Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Moth Rose

At long last, a new piece before the sand in 2008's glass is run. This piece was done as a trade with another artist: a maker of Native American Style wooden flutes by the name of Ed Dougherty. He crafted me a flute in the key of high B out of a marvelous redwood burl with prima vera endcaps, and in exchange I did a lovely faery portrait for his daughter. Its intended recepient received it today and from what I hear she is very pleased with her belated Christmas gift. You can see a photo of my new flute on his homepage: Tree of Life Designs.

He told me a little bit about what she likes: bright colors, pink roses, the night sky alight with moon and stars, etc. and I went from there. This is a bit of a different avenue from my preferred emphasis in Faery art, but I didn't get the impression that dark and brooding was what would suit her best.

It also have me the opportunity to illustrate moth wings which is something I have been wanting to do for a while. (Mind you, I'm not universally opposed to wings - I just think that for most artists they have become a crutch when depicting faeries and are included compulsively rather than with care and intention.)

This image is something of a speculation on the mythical origins of moths. Perhaps they are so attracted to light because of some sympathy with their birth place: a very special sort of rose glowing pink at the edges, the color of the illuminated thinness of flesh when cupped over a flashlight, with petals of tattered wings unfurled on a certain night, releasing them into the sky. The dust from their soft bodies, an interstellar medium, swirled, collided, and caught in its own momentum. Thus the stars sparked to life. Yeats speaks of "moth-like stars flickering out" in The Song of the Wandering Aengus, and maybe he had the same idea.

Size: 8 x 10 inches
Media: Prismacolor colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic, colored ink

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gothic Art Now

I was asked to submit three pieces for a potential art book entitled Gothic Art Now by the lovely Jasmine Beckett-Griffith sometime last year. After submitting the images and necessary paperwork, I heard nothing. It slipped to the back of my mind after a while, and I did not think anything of the project.

A couple of months ago, I saw that the book was available for pre-order and it touted the works of such artists as Brom, HR Giger, and Chet Zar. The lack of response plus the knowledge of the style and technical ability of artists who definitely had work included in the project basically convinced me that none of my pieces were accepted for inclusion.

Then by chance I discovered a sample chapter online and, low and behold, one of my pieces was in it! I tried not to get my hopes up since I realized I may have stumbled across a draft version and perhaps my work had been edited out in the final version. A few days later, someone from UPS called to get an address correction. They said they had a package for me from Harper Collins. The book was delivered the next day, and to my surprise and delight, not only one but all three of my pieces are included!

I was also gleeful to discover that a number of my favorite artists also have work included: Steven Kenny, David Bowers, Jessica Joslin, Scott Radke, Patrick Arrasmith, Carrie Ann Baade, etc.

If you'd like to take a look firsthand, you can find it available on
Amazon and I'm sure some major booksellers also carry it. You can also find out more on the Harper Collins website.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Treading Wisely

When it comes to wisely accessing the world of Faery, we've allowed ourselves to be lulled into a glitter-induced stupor. Faery is now wreathed in New Age mantras (much like similar Theosophist and Spiritualist mantras more than a century ago) like "the fairies love you, no matter what," "fairies always have our best interests at heart," and "fairies are just miniature angels." A lot of lip service is given to recognizing the dark aspects of Faery, but this usually amounts to facing up to unpleasant truths about ourselves or conceding that some faeries have a more sombre attitude (and wardrobe) than the perky ones we've come to expect. While most acknowledge that faeries are renowned tricksters, the extent of faery mischief is typically at the level of inconvenience and annoyance, for instance the mysterious disappearance of car keys or a single sock out of a matched pair is sometimes attributed to teasing sprites. We don't wish to realize that the creatures we adore as representations of the idealized, innocent childhood we never had can truly be dangerous: "This is not to say that there are not entities in the universe that we should avoid whenever possible because they desire to do harm, but they are not of the Otherworld of Faery" [itialics mine]. If for some reason the fey are not so open to our explorations "All we need to do [...] is to be more polite, show a willingness to learn and be aware, and the faeries will love us" 1.

