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Captive Angel by Mui-Ling Teh

Posters

Small (23.2" x 15.5")

$14.04
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It looked at itself below the heaven once its home,
Before darkness crept and stole its freedom to roam.
Behind the bars it bathes in elegant grace,
But it is a prisoner with a cuff on its leg.

Self-portrait as an angel; and a swan.

This idea was born as I was working on Like a White Cloud, which is a different photo of the same swan. I took several photos of this swan at Hampton Court Palace. On one hand I felt the swan swimming in a reflected sky was heavenly. On the other hand, a swan in mythology and drama often had a sad association to it – and the idea of a captive creature was inspired by the tag on the swan’s leg, as well as the reflected gate that looked like prison bars coming down. Rest assured however that the real swan was NOT behind bars; it could even get close to the edge of the ground.

You can see the original swan photo here

I first edited to give it a “heavenly look” – in the beginning the creature is peacefully bathing in its heavenly home:

A Pure Cleansing

Then darkness begins to loom; the final moment before darkness steals the swan’s freedom and joy.

The Last Song

I brought out the reflected gate (the cage) and the dark water ripples surrounding the swan:

The pose in the photo, as though it was going to plunge itself into the water, made me think of the ending scene in the ballet ‘Swan Lake’ as the swan princess Odette drowned herself to death; as well as the “swan song” – a phrase based on the myth that a swan is silent throughout it’s whole life until just before its death when it sings one beautiful song. Several poems and verses have been written based on this myth, including the Orlando Gibbons madrigal “The Silver Swan”:

The silver Swan, who living had no Note,
when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
“Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
“More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”

And finally the heavenly creature’s joy is captured – needless to say the incorporation of a white swan and a sad female figure was inspired by Swan Lake. The wings on my back are swan wings while the cuff on my ankle is a bracelet which I’ve inserted a white string into.

Although in reality, one doesn’t need to be tied down to be a prisoner… And as the swan looks at it’s own reflection; I’ve been having a reflective year this year.

All images and textures used are my own, which I have brought together in Photoshop. Images were taken with an Olympus FE-340.

This final image is cropped; You can see the full version here when you go to ‘Customize it’ and resize the image.

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582 views as of Dec 3, 2012

Feature in:
THIS & THAT
Moody & Evocative
ImageWriting
My Model Mania
Pastels and Whites
Inspired by life
Inside the Self-Portrait
Self Taught Photographers
Feminine Intent
Toronto Group
Anxiety
The Emotional Connection to Photography
Gaia
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

Winner of:
On The Wings of Fantasy

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VISIT MY WEBSITE:

Mui-Ling Teh – Art and Words from the Heart


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Copyright notice:

© Mui-Ling Teh. All rights reserved.

MY IMAGES MAY NOT BE USED OR PUBLISHED ANYWHERE ELSE WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

My art and writing do not belong to the public domain. Materials may not be reproduced, uploaded, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, copied, edited or published in any form or by any means without my permission. Any site using my images against my conditions have not sought proper permission and should be reported or brought to my attention immediately.

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reality, surreal, surrealism, dreamy, dream world, sweet fantasy, heavenly white mute swan, sad girl, elegant grace, poetic musing, poem, poetry, sentences, drown, portraiture, drowning in tears, self portrait, female, mind space, musings, tear, insomnia escape, night sleep musing, photoshop, gate prison bars, ankle cuff, tied leg, stolen freedom, drowned suicide, darkness, white cloud, reflected cloudy sky, cuffed angelic woman, peaceful bath, lost joy, dark bathing water ripples, prisoned body, gown wings, mui ling teh, muiling

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reality, surreal, surrealism, dreamy, dream world, sweet fantasy, heavenly white mute swan, sad girl, elegant grace, poetic musing, poem, poetry, sentences, drown, portraiture, drowning in tears, self portrait, female, mind space, musings, tear, insomnia escape, night sleep musing, photoshop, gate prison bars, ankle cuff, tied leg, stolen freedom, drowned suicide, darkness, white cloud, reflected cloudy sky, cuffed angelic woman, peaceful bath, lost joy, dark bathing water ripples, prisoned body, gown wings, mui ling teh, muiling

Find my other stores, as well as my facebook, twitter, Google, Instagram + and more on my website:

Mui-Ling Teh – Art and Words from the Heart

© Copyright Mui-Ling Teh. All rights reserved. My art and writing do not belong to the public domain. Materials may not be reproduced, uploaded, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, copied, edited or published in any form or by any means without my written permission.

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Comments

  • Valerie Rosen
    Valerie Rosenabout 2 years ago

    beautiful work, mui-ling. :-)

  • Thank you Val!

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehabout 2 years ago

    It looked at itself below the heaven once its home,
    Before darkness crept and stole its freedom to roam.
    Behind the bars it bathes in elegant grace,
    But it is a prisoner with a cuff on its leg.

    © Copyright Mui-Ling Teh. All rights reserved.

    Wrote the verse on October 29, 2012. Uploaded the artwork on Nov 17, 2012.

  • Please forgive my slow activity and late comments today; upon uploading this piece I was trying to do fix up some things related to Zazzle and Twitter that I just found – both were being annoying… and to top it off I had a strange phone call.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Available on cards, prints, clothing, stickers, cases and more. Clothing and stickers feature the swan alone.


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    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Hugh Fathers
    Hugh Fathersabout 2 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous!! . . .

  • Thank you Hugh!!

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Lenka
    Lenkaabout 2 years ago

    Nice work, Mui-Ling! The colour scheme emphasizes the mood, and your wings are beautiful :)

  • I do wish I could fly. Thank you Lenka.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • solarbear
    solarbearabout 2 years ago

    Stunning work. I love how your hair is all fluffy!

  • Editing around the hair was the hardest part; but I needed to do so to put wings on my back. Thanks solarbear.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • WhiteDove Studio kj gordon
    WhiteDove Stud...about 2 years ago

    Lovely composition wahini…..Angel

  • Charmiene Maxwell-batten
    Charmiene Maxw...about 2 years ago

    very beautiful work Mui-Ling Teh!!!!!!

  • Thank you Charmiene!

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Colleen2012
    Colleen2012about 2 years ago

    Beautiful work Mui Ling Teh
    Love Colleen2012

  • BGSPhoto
    BGSPhotoabout 2 years ago

    Mui-Ling, You are a very creative person. This is really terrific and very artistic.
    Bob

  • Thank you Bob!

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Samohsong
    Samohsongabout 2 years ago

    Inspiring work Mui-ling! Very beautiful! ~Sam

  • Thank you Sam!

    – Mui-Ling Teh

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