Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dante and Me

Everybody who knows me well knows that one of my greatest artistic influences is the Romantic Movement with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Not only that, but I am not alone in my admiration and adoration of this cast of real life historical characters and their art. I first heard about them not in art history class, but at a small fantasy convention in Minneapolis. Terry Windling was giving a talk on them, their creed and creativity sparked my imagination and embedded itself in my subconscious. I was hooked.

So off the the library I went, back in the day before the internet was alive. I sought out every book I could find about these artists, and I poured over every painting. As I learned about their lives and loves, their passion for art and literature, I became entranced with them all. But one artist stood out for me: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, oil painter, watercolorist, poet and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

They all loved to paint redheads, and it became quite the fashion, picked up by other artists such as Waterhouse. Being a redhead myself, I saw myself in their paintings, part of an Arthurian Myth, or as a Goddess of old. The skillful renderings humble me, I can only hope to be that good someday. As I emerged from my pile of books, I encountered other artists, just like me who loved the PRB. My dear friend Denise Garner and I spent many an hour discussing these dreamers, and we dreamed our own dreams on the long drive to GenCon, and playing fun art games to pass the time.

It was after studying some traditional painting techniques that I was commissioned to create an oil version of a watercolor I did in art school paying homage to Rossetti. The result was La Bella Rosa, an Italian sounding name to honor Dante. Like the drawing of DGR pictured above, La Bella Rosa is a self portrait, me in 2001. The nature of art is to build upon the images you see with the images you imagine and discover yourself in the process. I am still discovering myself and my many faces as I create not only art, but a record of my inspirations here in this blog.

Writing this post put me in touch with a wonderful website: The Rossetti Archive, a treasure trove of everything a Rossetti lover could ever want. My own archive lives in my heart after years of reading and sharing with other artists my admiration for this artist and the movement he founded.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Return of the King...and Elves!

Last Friday night I attended The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King viewing party at a friend's house. Long ago, my sister and I played hostess to the first Lord of the Rings party. It too was held on a November night, but the movie had yet to be released in the theater, so we shared what we had downloaded from the official movie website and went from there. When we finally saw it in the theater, it was an incredibly magical event!

But before the film came out, we had the joy of reading the entire series aloud with wine and cheese at the ready. The wine was from Australia because we couldn't find any from New Zealand, where the movie was being made. I bought a copy of the sound track ahead of time and listened to it while painting Merry Meet, a portrait of an elf and fairy sprite meeting in a green wood.

When I look back on that time I remember so much that was wonderful, I loved where I lived at the time and all the memories we created for our friends. Today I still cherish this painting, though the original found a new home the first time I showed it. There are still a few prints left to complete the limited print run of just 100, and now they are available in a larger size than before. I hope the future brings many more wonderful memories of fantasy gatherings as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fools Gold

When I think of fairies, I often think of the old tales. One that comes to mind is a story I read long ago of a little girl who moved in down the road from what seemed to be a very poor family. The children of this family never went to school, and other people in town didn't talk about them much. The little girl decided to befriend these children so she went to play with them at their little run down cottage.

Their play turned into a real fairy tale, where the children were really a fairy prince and princess, and they were wealthy beyond measure. This was a secret that they asked the little girl to keep. As time went on and she played with them, they would give her treasures of jewels and gold for her to keep. Then one day she couldn't keep the secret any longer, she wanted to brag about her royal friends and their wealth, and all the gifts that they had given her.

When she went to show her treasures, she opened up her little bag she kept them in and found nothing but leaves. Her neighbors moved out and the shack fell into ruin a short time later, and she never saw the fairy prince and princess again.

As I look around our yard, covered in golden leaves from the maple tree, I think of it as covered in gold from faery. Today I'm featuring the Leaf Walker from my Wyrdhaven Gallery, and I must say that it's one of my favorites. It's a windy autumn day and the Leaf Walker is out and about doing what he does best, walking without a care in the world. Like the fool in the Tarot, he steps bravely off the leaf with the confidence that he will reach his destination. It's a painting about faith in yourself and hope for the future. A fitting tribute for our times.

Old Art + Old Books = Old Book Art

Just a quick little note because I'm already up a couple of hours past my bedtime. So it's time to pass on an interesting link I came across to a site featuring old book art, the kind you can really work with! This is what it's all about from their website:

The Mission of Old Book Art

To provide & facilitate access to free illustrations: pictures, drawings, maps and other images scanned from antiquarian, public-domain books and other old documents. We have over 2,800 images in our gallery with more added regularly, all at no cost and most available at very high resolution. Most of these we have scanned and edited ourselves. We will also screen and provide links to other high quality resources.

Here's a taste of what they have to offer:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ebony the Black Unicorn

It's a beautiful and sunny Sunday today here in Minnesota. We are enjoying the warmer than normal temperatures, and I'm so greatful for this added warmth! I have another new image for my Wyrdhaven Gallery at Imagekind, this one is Ebony the Black Unicorn.

This was one of my favorite paintings to do, I really had fun painting it! It was back when my studio was in what is now the Sunset Room at Eye of Horus, before they had regular readers there. It was an exciting time in my career as well, as I was becoming more well known both locally through the local Science Fiction conventions and nationally via the web. So I'm thrilled to be able to offer this one at new larger print size of 16 x 20 inches, as that's the size the original was painted! This will be limited to 450 any-size prints through my Gallery on Imagekind.

