painting, is right there.