|Abbey de Fontfroide - just some of the extensive gardens|
The name for this piece came to me very late in the day. Some of the pieces in the series I had clear ideas for their title, or a series of scribblings I was still considering. But this piece, other than a reference to ancient witchcraft and the Satanic implications often wrongly connected with it (sometimes rightly also) in ancient Europe I had no definite idea. I had several phrases jotted down such as 'The Devil is upon my shoulder ...' 'Satan tempts me ...' 'I summon you from darkness ...', but none quite conveyed what I wanted to express. I wanted there to be a sense of mystery, what did Satan want? What was he bidding this witch to do? How on earth is Satan connected to this picture of flowers? The sort of questions I wanted to raise from the title. Quite a while after the piece was complete it suddenly came to me, when I was not particularly trying to think of one; 'Satan whispers softly ...'. Finally, I felt this was right, this was the one. The idea of the soft whisper refers to the gentle delicate appearance of the Belladonna, which may look pretty and innocent, but Satan hides behind this facade of beauty (in the form of the plants poison and its history dark history). The soft whispering of the wings of the Goat Moth as Satan swoops by and the Brimstone Moth lingers menacingly also maintains the idea that sinister and evil can hide behind a beautiful exterior.
The idea behind this piece was essentially Sinister, Satanic happenings, Dark thoughts which hide behind a pure face, evil which looks like nothing other than mere beauty and innocence, as you too, the viewer, fall under the spell of deadly nightshade.
What is Satan whispering in his persuasive dulcet tones? Only the Devils Cherries know ...