It's really starting to get rounded out over there, and I have space for seven more pictures in the gallery which I plan to get uploaded over the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted. :)

In other news, Netflix delivered "The Other Boleyn Girl" so David and I will be watching that film together tonight. While it's technically not a fantasy movie, it is a renaissance period piece and I intend to write a review on it here in the blog once I've seen it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Brightly Woven

Tonight I went to a lovely party, the Fifth Anniversary of Eye of Horus, Inc. where I partook of yummy cake and a little red wind in their gallery. I had a fun time talking with friends both old and new, and my husband was able to get away from work for about a half an hour and joined us all. It was after he left that I fell into a gestalt with my artist friend Paul Rucker while we talked about art and energy and living an ecstatic life.

It is an extraordinary thing talking with other like minded people, and Paul is such a joy to be around. His enthusiasm for sharing his visions through his art really inspired me and I'm glad I have the whole weekend ahead of me to let that conversation take root in my psyche. So much of my life right now, the work-a-day world, is anything but ecstatic and visionary. I received a most welcome infusion of color laughter and concepts tonight, and I'm extremely grateful to Paul for reminding me that this is what life is about, this is what art is about. It's about bringing the visions I see when I close my eyes out for everyone to enjoy. So the energy goes full circle.

My visions bring healing and wisdom into my own life, and painting ignites that very same thing again in the experience of creating a new work of art. You see the vision is never static, what comes out of the brush is merely an interpretation of what inspired the painting itself. It's a wonder to me that I would come in close contact with such an extraordinary artist as Paul, and that we have a mutual respect for each other's work and unique vision. Tonight was a good night for the state of my art as a whole, for my vision of becoming a whole person, both Reiki Artist and Oil Painter, and my purpose on this earth this time around.

Thank you Paul!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Today was very cold and windy here in Minnesota, so much so there was some snow. Lucky for us it melted when it hit the ground, because the ground is still warm. We have been known to have Halloween storms in these parts, and I've been known to stay in till it blows over and not help with the shoveling. So it's as good a time as any to talk about the Queen of Annwyn, because her husband the King is known to take his hounds and ride the skies on nights like tonight, to gather the souls of the dead (or not so dead) to bring back to his realm. It' s known as the Wild Hunt, and one day I hope to do a painting of that scene, but not just yet.

The Queen of Annwyn sits with her red-eared hound in her realm, with small goblins lurking about, and a Raven nearby. The skull was fun to paint as I recall, and I loved painting the misty background and gnarly tree limbs. Prints are available of various sizes, as well as the framed version above. But more about Annwyn or Annwn or Annwfn fro the Encyclopedia Mythica:

There are various entry points into Annwn, namely Lundy Island and Glastonbury Tor. There is a legend of an itenerant Welsh saint named Collen entering Gwyn's palace within the Tor in order to banish him by sprinkling holy water around.

Contained within the alleged Book of Taleisin is "The Spoils of Annwn," an obscure, inauthentic Welsh poem dating from perhaps the tenth century. It is the tale of a raid on the part of Arthur and his knights through the underworld, questing for a magical, talismanic cauldron in the custody of nine maidens. Only seven survive this perilous expedition. Due to the pagan substance of the poem, it has been claimed to be a foreshadowing of later Grail Quests.The number nine relates to real groups of nine priestesses in pre-Christian, Celtic society. Geoffrey of Monmouth tells of a sisterhood of nine led by Morgan le Fay in his poetic Vita Merlini. The coven was located on the Isle of Apples, or Avalon, another otherworld sometimes identified with Annwn.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fantasy Ink

I first started watching LA Ink at the start of last season, the first season. Kat Von D's rock chick attitude disguises a rare ability to draw portraits, only she does them in ink on people. Tattoo artists are some of the most skilled artisans out there, they draw for a living every day. Since their clients have to live with the art for the rest of their lives, they can't make any mistakes. No erasing, no Undo key, they have to get it right the first time. The show is amazing, in part because many of the artists featured are women, and because it's such an intimate art form.

Every tattoo has a story behind it, and many represent deeply meaningful events in the person's life. Some are done as memorials, some are done to celebrate life. All are interesting tales, because our lives are not dull after all. The challenges we face and how we confront them, that's dramatic, that's interesting. Creating art from that challenge shares it with everyone, and on LA Ink it get's shared with the entire viewing audience. Every time I tune in I'm uplifted be one story or another. Whether it's Kat herself, one of the other artists, or someone getting their next tattoo, it's a gathering place for stories. I guess I just love a good story and that's why I watch, and to get inspired by artists at work as well.

There's a sacredness to tattoos as well. Many cultures use them as part of a ritual, because rituals are about transforming the mundane into the extraordinary. I have a tattoo idea in mind that I plan to get done by the end of 2009. I'll be setting aside some money bit by bit, but it's important to me that it gets done. Because I'm transforming as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leaves on Deck

Good morning again, this morning is much like yesterday with a clear sky and sunlight. Leaves are strewn about the deck from the large silver maple in the backyard. I once made a painting with leaves, and here it is:

It's called Leaves at Summer's End and it was a work of art celebrating my first attempt at gardening, which was quite successful.


