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.