Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Giants are coming

                                                                    by Petar Meseldzija

Back in 2011, a client from Canada commissioned me to do a drawing for his collection. A few days later, while walking through the woods, an idea presented itself, so during the lunch break I did a few rough sketches in my sketchbook.

I remember getting quite excited by the idea that gradually crystallized itself in my mind while walking through nature. The emotion that grew out of this picture was quite powerful. Recognizing a well-known pattern of picture and emotion simultaneously growing out of the same source, a process that often resulted in a good piece of art; I could not wait to come home to start working on the drawing.

Back home, and as soon as I started to draw, quite spontaneously a story all together with the title (The Giants are Coming), “came out” of the scene that was evolving in front of me. I then quickly wrote down the story, not knowing that this would mark the beginning of my writing a whole series of stories which would eventually make up the foundation of my  new book, the book of giants.

Before that, I was already reading about mythology and folklore. However something strange happened in me that day, something like a subtle switch, that made the inner mythology, or my personal myth, come to the surface. Writing that short story was a very special moment for me. It made me delve even deeper into the realms of mythology, as well as psychology. The next few years, I spent much of my time reading about it, writing stories, and doing drawings and paintings inspired by the myth, epics and legends.

Then, about a year after the drawing was finished, a collector from the US commissioned me to do a painting. Because I was quite sure I wanted to do a painting of the recently finished drawing, I presented this idea to him. Fortunately he was excited about my proposal, so I soon set on another adventure with the giants.

The creation of the painting was not as easy as I hoped. Many different things, some having nothing to do with painting whatsoever, interfered with the work on this piece. Finally, after a long struggle that included many short and long breaks, the painting was finished and delivered. And with that, this little journey which started spontaneously about 3 years ago with a glimpse of a future painting I saw in my mind while walking in the woods, came to its end. However not without leaving a significant trace behind. In one or another way, a few important thing came out of all this: my new book inspired by mythology and based on discovery of my personal myth; rediscovery of the work of C.G. Jung and psychology, and the new elan and inspiration that proved to be so important for a further development of my work.

The Giants are Coming, oil on canvas, 70X100 cm



  1. Beautiful as always Petar! Your paintings have such a luscious quality to them. Your handling and brushwork is just fantastic. It's great that you were able to realize a painting so long in the making and that it spawned so much for yourself and your future work.

    1. Thank you, Max! To evoke a sense of lusciousness in a painting is for me just another way to say - Look, there is Life in there, flowing freely, abundantly and uncontrollably!…it’s an important thing.

  2. Wow! That is absolutely gorgeous! And now I don't feel so bad about the 3 months it's taking me to wrap up a painting of my own.

  3. The hands are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. i just stared at this painting for the past hour.

  5. I'm really looking forward to reading your new book. It's always very intriguing to me to hear about the psychology found in legend and myth.

    1. Hi Kiri - In our times characterized by a demythologization of life and society, the only way to make mythology still relevant and practically worthwhile is through psychology, which is always thoroughly hidden in, and among many symbols and metaphors that make up the language of mythology. There is no better way to express the fundamental, everlasting truths about men and his existence, but through these metaphors. Things change their outer appearance through times, but their essence stay more or less the same. One of the main characteristics of these essences is that they cannot be fully and appropriately expressed through words, for they greatly transcend the language and its cultural and social limitations. Sometimes they even transcend the intellect itself. The use of right (living) symbols, archetypes and metaphors is proven to be the best solution to this problem (some might say – what about science? Well, I have my doubts about that) But at the same time, they are not a perfect solution, for they are as dynamic and illusive as the very phenomenon they are referring to. Metaphors are not supposed to be understood literally, which as we know has been often done in the past, for instance through the various often conflicting factual interpretations of some religious principles.

      The metaphors are not supposed to be taken for facts, they are metaphors. They are no lies either, they are metaphors. They do not try to define, nor describe, but to indicate the existence of these illusive fundamental principles of existence, and to inspire a birth of a certain notion in the mind and the heart of men, or help them remember. They offer a necessary support to the human’s psyche.

      Our own imagination and intuition play an important role in this process, because all this is at the same time beautifully individual, as well as mysteriously universal.

      So, Kiri, there will be (fortunately) no intellectual explanation of the connection between psychology and mythology in my book (for this one needs to read Joseph Campbell and C.G. Jung, among some other scholars); just stories, symbols and metaphors, expressed in words as well as through pictures.

  6. I like this insight, awareness that myths are made of metaphors connected with our nature. And, that is one quite remarkable painting...


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