Last night we were flipping channels on TV and ran across a version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Rick Schroder. We sat through the whole thing, and it was pretty dull, with little connection to the classic book by Jules Verne according to my husband. It really lacked any entertainment value at all. It had a cast of apparently talented actors, but the writing was pretty amateurish and there was never a sense of drama. At no point did I ever fear for the characters or empathize with them either. Dull as dishwater. You've been warned.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Morning Sun

I was awakened this morning, for the final time but that's another story, by the plaintiff meow of Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is a female calico cat who has a bit of a separation anxiety, and the bedroom door was closed with her on the other side. I couldn't say no to that so out of bed I got, and she ran right to the bathroom sink for her morning water. Now we have a ritual which requires picking her up and walking her around from room to room prior to rewarding her with turning on the faucet. When we got the the Reiki studio, the walk had to end because the light streaming through the trees left the entire back yard, deck, and garden dappled in playful light. And Caruso wanted to be let outside. (He's my big black cat and super snuggle buddy)

Eventually Tinkerbell and I finished the tour and she got her reward of which she took two licks and got bored. But all this reminded my of my dragon painting, Eurus Dragon of the East Wind, and I had to get it up into the print shop right away:

All the framed versions on imagekind are designed by myself. Please note that the mats are regular mats, not conservation mats, but you have that option available to you. Also I have elected to go with Acrylic glazing, as everything is to be shipped I worry about breakage, though regular glass is an option as well. I'm sure that the folks at do a fabulous job of packing, so everything will arrive to you intact.

When it gets a little warmer outside I plan to finish planting the Crocus bulbs in the back, then get caught up on housework. The afternoon will be spent packing and unpacking. Husband has a cold, so I think we need to skip the Halloween party we were invited to tonight. I wouldn't be a very good Reiki Master if I got all my friends sick now would I!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All the Colors of Autumn

It's a magical world outside my window, where trees are changing colors, mums are in bloom, and there's that special crisp feeling in the air. When I go outside I sometimes catch a hint of woodsmoke, someone has their fireplace lighting their home in the neighborhood. I was pleasantly surprised to open my email to find that I'd already sold a print of Blue Moon Faery on ImageKind, considering I just uploaded it! But I did feature it here on this blog soooo.....

Let's see if it works for Falling Leaves this time. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home. It's the secret to having confidence in what you are doing with any project. It get's you noticed, and it get's the job done. Now it's my motto when it comes to Wyrdhaven Studio. Set your way-back machine to about 1995, and you would find me working as a picture framer in a Wildlife Art store, where I framed large prints of other artist's realistic work for the store. As an artist I would look at the prints, and say to myself "someday I'll have prints like these of my work".

How it worked was that a publishing house would take on an artist, do all the printing & marketing and the artist would get a portion of the sales. That way the artist is free to paint to their hearts content, only going in when they needed to sign prints or something. That was always my dream. Now switch the machine to 2000. This is when I started to have prints made of my work. I had to pay out of pocket for 50 prints at a time to get enough of a discount to make a profit. My small budget meant small prints, not the large ones that I had been dreaming about for six years. I had to do all the marketing and distribution myself, so I showed them at SF&F conventions.

Jump to 2003, the year I was laid off from my job as a web designer and you'll find I bought my own printer, the Epson 2200 in order to do print on demand. I never wanted to be a manufacturer, yet that's what I ended up being. I also created the following image:
Blue Moon Faery Framed

Well now it's 2008 and the Epson printing system is going strong in the marketplace, people are learning what a giclee is, and the Wildlife Art store I worked at is virtually out of business and it was a national chain. Due to the dip in the economy which began just over 7 years ago, not 7 months ago like the pundits would have you think, many artists like myself are working day jobs again.

So what does this all have to do with my mantra Go Big or Go Home? I now have big prints being produced by someone other than myself, and though I have to do lots of marketing on my own, the company is marketing all the artists it carries through it's website. Now you can get Blue Moon Faery in a whopping 16" x 24" print, have it framed to your specifications on the website, picking out your own mats and frame or use my suggested combination above. There are smaller sizes of the same image available too, because some people wanted to pretty up smaller spaces.

Not only are the prints bigger, the prices are actually smaller than what I had to charge myself. Though they aren't signed or numbered, I will still honor the limited edition number for each piece. When they sell out, I will retire the image, for Blue Moon Faery that means I have 120 more to sell before it's all said and done. This was my dream, only I didn't know it, because I have more control than those wildlife artists did, and no upfront costs like I've had for the past eight years.

So now I'm dreaming of big paintings again because I know that I can make big prints of them. Go Big or Go Home...yeah that's what Wyrdhaven Studio is all about now.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fantasy Art Prints Galore!

You've been patient, you've been kind, now here is your reward: Fine art prints in a wider variety of sizes and custom framed for you! I've now opened a gallery at and I'm more than thrilled. Most of my artwork has been signed and numbered limited editions, but no worries. Though I won't be signing or numbering them, when the total number of prints are sold I will retire the image. Until then, you will be able to have more choices than ever when shopping for my Fantasy Art.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Irish Fairies

I've been reading the Irish Fairy Book, a classic that was first published around a hundred years ago. That was the last time there was a big love affair with fairies among the general public. The version I have has a different cover than the one pictured at the left, and it's illustrate by George Denham's beautiful black & white artwork. There's something really wonderful about pen & ink and woodblock artwork, it evokes a feeling in me that color work just doesn't. I think it's because it allows me to fill in the color in my imagination, which creates for me a wonderful reading experience.

