Sympathetic Strings

Sympathetic Strings(2017) [A Beautiful Decay Series]

Acrylic & Oil on Wood 36’’ ⭕️ Diameter

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Anew

•Ishan Project: 365/0•

365

ANEW

When the ground shook we all ran towards its source. We climbed the stairway and immediately saw Chûndra sitting in Netra’s chair. This explained the sudden movement of the ground. The magnetism she received dripped from her body like wet paint as she gripped the arms of the chair. She now understood the full nature of the Ishan’s powers, she could even feel her potential growing bright deep within her extremities. A Dark energy began pounding the ground. As she stood, her powers had reached their limits. She reaches out to strike 4bear with this new wave of electricity. As she began building momentum to release a sharp burst of energy, our ears began to ring. The only way I can describe it is as if 100,000 crystal bells were ringing all at once. We close our eyes as she released the massive ball of energy into our direction. All we could do was wait for the impact. There was no where to run.

At that moment, Rïden steps in front of us. He firmly fixes his gaze on the sphere of impending doom. Just as I hear the sizzle of Anali’s hair, I ,ever so slightly, opened one eye to find the ball suspended in mid air. Rïden was countering Chûndra with his control over her newfound powers. After all, they came from him.

Meanwhile, Netra and Aram make eye contact with The Forecaster. Immediately, he recognizes them. Although he and Chûndra had been outnumbered, his aim would offset any deficiency they encountered. He touches the scar on his face which was the painful reminder of the loss he had experienced. Then, in a fluid movement, he reaches back for his quiver, and his hood falls backwards. Instantly Olam Ra recognizes this face. “It’s YOU!” He screams. This shakes The Forecaster, but only briefly. He’d been waiting for this opportunity for too long. These two would be pinned properly. As he pulls the arrow back, Rïden and Koyu begin readying themselves for battle.

Chûndra just getting over the shock of her defeat, abruptly stops him. She says. “We’ve worked to hard to lose our senses. This is a losing battle. We need time to build our infrastructure. There will be other opportunities. Don’t worry.”

As they cautiously pace backwards, somehow Chûndra manipulates their cellular structure as a spiraling cloud wraps around them. Anali calls out to her, “Wait. It doesn’t have to end like this. We understand that you have gone through hardships. Better decisions should have been made. Why don’t we try to work it out?” Chûndra’s eyes peeked through the smoke, looking longingly at the family she never had. Then, something like lightning strikes the air in the small room which creates a mysterious cloud that quickly makes them disappear.

Now that the danger has left our lair, we tracked through each room to take inventory of the furniture built from Rïden’s limbs. Even though it had been a close call, they didn’t make it out with any of the pieces as far as we could see. Evidently, Chûndra and The Forecaster had searched through various rooms to locate her crown. Their attempts had been futile, though.

Outside, Spring leaves sprouted early this year. Slowly the effects of the Chûndra’s Sufna vapor are lessening. Chaen’s flowers pulsate to the same rhythm of the Ishan’s limbs. We propagated Chaen’s flowers with the blossom from Rïden’s furniture.

True birds that fly high have aided in this renewal as our atmosphere improves as well. Since spring is close, they will have the help of all of the insects and animals that naturally help with pollination. Then all plants will soon have the capacity to filter the air from Sufna. This coupled with our scarves has greatly strengthened the healing power of the flowers that feed.

Looking back at the past 365 Days, so much has happened. As The 4th Element, you, the Observers, and 4bear have managed to keep the world from total submergence under Chûndra’s Vapor. Thank you. Even though we have won the battle, we still have our work cut out in order to win this war. Opportunities will present themselves. Stay tuned. Don’t forget. Resist + Remember.

ANEW / Mixed Media / 9″ x 12″

A Gradual Trounce

•Ishan Project: 362/3•

362

A GRADUAL TROUNCE

“I don’t get it,” Chûndra says as she turns to Netra from her cell’s window. “How is it that you became so powerful with Rïden’s branches but when I wore the crown made from Aram’s stems, I could never get as much power?”

“It’s love,” Netra replied.

“What does that mean?” Chûndra asked.

“Our bodies are made with flesh and blood but they are also composed of a chemical components. Whenever we feel emotion, that emotion is tangible, a biochemical.”

“I don’t understand how that’s related,” Chûndra retorts.

“When Rïden gave me his branches, he did it out of love. That love flowed through his limbs as he cut each piece with accuracy, which caused them to retain all of their magnetic capabilities.  So the energy captured in each branch that he used to assemble into many pieces of furniture, was extremely potent.”

