Sunday, March 9, 2014

Secrets From a Mermaid's Comb

The coolest thing happened to me last week.  Musician Helen Davey asked me if she could compose a musical painting based on some of my art pieces.  I said YES!! PLEASE!!
Helen lives in Switzerland and we decided to use Facetime to begin the process. 

We had a very fun Facetime phone call, Switzerland to Key West, how cool is that?  We talked about my work, we talked about her work and then she got right to it and came up with this lovely composition.

Here is the statement I sent her about my mermaid pieces;

The Fish Whisperer 1 and 2

As a child, one of my favorite movies was "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid".  My father and Grandfather took me fishing all the time but we never caught a Mermaid. Now that I live in a tropical island paradise, water imagery and the sea seems even more magical than ever.  I create my own little stories using real and imagined sea creatures. In The Fish Whisperer, even I don't know what the conversation is about. I guess it is a secret.

Here are links to the music and to Helen's Blog.  Please go to Helen's blog to learn more about her 52 week sound painting project.

(For 10 voices, piano, shells & percussion)

(6:35 mins) by Helen Davey 

listen or buy the music here: 

Helen's blog: 

What Helen says about her work.
"I love that Maggie has many interpretations of her Fish Whisperer  (as you can see). Mine stems from the myths and legends around mermaids, specifically from Cornwell (my own heritage).
As Maggie said, even she didn’t know what the conversation was about in her digital “woodcut”, so I decided to listen in on that conversation and sound-paint what I heard from the mermaid to her fishy friends.
I’ve chosen a Cornish legend “the Mermaid and her Magic Comb” as my starting point for a few reasons.  Firstly, I like the legend’s emphasis on the mermaid gifting some secrets to an elderly man who helps her.
History has portrayed many females in myths and legends as monsters. My interpretation of this legend, is a viewpoint from Herstory of what mermaids symbolize (together with their many mythical, matriarchal sisters). That is, that they are  carriers of life and goodness, wisdom and sacrifice through their healing knowledge, granting of wishes, nurturing cures and seeing the future. And besides… I’m thinking it’s likely that the Cornish legend inspired the 1948 film Maggie refers to.
I have scribed the legend into a folk song style with verses and repeating ostinati and choruses, drawing on my own Celtic roots.
I added many voices to this piece plus some shells and percussion to evoke some of the many layers of this beautiful artwork, the inherent stories and magic to spark our imaginations.
There is music for the fish, sea-stars, waves and bubbles, the rocks, reefs, coral, shells and plant life, the wind, waves and mother moon’s influence on women and the tides - the herstories of history.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. This is my little contribution for 2014. Wherever you are I hope you can enjoy celebrating the many wonderful accomplishments of women everywhere.
I’d LOVE to hear what you hear/see in these artworks via the comments section below;  please feel free to share this around to anyone interested in art & music via the little icons below.
Thanks for bubbling along with me."

Of course I had to find out more about the Mermaid's Comb,  here is a link to that legend.  The Mermaid's Comb

Diva of the Deep
acrylic 24 x 20"
© Maggie Ruley 2013

The Fish Whisperer 2
acrylic 24 x 20"
© Maggie Ruley 2013
The Fish Whisperer 1
digital image
© Maggie Ruley
NFS 2013


  1. What a fulfilling colaboration....thanks!

    1. It was fun, especially the FaceTime phone call. I showed her the view out my studio window, she met Pam when Pam came into the studio. I loved it.

  2. Hey Maggie,
    I loved the whole thing too! Thanks so much for collaborating with me. So enjoy your gorgussssss art and it was a blast doing a facetime hook up - so very Star Trekky! Greetings to Pam :-)

    1. You are a peach! Sending you sunbeams across the ocean!


  3. Wow....really in~joyed the mix of art and music together! What a fun experience for the viewer....


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