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Join the adventure into the world of midsummer magic, wildflowers and fantasy cats. Sandcastle.fi blog follows the path to fascinating art, where dreamy elements are playing with the reality - and illustrations are completed with Finnish wildflowers. Artist Sanna of the Sandcastle takes you into a journey to creativity, art and illustrations.

Ode to the Finnish forests

đź’š Ode to the Finnish forests đź’š

Every season you can walk into the fairytale storybook - and maybe even see some fairies...

I have had so many adventures in the magical Finnish forests. And in those forests I have been inspired every time... Inspired by the incredible nature and animals - and of course about the forest myths and mythology.

And several years ago, mesmerized by the magical midsummer in Finland, the Dryad (below) was created. That forest maiden iIllustration, which was then completed with Finnish wildflowers.

Could those sweetest summer memories bloom forever?

Thank you Finland for the great forests and for the wonderful wildflowers - and for all the inspiration.

Mythical floral dress designs with Finnish wildflowers

Collection of mythical floral dress designs with Finnish wildflowers. Midsummer Dryad, Naiad, Eve or Love Spell... which one is your favourite? 1,2,3 or 4? Join the discussion on social media and comment your favorite... or just stop by and make an adventure into the world of Finnish wildflowers.

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Midsummer Love Spell

Today the fourth mystic maiden is joining the Midsummer Eve celebrations…

She is whispering midsummer love spells. Those ancient magic words.
It is the Midsummer again.

Pink dreams, heart-shaped clouds.
Secrets of the midnight sun and the magic of the wildflowers
- Hmm, maybe also a touch of purple…?

But could that Midsummer spell, indeed,
even make those centaurea flowers to bloom?

Magical Midsummer Eve to you all <3

Above is the sketch of the Finnish "Midsummer Love Spell". This illustration  was once designed together with the Midsummer Dryad, Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Naiad. Can you still remember those mythic characters from the previous blog posts? Together they are creating a series of mythic midsummer illustrations. 

All these illustrations were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing Finnish nature, wildflowers and midsummer magic were giving me a lot of inspiration on the way.

For the fourth “Midsummer Love spell” character especially the pink, magenta and purple colors helped to create a unique theme. And also for this illustration I collected the wonderful Finnish wildflowers to match the selected theme colors. Stunning pink and magenta colors were guiding the way when searching the right flowers for the floral dress. Especially the red campion just had that right mood for the midsummer love spell theme...

Red campion flowers were a lovely source of inspiration when creating this illustration with the midsummer love spell theme.

And how magical,  suddenly everywhere seemed to be heart-shaped reminders of the romantic theme.

In this illustration I wanted to emphasize the mystic sense of the midsummer and love spells. For that reason the chosen flowers for this illustration were red campion, red clover and fireweed. The selected wildflowers had romantic pink tones, but especially the purple hues gave that needed strength, saturation and mystic sense to the illustration.

The flowers of the fireweed even looked like small magical spells themselves...

There is something mystic in the Nordic white night. Being surrounded of that magical glow is like experiencing the fairy-tail dream world, but fully awake. In this illustration that dreamy and magical midsummer glow influenced again the color choices. I emphasized the cooler pink shades in characters skin color. And also the white color in the highlights was a way to describe that magical moment in Finland when night and day is merging together during the Midsummer Eve and the night is white.

In this illustration the aim was to combine that sense of Nordic white night, the pink romantic nuance and on the other hand the strong and colorful vision of the Midsummer love spells.

Those purple colors in the wildflowers emphasized the theme of Midsummer love spells. The color balance was adjusted with some violet tones from the Centaurea flowers (knapweed).

And how the Centaurea flowers were already blooming right during the summer solstice...? Well, that must be midsummer magic! The myths and stories about a spell that could make the flowers grow faster also gave an extra twist to this midsummer love spell themed illustration.

When creating the illustration the green leaves of the red clover were reminding of the growth and midsummer verdancy, and eventually helped to unite all the ideas into a one blooming floral dress.

Overall wildflowers have a fascinating role especially in Finnish Midsummer celebrations. The traditions of Midsummer Eve go way back to olden times. Old beliefs have included traditions of midsummer spells, like for example collecting different wildflowers and placing them under a pillow for a night. Those wildflowers had then a special meaning and for example consequences to dreams.

If you want to read more about the midsummer love spells, check out the Visit Finland link below to the fascinating article and the beautiful video that tells more about different love spells from Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing site is visual experience for everyone interested of Finland.

So, what does it mean to collect those different Finnish wildflowers – or  roll in dew…?  

visitfinland.com/white-night-magic/

Midsummer Eve

Today she is having wildflowers in her hair. And the golden crown is just like the midnight sun.
She is wandering through the meadow and suddenly all the wildflowers are blooming on her dress.

That mystic sense of midsummer, all those voices like ancient spells.
Is this real - or just a midsummer night’s unbelievable dream?

