From Narcissus to Umay

From Narcissus to Umay, let’s dive a bit into mythology. I want to tell you some about my ink sketches related to Umay&Narcissus, those sketches I mentioned in the previous post.

So as I told in the previous post, Umay, who’s the goddess of fertility and abundance in Turkish mythology and Tengriism, who protects pregnant women and children. She is depicted in the sources as a middle-aged beautiful woman with long silver hair. She has wings and can transform into a blue or white bird. She’s often drawn with her swans and/or horses.

And what about Narcissus?
Narcissus, in Greek mythology, was a hunter known for his beauty and he loved everything beautiful and never found anyone attractive enough to love. Her mother was warned by a seer for him not to get to know himself. On a summer day while hunting he got thirsty, leaned upon the pool of water and fell in love with his own reflection. He didn’t realize it was himself, he couldn’t leave there and he kept staring at the water.

In some versions it’s said that he tried to kiss the reflection but he only created ripples, so unable to leave, he just stood and stared without touching it, then has died of thirst; some say he lost his will to live and had committed suicide(got punished by gods for some reasons or he couldn’t have his desire that the reflection etc.). Some say he has turned into a white flower and gold, which sounds so much like the narcissus flower itself that’s white and yellow.

The thing is that how I came to this topic; on a cold, windy and rainy winter evening rushing home, the flower seller caught my eye in its everyday-corner. I didn’t seem like I was going to, but suddenly stopped for a while and bought the yellow-white flowers to my father. When I arrived home he was so happy to see them, because despite that every year, for every new year’s eve he bought those narcissus flowers but he forgot this time.
Well, this tiny memory got a lot bigger for me and led me to search about that flower, then I learned about its mythological side and it’s being the origin of the term ‘narcissism‘.


In history, there are many Narcissus paintings. And one of the most famous is the Italian painter Caravaggio’s:
Here is the famous painting depicting Narcissus and his reflection alone, besides the information we know he is by the pool of water, there isn’t any unnecessary info at the background and so on, it is only Narcissus watching his own reflection. Minimalist, simple and powerful composition. It’s been painted at the very end of the Italian Renaissanceclassical perfection– and the beginning of Baroqueextreme shadows and dramatic features-, in the style called Mannerism.

Narcissus has been an inspiration for artists for about two thousand years. It’s also painted by Dali, Poussin, W. Turner. You can find it in literature, psychology, music, film, sculpture…

narcissus sketch ink

I started drawing a woman with cross arms to my new A5 sketchbook. I made the figure and its environment. So, the plan was just a woman hesitating to go into the water and then I remembered the story of Narcissus. This is very interesting for me that in the whole composition it is a bit hard to realize the man on the other side, maybe not at the first look or something, this is just opposite of the Caravaggio’s Narcissus composition.
And in here, you can see in the sketch that left part of the man has a connection with the ground from his limbs, transforming into the narcissus flower and not realizing the woman on the other side.
foot and wildflowers sketch ink 208.11.18

Then I got to a point where I hid the right foot in the wildflowers, then I could think more of the form of the flowers I made up.wildflowers sketch ink 309.11.18
Every tile on the background is different than each other. These are the flowers inspired by my another ink drawing, which is this: 
wildflowers ink23.10.18
This is the very first ink work where those wildflowers come from. They are at the middle top with some edgy petals with the contrast with the rest, that the curvy forms. On the left side, fish are coming off the flower and on the right side, one petal slightly merges into the bird’s wing.
All of those ink works are drawn without any references. It was to test myself for my memory and in search of new forms.

So, in the end, I can say it is a nice thing to have different works and you take a bit from one of them, a bit from another, bind them and create something related or something completely different; one is an inspiration for another one.

Happy happy sketches Y’all!


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