“But how did I receive power from Aram?”

“Her love for her family and her willingness to sacrifice herself to keep her family’s cover from being blown is what helped her limbs retain some of their magnetism. But the feeling of pain flowed through her limbs. So the power retained in her stems under your torture and suffering could never be as strong. She could never give them to you wholeheartedly.”

As Chûndra quickly turned her eyes toward the window, I saw light refracted through some substance on her cheek. A tear, which she slyly used her shoulder to wipe away before anyone noticed.

A GRADUAL TROUNCE / Mixed Media / 5″ x 8″

The Constant

•Ishan Project: 361/4•

361

THE CONSTANT

She stands proudly. It was all a front, though. We can see the terror in her eyes. Finally, the realization of what was happening must have started to click for her. Her counterfeit smile couldn’t mask the disappointment she felt. The world she spent centuries building was crumbling before her, but we are not fooled. Chûndra is not one to give up so easily. Right now she needs us. For some reason, she can’t handle Violet on her own. Violet is a person she recreated and gave power to. For Violet to turn on Chûndra, ripping away all of her power and taking away her throne, all of this has to be horribly embarrassing for Chûndra. Her hatred for Violet is much stronger than her hatred of 4bear. She needs us, so she’s using us. She takes us for granted, though. She won’t expect that we will be using her as well.

Defeated, she laughs and tells us, “You will never be able to stop her. Her symbiotic relationship with those insects has grown too strong. Her tiny ‘Impostors’, as you call them, are too powerful and cannot be stopped by anyone but her. ” And thus we realized what we needed to do to take down Violet and the Impostors.

THE CONSTANT / Mixed Media / 4″ x 5″

The Unknowing

 •Ishan Project: 358/7•

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THE UNKNOWING

Olam Ra turns to Anali and continues, “We were going to let you know at the gathering the day she caused the Dark Sleep. Yet Chûndra managed to take over when the solar flare struck.

At birth, you two had different traits. Your features took more after your mother and I. Yet Chûndra’s resembled an ancient human ancestor of your mother. As a baby, her thighs had rough edges similar to our bark. Yet her extremities were more human like. So although you were twins, she took on human characteristics while you took all the Ishan ones.

Your mother and I adored you two. Yet we felt it would be more appropriate for her to be looked after by the scientist at the time. After all, he had already fallen in love with one of our own and his fascination with our magnetic properties had won our trust. Now looking back, I wish we would have done things differently.

Once you two met, we wondered if you’d catch on to your similarities. We were delighted when we saw you two getting along. We had intended on revealing this secret at that gathering. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough. Chûndra’s schemes have always gotten the better of her.”

 

THE UNKNOWING / Mixed Media / 5″ x 4″

Wilted Trance

 •Ishan Project: 357/8•

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WILTED TRANCE

Olam Ra gathered everyone around the rectangular planning table to discuss the situation reported to him by Birdface. It seemed as though some of Chûndra’s power had been stripped by Violet. But Violet was much more than a loose cannon—she had become deadly.  At least Chûndra erred on the concept of control. Violet, on the other hand, became deeply desperate for Chûndra’s affection. In her frantic attempts at grasping for it, she’d come in contact with a unique find. Chûndra had given her capabilities which enhanced her control over the Impostors. While that control served its purpose, she hadn’t monitored the effect it would have on Violet, close enough. Initially, Chûndra only intended to have the flying moths create a parasitic relationship with Violet by feeding off her of her energies and harnessing them into something constructive which Chûndra would later make use of. But Violet, in her overzealous efforts in trying to display her affection for Chûndra, somehow managed to reengineer them into a symbiotic relationship. The Impostors morphed into this ‘partnership’ with ease because they also shared a similar desire for Chaen’s petals. And now, with no flowers to feed their tiny frames, they’d grapple for anything.

As he concludes his synapse he motions towards Anali Q, placing his branches around her bare shoulders. “Anali, this is why we must rescue your sister,” he tells her.

“What sister?” Anali responds in a low voice. “Dad, you can’t mean…There’s no way she was right.”

WILTED TRANCE / Mixed Media / 5″ x 4″

Speckled Shadow

•Ishan Project: 356/9•

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SPECKLED SHADOW

The night’s moon sprinkles light onto the marble floors tonight. One of the Guardians hear a familiar voice over commotion in the distance, so he decides to inspect it further.  As he cautiously inches forward, he hears a clamored scratching and an eerie sound ahead.

