maandag 1 maart 2010

Wayne Clayton

Wayne Clayton. Wayne the pig farmer, acrylic (1996)

The image is based on an old American folk tale set in the South, telling of a poor farmer who is convinced by a trickster that if he plants the curly tails of pigs they will grow like corn. The hand in the sky is my own addition. I had seen medieval images of angels helping individuals and thought: who knows, the tale's hero might well wake up one morning to find that the planted pig tails had begun to sprout.

I painted this in 1996 on heavy duty watercolour paper, using acrylics like watercolour. Once the paper had soaked up the water the paint took on a somewhat powdery look. Since it's posting on my Deviantart page it has been seen by nearly 5000 viewers, making it by far the most popular piece in my gallery. I believe that the pig's tails rather than my work is the key to it's success.
Sadly I can't remember the book I'd read it in nor what the story was called. A similar folk tale called "Bobtail and the Devil" also involves pigs: The Devil and Bobtail each raise some pigs and put them in the same pen. When the time comes to kill them Bobtail tricks the Devil by claiming that he'd curled the tails of all his pigs and that the ones with straight tails belonged to the Devil. It's in a book called “South from Hell-fer-Sartin - Kentucky Mountain Folk Tales" written by Leonard W. Roberts in 1965.

Another book called “Ozark Magic and Folklore” by Vance Randolph tells of a Civil War era legend about soldiers who after seeing a mysterious giant black hog, were doomed to die in battle within 7 days. It also mentioned a tale of herds of ghost pigs acting as guardians against thieves trying to steal the possessions of the dead.

Wayne Clayton, United Kingdom

Wayne Clayton's devianart

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