Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unicorn final sketch

Ready for painting!

"No no no. That's not good," says Dana. "That's why there aren't any more unicorns!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Seduction" - Unicorn rough sketches

Rough sketch from my sketchbook for a piece in the works.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Foxes of the Past

On the heels of this most recent painting (A Dream of Grace), I was asked by a few people about my past pieces on a similar theme. The older pieces I had retired from my website, but I thought I'd post them here to satisfy the curiosity for those who have never seen them.

As time passes, I find myself occasionally wanting to revisit concepts I've explored in the past. With a new perspective or twist, a new eye, and (hopefully) better skills. One hopes that it can go beyond simple rehashing of the same tired images, and instead approach a subject with more visual eloquence granted by the passage of time and experience.

True Reflections (2009) was my most recent foray with fox spirits. This was a piece I did for Dreamscapes, Myth & Magic in a chapter dedicated to exploring trickster archetypes. Foxes and fox spirits fit into this segment quite naturally. The piece itself was kept more basic in composition, and I had to rein in my tendencies to elaborate too much, due to the restraints of having to make the painting something that would fit into a step-by-step format.

Kitsune (2001). Quite a jump back! I did this piece for my friend Sylvia Leung's web-comic, Wish3, based on her character Himitsu - fox spirit, friend, guardian, guide. Anatomy ( both for the girl and the foxes) was clunky, And my color palette was a bit less refined at the time. I liked really vibrant, distinct shapes. Partly that was due to the fact that I was still doing a whole lot of digital painting as well, and the in-your-face colors of painting on a screen with light pixels was how I tried to paint with watercolors as well. I like to think that I've since developed more subtlety, and learned to appreciate watercolors more for themselves, while keeping a really glowing and vibrant palette.

Lady of the Gingkos (2002). I'd recently come back from a sojourn in Japan. It was autumn, and the trees were glorious cathedrals of living light - fiery orange and emerald maple foliage, and carpets of golden gingko leaves. In Kyoto I visited a temple of Inari (to whom foxes are sacred, and whose temples are often guarded by two white foxes). A tunnel of crimson torii gates stretched up the mountainside, flanked by a bamboo forest. In the dimness along the path, with the eerie whisper of the swaying bamboo, there were occasional fox statues. The image of that place formed the inspiration for this piece.
A Dream of Grace was an attempt to go back to this image that I had in my mind. My own "dream of grace" perhaps. Trying to approach and capture the feeling of mystery and wonder that I had in me at times during that trip. As a result, the new painting does have a similar color scheme, and there are familiar elements, like the swirl of gingko leaves, and the fox-spirit-maiden has an echo of the pose from this original piece.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Dream of Grace

A Dream of Grace
Size: 12x17 inches
Medium: Watercolors
Prints and original -here-
Detail closeups -here-

Throughout Asian folklore, there tales of fox spirits. A common variation in both Chinese and Japanese stories is of the man who finds himself traveling alone. He comes upon a beautiful girl, and falls in love with her at first sight. It is only later that he discovers she is a fox spirit, having beguiled him either for her own fancy, or sometimes for darker purposes.

* * *

A dream of mist:
of ghostly shapes,
of sauntering shadows,
beneath moon's pale disk.

A dream of trees:
that rake the sky,
of silent sentinels,
a lattice of etched leaves.

A dream of beauty:
she glides with a grace
of a leaf skirting the wind,
silver moon-touched face.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kitsune in progress

A bit of painting time today. Made some reasonable headway. The background trees have come out sufficiently spooky as I had in mind. Paintings don't always go the way I want or expect, but this one is so far doing quite well in that respect.

Going to have to pause here though, as I probably won't have a chance to get back to this until Monday, since I'll be at the Sacred Well tomorrow, and Sunday will be busy celebrating my daughter's 1 year birthday. Amazing how fast the past year has gone!

And I sound like a broken record...but I LOVE this purple....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ACEOs & Keyword Sketch Cards

On the Tarot Special Edition front, I've finally gotten caught up enough with the backlog, that a waiting list is no longer necessary. However, it still does take about 3 weeks from when you place an order for me to get it processed, due to the customized card.

Due to the popularity of the keyword sketch cards, I've decided to offer ACEOs along that vein. I accept a single keyword to inspire the drawing. They are done on 3.5x2.5 inch archival bristol board, and protected with a clear plastic sleeve. For more information and pricing, -click here-

Keyword sketches going out in the mail this week:

Clockwise - butterflies, dreams, wolves, raven, cups, fulfillment, way, always
Clockwise: seiner, forest, vampire, dancer, passion

Clockwise: writer, chaos, shaman, destiny, tree, mask, hummingbird, passion

Clockwise: owl, fantasy, lion, grace

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kitsune Sketches

Eek, November has been flying by. I have no idea how the weeks have passed, but my paint brushes definitely need to be pulled out. Next piece on the drawing table, Kitsune! Ready to get started with painting. Borrowing a little from my ooold painting "Lady of the Gingkos" with the dress that trails off into gingko leaves.

A couple of the preliminary sketches. First scribbles for the fox maiden. Felt too posed though. Wanting her to have a more unconscious grace. Just walking down a mossy path and unawares of her otherworldliness.
Next sketch. Lost in her own thoughts; or perhaps only pretending to be so, to lure the unwary. Eventually went with this concept, though I tweaked the sizing and placement of elements a bit in photoshop before settling onto the final composition.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Calendar & Keyword Sketch Cards

As I mentioned a week ago, I have about 20 of these calendars now available. They were published in Spain, so the month and week names are all in Spanish. However there is very limited other text on the dates so this should not detract from non-Spanish-users! 13 beautifully reproduced images.

When purchased from Shadowscapes, the calendar cover is autographed by Stephanie, and you will also receive a bonus 5x7 inch mini-print/postcard of The Queen of Spades Sends Her Regards

Also, last week's sketch cards that were sent out. Clockwise: writing, platypus, artists' choice, dragon, serenity, mask, sisters, acorn, sunrunner

Clockwise: resilience, memory, healing, happiness, always, fili, grace, stars, butterflies, frogs