As he turns the corner, he’s almost thrown backwards. For in front of him was the back of one of the largest birds he’d ever seen in person. This species had stood at an insurmountable nine feet. What was even more shocking was that Olam Ra had been speaking with him almost in a consolable fashion. This conversation proved odd. Even though he felt danger in the air, he knew he and everyone here were safe. As he stepped inside of the room the Bird’s neck turned a complete 180º. After it made eye contact with him, it hastily turned it’s attention back to Olam Ra.

SPECKLED SHADOW / Mixed Media / 5″ x 4″

Rushed Silenced

•Ishan Project: 355/10•

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RUSHED SILENCE

She couldn’t afford their suspicions getting in the way. Violet had noticed the birds flight pattern change. She had already overpowered the will of the Tritons and soon would have an edge over those humans Chûndra controlled.

But she noticed tonight that Birdface and his crew hadn’t quite been affected by her manipulation. This concerned her…but only temporarily. While Chûndra laid trapped in the north wing of her palace, she watched in defiance as Violet began to feed their curious appetites. The larvae struggled on their beaks as the desperate birds fed savagely. They hadn’t seen this many larvae in such an abundance and in one place. They began gulping the masses greedily as their hind feathers floated in the air from the constant movement. Unexpectedly, their squawking grew rather silent as Cherry fell over first. His limp body scurried rather wildly on its side, then…stillness.

As leader, Birdface had always been in the habit of watching his followers feed first before delving in. It wasn’t out of caution, he just enjoyed watching others consume. His patience proved fortunate tonight.

He would have to leave the remaining crew if he were to survive this incident. As Birdface gathered flight, he realizes he would need to have help with this Violet. She embraced her psychosis in an instinctive fashion he’d never encountered before. But who could he turn to for assistance?

RUSHED SILENCE / Mixed Media / 5″ x 8″

Clipped Wings

•Ishan Project: 354/11•

354VIOLET

CLIPPED WINGS

The moisture in the air ceased, but the Impostors remained active.  They no longer floated in the air wandering aimlessly. Violet’s control over them remained permanent. Using the same method she used to forge a biological connection to the Impostors, Violet managed to win absolute authority over the rest of the Tritons as well. Chûndra attempted to regain control over her Palace but failed miserably. “She’ll love me for this later. This is for her own good. Her resolve has become too weak and she needs me now. Even if she doesn’t realize it,” Violet thinks to herself. To “protect” her, Violet proceeds to lock Chûndra in the north wing of her palace.

As Violet sits on the throne, the Impostors’ larvae pulsated vibrantly around her extremities. She begins to realize that the only thing she hasn’t taken control of at this point is Chûndra’s crown.  This was not a good day for the Conformance. Confusion abounded.

 CLIPPED WINGS / Mixed Media / 5″ x 4″

A Peculiar Shade

•Ishan Project: 340/25•

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A PECULIAR SHADE

Speaking of people I’m close to, you’re probably wondering why I would be close to Birdface, as he was responsible for assaulting my father. You see, my so-called father, that scientist, was in fact my stepfather, and a terrible one at that. The only reason he let me stay around after the death of my mother was because he promised her he would take care of me. He was so desperate to prove to her his worth, but every time he saw me, it was a reminder of how much he could never measure up. He was never worthy of her. He could never be. My mother and I were always going to be different, and better than he was. I challenge Anali to ask her parents who my father was.

Leah’s story about how Birdface took revenge on my stepfather was a bit twisted. I guess she tried. She should have come to the sources. Is she scared or something? We don’t bite…we’ll at least, I don’t. Who knows what that girl is thinking. Well, Birdface did retaliate against the scientist, but he was trying to protect me. My stepfather became bitterly jealous with me, especially when he found out I had become close with the Ishan people. He often would take out his frustrations out on Birdface. That particular day, after he was finished with Birdface, he turned his attention toward me. Birdface and I had become close. We would take care of each other since I was a child. So he protected me and ended our nightmare. He is more family to me than anyone. Even my blood.~ Queen Chûndra

 

 A PECULIAR SHADE / Collage, Gouache / 9″ x 12″

The Unordinary

•Ishan Project: 308/57•

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THE UNORDINARY

Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, something had been bothering Netra. The tapping she’d heard last night really disturbed her.  Something unusual was happening. She summons a Guardian to accompany her as she returns to the laboratory for an inspection. But as they slide the door open she hears glass scratching the floor. Once open, she realizes that the bell jar had been smashed on the ground. There was also evidence that somehow this Impostor replicated itself. Several of its tiny hairs illuminated across the concrete floors.

As Netra curiously looks at the pattern they’ve created on the floor, she realizes that these creatures’ mind’s were not normal.