When I say I'm reading a book of fairy tales, that means I'm reading magical stories, as very few actually have fairies in them. But there are talking animals, the man on the moon, and Irish hero's like Finn MacCool. This is a book I grabbed so I would have something interesting to read on my lunch break at work, which is now a corporate job like the rest of you out there. I've also been craving more of the Halloween flavor in my visual world of late. It seems like all the TV ads you see these days are about election these days, and since I know who I'm voting for I've had more than enough of that. Even CafePress, which often features Holiday Themes isn't mixing any pumpkins, goulies, or ghosties in. So you can imagine my delight when I opened the book to read the following:
It was the Eve of Samhain, which we Christians call all Hallows' Eve...The great long table was spread for supper. A thousand wax candles shed their light through the chamber, and caused the vessls of gold, silver, and bronze to shine.
I've had this volume for years, but I apparently forgot about the opening to the story The Coming of Finn. Not only is it seasonal, but it also has that pagan flair to it. The story was delightful as well, no wonder it's the first one in the book. So I'm ready for the magic of the season to begin, and I'm eager to find the Halloween decorations and get them up if I can.

Tonight I'm unpacking up in the Craft Studio, art stuff and witch stuff will be combined to welcome in this most magical of holidays.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

On a Rainy Day

On a rainy day like today I love to sit inside with a warm cup of tea and read. But today I promised my sister I'd go to Pagan Pride and join her at the Eye of Horus table there and keep her company, and then later there will be a Reiki Circle for me to join in on. Yesterday was cool and sunny and much was accomplished here at Applewood Cottage. The day began with a visit to Caribou Coffee where I hoped to sit by a roaring fire. Well, the fire was fake, so I was a bit dissappointed, but I loved the atmosphere anyway. Some quality time away from home with the hubby is always welcome too.

After that we picked up a filter for the furnace because it was getting cold at night and we hadn't turned it on yet. While we were there we passed an aisle full of bulbs that need planting now so they would bloom in the spring. Naturally I bought some, a pair of purple iris bulbs for May colorand a bunch of crocus that should should announce the arrival of Spring sometime around March.

Once back home I devoted three hours to getting Saturday Sprite added to Wyrdhaven Workshop, with Halloween coming up I really wanted to have something a bit more otherworldly on the site. So here she is in a long-sleeved T:

And I'm glad to have this blog to feature her in, because the CafePress home page is all about politics and is ignoring one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. Honestly, they should have an alternate home page people can click to who are sick to death of all the election crap out there. I already know who I'm voting for, so I don't really want to hear all the arguing and bickering going on between the two camps. More pumpkins, less bulldogs with lipstick, do you hear what I'm saying?

But more on Saturday Sprite, she is one of the Seven Daily Sprites, a series that I painted a couple of years ago. Every day has an energy, and Saturday is about protection and getting things into balance. It is also the threshold between worlds, one week and the next, because I start my week with Sunday not with the workweek. The original sold at Eye of Horus, and I know it went to a very good home, somebody who had worked hard at creating a balanced life. I love the way she looks on the products, and I especially love her on the tile as well:

With all the things I'm doing in my life, it's frustrating not to have more time to update the Workshop. But I'm working on getting all my artwork up there, even though it is just a piece at a time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Autumn is for Apples

The story begins:

"A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples..."
Autumn is a magical time for me, and this year is even more magical because of the glorious apple tree in front of our house. It's our first autumn here and the tree is bursting with apples. They are small, and slightly bitter, but they are OUR apples. Sort of a welcome gift from the land itself. I took the photo above just as the morning light was hitting the leaves, here and there, and I had lots of fun with the camera. Our little apples are pale green and turning red. I'm not sure what variety they are, but I hope to find out someday. The may not be the golden apples of legend, but they are enough to name our home Applewood Cottage and that's good enough for me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lilith is Expanding Her Magic

Lilith, Goddess of primordial magic, is expanding her reach at Wyrdhaven Workshop. This is just and expression of her nature:

According to myth and legend, Lilith was the first woman, created before Eve. She was Adam’s absolute equal.

In the Garden of Eden, long before the eating of the apple, the Holy One created the first human beings a man named Adam, and a woman named Lilith. Lilith said, "We are equal because we are created from the same earth."
from the medieval text Alphabet of Ben Sira, 23a-b

So naturally she would want to be in every category in the Wyrdhaven Workshop, except for the Fairy category, she didn't want to be there at all for some reason.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Falling Leaves

Yesterday it was hot and muggy, but today it's cool and cloudy. Autumn is approaching and my co-workers at the day job are bemoaning the loss of summer. But that's not the case with me at all, this is my favorite season and I'm looking forward to raking leaves in the back yard, warm sweaters, and a big fire in the Fire pit for Halloween. I've updated Wyrdhaven Workshop with one of my favorite fall images, Falling Leaves.Can you feel the wind in your hair? Something magical happens when autumn leaves fall, and this witchy beauty is in the middle of it. The beautiful sorceress of this golden wood graces canvas bags, keepsake boxes, framed tiles, fashionable Tshirts and cozy warm sweatshirts. The throw pillow makes a wonderful fall accessory to take you from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Make Fall a magical season for friends with the notecards, or record your poems in the Falling Leaves Journal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blue Moon Faery

It probable seems like I only update this blog once in a blue moon. I've been a little busy picking up my life and moving it from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center. We managed to get most of the furniture moved at the end of June, and we are shooting for October to get everything else out of the other house. I'm feeling much more at home here, and I managed to throw husband David a 50th birthday party last month. So it was high time to get back to beefing up Wyrdhaven Workshop with some of your favorite images for fall. Of course this means Blue Moon Faery.

She has always been one of my personal favorites as well, so I wanted to do something special with her. On the back of the mug, I've added the following poem by William Butler Yeats:
Come away, O human child!
to the waters and the wild
with a faery, hand in hand,
for the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand.

It really is a lovely poem, even though it is a bit melancholy at the end there. But it speaks the truth as well. With my retirement savings used up, my dream of being a full-time fantasy artist dashed after five years of trying, and the house I was married in now going into foreclosure, I've had more than my share of weeping over the past year.

