The Sirens. Figurative oil painting by Damian Osborne of a nude woman lying on the beach looking at islands in the distance


What do Sirens Symbolise? 


The Sirens represent the estranged wildness we may feel in the presence of untameable nature; the salty ocean wind lashing our face, the crushing fear of being dashed against rocks, of drowning, of being vulnerable, of being alive — the luring song of the unknowable.  


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I painted this series of figurative oil paintings between 2019 – 2020.

The Sirens symbolise our disconnect with the mystical, savage and timeless nature of our unconscious. 

I have written quite extensively in The Siren Paintings on their symbolism, my contemplations, how I began this series of artworks, and my process behind these paintings.

Paintings are a bit like frozen dreams I’ve always thought, and the Sirens in this series represent a kind of languid otherworldliness.

But like a flashing glance, or reflection of light in the splashing water, these images portray an untetherable feeling. And an unknown place and time.

Is it longing? Do we know the woman’s face turned from us? Do we recall the chill down our spines as the waves crash over us? The loneliness of the moonlight? The melancholy melodies and dreams in the lapping water?

The horizon seems so unreachable in a world that isn’t real. 

The figure in the painting seems so unreachable too. Like Debussy’s ‘La Mer’, this world is in a minor key. Even the morning sunlight seems somehow wistful. 

And yet these Sirens seem quite peaceful, as though we caught them in a deep reverie.

They don’t stand tall and mighty like Amazons. These Sirens are close to the earth and have a connection to both the land and the sea, as if they know all the secrets therein.

Have we forgotten what it’s like to feel so connected? 


To read more about The Siren series, click here.


To view all figure painting archives, go to Figure Paintings.


2 thoughts on “The Sirens 2019 – 2020”

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