Monday, June 29, 2015

Beltane 2015 and how it ended up looking like something out of Hieronymus Bosch

bonfire set to go for Beltane 2015!
(Beltane wouldn't be complete without a bonfire and this one has two bonfires)

This is to celebrate and dance away the dark spirits that have been around since Halloween! 

To learn more about Beltane, which is an olde Celtic celebration, go here to a Wikipedia article about it.

This is a continuation of this post about Beltane 2014, and about this post where I promised to post about 3 events in succession. The three events include flag day (where taking pictures of the parade resulted in an art piece called "Followers as Zombies" view-able here), Beltane (this post, which resulted in an art piece that resembled something out of Hieronymous Bosch) and a Renaissance faire (yet to be published).

I sometimes use photos from events for my art. In my particular case, I probably will use more of the flag day photos and Renaissance faire photos than the ones from Beltane, though I am liking this year's crop of Beltane photos more than last year's and you never know what will spark the inspiration.

Before the bonfire gets lit with a torch thrown from a medieval-style catapult, I take a walk through the woods and find that there is a rather large campsite. Most of the camps are tents, but I found this cool caravan, complete with a couple of sculptures nailed to either side of the door:

  caravan camping complete with cozy bed inside
and two ceramic sculptures adorning the outside on either side of the door --

The whole caravan sits on a trailer bed and has modern wheels for a modern highway even though it looks like something from the 1600s - 1800s. This is much nicer to look at than a modern trailer made out of metal and plastic parts! It is very much a mini home and can fit a double bed, the rocker and shelf unit (though I have yet to find out where the small round table can fit ... and on closer inspection, I realize it is a spool, with two round circles on either end, and just fashioned to be a make-shift table for the present).

I noticed two caravans for Beltane this year (last year there was only one caravan, so the new trend seems to be taking hold)!

Then as I go back to the gathering, I notice it is getting dark. So I take a picture of one of the two statues that adorn the gate before the night descends:

sculpture guarding the gate
before dark

In the other post that I wrote, I told how this event takes place at an artist's studio, and his sculptures are everywhere! They are included in everything, even the place where wood is stacked, on carts, where there is a tree growing, where there is an entrance, anything is deserving of a piece of sculpture. For Beltane, the torches are placed in front of the sculptures.

So ... when night arrives the torches illuminate all the sculpture faces (like this one):

 the torches are lit!
the faces all glow in the dark!

Then the bonfire gets lit with fireballs thrown from a hand-built old style catapult up on a hill:

the bonfires are lit by fireballs catapulting into the wood piles

the celebration is on!
the drumming starts!
the dancing starts!

everyone moves a little closer to the fire!

I liked how this guy's profile was framed by the fire:

profiled by fire!

I love the effects of some of the pictures once it is dark! So much better than last year's photo shoot! These guys look like aliens (grays) with their tight suits and hoods. I like how these three figures move, and how they leave trails (because of the low light and long shutter speed):

three figures 
who look like aliens!
and dancing!

Then the fire dancers get started:

the fire dancers start!

and keep going!

and going and going and ...

and going!

There was a little more light made by the bonfires for this next photo, and I like how I'm getting shadowing with all of the figures. Faces begin to take on other-worldly appearances:

fire dancer with on-lookers

And then a guy with horns starts fire dancing too. I love how his glasses are reflecting the fire from his hands and the satisfied smile he seems to wear:

man with horns fire dancing!

another one

... And then he starts to eat fire (!):

fire eater with two fireballs

fire eater in full glory!

The following are my favorites of the night:

This is probably my ultimate favorite of the night! I like the composition and how the figures are moving. This one will have to be relegated to a painting. I don't know how to improve upon the photo itself at this time:


This one looks like ghosts. The squiggle is somewhat distracting, and I contemplate whether to take it out digitally. It has that Duchamp look to it (reminding me of Nude Descending a Staircase), but there is also something about it that only photography can do

ghosts with light squiggles

I take a portion of the photo and play around with it:

ghosts moving, doing their thing

So odd! Whoa! Weird things start happening in the dark, I guess!

It looks like some of the figures are in a bath tub! There was no bath tub, I can assure you! There's also a brown fish coming out of the side of it (front center). And then there's this cubist thing happening in the left corner! The figures ears are pronounced, and you can tell where their hairlines are, but other than that there is a mystery surrounding this perspective and the one preceding it.

I know that these photos were taken near the drumming circle, but other than that I can't remember what was there.

The one thing I left out of the above one was a full perspective of the tree. Perhaps that is what is most interesting about the photo. The tree and figures appear as one:

"Ghosts Holding up the Tree of Life"

This one looks like a Bacchanalian freak show:

"Bacchanalian Freak Show"
(take one)

The most interesting figures (to me) are off to the right. So I focus on them for this next rendition: 

"Bacchanalian Freak Show"
(take two)

It can't get much better than this!

... Or can it?

I go into the photo and try to emphasize the facial features and some of the hands.

Wow! Now it is looking like something out of Hieronymus Bosch (!):

"Bacchanalian Freak Show with Hieronymus Bosch treatment"

Next up is a Renaissance faire.

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