Alta humanoid petroglyph

Photo from Alta Museum

There are a few humanoid figures in the north of Norway with spread arms and legs like the one above. A typical interpretation of this type of figure is that of a pregnant woman about to give birth, perhaps seen from above when lying on the ground. But there are several aspects of the figure that does not fit with human anatomy.

The figure as a frog.

There is a narrowing of the hips just below the belly in the figure that is similar to the hips in frogs, while in a human the hips would be widest just below the belly. Frogs have irregularly shaped fingers and toes, in varying numbers depending on the species, and this also fits with the figure.

The figure as a mix between human and eagle.

The outspread arms remind me of wings, but the parts close to the body are too thin for wings and they seem to end in hands at the ends. So I rendered this version of the figure as a mix between bird and human. The legs also look like spindly bird legs, while the thighs in frogs and humans would typically be larger than in the figure.

The figure as a woman about to give birth.

This last rendering of the figure as a pregnant human is probably the most likely interpretation, but the arms and legs look very strange. The bird rendering also looks strange within the figure, but I think the one of the frog works quite well. Perhaps the figure is representing a mix of frog and human and this was used to symbolize something. Frogs have a lot of offspring and their life cycle is very evident from eggs, to tadpoles, to froglets to adult frogs. This could fit with the interpretation of the symbol as a humanoid about the give birth, and maybe it was a fertility symbol to represent hope for many and healthy children. The frogs also live both on land and in water, and this life in two “worlds” is another reason why frogs may have been used as a symbol. Such as the two worlds of the frogs representing the realms of life and death. Interpreting it as a mix of frog, human and bird would also add the realm of the sky.

This is just pure speculation based on how I’ve noticed a few rock art figures that reminds me of frogs. I also used this symbol in a workshop with first-year archeology students, and many of them also thought the symbol looked like a frog or a bird. I will do some more research to see if I can find examples of frogs or birds used as a symbol in prehistoric Norway.

NTNU Workshop and Melhus Petroglyphs

I held a workshop/seminar about interpreting rock art for first year archeology students at NTNU Trondheim. In the evening I joined the students and teachers on a field trip to Melhus to view petroglyphs after dark.

Edited Sentinel-2 satellite image of Horg Bygdatun in Melhus.

There are several areas with recently found petroglyphs in Melhus in the hiking area near Horg Bygdatun.

Different techniques and styles are used for carving the petroglyphs in the area, and it is likely that they were made at different times.

Moelv Petroglyphs Part 6

The figure to the left (figure 14) i interpreted as a moose where the internal pattern is a snake with an open mouth inside the stomach of the moose. Why the original artists drew these internal patterns on deer figures is a bit of a mystery. That the artist’s intent was to represent a snake in the stomach of this animal may not be a very likely interpretation, but I’m exploring different options and a snake was the first thing I thought about when seeing this pattern. A snake in the stomach could have symbolized that the animal was sick or dying from internal disease. Many of the animals of the Moelv rock seem to have one set cojoined legs like I drew here. On several of the figures one set of legs are also very short, like on this figure. Perhaps both pair of legs on the figures were originally of equal length and some of the legs have just faded over time, or maybe one pair of legs was intentionally made much shorter than the other pair.

In the drawing below i interpreted the figure to the right in the image (figure 16) as headless animal with a view of the internal organs. The somewhat abstract design above it I interpreted as a bird. In some cultures, such as in ancient Egyptian religion, a bird can represent an aspect of the soul (ba). It is possible that the petroglyph figure originally had a head, and these lines has faded due to damage to the rock. But there are other examples of deer figures with missing heads, and this might be an intentional symbol. This figure also overlaps with the larger figure in the middle in a way that suggests that the larger figure might be giving birth to it. Maybe there is some birth/death symbolism being represented in these figures.

Example of another decapitated deer figure (this one is from Ekeberg). The figure on the right might also represent a bird.

More Midjourney AI Generated Art

I made a new signature for signing AI-work if I do of post-processing to it. Though it’s hard to draw the line at exactly when I feel like I’ve taken enough part in the image to be able to sign it. The new signature just adds an “i” after my normal signature, and I’ll use it to differentiate between art I create with and without AI.

It’s debatable whether it’s there’s any point adding a signature to art you generated by typing in a text prompt to an AI art generator, and I’m not sure if I’ll continue doing it.

What hath God wrought.
Example of the “raw” image from Midjourney, face-correction with GFP-Gan and post-production in Clip Stuido Paint.
Old masters drawing of a Bloodhound.
The personification of Moloch in the streets of New York.
The last days of humanity.

Creatures Living Inside a Tree #2

I generated some concepts with Midjourney for how a hero and heroine might look in the experimental movie concept about creatures living inside a tree. The faces generated witht the current version of Midjourney often get a little twisted, and I used GFP-Gan on some of the images together with som post-production in Clip Studio Paint to adjust the faces.

The Hero:

The current version of Midjourney also has a problem with hands.

The Heroine:

An example of how many of the faces look straight from Midjourney without corrections.

DALL·E 2 Generated Art

Some pictures I generated with text prompts using DALL·E 2.

Photo of the soul of a human in heaven
Photo of the soul of a human in heaven
Photo of the soul of a human in heaven
Ancient stone age sculpture of a reindeer
Photo of a moose calf on a white background
Photo of a moose calf on a white background
Pencil drawing of a melancholy woman
Human eye as the window to the soul

Creatures Living Inside a Tree #1

I’ve startet experimenting with AI art generators, and am exploring the possibilites of using it to generate concept art. The following creature concepts where generated with the prompt “a movie about creatures living inside a tree” and mixing the styles of Brian Froud and Tove Jansson.

Creature #1
Creature #2
Creature #3
Environment #1