The thing that I remember is that Arthur Rackham has a day job, he was a bookkeeper. Nothing artistic about that in the least. Now I work in a billing center in the health care industry. So I feel like I'm helping people a bit. Thanks to Wyrdhaven Workshop, I can finally have my artwork on all those cool products that I've seen other artists selling off of their websites for years.

Perched upon the head of a rather surprised owl, the Blue Moon Faery comes to teach us about how rare and beautiful wisdom is. Inspired by the Blue Moon.
Add fairy fun to any room with our comfy Throw Pillow. It measures a sprawling 18" X 18" with an 11” X 11” image area so you can lounge in comfort. It’s made of ultra-soft brushed twill with a sturdy canvas image area. Ships with pillow insert. Removable zippered cover for easy laundering.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fourth Street Fantasy Convention

Yesterday I went to Fourth Street Fantasy Convention, because years ago it was a great con where I had some wonderful times. This year was wonderful too, and just like everyone else, I lived in the programming room. As a convention for writers of fantasy fiction, and readers who like to listen to writers talk about their writing, it's the best of it's kind. In fact, it's the only one of it's kind that I know of.

To be honest, I had my doubts as to whether or not they could pull it off again after all these years. But they did it, and I'm glad I went. Today I worked in the garden, transporting my wedding flowers from the garden here to Applewood Cottage where we will be moving to over the coming weeks, but my sister reported that the programming was top notch today as well.

One of the great discoveries was Shadow Run, the best SF TV show that never was is currently in re-runs, and I snuck out before the spoiler because I want to read the episodes without any of that coloring my response. They even have their own CafePress Store for merchandise. So I'm really looking forward to finding time to do that after I get settled into the new house. Where else do fictional characters have their own livejournals? I've gone ahead and friended Elizabeth Bear & Emma Bull because they are the evil geniuses behind all of this. They're smart and cool.

Friday, May 30, 2008

On the List of Books To Read

On the list of my books that I need to read is everything ever written by Tate Hallaway, because I used to work in an Occult Book Store. Now she's been features in MN Women's Press under her normal name, and the one that I know her by, Lyda Morehouse.
"I guess I'm fascinated by the darker side of people," Morehouse said. "I really wanted a character like Garnet who chose to call a dark goddess to defend her coven, and she wound up-with some complicity at least-engaging in murder. I wanted to pair her up with a parasite of humanity. I wanted her to have some darkness to go with his darkness."

Yup, Lyda knows how to take things to a new level. I am already a fan of hers with her SF books, and I've started reading a little romance lately, as a book was loaned to me to read over my lunch break. I'm a regular reader of Lyda's Live Journal, and I really need to keep up with her books. It takes a lot less time to read a book than to write one, so I'd better get started right away!

Also, I sadly missed the deadline for pre-registering for CONvergence, so I'll be paying the at the door rate. That really sucks, I thought I had until the end of May, but noooooo the cutoff was May 15th. So now I find myself wondering if it would be worth it, especially since we decided to save our pennies and not get a room. Decisions can be so tough sometimes!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

House as Art Project

I'll be completely honest with you, it's been ages since I sat at my drawing table or easel. But that doesn't mean I haven't been painting, I have, mainly walls. You see, I'm working on the biggest art project of house. And I have a vision of how it will look when it's done. It will be beautiful and warm, an old house that Elrond himself would find comfortable. That's right, I'm creating my own Elf Friendly Hideaway here in Minneapolis. I have dreams of parties with live music and laughter, art on display everywhere and someone playing one of MacGregor's games in the corner, someone else is getting a tarot reading or maybe some Reiki in the studio...ah yes that is my dream. And the gardens, don't forget the gardens! We have a brick patio with a lamp post in the backyard, just like in Narnia. Along with the hedge of Lilacs, what more could a person want?

Well anyway, I've been busy painting walls, and pulling up carpeting in the upstairs hallway, as well as on the stairs themselves. The hardwood floors underneath are in beautiful condition, and I know just how I'm going to decorate the hallway. I still have to pick out the main wall color for the stairwell, and then there's wallpaper to take down in the spare room that we will be renting out. So you can see why there hasn't been much time for painting on canvas lately. Oh I have plenty of ideas that I would like to get to, but I need to get this house decorating business out of the way first.

And the stairs are solid wood, I'm guessing Oak like the rest of the walls. What more could a girl ask for? My husband doesn't quite understand my love affair with the hardwood floors, it was like Nirvana taking them up. I feel like hundreds of fairy folk were trapped underneath of the carpeting, and taking it up released them all. This is the first time I've worked on a scale this size, and there are always more details to get taken care of. Like all the staples in the stairs that have to be pulled by hand, and then there will be the cleaning and filling and polishing. You get the idea. Weeks of work ahead of me and me having to work to pay the bills too. But I love what I'm creating, and since we're planning a big party in July I want to get as much done as possible before then. So I trotted across the web over to to get myself this nifty Wallpaper Steamer so I can start tackling the wallpaper around here with a little more than just my muscles. But I might just have to sneak some art time in there somewhere, between practicing songs with my sister to sing at the Bardic Circle maybe. The creativity is still flowing, just in some different directions.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the Joy of Painting or Happy Clouds

I got up early, trying to adjust to my earlier sleep schedule even on the weekends. With my breakfast of coffee and cinnamon burst toast, I sat and watched The Joy of Painting (r) with Bob Ross. Bob has long since departed from this world, but Bob Ross Incorporated lives on, and has it's own website. I wish I could put a picture of Bob here, but "Copying and reproducing of any graphics in this website is strictly prohibited."

