week 11: Maggie Ruley's


The Art

“THE FISH WHISPERER 1” by Key west Artist, Maggie Ruley
digital “wood cut”
Black and white 


The Fish Whisperer 1,  by Maggie Ruley

The Fish Whisperer 1, by Maggie Ruley



The Music

“SECRETS FROM A MERMAID’S COMB” (6:35 mins) © Helen Davey
(For 10 voices, piano, shells & percussion)


Artist’s Notes

Maggie Ruley’s Mermaids

The Fish Whisperer 1 and 2

As a child, one of my favorite movies was “Mr Peabody and the Mermaid”. My  father and Grandfather took me fishing all the time but we never caught a Mermaid. Now that I live in a tropical island paradise water imagery and the sea seems even more magical than ever.

Diva of the Deep, Maggie Ruley

Diva of the Deep, Maggie Ruley

I create my own little stories using real and imagined sea creatures. In The Fish Whisperer, even I don’t know what the conversation is about. I guess it is a secret.


My Music

I love that Maggie has many interpretations of her Fish Whisperer  (as you can see). Mine stems from the myths and legends around mermaids, specifically from Cornwell (my own heritage).

As Maggie said, even she didn’t know what the conversation was about in her digital “woodcut”, so I decided to listen in on that conversation and sound-paint what I heard from the mermaid to her fishy friends.

I’ve chosen a Cornish legend “the Mermaid and her Magic Comb” as my starting point for a few reasons.  Firstly, I like the legend’s emphasis on the mermaid gifting some secrets to an elderly man who helps her.

History has portrayed many females in myths and legends as monsters. My interpretation of this legend, is a viewpoint from Herstory of what mermaids symbolise (together with their many mythical, matriarchal sisters). That is, that they are  carriers of life and goodness, wisdom and sacrifice through their healing knowledge, granting of wishes, nurturing cures and seeing the future. And besides… I’m thinking it’s likely that the Cornish legend inspired the 1948 film Maggie refers to.

fish whisperer 2

The Fish Whisperer 2, Maggie Ruley

I have scribed the legend into a folk song style with verses and repeating ostinati and choruses, drawing on my own Celtic roots.

I added many voices to this piece plus some shells and percussion to evoke some of the many layers of this beautiful artwork, the inherent stories and magic to spark our imaginations.

There is music for the fish, sea-stars, waves and bubbles, the rocks, reefs, coral, shells and plant life, the wind, waves and mother moon’s influence on women and the tides – the herstories of history.



Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. This is my little contribution for 2014. Wherever you are I hope you can enjoy celebrating the many wonderful accomplishments of women everywhere.

I’d LOVE to hear what you hear/see in these artworks via the comments section below;  please feel free to share this around to anyone interested in art & music via the little icons below.

Thanks for bubbling along with me,

PS. Feel free to feed the fish (with a click from your mouse).

12 comments to week 11: Maggie Ruley’s “The Fish Whisperer”

  • fiona dodds

    Have just listened to this for the third time (the second time I was dancing a mermaid waltz with my baby grand-daughter.)Love the way that rich, melodic story telling is woven with layers and layers of gently lapping waves and sea life and echoes of things passing by.
    Thank you, Helen, for a magical and mystical experience!

  • Helen

    Fiona, I am delighted that you two gals enjoyed dancing to some marine bubble music…. and especially glad you could hear the echoes of things passing by. Thanks for listening.

  • This is hauntingly beautiful, mysterious and magical. Hypnotic. Love it!

  • Helen, I am ecstatic! I feel so very honored and proud. The music is as lovely as you are.
    Cheery Pops and Bubbles, (I am going to be using that all the time now)

    • Helen

      Ha! Maggie – so glad you like it. This one really got me going – so lovely to have a girly thing for IWD… Thanks so much for giving me permission to work with your beautiful artworks. twidalee woo, Helen

  • Jim nailed that one: haunting is right. But whimsical, too. I always heard that no one who met a mermaid ever lived to tell the tale. Then I read L Frank Baum’s little known book, “The Sea Fairies” and now I know better. Lovely, both of you, Maggie and Helen.

  • Tom Jones

    I have been a Maggie “groupie” for approximately 25 years and this is a beautiful piece to add to my collection. Congratulations to you both for combining your talents to achieve such beauty.

    • Helen

      Hi Tom,

      So good to hear that this music enriches Maggie’s art for you. Thanks indeed.
      PS Love the idea of visual artist’s groupies 🙂

  • Kate

    This is very very special, thank you x

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>