On the sky there are dreams written in pink shades.
Light blue stays awake when the bonfires light up the sky.
Mesmerizing flames are celebrating the Midsummer Eve
- and warm flaming colors are merging with the cool shades of the nature.
That mystic dance captures all those midsummer colors in one moment.
 
Tonight there is no darkness, only white night.
Joy of existence... It is Midsummer´s Eve.

And just right before the dawn the Nordic night is pure and white.
Tomorrow the day will be already shorter and slowly all those vivid colors
will turn into yesterday´s memories. 

But the sun stays in the sky…  Was it real?

Magical Midsummer Eve to you all <3

Above is the Finnish "Midsummer Eve". She was once designed together with the Midsummer Dryad and Naiad, the two characters from previous post. Stronger colors of yellow and magenta created unique flaming theme for this third character. Together the Midsummer Eve, the Dryad and the Naiad are creating a series of mythic midsummer illustrations. 

All these illustrations were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore.  And of course again the amazing Finnish nature, wildflowers and midsummer magic were giving me a lot of inspiration on the way.

For this Midsummer Eve illustration I collected wildflowers that were blooming in Finland right during the Midnight sun. Midnight sun is celebrated on the weekend after 19th june and the Midsummer Eve is called “juhannusaatto” in Finnish.

In Midsummer Eve the bonfires are lit up to celebrate the midsummer. Midsummer bonfire is called “juhannuskokko” in Finnish. I designed this third fairy-tail styled character to have a more flaming appearance resembling that way also those bonfires in Finland during the Midsummer Eve celebrations.

Bonfires are very common in the Midsummer Eve celebrations and the bonfires are usually burned at lakesides and by the sea. For that reason there´s also hints of light blue in the illustration, bringing that Finnish Lakeland feeling next to the burning vivid colors.

Close to midnight on Midsummer Eve the bonfires are ceremoniously lit all over Finland...

And that magical dance of the flames in the bonfire is mesmerizing…


Also in the drawing the strong yellows and orange colors emphasize that atmosphere near the midsummer bonfires. For that same reason I also chose wildflowers in vivid colors of yellow and magenta when completing the floral dress. The magenta color from fireweed and red campion (silene dioica) was also a way to unite the magenta colored wildflowers to the drawing character´s lighter pink skin tones. Those pink shades also describe the midsummer sunsets and midsummer evenings in Finland.

In this illustration I wanted to capture all the flaming and vivid colors of the Midsummer Eve…   but at the same time so that they would be in a harmony with the more subtle and cooler colors from the Finnish nature and Lakeland. As a result the illustration became a celebration for the Finnish Midsummer Eve.

There is something mystic in the Nordic white night. Being surrounded of that magical glow is like experiencing the fairy-tail dream world, but fully awake.  In this third midsummer illustration that dreamy and magical midsummer glow influenced also the color choices. The white added to the otherwise strong warm colors was a way to describe that magical moment in Finland when night and day is merging during the Midsummer Eve… That enchanted moment when the night is white. Therefore also in the drawing there is that pure white in the center and in the highlights.  Just like the Nordic white night would give that finishing touch to the entire illustration.

Midsummer decorations are a way to celebrate the beginning of the summer. An old tradition during Midsummer is also to decorate houses and doorways with young birch trees and flowers. That old belief also found a way to the illustration, not only through all the wildflowers in the flower dress, but also when some birch leaves were added to the floral dress design. The birch leaves in the bottom of the character´s floral dress brought that extra Finnish twist into this illustration.

Also the nature revealed few amazing miracles when creating this dress. Below is one detail of a small miracle during the creative process. Nature is a great artist - and we are surrounded of all those miracles and artworks. Even when the small Finnish birch leaf couldn´t decide whether to grow separately - or stay united, the result is simply beautiful…

Over time those leaves grown together became also a symbol of these midsummer illustrations. A serie of illustrations, that eventually grows from individual pieces into one story.

Old traditions about birch leaves and midsummer decorations were added to this illustration also in the form of the miniature green leaves and flowers drawn to the character´s hair. The impression of flowers in the hair reminds of all those verdant and flower-rich Midsummer Eve decorations.

Overall wildflowers have a fascinating role especially in Finnish Midsummer celebrations. The traditions of Midsummer Eve go way back to olden times. Old beliefs have included traditions of midsummer spells, like for example collecting different wildflowers and placing them under a pillow for a night.  Those wildflowers had then a special meaning and for example consequences to dreams.

If you want to read more about the midsummer love spells, check out the link below to the fascinating article and video that tells more about different love spells from Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing site is visual experience for everyone interested of Finland.

So, what does it mean to collect those different Finnish wildflowers – or even roll in dew…?  

visitfinland.com/white-night-magic/

 

Midsummer Naiad, the Finnish “Vedenneito”

A path through the forest is leading to the forgotten pond.
Wildflowers are guardians of the secret way.
Myosotis, tufted vetch, wood cranesbill… Shades of blue and purple.