I remember watching his show when I was a teenager, and even trying some of the techniques a bit. He was all about painting to make you happy, if it doesn't make you happy, don't do it! Now there are Certified painting instructors that you can take classes from, even here in Minnesota. It's art as a hobby, so it's all about being happy.

Don't worry, I'm not about to change my painting techniques or style. But I am starting to experiment with other tools, namely a carpet cutter and pry bar. That's right! I'm working on the house, removing carpeting to reveal the beautiful hardwood flooring beneath. I've also painted some of the walls and am looking forward to sprucing up the trim as well. I'll post pictures once the project is complete

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sense and Nonsense

I just finished watching the conclusion to Jane Austin's "Sense and Sensibility" and it seems somehow both fitting and ironic that Jane never married herself. Her romantic notions breath life into the heart of every longing for love that a woman has, but it seems to me that life doesn't work out that way all the time.

The day to day existence of the modern world doesn't fit with the romantic view of things. People are more cynical nowadays than they were back then, or maybe we're more honest. Often, I meet men who find the decorum of Victorian times to be too much of a restraint on their manly selves. Honestly though, I've rarely met a woman who didn't enjoy Jane Austin's work.

Has loyalty, truth, and honesty taken a back seat to this modern shunning of all things genteel? It seems it has, except among a small group of people...namely women. Since I've been married, I haven't spent nearly enough quality time with my girly girl friends. This is something that I intend to remedy in the near future.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Month Since Marscon

Has it been a month since Marscon already? Wow! Time really flies when you're having fun! :) Friday night began it all with the Artist Reception. Michael, the art show head, tried playing it conservative with a one finger pour of wine in the glass for everyone. Turns out he's not very good at being conservative, as he ended up having to send some open bottles out with folks who had rooms at the hotel for the weekend. Some advice: Next year, let the people have at least half a glass, it's easier to keep count and pace yourself that way! As a graduate of Minnesota School of Bartending, I should know!! Now on the good stuff...the goodies I got in the dealers room.

My first purchase was Dimensions by John Lyell. It's a CD of ambient music, and after playing this while meditating over the past month, I have to give it two thumbs up...way up! It's groovy and way spaced out kinda cool vibe sets up a wonderful environment for me to connect with my inner light. John's a really cool guy too, both an artist and a musician, his kind of creativity really flows with where I'm at right now. He had a table right outside the dealer's room, where he had headphones and CD players to listen too his CD's with. I'll have to add his other CD's to my collection eventually, but I'm really able to play Dimensions again and again without getting tired of it. I wonder if he'll be at ConVergence?

The other cool thing I got was this awesome Greenman candle holder, which I light when I'm doing my nightly meditations as well. He's got a great face, and I just love him! I'm a sucker for all things treelike right now anyway. Oh yeah, I got it from Emerald's Emporium, who always have the coolest stuff imaginable. For all you gamers out there they have Dr. Wizard's Patented Elevation Indicator, so you can see just how high you can fly, or how low you can sink depending upon your gaming goal. And yes, they really did patent it! (U.S. Patent #6,938,897) Just put your favorite miniature on top to show everyone how powerful a wizard you are! Now if that isn't cool, I don't know what is.

So that's a brief summary of my shopping news from Marscon. It's a fan girl kinda thing. ;)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wendy Rule is Coming to Town

The hot ticket in Minneapolis this Spring is a one night only engagement featuring Witchy Songstress Wendy Rule all the way from down under at the Cedar Cultural Center. I was informed by my sister that tickets are selling fast already, so I bought my pair online from Eye of Horus. Kari Tauring and Felonious Bosch will also be performing that night, and none other than storyteller Steven Posch will be the MC for the event. This concert is near and dear to my heart, as I love music and ritual and both will happen on that Wednesday evening in May. I LOVE Wendy Rule's music, I have The Lotus Eaters in my CD collection, and Kari and Steven are friends of mine. It's two months away, but already I know this is going to be a night to remember!

Kari teaches a Norse Shamanic Staving class at Eye of Horus, and I think I might start becoming a regular at that. I went once and I learned so was a fantastic experience. I've heard Steven's storytelling at the Second Floor Gallery in Eye of Horus, as well as at a friend's house by firelight this past December. It was a tremendously warm experience. Art is an expression of the human soul, and bringing artists together is a Very Good Thing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Moon & Fire Circle

It's not often that a new artist comes knocking at your door, but that's what happened with this one. I received an email asking me to review her new CD here on my little blog, so here goes! The first time I listened to The Moon and the Fire Circle by Shauna Burns I had my stereo at my normal soft volume. The first thing I noticed was the piano, lilting through the songs and every bit as important as the vocals. I'm a sing along kind of listener, so I didn't like the fact that I had to strain to hear the lyrics.

