The Old Man of the Oak

On day 174 of 365 Days Wild I decided to spend some time working on a (not so) Green Man picture in soft pastel and charcoal. Whilst I’m not entirely satisfied with it – his eyes are a bit wonky, and I think I’d probably include a few acorns and other such details in any future attempts -considering that he’s my first ever Green Man, I’m happy to leave him as he is and move on.

The Green Man is an old pagan symbol that is generally associated with plants, regeneration and growth. He is sometimes linked to nature or vegetation deities, whose cycles of life, death and rebirth embody the growth cycles of plants.

He (or very occasionally she) is usually depicted as a face surrounded by foliage, sometimes with leaves, vines, fruits or flowers growing out of their mouth, eyes or nostrils. Depictions of him can be found around the world. The earliest examples are found in Lebanon and Iraq, and dated to the 2nd Century AD. There are numerous carvings of him to be found in Christian churches across Europe. Whilst some of these carvings may have been a reflection of deeply held beliefs, it is thought that the majority of Green Man carvings are purely decorative in nature.

I spotted this one in Fountain’s Abbey a few years ago.

Before creating my own picture I spent a little time with the many oak trees that can be found in my local area. Their leaves are now all turning to gold.

During the recent windy weather I’ve frequently walked through showers of falling oak leaves. This one practically landed in my hand – a gift from the Old Man of the Oak.

That’s all for today. Have you been inspired by nature to create anything recently? Let me know in the comments!


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