Fine Artist Blog

East of the Sun and West of the Moon


"East of the Sun, West of the Moon" oil painting by Marilyn Wells

“East of the Sun, West of the Moon” oil painting by Marilyn Wells

New Painting based on an old children’s fairytale. I also call this “The Sun Coaxing the Moon”  It’s 20″ x 24″, third in my series of seven small paintings. I was especially inspired by a poem I read when I discovered W.S. Merwin in this recent collection of poems, Migration. It took me back to a beloved fairytale—East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

As has this familiar fairy tale, one that fascinated me as a child, and now Merwin, so have I also taken liberties in my interpretation. Here the sun is a woman, unlike most mythology where the Sun God is the male or Apollo; and she in my version must coax the Moon, or the bear in my painting, to shine, or to reflect her radiance. If she is not able to do so, the world as we know it will not come into existence.

For me it speaks of the “hieros gamos” or sacred marriage, which is either between female and male or between one and God depending on the level at which you study it. If you are not familiar with the various meanings of this union, you will want to do so at your leisure.

The beauty of that moment in creation was, along with the poem and the fairytale, the inspiration for my painting.

The bird may be a suggestion of the Phoenix, the legendary bird which perishes in flame periodically only to be reborn.

Related articles

“Teaching Baby to Paint” – detail underpainting
New Work – Small Paintings

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Marilyn Wells - Fine Artist