The next time I listened I was busy painting the walls in my upstairs hallway so I had it cranked up pretty loud. The vocal track worked better at a higher volume on my Aiwa boom box so it was a great background for hours of work. Her sound fits in with a collection of Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt, and Enya. Here is the blurb from

"Powerful songwriting, enchanting piano, vocals and strong percussion are delicately mixed with flavorful guitar, harp and cello to create the perfect universe where The Moon and the Fire Circle combine to embrace the soul. A journey from the light to the dark and back to the light again, Shauna takes us with her as we travel deep into the underworld of different points of view."
That's the promotional copy, and then they posted a review as well:

"Shauna's acoustic piano-driven music is very stream of consciousness, emotive and moving. Even when the lyrical intention is clear, Burns deliberately chooses to phrase the words in such a way as to strip them of conventional meaning. Wild, I know, but fresh, fearless and free." --Kevan Breitinger,
Now I like the sound of this album, and looking at the lyrics they are very poetic. But I prefer poems that have meaning that stand on their own. I have no idea what any of the songs are about. While I was listening the first time straining to hear her voice, the first thing that came to mind is what are they trying to hide? The fact is she's a better pianist than singer, and a better composer than lyricist. But it is a nice addition to my music collection, and one that I will listen to again and again. I just think of the vocal as an unusual wind instrument and I'm fine.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Spiderwick Field Guide

Last night I read the first of the Spiderwick Chronicles. The little book is beautifully made, with rough cut edges and illustrations throughout. While browsing the website I see there are all kinds of really cool things for collectors to get their hands on too! I really liked the book, and I wish it had been around when I was a kid, because I would have LOVED it then too. My sister went off to see the movie without me, I'll have to find out from her what she thought of it.

Today Marscon begins, so I don't have much time to chat, as I have to gather all my artwork and get my paperwork ready for the artshow. After I hang my stuff I'll be footloose and fancy free, and looking for fun people to talk to, panels to go to, and browse the dealers room for goodies and inspirations.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spiderwick Chronicles

Today the Spiderwick Chronicles is in the theaters, but I'll be busy working through the weekend so I don't know when I will have a chance to see it. Until then, I can play on the wonder-filled website created for the movie. It just whets my appetite for more fantasy, which is exactly what I need. My schedule is so very busy these coming weeks, but I do intend to see this one in the theater! Finally a fairy tale with real fairies, true to the Old Tales more than the fluffy glitter stuff that's all over the place.

Fairies come from deep within the forest and earth, they are not civilized, but have their own way of being. They are not safe in any way, though they can bring blessings. Even so, the blessings have their own baggage and magic never works the way you want it to. So be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Passion for Fantasy Art - February Studio Notes

IT'S THE PERFECT TIME OF YEAR TO INDULGE IN YOUR PASSIONS, AND THAT MEANS NEW FANTASY ART GIFTS! February is a month of love with Valentine's Day coming up. My husband is going to surprise me with a night out, but he's not telling me the details. This issue includes What's
, What's Hot, and an Upcoming Show!

New in the Gift Shop

The workshop was sadly lacking something, something big and blue that breathes fire. So here he is, Eurus the dragon of the East Wind.
Wrap yourself up in this warm hooded sweatshirt while you curl up with your favorite dragon book.

Come to think of it, I never curl up without a nice comfy pillow when
I read. So I just HAD to add Eurus to one of these wonderful throw pillows. Now you can be completely surrounded in warm dragon goodness!

What's Hot

Is winter getting a little too long for you? How about a nice trip to the beach with a cool mermaid journal. This little beauty has been the best seller recently, so what's hot is keeping cool in the sun with Lira - The Faery of Water. Write about
your winter vacation, or sketch your dreams on the blank pages of this journal.

Goth and gorgeous, The Queen of Annwyn is sure to please any lover
of dark fantasy art. New last month, this keepsake box is already going to hold someone's trinkets and treasures. They say you can't take it with you, but maybe the
Welsh Queen of the Dead will let you pass
with whatever's
in this box.

Marscon 10

I have pre-registered for Marscon 10 and plan on attending, having fun, and hanging some stuff in
the artshow to pay for my fun. I hope to see you there!

MarsCon 2008 / Feb 29th—Mar 2nd

Holiday Inn Select / Bloomington,MN

for taking the time to read my newsletter, I hope it inspires you
to continue in your passion for fantasy in all areas of you life!


~ Beth

Reiki Artist Beth Hansen-Buth

2008 Beth Hansen-Buth. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Marscon Horizon

I always know when a convention is coming up soon, because I have the Pre-Convention I-Forgot My-Art-at-Home dream. You would think after doing this for over a dozen years this wouldn't happen, but it does, every time as far as I can remember. Maybe it's my subconscious trying to tell me to get everything ready early, but I frequently ignore it and find myself scrambling the night before or the the morning of the convention in order to pick out what I'm going to bring etc.

This time, I'm going to go through all my artwork, and select the best framed pieces to bring, and maybe even do a little original that I can sell as well. Stop can happen. Marscon COULD be the first convention that I'm totally prepared for ahead of time. Or maybe I'll procrastinate so long a bird will build it's nest in my hair. Lucky for me it's still winter!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Roads and Inspirations

Sometimes I feel lost by the path before me, and I think of this quote from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

And so I know that adventures may await me, even in my most mundane tasks in life. There are many dull things we have to do to get through the day so we can lose ourselves in adventures each night. Cleaning and paperwork are my least favorite things, but when they're done, the day goes quicker and the evening with it's books or TV shows comes. There is a satisfaction that follows a job well done or an organized desktop. That may be all the adventure I have for today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Binge Reading

I am officially on a binge when it comes to my fantasy reading this month. This is a very good thing, as the TV is staying off more often than not. My sister Jane is responsible for this, as she's the one who gave me all those yummy books to read. The latest intellectual gorging is happening as a result of the writing of one Kelly McCullough, whom I have seen at many local SF&F conventions, and may even had dinner with once at Jerusalem's Restaurant along with a large group of us hungry for hummus and bellydancing.