I do not wish to paint Faery as all gloom and doom, for it certainly is not and there is true wisdom, beauty, joy, and inspiration to be found there, but in order to do so safely one must be honestly aware of the potential risks. To do otherwise is to stroll into the den of a mother bear and her cubs and expect to be cuddled because after all, you did say "please" before you entered. A mother bear likely would desire to cause such a person harm because a wounded intruder is less threatening than an able one. Faeries are not evil just as bears are not, but there are some creatures both in this world and the Other that are inherently dangerous to court and if you deny their existence, you do so at your own peril. Flesh and blood bears should not be confused with teddy bears and the same analogy applies with Faerie.

It must also be remembered that faeries do not prescribe to the same rules of etiquette and moral codes that humans do. Even if we believe we are being polite and courteous, it may not elicit the same reaction from a faery that it would from a human being despite the color of a person's aura or the quality of her energy. Faeries can pick up on a person's true intentions and can sense beyond the physical, but this is not always to the mortal's advantage.


1) MacBeth, Jessica. The Perils of Faery - or should that be Pearls? 16 October 2008.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Of Keys and Riddles

This creature appeared in the margins of a notebook some time ago and decided he wanted to make his way into a more refined piece. I began this picture last year, and I nearly forgot about him until rediscovering him tucked into a pad of drawing paper after moving into my first apartment, which seems entirely fitting. He seems to delight in obscurity and even now after completing the piece, I cannot say I know a great deal more about him that when he first appeared as a simple pen sketch.

What I do know is this: He possesses keys to all the doors that ever were (and never were), including those subtle, metaphysical ones. His collection includes keys to rooms in buildings which have been demolished decades ago, keys to rusty vehicles moldering on the junk heap, keys to gates that no longer guard anything at all, and tiny keys to diaries whose pages have long since been torn out and burned away. No door, no portal is ever truly gone, he tells me.

In this image, his fingers originally grazed the key to the doorway between life and death, but we thought the depiction was a bit too literal. Now, petals from the flower of the Dogwood tree (Cornus florida) dance before his grasp. Evidently each petal represents one of his profound riddles - he reminds me that not all keys can be held.

Media: Prismacolor colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic, sumi ink, ink, collage (for the dogwood petals and flower)

The White Doe Speaks

A number of months ago a poet shared a piece with me that was inspired by one of my drawings. As the Fates would have it, I was lucky enough to check my junk mail folder that day, otherwise it would have been lost to me among the oblivion of dross which normally (and thankfully) gets sorted into that location. I expressed my gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful words and asked if I might be able to post his piece along with my image somewhere. Unfortunately, I did not hear back from him (maybe my letter to him was gobbled up by his own spam filter, or perhaps he did reply and the Fates chose not to favor me a second time).

Perhaps the time was just not right, but with the new Summer 2008 edition of Goblin Fruit, the White Doe speaks:
I pull the landscape
into folds across my back,
a kimono of land and water.
To feel a leaf with one shoulder
or tree roots buried in earth
is a sacred thing
and cannot be imagined.

- spoken through the grace of Joshua Gage

I'd also like to take this opportunity to join the editors of Goblin Fruit in saying a fond farewell to The Endicott Studio which has been nurturing mythopoetic arts for the number of years as there are letters in my full name (a figure which also coincides with the day of my birth). I am too poor a writer to properly express how influential and inspirational the Endicott Studio has been for me, and I will miss it sorely. Thank you Terri and Midori!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fée Intoxicated

Yesterday I picked up a copy of The Book of Celtic Verse edited by John Matthews. Not surprisingly, it contains a number of faery-influenced pieces, including the one below:

"The Others"
by Seumas O'Sullivan (1879 - 1958)

From our hidden places
By a secret path,
We come in the moonlight
To the side of the green rath.

There the night through
We take our pleasure,
Dancing to such a measure
As earth never knew.

