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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not as quiet as I've seemed to be

I've started doing Wednesday contributions to the FAE (Fantasy Artists of Etsy) Group blog-- not about my art, but rather the history and legends that contribute to fantasy art. See the blog for my article on unicorns, then scroll a bit further down to where I talk about the real beginnings.

Mind you, I wonder if they aren't too dry and scholarly, more science than fantasy-- I'm hoping for feedback to let me know how things are from a reader's point of view!

I'm an odd duck by most measures, I suppose; I believe in a lot of things that aren't well proven, but I don't expect others to. I love fantasy, but I love science, too, and spend hours pouring over essays by the late Stephen Jay Gould, watching Nova programs and other science documentary work, or thumbing through science popularizations ( and debunking of badly written articles that misconstrue studies). I use herbal cures and aromatherapy, but base usage on the ones that have good evidence for them. Cranberry juice if you think you have a bladder infection coming on, for instance, is well proven.

So I will close with a poem from my science-loving side.


I hold a stone that was a bone
Encased within strong flesh and skin
Belonging to a hominid.
Now, I could be her great-grandkid.
How great the change. How very strange,
Anticipating our mutating
When we leave this planet behind.
Who knows what wonders we will find
Selecting genes? Survival means
Adaptations. Situations
Will decide who carries on.
Humanity is at its dawn.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I *felt* strongly about this artist.

juliepersons of Etsy works in wool felt, thus the bad pun I began with-- but that fact is, I found her work strongly moving. Although she sculpts many things in wool, including jewelry, accessories and bowls, the really outstanding items in her shop are the dolls and tapestries. Particularly interesting is her recurring themes of pregnancy and nursing. I've long believed that as a society, we need to get over the negative reaction to nursing. It's the best thing for the health of children, but women receive a lot of pressure, both economic and social, to stop as soon as possible. So, if art can change the world, I hope images like these can change people's reactions to nature's baby food. Also, you can see she does mermaids, which I find just plain cool as a fantasy artist.
In fact she started felting after her daughter was weaned. The loss of that means of emotional bonding was saddening and the artwork was a cathartic experience. Her works take from two hours to four-- a simple doll takes about 3 hours, with more time for the nursing dolls (after all, those are two dolls together!) "I feel like I "know" each one so well by the time I am done," she says of the long process.
Of her themes, "My focus on maternity comes from being a mother, I think. I love the female form and the pregnant torso is a beautiful, wondrous thing."
Having had such a strong sense of meaningfulness and appreciation when I went to her store, I asked her what first reaction she wants to create. "I hope that newcomers to the store will feel joy when they enter. I hope that I can share the feeling that I LOVE what I do and put a part of myself into every piece. I am happy when I am felting and I am grateful for the chance to share that with others."
I think her happiness shines through, and I think you will see it, too. Her store is at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


FAE-- the Fantasy Artists of Etsy-- is having a competion with the theme Snowflake Fantasy. Here's my entry-- an exotic faerie with feathered wings and a sea dragon's tail, the SnowBringer flies to the forest making snow and trailing it in her wake.
Some of the snow and highlights in her wings and hair were made with pearly acrylic ink, but the main of the painting is done in watercolor, with some colored pencil details through in.

FAE is also having a Christmas exhibition. Check it out at our team's website: there are works in glass, art dolls, chain maille, jewelry, and more. Oh, and it's being updated on a weekly basis so that the sold items go away and new items listed by members are added.

The muse says I must have a good poem to go with this... let me check my writing archives. Ah, the forest...

The trees whisper
Words of wisdom
Older than works
Of ancient man.

Children, poets,
Dreamers listen,
Pressing their ears
To dusty bark.

Softly they breathe,
Becoming part
Of the rhythm,
Gentle music.

The music of
Endless eons,
Earth keeping time
Under brass storms.

The refrain lilts
In reedy voice:
"Root deep; grow straight.
Reach for the sky.

"Fill yourself with
Joy, harbor life.
Test the wind
Before bending.

"Be a forest
Within yourself,
And yourself in
The joined forest.

"In the song of
Cycles, oldest
Of music, find
Your harmony.

"Wait for the rain,
It always comes.
Fear not the fire,
For it renews.

"And remember,
The sun, hidden,
Still sustains the
Cycle of life."

Most humans try
To move in straight
Paths, without pause

They struggle as
Their desires break
Against the flow
Of world-time

Like splashes made
Against the oceans,
Rivers fighting
Against the tide.

The biosphere
Is a thing of
Quiet circles,
Shifting sine waves.

Humans are, first,
Part of nature.
Her patterns are
Ours, in our blood.

Listen to trees,
They know the way;
They grow with love
For Earth and Sky.

To bend, to rest
At the proper
Moment; Nature
Gives the cues.

In harmony
We may find peace:
The way of men,
Women and trees.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


If painted crafts are a natural outgrowth of art, ornaments are a natural outlet for the jewelry-maker. Carefully wrapping wire and glass to show off the natural beauty of the materials requires some wrist strength but is a joy to do.
I've set some ornaments aside as a gift for my father, but I'm putting many up for sale on Etsy.