All the bluish flowers are whispering that in the midsummer night
you might see the Naiad near the pond – or even in the stream whirls of the forest creek.

But what if the Naiad is just a reflection on the water?
A mirage in the midsummer´s night, dancing with the water sparkles... and then diving just before the dawn.

Or could you see that water spirit on a serene lake in a magical land of a thousand lakes?
And would you then follow her steps through the Nordic white night
into the mist of a midsummer morning?

During the midnight sun everything is possible, and the Naiad has been here too…


The Midsummer Naiad (above) was once designed as a sister to the Midsummer Dryad (below). Do you still remember her from last year´s midsummer article?


Initially these mythic fairy-tale styled characters were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and
mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore. Visions of the Finnish Midsummer Dryad and Naiad started then to develop in my sketchbook, based on the old myths and transforming into new ideas and illustrations.

Over the years the beauty of the pure nature in Finland has been a great source of inspiration for my illustrations.  In these midsummer illustrations the Finnish nature, lakes and wildflowers played again an important role.


First I drew the fairy-tale styled characters and then I created the flower dresses by completing them with real Finnish wildflowers. I chose wildflowers that were blooming in Finland right in the summer solstice. The Midsummer Dryad and Naiad had then their unique blooming floral dresses designed into the forest and water themes. Together the shades of blue and green tell a story of the enchanting Midsummer in Finland.

I collected particularly bluish wildflowers when completing the floral dress for the Midsummer Naiad. Tufted vetch became like waves on her dress, and myosotis were giving the fresh light blue touch to the entire flower dress. I wanted to emphasize fresh blues also in the drawing and describe that way the pure clean waters in Finland. Cool shades of blue along with the white reminding of the sky and lakes – was a way to add also the Finnish Lakeland twist to the traditional water nymph theme. The hints of green and purple helped to make the entire illustration more diverse, but at the same time those colors also illustrate the reflections on a serene lake and midsummernight´s shadows. Especially the strong purple from the wood cranesbill created that mystic sense of magical midsummer to the blue dress of the Naiad.

It is interesting to ponder how mental images and ideas are forming. Sometimes it is all about certain feeling or memory, a view that was once forgotten, inspiring color, music - or even a voice. In this case the Finnish language and certain words had just the right magical atmosphere when designing these midsummer illustrations. Some Finnish words seem to create visions by themselves.

I know many of you are reading this in English and usually also my illustrations are named only in English. But in this case some of the words in Finnish just have that mythic poetry in them…  Like for example the Finnish word “vedenneito” that can be translated as a water nymph or naiad, although the Finnish mythology shapes that concept uniquely. The word “vesi” means water and “neito” translates as a maiden.

The entire Finnish word “vedenneito” by itself sounds already like a calmly flowing stream in a forest creek, where syllables are like a chain of small bridges over the water.  You can almost see that mythical water spirit while listening to that softly flowing word “vedenneito” in Finnish. Some words are like music, like mythic whispers... Maybe those same ancient stories that gentle lapping waves are telling on a lake in midsummer evenings.

The official translation for naiad in Finnish is “aallotar” and that word also waves like water. The word “aalto” itself translates as a wave.  Based on that flowing Finnish word also my Midsummer Naiad eventually had waves on her hair.  As a result elements from several mythic words were that way united in one illustration.

If you want to listen how the Finnish words are pronounced, you will find them below linked to Forvo. As a largest online pronunciation dictionary in the world Forvo is a treasure to all you interested in different languages.  Those of you who work or travel abroad – or study new language, may find the site useful.  And of course Forvo inspires all you, who just want to cherish and enjoy the beauty of your own native language.

The Finnish mythic words pronounced in Forvo:
(words below are opening in a new window, in Forvo press the blue play button for listening)
Aallotar (naiad)
Vedenneito (water nymph, naiad)
Metsänneito (dryad)
Keijukainen  (fairy)

Illustration can be a very complex process that can include many different views – from myths to words.  Even certain voice or pronunciation can shape visions and create new ideas.  At best the illustrator can be completely engrossed in that creative process, falling into the world of concepts and ideas.  And the Finnish mythic midsummer is a very inspiring subject to illustrate.

Midsummer in Finland is made of old mythic traditions, tranquil lakes, beautiful wildflowers - and unforgettable moments.  But above all, it is the magical outcome of our own personal visions and experiences… We can all create magic.

I wish magical midsummer moments and miracles to all Sandcastle.fi blog readers!

Enchanted by the midsummer in Finland

I´m enchanted by the magical midsummer in Finland.
Trying to capture those fleeting moments when miracles can happen.

Was it a dryad...? Midnight sun even decorated her dress with the wildflowers.

Magical Midsummer Eve to all you readers!
May the midnight sun bring you light and joy <3

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