L’après-midi d’un faon

close up painting of deer face on orange and gold background

“Afternoon of the fawn” is a new collection of art works by Cotswold artist, Michelle Peters, playing on the title of the French poem L’aprèsmidi d’un faune (or “The Afternoon of a Faun”).

The poem written in 1876 by French author Stéphane Mallarmé, later set to music by Claude Debussy, describes the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep and discusses his encounters with several nymphs in a dreamlike monologue.

Substituting the mythical faun for a fawn – baby deer – these gouache studies depict scenes from an afternoon in the forest inspired by phrases from the poem intending to capture the dreamlike quality, harmony with nature and sensual reverie.

Where did the idea for l’apres midi d’une faon come from?

“I offered to help a friend doing a craft show in aid of the Vale Animal Wildlife hospital and saw a picture of a deer on the hospital’s website”.

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tout brûle dans l’heure fauve

[In the tawny hour all is burning] 

“As I was painting the fawn, this piece of music by Debussy, which was itself inspired by Mallermé, got stuck in my head. I’m a flautist, playing in an orchestra was a huge part of my youth and whenever I hear it the dreamy melody brings all sorts of images of nymphs, fauns, dryads and enchanting woodland creatures to mind”.

“I decided to do a series of gouache paintings on a deer theme – a play on fawn/faun to display at the Hospital Open day”.

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Aimai-je un rêve 
[Did I love a Dream]

aux lacs où tu m’attends
[the lake where you await me] 

Interesting choice of medium. Why Gouache?

I’ve only been using the medium of gouache – which is somewhere between watercolour and acrylic – for a year. I like the chalkiness and ability to put light on dark and vice versa. It reactivates when wet. This exhibition also provided an opportunity to display some pieces I’ve been doing as studies in Patreon courses during lockdown.

Where can people view your art?

I’m currently exhibiting at Tilly’s cafe in Tewkesbury and originals can be found here

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