THE UNORDINARY / Mixed Media / 5″ x 4″

Swarm

 •Ishan Project: 307/58•

307swarm

 SWARM

4bear only had a limited amount of time to search for a solution to this situation. Their remaining flowers’ were dwindling at an accelerated rate. One of the last few had been used to awaken Preet back in Chûndra’s lair. And so they placed the final remnant in a magnetic steel frame.

Back in their lab, the Impostor lays before them with its’ wings beating so rapidly, they had to restrain it with metal forceps.

But something strange begins to happen. First it’s hairy fibers begin glowing. Then from it’s antennae a sharp burst of yellow energy pierces the room. Their vision glows blurry as this sonar resonates throughout their ear canals. As a last resort, Aram’s flower sends an electric charge which slices it in half. Once they’ve recovered from the echo reverberating around them, they notice the insects wings no longer beat. But they couldn’t spare any more unnecessary tactics from Chûndra tonight. They placed the moth delicately inside of a glass bell jar to inspect more thoroughly tomorrow.

As they began to leave, Netra turns to Aram suddenly and asks, “Did you hear that?”

“No mom,” Aram says. “I didn’t hear anything. Did you?”

“Hmm, it must’ve just been my imagination.”

They then click the lights off and retire from an exhausting day.

SWARM / Mixed Media / 5″ x 8″

A Paradigm Sifting

•Ishan Project: 304/61•

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A PARADIGM SIFTING

 For weeks now they’d been studying her movements. The 4bearance watches this young woman as she plays her stereo. She displayed creative prowess with her fingers and her viewpoint had been so open. She would’ve been an exceptional candidate to join their team; more than worthy.

But regrettably, there wasn’t much that could be done for her at this point. The Bird Face Crew had already surrounded her modest home. 4bear watches in disgust as she succumbs to the affects of Chûndra’s vapor. She first shudders as it enters into her cerebellum. Then it’s absorbed throughout her body’s central nervous system.

Despite a new year beginning tomorrow, the right part of her brain, and her free will sifted into this dormant state.

A PARADIGM SIFTING / Mixed Media / 5″ x 8″

Melt

•Ishan Project: 303/62•

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MELT

Preet had fallen so hard. The last thing she had seen was glass on the floor and this green vapor rushing into her nostrils. As the gas rushed into her nasal passages, she can feel its’ dark energy stinging her lungs. The pain was so unexpected and intense- then everything turned black.

Anali watches her breathing pattern. This wasn’t good. She can hear the buzzing beginning again in the adjacent room. She reaches into her satchel wrapped around her waist. The Impostors had flown around her branches earlier and sensed she had something in her possession. She uses one of the last flowers to awaken Preet. As soon as the molecules from the flower penetrate her lungs, she instantly rises up from the electric charge stimulated throughout her body. They then flee from the palace safely.

Once back with 4bear, they begin to realize this traumatic event had explained many of the questions they’d been asking themselves for some time now.

MELT / Mixed Media / 5″ x 5″

The Awakening: AnaLi Q

•Ishan Project: 2 /363 •

AnaLi Q

ANALI Q

As she awoke AnaLi Q’s heart  began pounding so hard it felt like it was going to break through  her thorax. As a matter of fact she looked down on her branches and noticed the bark had begun to crack.  However, the fact she survived this trauma gave her a sense of contentment that warmed her body…

AnaLi Q / Charcoal, Pencil, Pastel / 9″ x 11″

Ishan Project Begins: The Awakening

•Ishan Project: 1 /364 •

Due to a mysterious occurence, mankind’s memory has been wiped clean of a group of people that look like us but whose extremities streach to the heavens like branches from a tree. Through a series of Art projects for the next 365 days, Leah Smithson is documenting her investigation of what this occurrence actually was. In addition, she is creating a visual anthropologic documentary of the Ishan’s story and history. Resist + Remember. Follow this compelling story through pictures and interviews of the Ishan.

Awakening1

THE AWAKENING

There were two storms. The first, happened 774 C.E. This storm, while putting the Ishan to sleep, gave humankind amnesia. May 7, 1988 the second storm started coming in waves creating an unsettling condition in the earth. And so begins the awakening…

THE AWAKENING / Charcoal, Pencil / 9″ x 11″

4 Days Until Ishan Project Begins

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4 Days Until the Ishan Project Begins. Materials: Ready. Sign up to Follow this Gripping Tale at http://leahsmithson.com/blog.html

5 Days Until the Ishan Project Begins

sketchpadSketchbooks: Ready. Sign up to Follow this Gripping Tale at http://leahsmithson.com/blog.html