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The Constellations

A few years ago I began a series of drawings based on the stories of the planets and constellations, particularly those which are visible over the Great Lakes in midsummer. All of the images are derived from stories in Greek Mythology, except for Cancer (the Crab) who I have replaced with the original scarab: the ancient dung beetle who as a god represented creation and rebirth.
In addition, I have added one additional character to the night sky: a very young child whose grave I encountered while attending an artist’s residency in Vermont. This stone contained only the deeply carved name “Little Hattie” and a weather worn image of a lamb.
Little Hattie became an unexpected inspiration for me. Because so many headstones listed children as belonging to a nearby family, but not this one, and because there were other “little” someone’s throughout the cemetery, I had an inkling of a separate kind of sorrow, and perhaps a different kind of kinship for these children.
In my mind I began to cast this long ago child, perhaps an orphan, in the role of a very young slave or servant. Whatever her story, she was clearly a beloved of someone in the village, set to rest without a family name, remembered only until those who knew her in her short life were gone.
I decided to set this little Hattie girl close to the North Star, so that she can always be seen: now a new constellation in the summer sky.