Whatever the case, it was nice to see a familiar name on one of the slew of titles. Then I took a look at it and I just HAD to read this one next. As a sometimes web designer/fantasy artist/geek girl this was definitely a Must Read for me. I'm still in the first half of the book, but it is really witty and action-packed for those of you who like that sort of thing. Here is a quote so you can get a sample of Kelly's linguistic flair:

"Here Boss. Drink this. The troll says it will help with the pain."

"The troll?" I sat bolt upright, adrenaline overriding pain.

"Calm down," Melchior said. "Ahllan's not that kind of troll. She's a vegetarian."

"Where did you find a vegetarian troll healer?" I said, beginning to relax.

"We're under the hill in the picture. She made the beer-can faerie ring. We're an awfully long way from the primary course of reality. It's a weird version of faerie, oriented around the detritus of urban sprawl and pollution instead of sylvan idyllicism. I don't know what goes on in the head of the artist who painted this gate, but I'd rather not meet his subconscious in a dark alley."

"It sounds bizarre," I said, taking the bowl.

So far, so good. I like this one, and it's good to know that it's sequel is out already as well, though that wasn't part of the holiday box of goodies. Maybe I'll pick up a copy at Marscon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Oh this one is really choice. One of the boxful of slightly used books I got from my sister for Christmas/Yule, I have to say this is a lovely read, if rather quick, and I enjoyed it completely. Here is a bit of a teaser:
"They have brought back the Tithe, the sacrifice of a beautiful and talented mortal. In the Seelie Court they may steal away a poet to join their company, but the Unseelie Court requires blood. In exchange, those who dwell in the Unseelie lands must bind themselves into service."

So the story unfolds, and there even is a character named Janet, though her part is a supporting character. Written by Holly Black, this was her first novel. Her more recent claim to fame is the Spiderwick Chronicles, which she co-created with artist Tony DeTerlizzi. I finished and ended the book today, and I must say that I love her voice, and am looking forward to reading more of her work. It is technically a young adult novel, but entertaining to old folks like me anyway. I'll add tony's blog to the blogroll, just cause I met him at GenCon many years ago when the Spiderwick Chronicles were first released.

The rest of today will be spent getting supplies and sanding walls to prepare for painting. I've gotta get this house up to full fantasy art snuff! What's the point in having a house that's over 90 years old, has original woodwork, but looks like a dump? Never liked it in all the "fan" houses, and I won't tolerate it in mine either!

Monday, January 7, 2008

On Faeries

Since I wrote about my relationship with dragons briefly, I think it's time to discuss the faerie situation. I painted my first oil painting of a faerie way back in 1991, before the internet was connecting everyone to everything. A friend posed for me, and it turned out fairly well. I liked the results so much that I took the original down to WorldCon in Orlando, Florida. It was my first time on a plane, my first time to a national science fiction and fantasy convention, and I was all by myself there and back again. The sale of another painting to a friend paid for my plane ticket down there, but I chose to show as an amateur at the time.

While I was down there I got reaquainted with some of my fellow artists including Erin McKee and David Cherry, and met many more including Fantasy and Science Fiction art Icons Real and Muff Musgrave, Keith Parkinson, and Frank Kelly Freas. All of the artists were kind enough to review my artwork and gave me good advice and encouragement. The one fairy I brought with me I painted over from top to bottom, and was later sold via the internet. One thing about fairies, they change shape often, so it's impossible to capture them completely. Brian Froud understands that. In his book "Brian Froud's World of Faerie" he explores his inspiration and relationship to the faerie realm in all it's forms. I received this book as a yule gift this year, and it was an unexpected and welcome surprise.

As I turn the pages I'm drawn further into this vision of faerie, one that is earthy and true. The spirit of the Earth herself seems to come alive with all her children dancing to the same tune. This is why I was drawn to paint fairies, because they are real and ancient, silly and wise, dangerous and miraculous. I feel sorry for all the people who see them only as sweetness and light, because it is in the shadows that the truth holds the mystery of what they mean to us. Of the artists I met at WorldCon those many years ago, two have passed from this mortal life. They left behind their art for us to wonder at, and that is a very good thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On Dragons

I have a unique relationship with dragons. The first piece of art I ever sold was a charcoal sketch of Smaug that I drew from the Rankin & Bass animated film of The Hobbit. When I started showing at SF&F cons, some of my earliest pen & ink pieces were of dragons. I love dragons, I think they're really beautiful and they play a part in mythologies all over the world. A couple of my earliest paintings had dragons in them as well, but they're very time consuming and detailed in the extreme, so I haven't painted very many of them.

The two largest paintings I did of dragons turned out very nicely, and I'm quite pleased with them. When one of my collectors contacted me and asked to buy both originals, I was delighted to know that they would be going to a good home. But what happened next wasn't so delightful - they were lost during shipping. By lost I mean there was a good chance they were stolen. Luckily I shipped them insured, and my collector was reimbursed, but they're out there somewhere with someone who did a dreadful thing to get them. It made me pretty unhappy, and I'll be very careful about how I ship my originals in the future.

Right now I'm reading His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik and I'm almost done with it. Luckily I already have the next book in the series to jump into right away, they were Christmas gifts to me from my sister. I love what this author has done with the dragons and it's a really cool re-telling of history, only this time there's dragons. This is why I'm still a fan after all these years, because there's no end to how tall a tale can be and still capture my imagination. I can see the dragons in my mind and go along with the well-crafted story of it all. This is a delightful historical fantasy series set in the Napoleonic era, and as the author is working on Book 5 right now, I have hours and hours of adventurous reading to look forward to. Just not all at once...well sometimes all at once...oh wait, I only have a chapter left of this one...