I’m preparing to paint these two ladies, the Seelie and Unseelie fairies of Poppies for CAC' s Odd Fae project. Moving slowly and carefully - my sprained drawing hand is better but not absolutely fabulous yet - I'll finalize the under-drawing on watercolor paper, check my colors and start painting.
Seelie and Unseelie fay are mirror images of each other. The Seelie court Fay embodies positive aspects of poppies - lavish beauty, healing sleep, forgetfulness from woe, and an artistic association with art nouveau. The Unseelie court Fay reflects negative aspects, meaning a slow, wasting death.
Many cultures use of the poppy as an offering to the dead and a memorial to the fallen. Is it because of the beautiful blood red color? I suspect the symbolism is at its heart pharmasuitical. The poppy is a pretty flower which humanity has used to make opium since 3,400 BC. In ancient Sumer it was called Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” As a drug, the Poppy was a powerful tool for both medicinal and recreational uses. And humanity has always been good at hurting itself with power tools...
My goal is to make these girls a recognizable pair but also a study in contrast. The same characteristic makes one a symbol of peace and healing, makes the other a harbinger of untimely death. They are both Poppy Fay. It's complicated.