Thursday, April 22, 2010

Halcyon Days

Halcyon Days, acrylic, 18 x 36, by Elizabeth W. Seaver

I was having a hard time coming up with a title for this one.  As I ruminated (great word!) the word halcyon floated up from the depths, and I knew right away that that was exactly the feeling I was trying to capture in the painting.

According to Webster's New World College Dictionary, halcyon, used as a noun, means kingfisher, especially a legendary bird, identified with the kingfisher, which is supposed to have a peaceful, calming effect on the sea at the time of the winter solstice.  Bird, sea, winter (in the form of a big scoop of ice cream!) all seemed appropriate images.  Then it can mean any of a genus of kingfishers of S. Asia and Australia.  Kingfishers rock.  And then the last meaning spoke directly to the meaning of the phrase halcyon days.  It reads tranquil, happy, idyllic, usually with nostalgic reference to earlier days. 

I remember blistering hot sun which made even the salty, bathtub warm Gulf Coast waters cool on my skin, and then, cold, sweet ice cream--the cherry on top of a day at the beach.


17 comments:

lilasvb said...

nice post, i like the colors

Kim said...

Ah...halcyon days : ) Nice post. And just a lovely piece Elizabeth. Your colours are an interesting mix and make me think of old-time ice-cream parlours or candy shops. And thank you for your encouragement and cheer ; ) Your comment was just what I needed to see before I head out for a day of plein air. Thanks!

Kathy said...

A perfect title for a great painting! I love your whimsical interpretation and all the symbols. It reads nicely, and reminds me of those summer vacations that were far too short!

Celeste Bergin said...

wha...halcyon means kingfisher...wha? lol..I knew not! Great post, and a good title for sure. Will you do salad days too? I often refer to my salad days, that would be the 80's for me. haha. I definitely "feel" cherries in this painting.

Michelle Smith said...

Nice one. I like the colors and, of course, the ice cream cones.

Vicki Greene said...

Great title and the colors are different but wonderful. Your paintings always make me smile.

-Don said...

I'll have a scoop, please...

What an excellent title to a sweet work of art. I like the way you charted the definition of the title and how it fits to the piece. I always have a thesaurus and a dictionary ready in my studio to grab up as I'm painting and my mind is open to new ideas and titling opportunities. Great job.

-Don

Incognito said...

Enjoyed seeing this in person today; can't wait for the show!!!

Yan Hong Lowson said...

The colours are absolutely delicious. The ice cream cones in that one big scoop, yumm!

Kerri Settle said...

Perfect title! The ice cream is making my sweet tooth act up; I love how you used the texture of the cones on the umbrella handle. And the cherry on top!

Anudeepa Kadiresan said...

very nice,colors are cool and beautiful.

r garriott said...

Thanks for the linguistics lesson! Halcyon is one of my favorite 'special occassion' words. I had no idea it meant so many things.

And a prefect title for a really fun image! I like it very much.

Andrew Finnie said...

Ah yes, the halcyon days of our youth. I heard that from the same man who explained to me what a luddite was (me).

THe umbrella in this is gorgeous. The pattern made me hungry!

Mary Anne Cary said...

Love the colors, it reminds me of sweet summer days!
Very happy!

Gwen Bell said...

What fun! Those ice cream cones and floating cherries are just great. Love it!

RHCarpenter said...

LOVE this one a lot!

Caroline Bray Art said...

I absolutely love this, and your work in general! I'm really pleased to have found your blog and will be following it with delight!

Halcyon Days have their origin in Greek mythology, which I love with all its romance an tragedy. I thought you might be interested in the story so here goes:

Halcyon Days or Alkionides Meres, as they are called in Greece, are 5-6 days with calm seas and sunny weather in the middle of December.

Greek mythology recounts the story of the goddess Alcyone (or Halcyone), daughter of Aeolus, god of the winds.

Alcyone married a mortal king named Ceyx, who drowned at sea in a storm. Such was Alcyone’s love for her husband that she threw herself into the ocean after him.

Seeing this, the gods transformed Alcyone and Ceyx into birds (Kingfishers). Thereafter, Aeolus kept the winds calm on the sea for a week before and a week after the winter solstice, enabling the birds to build nests on the water and lay their eggs there. These days are therefore associated with peace, calm and happiness.

The Kingfisher has its nesting period during the winter solstice or the Halcyon Days.