To song and dance
And lilt without a name,
So sweetly breathed
'Twould put a bird to shame.

And many a young maiden
Is there, or mortal birth,
Her young eyes laden
With dreams of earth.

And many a youth entranced
Moves slowly in the wildered round,
His brave lost feet enchanted
With the rhythm of faery sound.

Music so forest wild
And piercing sweet would bring
Silence on the blackbirds singing
Their best in the ear of spring.

And now they pause in their dancing,
And look with troubled eyes,
Earth straying children
With sudden memory wise.

They pause, and their eyes in the moonlight
With faery wisdom cold,
Grow dim and a thoughts goes fluttering
In the hearts no longer old.

And then the dream forsakes them,
And sighing, whispering turn anew,
As the whispering music takes them,
To the dance of the elfin crew.

O many a thrush and blackbird
Would fall to the dewy ground,
And pine away in silence
For envy of the sound.

So the night through
In our sad pleasure,
We dance to many a measure,
That earth never knew.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Huldre - ACEO

It just occurred to me that I never posted this particular ACEO to this journal. I originally uploaded it to my dA account on January 24, 2008, hence the description below.

With the bitterly cold weather and the stark elegance of bare trees, my thoughts have increasingly turned to the lands of my ancestors. The huldre (also called the huldra, huldfolk, or huldu) are the Hidden People who haunt the wild and ancient places of Northern Europe. Among their ranks are the wights of the landscape, alfs both brilliant and dark.

This huldre maid carries a stang inscribed with the rune for hail. Like the season of winter itself, this rune reveals the skeletal structure of many other runes in the Elder Futhark. Flickering candles are a reminder that in the midst of this darkness, the light is increasing.

Size: 2.5" x 3.5"
Media: pen and ink

Monday, February 11, 2008

Faery Art: Beyond Glitter & Wings

DeviantART recently added a new feature where you can create collections of various artworks based upon whatever parameters strike you at the time. I've actually been wanting to create some sort of compendium of mythic faery art for some time, and this new feature really suits that purpose nicely. The only issue is, of course, that you can only include art that has been uploaded to deviantART.

Without further adieu, may I present: Faery: beyond glitter and wings
"The artist must summon all his energy, his sincerity, and the greatest modesty in order to shatter the old clichés that come so easily to hand while working, which can suffocate the little flower that does not come, ever, the way one expects." - Henri Matisse

Faery art is often sadly plagued by a reliance on a hackneyed set of features which many assume to be the totality of this enchanted state. Depictions of cute, tiny creatures decking in flower petals abound as do images of attractive women with butterfly wings. In this collection I hope to draw attention to pieces which I feel hint at the realm of Faerie as expressed in genuine mythology, legend, and folklore: mysterious, dangerous, in a constant state of flux and wonder.

I doubt if the creator of each and every piece considers their work "fairy art" and perhaps that it so much the better - Faery hides in unexpected places.

Don't get me wrong, glitter and wings can be fun. I think just about everyone, including myself, likes to indulge in them every once and a while, and for those of us who need to earn a living based upon our art, glitter and wings do tend to dominate the fairy art market right now. However, there are so many other collections of faery art (not just on DA) in which the glitter and wings are the overwhelming majority, I think it's good to show that alternatives exist.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Childhood Friends

I created these four drawings during my early elementary school years (I'm estimating in the range between kindergarten and second grade). In the form of imaginary friends and favored art subjects, deer were my constant companions.

I had some weird obsession with trying to laminate my art at that time, I suppose I felt it would help preserve them which may, in fact, be the case. The first two were laminated with a clear, sticky film that you can buy in the grocery store where you can also purchase patterned film to line kitchen drawers, while the second two were laminated with a technique I invented which involved layering pieces of Scotch tape over the image, affixing it to a cardboard backing. Both methods have caused the ink to bleed over time, and they're certainly not archival! On the bottom two images I used clippings of metallic paper as necklaces/collars for the deer.

Everyone has to start somewhere!