The haunted fields of inspiration

The past two days I’ve posted a few pieces on Instagram that celebrated their fourth birthday – coincidentally they are both inspired by Macbeth.

So I thought, there’s no better way to celebrate such milestones than to write a blog post about these images and about another big inspiration of mine – Macbeth.

Born from having to study it religiously for GCSE English Literature in my teens, the Scottish play was emblazoned in my mind long after I finished my studies. You know me, anything Gothic/Medieval with a hint of fantasy and mythology and I'm here for it. Well, Macbeth has it all in spades.

A tale of love and ambition, prophesy and psychology it’s such a brilliant story and of course the opportunity to create illustrations based on it are endless. It’s definitely one of my favourite sources of inspiration to use. There’s so many different avenues that can be taken when creating art based on this subject matter.

A few years ago I read a book. It was a novelisation of the play by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson (I can hear you groan at the thought of that – but really, it’s not some corny adaptation such as the ones we get for film-to-book novelisations that is basically the script with a few adjectives thrown about – this one is a fully fledged novel that delves even deeper into the story).

It was such a brilliant book that fuelled my inspiration and renewed my interest in Macbeth.

Macbeth: A Novel brings the intricacy and grit of the historical thriller to Shakespeare’s tale of political intrigue, treachery, and murder. In this full-length novel written exclusively for audio, authors A. J. Hartley and David Hewson rethink literature’s most infamous married couple, grounding them in a medieval Scotland whose military and political upheavals are as stark and dramatic as the landscape on which they are played.

Macbeth is a war hero and a patriot, doing everything in his power to hold together Duncan’s crumbling kingdom, which is beset by sedition from within and with threats from overseas. But when Duncan, contrary to ancient Scottish tradition, turns to building a family dynasty instead of rewarding those who have borne the brunt of the fighting, Macbeth and his powerful wife, Skena, make plans of their own, plans designed to hold both the nation and their strained relationship together. Sinister figures who claim supernatural knowledge spur them on, but the terrible outcome is as much about accident and failure as it is malevolence. Soon Macbeth and his wife find themselves preeminent in all the land, but struggling to hold themselves and their country together as former friends turn into bitter and deadly enemies.

This is Macbeth as you have not heard it before: fresh, edgy, and vital. It is a story of valor in battle, whispering in shadows, witchcraft in the hollows of an ancient landscape, and the desperate struggle of flawed people to do what they think is right.
— Synopsis

So it’s no coincidence that after reading this I was overwhelmingly inspired to create some Macbeth art.

At the end of September this year I produced a little series also inspired my Macbeth. Evolving from my “The Blessed Dark” photographic series I sourced all the props from the old books to the thistles. I wanted this to be inspired by Macbeth, but subtly so. I really enjoyed creating these images especially as they were complete and really there was only minor retouching that was needed in photoshop. take a look below!