Category Archives: Essays

Adam and Eve Contemplate

© Anita Salemink 2016. Adam and Eve Contemplate Watercolour on ivorine 8 by 6 cm

© Anita Salemink 2016. Adam and Eve Contemplate Watercolour on ivorine 8 by 6 cm

Adam and Eve: The Proof is in the Eating

 When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge they did what God intended them to do, but then he punishes them for it. Does not the first story in the book of Genesis proof that religion is the mere concept of believing in God, and not the sole proof that God really exists?

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Hamlet’s Most Famous Character

Ophelia’s suicide: why has a fictional character inspired so many artists for hundreds of years?

© Anita Salemink 2014. 100 Days: 100 paintings, No.39  Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

© Anita Salemink 2014. 100 Days: 100 paintings, No.39 Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

Ophelia has been portrayed in numerous paintings throughout the centuries as the beautiful young maiden with the white skin who drowns herself: she floats on the surface of a river amongst flowers and leaves, only staying adrift for a short while, just until her clothes have weighed her down, and ultimately drown her. ‘Her clothes spread wide, And mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; which time she chanted snatches of old tunes […] Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death, (Hamlet, Scene IV, line 175-183). In the famous painting of Ophelia by John Everett Millais from 1851-52, we see the maiden floating in a stream holding a garland of flowers, William Shakespeare describes her as holding a garland of ‘crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,’ (Hamlet, scene IV line 170) which symbolize her innocence, youth, virginity, pain and sexuality. 

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100 Days | 100 Paintings

© Anita Salemink 2014. The Children of Firbreac II, Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

© Anita Salemink 2014. The Children of Firbreac II, Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

I’ve been making these little miniature paintings inspired by my writing for the past week because working on larger formats is still just too painful for me at the moment; I’ve broken my shoulder a while ago.

Well anyway, my doctor says that I have another couple of months to go before everything is back to normal, so I’ve made a plan. Until I can make larger drawings, I’ve decided to focus on the book I’ve just finished writing, and in order to promote it I will be making one miniature painting a day inspired by each scene in the book. Continue reading

Adam and Eve: The Proof is in the Eating

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge they did what God intended them to do, but then he punishes them for it. Does not the first story in the book of Genesis prove that religion is the mere concept of believing in God, and not the sole proof that God really exists?

© Anita Salemink 2014. The Proof is in the Eating, Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

© Anita Salemink 2014. The Proof is in the Eating, Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

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The Skeleton: Bones of Life and Love

In 2006 a photograph printed in the Dutch national newspaper, the NRC, caught my attention. It was a black and white photograph of a 62-yearold blind woman who had just given birth to her 12th baby. In the image we see a content mother patting her newborn affectionately on its back. The baby can be clearly perceived as happy and satisfied as much so as any other baby, whom its mother has just fed. It rests its little cheek on its mother’s shoulder, opening one eye as it looks into the wide world. In the little scrap of information accompanying the photo, it said that the baby’s name was Adam; that he was the woman’s second child by her third husband who was 48 years of age; and that the baby was conceived through IVF. The woman had 20 grand children, and 3 great grand children.

And with this picture it all started Continue reading

Beautiful Archives and New Inspiration

In 2011 I visited the Library in Cork City in Ireland. I am working on a novel set in 1803 in Ireland and had done a lot of research. I usually use published books for research, but I needed a primary source, and a more direct way of finding out about people’s daily lives in 18th century Ireland. I don’t live in Ireland anymore, so a friend of mine, who does, had sent me pictures of the archives at Cork City Library. Therefore, I knew that I needed to see the archives myself. I wanted to read the old newspapers from the time my novel is set in. And was particularly interested in public executions, as one of my characters ends up that way; and, also, because executions form an important theme in my book. What initially aroused my interest was the way Jane Austen describes life during the turn of the 18th century, she never mentions any real cruelty towards ‘criminals’ or poor people; where as, in my  history books from school, the most gruesome tortures and executions are described. I wanted especially to get a feel, first-handedly, of the way people thought about these things back then.

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The Scarred Country

Rushowen, a village, with a small population of about 875, lies tucked away between the undulating hills of the most beautiful countryside in Ireland. Its name is derived from a compilation of two Gaelic words, rush from rois meaning wood and abhainn meaning river, and reveals its natural environment. However, Rushowen was once a bustling town, a summer getaway for the gentry and nobility of the capital city, were as now finally it is left to slumber in forgetfulness. As I walk through the surrounding woodlands and hills I pass many great houses, some still inhabited, and ooze the history and arrogance of their past residents, while others remain just empty shells, ruins without souls, forming silent witnesses of their violent pasts. At one time Catholic gangs targeted these houses, and tried to burn them to the ground, hoping to deter other potential immigrant landowners. In fact, this area has always been in the middle of conflicts, ever since King Henry VIII converted Ireland to Protestantism and Catholics began to fight for their religious rights, equality and independence. However, they had to resort to extreme measures, risking their lives they tried to achieve better living conditions for themselves and their families. Traces of these bloody battles remain, and still dapple the countryside like painful scars.

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