According to European folklore, Melusine is a feminine water spirit, with the body of serpent or fish from the waist down, much like a mermaid. Sometimes she is also portrayed with a dragon’s body. She is considered a siren type figure or a nixie.

According to Wikipedia

“The most famous literary version of Melusine tales, that of Jean d’Arras, compiled about 1382–1394 was worked into a collection of “spinning yarns” as told by ladies at their spinning. ….

It tells how Elynas, the King of Albany (an old name for Scotland) went hunting one day and came across a beautiful lady in the forest. She was Pressyne, mother of Melusine. He persuaded her to marry him but she agreed, only on the promise — for there is often a hard and fatal condition attached to any pairing of fay and mortal — that he must not enter her chamber when she birthed or bathed her children. She gave birth to triplets. When he violated this taboo, Pressyne left the kingdom, together with her three daughters, and traveled to the lost Isle of Avalon.

The three girls — Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne — grew up in Avalon. On their fifteenth birthday, Melusine, the eldest, asked why they had been taken to Avalon. Upon hearing of their father’s broken promise, Melusine sought revenge. She and her sisters captured Elynas and locked him, with his riches, in a mountain. Pressyne became enraged when she learned what the girls had done, and punished them for their disrespect to their father. Melusine was condemned to take the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. In other stories, she takes on the form of a mermaid.

Raymond of Poitou came across Melusine in a forest in France, and proposed marriage. Just as her mother had done, she laid a condition, that he must never enter her chamber on a Saturday. He broke the promise and saw her in the form of a part-woman part-serpent. She forgave him. Only when, during a disagreement with her, he called her a “serpent” in front of his court, did she assume the form of a dragon, provide him with two magic rings and fly off, never to return.1

In “The Wandering Unicorn” by Manuel Mujica Láinez, Melusine tells her tale of several centuries of existence from her original curse to the time of the crusades.2"

The original image for this is 12 × 16″ and was created with oil pastels, colored pencils and metallic paints on blue watercolor paper.

In this portrait of her, I portrayed Melusine in a psychedelic/art nouveau type of style. I hope you enjoy….

Having a great love animals, fairytales, and world mythology, Pennsylvania artist Lynnette Shelley fuses these influences into her strikingly unique illustrations. Her artwork strikes a primal chord in many viewers, with almost Jungian associations to the colors and shapes. Her artworks have been likened to images from an undiscovered ancient civilization or culture.

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  • Jomei
    Jomeiover 5 years ago

    I know about the melusine, I think even Jung talked about its symbolism. I just love how you paint, your seem to weave so many traditions into one image. Excellent excellent work Lynette! x

  • Thanks very much Jim. I didn’t know that Jung talked about the melusine. i’ll have to look that up. I do know it’s an image that is used across various cultures though….

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • gemynd
    gemyndover 5 years ago

    i really admire your work it has such a distinct feel to it and is so easy to find your self enjoying it… with me i see so much thought and life in her face its so expressive…its easy to be drawn into what her thoughts are

  • Thanks very much. Are you familiar with the Melusine story? You can read one version here:

    Also here is a scanned detail of her face in the artwork so you can see it a little bigger. I put it up on my website as some were asking about it.

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • ElYPares
    ElYParesover 5 years ago

    Wow!!! I love your style of painting. Truly beautiful work.

  • Thanks very much

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • danita clark
    danita clarkover 5 years ago

    Double WOW ! Love the inter- linked areas that my eye follows..

  • Thank you, I am mostly satisfied with how this came out. Some things i want to tweak…. but so it goes

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • stephanie allison
    stephanie allisonover 5 years ago


  • cool! thank you

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • madvlad
    madvladover 5 years ago
    kell tick fur sur but so very well done nice nice
  • Marilyn Baldey
    Marilyn Baldeyover 5 years ago

    The whole image is great but I especially lovei sthe knotted octopus type hair, it is great.

  • Thanks for your comments Marilyn. I am actually getting some giclees of this particular print made (and a few others) as people seem to like it. Also congrats on getting featured today. I liked your work.

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Rhinovangogh
    Rhinovangoghover 5 years ago

    OMG. You are a color/texture/mood zenmaster. I would love to see one of your shows. Excellent, Truly! RVG

  • Medusa
    Medusaover 5 years ago




  • Thank you Medusa (love your screenname btw). I should make a Medusa actually….

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Medusa
    Medusaover 5 years ago

    Thankyou, I would love to see that Lynette… :-)


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