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.

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