Dreams of summer days
Cut through drifting winter fog;
The sun is in my heart.

The funny thing about art

Once you've learned how to compose a design, work with color, and so on, many other crafts fall into place. Painting on glass or fabric means, usually, a minimalist approach, and the artist has to work with different textures and viscosity than usual, but most artists love learning new technical things anyhow.
It's probably a natural progression to go from art painting to craft painting-- if only because there is only so much wall space. Sometimes practical, usable art items make more sense.

Enduring, slightly scratchy,
Yet attractive wit?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Etsy Mini test

If this works, you should see a clickable sampler of recent items from my shop.

A poem under
Such a marvelous display
Would be an excess.

eta: It didn't work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Treasure Trove!

Well, we do need to get ready to move, so we've been going through boxes to see what is worth keeping, and what did my dear husband find but the plates I painted a few years ago?

This dragon, green with golden eyes, fire and, belly, is just fantastic! And there are more things, celestial images, floral designs... so many things for me to add to my Etsy site, which currently stands at 130 listings! I hope I get some more sales; I like having lots of options for shoppers, but it gets a bit embarrassing when the sales are less than 10% of the inventory.

I've got a couple more art pieces to put up, too; I need to measure them still , but the photos are all ready. And I keep making more hair sticks, because they seem to be in short supply on Etsy-- those are getting hits much faster than more common jewelry items.

A new poem:

Things forgotten,
Of joy or beauty,
We pack away
For the unpacking.

The smell of old paper;
The box opens
Revealing yesterday's dreams.

Memories are tangible.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sarah Pittman; worthy of admiration

Here are just two of the clever creations of Sarah Pittman, a fellow member of Fantasy Artists of Etsy (FAE, appropriately. ) She recently became one of the official leaders of the group after organizing several projects, including our calendar. She also came up with the idea of a group book, which I will be helping with. I know few artists who put so much enthusiasm into helping other artists succeed as well.
She got her start thanks to her father, also an artist, playing drawing games with her. About four years ago, she began to work on her art more constantly, feeling the need to draw on a daily basis. The regular effort has allowed her to develop greater skill.
Fantasy films she watched while growing up, such as Legend, Labyrinth, and Neverending Story, helped influence her towards fantasy. When asked about the frequent fairy themes in her art, she explained, "I think my love for fairies grew from there - as they're personally a favourite of mine to collect as well as draw myself. I remember the first fairy I drew was a fairy called 'Primrose' and I haven't been able to stop drawing them since. As well as fairies being a favourite subject of mine, I think fairies offer a great deal to an artist, as you get a mix of figure drawing and trying to capture their character, and thefreedom to use your imagination, as fairies can be anywhere doing anything, and can be wearing anything - theyre just a joy to draw!"
Mainly, her works are done in colored pencil. I've worked with pencil, too, and was interested in what she has to say about the medium. "It takes a long time to complete a piece in coloured pencils, but I'd say the time it takes is definately worth it. The best things about coloured pencils are that they're always ready to use, and they're easy to transport, so you can use them anywhere, and when you've found 'your brand' of pencils, they're a pleasure to use - I'd definitely recommend that if anyone is considering using coloured pencils they invest in getting some artist quality pencils, they're definately worth it. With coloured pencils you get a lot more control over where the colour goes, and I have to say I enjoy all the layering that goes into it, and the way you can blend colours together easily, plus there are so many different techniques and methods to using them (which I won't go into here), it's a medium that's great to experiment with."
Although I haven't gotten into the experimental methods so much, I know the rest of it is very true! I used to do art on the go quite a bit, and colored pencil has a level of convenient nothing else matches, as it doesn't require a lot of wash up. And for me, the key to getting a result I could be happy with came from investing in quality-- for me the Prismacolor pencil brand offers buttery softness and rich color.
As you can see in the examples I show here, she gets saturated, deep color with great success. The main difference in doing animal pictures as opposed to the fantasy genre, is the animals take even more time. Placing the pencil strokes in carefully allows her to capture the texture of fur.
To see more of her works, see her etsy store at


It's been just over a week since I posted anything. Busy-ness got in the way. I did finish the custom orders I had waiting and invite anyone out there to check out my etsy store; I'm listing items even faster for the holidays.

I also need to do some interviews so I can feature more people. Next up is Sarah Pittman, who does fantasy art in colored pencil, a medium that is excellent for capturing textures.

Since the painting here is set at dusk, today's poem will be on the same theme. I wrote this one years ago, but it... ages well.

The day is beautiful when it is old--
When the rust-tinted sky is losing sight,
And a few bright stars challenge the memory of the sun.
Twilight: a word, a poem, a hymn!
And dusk:
Sweet names for a sweet time,
Time for memory, reflection and
The aging of the day like
The aging of a brilliant soul in a tired host.