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Ignis Fatuus

by Amelia Leonards

Ignis Fatuus, Latin: “Foolish Fire”  In folklore, a will-o’-the-wisp, or ignis fatuus is a ghost light glimpsed by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes.

Do you ever wonder where will-o-the-wisps come from? Are they lost souls, separate entities that drift aimlessly and soundlessly over sere grass and brackish pond? Are they fae creatures, deceitful and conniving, who bob and dance merrily through the woods with the glowing false promise of warmth and safety?

Or are they something else entirely?

Maybe they’re sparks, embers floating on the shivering fall breezes, the flashing thoughts of something so far beyond our experience that we can’t imagine her.

Maybe she’s helpful, maybe she’s not.

Maybe she guides the lost, maybe she doesn’t.

Maybe she’s a beacon of comfort and hope to those she loves, but not to others.


Or maybe not.

When I started painting this I was thinking of a guide, someone who lights the way when shadows have fallen all around. Is that what appeared on the paper? I honestly don’t know, and I find that more intriguing than if I did. . .

Side note: The urge to name this fox Flambé was strong. She will ship in a lovely white mat, no frames or glass, because being penned in by a frame makes her nervous. 

Product Surface / Material: 140 lb Cold Press
Product Width: 12 inches
Product Height: 9 inches

$400 $400

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Amelia Royce Leonards is a graduate of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, where she spent four years baffling her peers and professors with drawings of goddesses and antlered women. Her work is influenced by the beauty of ancient myth, folklore, and the natural world around us. She can usually be found somewhere deep in the woods, sketching odd creatures and eating chocolate chips.