Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Woman with the Golden Hair

The Woman with the Hair of Gold - Egg Tempera on Wood - 2012, Catherine Meyers

Being that it's Halloween, I thought this would be a good time to post this painting. I've never had any interest from any one who'd like to purchase The Woman with the hair of Gold, and so she very happily hangs in my home, where I see her everyday. The painting and the story behind it has some deep meaning to me on a personal level for a number of reasons. Truth be known, even if I had an opportunity to sell it, I'm not sure I would part with it.

 Probably to some, it's not a picture they'd ever want to hang in their home, because it's of a skeleton, in a grave and reminds us of our mortality and death, which I expect to some, is just too creepy, though ironically Halloween people can't seem to get enough of creepy.
The skeleton appears to be a woman with blonde hair that has grown up through the earth and wrapped around everything and anything it takes a hold of.

The painting is based on a Hungarian Folktale.

Here's the story...

The Woman with the Hair of Gold

There was a very strange but beautiful woman with long golden hair as fine as spun gold. She was poor and without mother or father, and lived in the woods alone and wove on a loom made of black walnut boughs. A brute who was the son of the coal burner tried to force her into marriage, and in an effort to buy him off, she gave him some of her golden hair.

But he did not know or care that it was spiritual, not monetary, gold that she gave him, so when he sought to trade her hair for merchandise in the marketplace, people jeered at him and thought him mad.
Enraged, he returned by night to the woman’s cottage and killed her with his hands and buried her body by the river. For a long time nobody noticed that she was missing. No one inquired of her hearth or health. But in her grave, the woman’s golden hair grew and grew. The beautiful hair curled and spiraled upward through the black soil and it grew looping and twirling more and more, and up and up until her grave was covered but a field of swaying golden reeds.
Shepherds cut the curly reeds down to make flutes and the tiny flutes would not stop singing;
Hear lies a woman with golden hair
Murdered and in her grave
Killed by the son of a coal burner
Because she wished to live.
This abridged version of the tale written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
From ‘Women who run with the Wolves’
(Fragment of larger old tale. Unknown author)


thesycamoretree said...

Would it be strange to say I find your painting of the golden-haired woman beautiful? Perhaps it is the story that makes it even more so. I have a daughter who didn't have to endure the 'be submissive and quiet' life I did as a child and young woman, and so she doesn't understand why I have such a feminist streak. :) Today I think we are aware that intolerance spreads out to more than just women - to all those who are different from the majority. Thanks for sharing your painting and the story!

Unknown said...

Lol. Well Bev that doesn't sound strange to me at all! :) I like to think you and I aren't the only ones who think this! But regardless, if only you find it beautiful for whatever the reason, that makes me very happy!

Definitely intolerance and all that goes with it is the plague of our world.

Yes! To all those who are different from the majority!

Marina Abromivic who I admire greatly and who is definitely one of those different from the majority says that, "art must be disturbing, art must ask questions, and only layers of meaning can give long life to art."

Thank you dear friend for your great comment! <3

Judith Joseph said...

What a haunting story, perfect for Halloween!

I love your painting. I think it is my favorite of your works! It is so beautifully and sensitively rendered. The skeleton is pristine and delicate, not creepy at all. I find the structures of the body to be beautiful, and the truth is, we each carry a skeleton around inside of us!

I love the element of the murdered woman speaking beyond the grave, with her beautiful hair that is the source of a fluting voice. The story also tells us that there are things that are more treasured than money, which the brute couldn't understand. The woman is an artist, a weaver, and her art and creativity survive her death. That's a very uplifting message, contrasting with the tragedy that she was the victim of a misogynous murderer.

We in the U.S. are contending with Trump, poster boy for misogynists, sexual assaulter of women. His accusers are emerging from the shadows, speaking up like the golden flutes.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Judith for you positive encouraging comment, which I just found. Lol yes we are all flesh and bone!

Oh my God you all in the U.S. sure have my empathy with this election and you are so very right about Trump. I'm so sick of it all, but I know you are getting bombarded with it constantly in the media coverage. I do have to say, I think there is more coverage of Trump cuttin' up his didos!

Like Don Rickles used to say. "May large growths appear on his neck!" LOL