Mermaid Pictures of an Unusual Kind
This is a group of pictures concerning Mermaids, and er... Maidmers. As they sound, they are simply mermaids in reverse. What they loose in attractiveness they make up for in practicality. Here also you will find a painting of the very rare 'Arctic Mermaids', specially adapted for the harsher climes in which they live, and I have other pictures of yet rarer mermaids planned in due course...
As I create these mermaid pictures, a few thoughts occur on this fishy subject. Here, to divert you, are a couple of them, with accompanying images, but if you wish to see the paintings in question in any great detail please click the thumbnails above and visit each of the paintings on its own page in my gallery.
What are Mermaids Good For?
It's rather a mystery to me anyway why mermaids moon about on rocks all day long, luring ships to their doom, only to (somewhat hypocritically) mourn over the drowned sailors. I suppose it's just because they can, and it makes a change from sitting around brushing their hair, which is about the only other thing that they are good for.
It's the tails, you see ‚?? the poor old mermaids just can't get out and about in the real world, and it's embarrassing to be seen flopping about on the beach like an idiot and run the risk of Greenpeace coming along and trying to re-float you. So all they are left with is to gaze wistfully out at the world and wish they could be part of it. Of course there was the Little Mermaid (as in the tale by Hans Christian Anderson, to which I'm fairly sure that Disney thing bears small resemblance...). The Little Mermaid did get her wish for legs, but at a terrible price and it all went rather horribly wrong.
The trouble is that a mermaid with legs is, well, not a mermaid - the tail bit being something of a defining feature. Until, that is, I discovered a rather unusual and rarely depicted type of mermaid - the Maidmer
Maidmers: a Tale without a Tail
The first maidmer picture came about as a sketch for a charity auction. The theme was 'Blood Relative' and, casting around for something within my general subject matter that might make an interesting note upon the subject of relatives, I discovered this little-known cousin of the mermaid, the maidmer.
This is a rare creature, though rarer still are pictures of maidmers, the only well-known one I can think of being that painting by the surrealist Magritte. Magritte was, however, making a point about the practicality of this 'thinking man's mermaid', but failed (so far as I know) to consider the relationship of mermaids and maidmers, as the latter move into their territory... And so the first painting came about: Two Mermaids and Maidmer.
The mermaids in my pictures look at the maidmers with a mixture of bewilderment, shock, even horror, and not a little envy as well. Maidmers, you see, look like creatures that are going places. They‚??re probably seen as young upstarts, carelessly casting aside the shackles of tradition in favour of upward mobility and instant gratification. Yes, the maidmers are quite aware that they‚??re not the prettiest of creatures ‚?? but they have a realistic approach to life - they have a nice pair of legs, and a growing collection of unsuitable shoes. And they‚??re determined to make the best of it. Very soon they'll probably be strutting their stuff along the dockside, and then there'll be trouble. Below is the painting Sirens on the Rocks - in this picture already the maidmers are beginning to move into the mermaids patch, and they do have the legs for it (if nothing else...)
Incidentally, I was asked if there are any Menmers: yes, I suspect there are indeed, though I am uncertain as to whether they would make an especially attractive painting - only time will tell...
Arctic Mermaids and other Unusual Adaptations
Another addition to this shoal of paintings are the Arctic Mermaids - a rare form of mermaid specially adapted to the freezing seas of the arctic - huge and ungainly out of the water, compared to their skinny cousins from temperate regions, but graceful in the water, and of course they need the thick skin and layers of blubber to be well protected against the inhospitable temperatures, and probably against the Polar Bears, too. Someday I will paint a picture of the deep-sea mermaids, too - that sort that have headlamps on the front like those weird deep-sea fish, and live under the terrible pressures at the bottom of the ocean. No doubt there are other rarer mermaids I have yet to discover, but when I do, you can be sure that a picture will follow just as soon as I have the time....
Mermaids in Danger
Another theme I have sometimes followed up in my mermaid pictures has to do with the innocence of mermaids, and in todays hazardous world innocence is not always a good thing. Three Mermaids and a Shopping Trolley is a very old painting that I once did, inspired by the small river across the road from where I used to live, which regularly collected shopping trolleys and other junk, which the ducks would stand on. Mermaids, unfortunately, know no better than ducks that hanging around in such an environment is not good for their health, and I ought to create another painting or two on the subject (now my skills are somewhat improved!).
Some people have found this painting rather depressing, naturally, but no-one seems to have considered the equal danger that the Bronzed Mermaid is putting herself in, as she lies all day in the sun:
There are of course a few sensible mermaids out there. Deep in the dark safe depths of the ocean lives the Fishwife, who has given up trying to attract the attention of those on land, and the handsome sailors, and mooning about over the drowned ones. Instead, she's come to terms with her fishy heritage and fallen for a real fish. My only concern is that it is something of a one-sided relationship, but perhaps they will be happy that way...
A Note about Mermaid Anatomy
Well, while I'm rambling about mermaids, I thought I would finish with a note upon the subject of their anatomy. In fact I only have one point to make but I feel in needs to be made now I have your attention: Mermaids don't have knees. No! they really don't! stop it! I have lost count of the number of paintings of mermaids that I have seen where they have knees! The internet is full of them - they look just like women wearing mermaid suits, which, while it may suffice for a fancy dress party, does not a Real Mermaid make. Mermaids are fish from the waist-down. I have spent many hours studying the pretty big koi that live in the pond in my garden, and I can assure you that they have no knees either. Well, there you go then, that is the one and only point I have to make concerning mermaid anatomy.
Of course maidmers do have knees, on which note I shall finish for the time being, but if you would like to see the paintings in this ramble in better detail then please go back up to the top and click through the thumbnails of all my mermaid pictures.
All images and prints are © Nancy Farmer. Please email me if you wish to reproduce any of these images, or see my permissions page in the 'info' section.