Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fairy Tale Foundations

There's nothing quite like a good old fashioned fairy tale to expose the atrocities of the past. It's hard to imagine what it would have been like to be a woman back in the 1600's in Europe, with no right to choose your own husband, and have the legal status of property. The story of Rapunzel illustrates the extreme injustice of locking a young woman in a tower with no chance of escape.

As I contemplate my freedom, I have to think of my studio which is on the second floor of my house. It has a porch with a balcony off of it allowing me to play the role of the tower maiden, but one who has complete freedom to come and go as I please. Though I spend most of my time alone in there, either painting or doing my daily meditations, I have an extra chair so I can invite friends up for a cup of tea and a chat.

My tower is my haven, which is weird but appropriate. The illustration above is by Arthur Rackham, the great illustrator of fairy tales in the Victorian age. I've started playing with watercolors more lately, and I'll have to take a look at his work more closely so I can learn a thing or two. There's a wonderful article on Rapunzel at the Endicott Studio Journal right now. Very interesting and inspiring.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Pre-Raphaelites and Me

Once upon a time there were Seven rather opinionated young artists, who decided to throw convention to the wind and do their own thing. This was in a day when art was ruled by convention, so what they did was radical in the extreme. They painted from life with realism, romance, and a love for mythology. They called themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and they changed the face of art in England in the 19th century.

I first heard about them at Fourth Street Fantasy convention in Minneapolis, many years ago when I was young and thirsty for art knowledge. Terri Windling gave a talk that captured the imaginations of everyone at this small convention. I even had a cassette tape recording of the talk, but it was lost long ago. Thankfully, Ms. Windling is still in the inspiration business and has articles online about it. Here's what she has to say:
Like the early Pre–Raphaelite Brotherhood (before the tides of fashion turned in their favor), fantasists must work outside the approval of the art establishment. Fantasists use themes that are once again considered beneath the notice of serious artists: myth, magic, fairy tales, and stories unabashedly Romantic. The Pre–Raphaelite artists worked in forms derided as craft or decoration, not high art: ceramics, weaving, embroidery, jewelry–making, furniture, and book design — just as today we work in forms that are also rarely considered high art: genre fiction, children's fiction, book illustration, and comics.

In a day when you can't swing a mouse without hitting another Wannabe fantasy/fairy artist's website, it would be nice to see some more with real talent, real vision, and real dedication to the craft of painting myth and legend on the scene. It's unfortunate that when hearts and minds are turning to fantasy via the excellent books and movies like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, all they can find in art is yet another cutsie-wootsie fairy. It's supply and demand though, so the market decides that crap is art once again. Too bad it's part of the fantasy genre.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dumbledore's Army

This is just too cool! You can now join Dumbledore's Army online through the official movie Flash site. It requires Flash 8 to experience all the sparkles and lighting, but this so much fun I had to share. The movie is coming out on July 13th and the next book will be released on July 21st. I have my copy reserved and ready to pick up following the Harry Potter book party at Eye of Horus on Friday July 20th...just after midnight on the 21st!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May Wyrdhaven Studio Notes

This month I'm making it short and sweet. I have five paintings in progress, a portrait and a website to complete for some of my fellow Ren Fest Merchants. Spring has sprung complete with dandylions! To celebrate the golden blooms you have a golden opportunity to save on any of my prints or original paintings, this includes my Oh So Popular Castle Canvas prints!

Spring Sale
15% off prints, cards and originals through the end of May!!

Life is a Popularity Contest
The most popular page on my website is the free goodies page, where you can download backgrounds for your desktop. All I ask is a donation on an honor basis in order to make it worth my time to make more. Sadly, nobody is making donations, so I may have to eliminate this feature on my can change my mind by donating via the paypal button on the page.

If I get $50.00 in donations over the next month the page stays and I'll make more desktop backgrounds. If not, it goes away.

Originals Lost or Stolen
Late last fall, one of my biggest collectors of my original paintings purchased both my dragons. "The Gift" and "Eurus" were packed up and insured and mailed to Arizona to their new home. Unfortunately they never arrived...there's no record of them ever leaving Minnesota. The insurance claim was filed and was eventually paid, so my collector got her money back. But the paintings were never found. :(

So I've been reluctant to add any originals for sale to the site, but they're not doing anyone any good sitting in the closet. It's time to let them find new homes, so that page will be growing over the next few months.

Upcoming Shows
I will be doing Faery Oracle and Tarot Readings at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community Psychic Fair on May 19th & 20th

So that's what's up for May!