Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Remarque Prints for St. Louis Witches Ball and Masque

Hi All,

Well I go super swamped here and missed our Monday Night Magical Movie date! I'll have a new one for you next Monday, so no worries. But here's one of the many things that kept me away from the popcorn this week.

Every year there is a really fun event here in St. Louis, the St. Louis Witches Ball and Masque, which Dan and I usually attend. It's a nice time, dinner, dancing, upscale attire and masks, very fancy. This year we are unable to attend, but I wanted to send donations along for the silent auction which raises money for the next years ball and also for the St. Louis Pagan Picnic, basically to help keep these great community events happening. Dan and I love the St. Louis community, so we decided that we should send something special.

I recently saw artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's "artist's remarques" that she was adding to some of her matted art for a show, and I loved the idea. A remarque is a small, personalized drawing or symbol that an artist adds to a print, the presence of a remarque increases the prints value. They come from the old days when printing was done with printing plates, the artist would add a small sketch to mark the stages of the process. Of course now many of us artist print digitally, but it's nice to revisit this idea and make a print or set of prints extra special.

So Dan printed one 5 x 7 of each of my four Celtic Tree Fairy prints, we added a mat and frame, and I hand drew with pen and ink artist remarques on the mats. It was a fun project and for a really good cause too. I packed them off this morning, but not before snapping off a few pictures so that you could see them! So anyone out there with tickets to the St. Louis Witches Ball and Masque, you will have the opportunity to bid on these unique pretties.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Celtic Full Ivy Moon

The moon is full tonight, and according to the Celtic Tree Calendar devised by Robert Graves, it's the Ivy Moon. The Celtic Tree Calendar is a lunar calendar based upon the first 13 Celtic Ogham letters and their tree correspondences. Poet Robert Graves studied the Ogham and in his book The White Goddess published in 1948, he put forth the idea of a calendar that corresponded with the Celtic Trees. There are several versions of this, I like to work with the Graves version. According to Graves, "I noticed almost at once that the consonants of this alphabet (Ogham) form a calendar of seasonal magic, and that all the trees figure prominently in European folklore."

The Celtic month of Ivy/Gort falls between Sept. 30-October 27. During this month, the harvest is coming to an end, everywhere I look here in the Midwest, I see fields that are bare now, just stumps of corn, wheat or other crops, and the crows are out picking up whatever is left. The Ogham letter Ivy/Gort brings the promise of the inner self and the spiral of life.

This is the Ivy card from my upcoming Voice of the Trees deck, Sept. 2011.

The Ivy plant produces spiral shapes reflecting the spiraling patterns of DNA, the gifts given to us by our ancestors. This is the time to remember the spiraling life within you, where it came from and meditate on where it can take you in life. As you look up at the full Ivy Moon, remember that you ancestors looked at that same moon and be reminded of your ties to them. Think of the positive attributes that you have, family traits that serve you well. Can you imagine how far the genes you carry within you have traveled through the ages to form the person that you are?

English Ivy is evergreen reminding that even as the world beds down to take it's rest, life still remains. Ivy also represents tenacity of spirit, Ivy is a plant that can grow through stone, even when faced with the rocky barrier of a wall, it perseveres, hangs on, and thrives. It looks delicate and lovely, but this description would be a
underestimation of this tough tenacious plant that is a true survivor.

Photograph: The Ivy Wall Copyright Mickie Mueller 2004

Draw upon the power of the Ivy Moon to connect to your ancestors, as well as looking deep within and communing with the self. Cooperation with others, protection and banishing negativity are also facilitated under the Celtic Ivy Moon.

This beautiful Ivy Pendant from lovebellajewels on Etsy!

For anyone interested, I also wrote 13 Celtic Tree Calendar magic additions to Llewellyns 2010 Witches' Datebook, and although 2010 is on the waning end of things now, (it's on sale!) all the magic and much of the other info in the datebook can be used in years to come as well.



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Aziza Fairy Queen, Mostly Done!

I've been working slowly on this one, but now she's almost finished, really just a few tweeks here and there and she'll be officially done!

I worked on it last night for awhile, and took a photo this morning so that you could see, of course Willow my art kitty had to get in the photo! I'm at work, and I would bet money that she's sitting right in the middle of Aziza looking out the window!

Believe it or not, I did some of the details in her skirt with my left hand! I'm having a little hand problem currently, the back of my hand between my thumb and forefinger is swollen slightly, but things like turning my car key, opening doors, etc. really hurts and makes me exclaim, "oooohh! It may be a tendon thing, I'll be seeing my doc soon to have him check it out.

When I was a kid I broke my right elbow and discovered that I can use my left hand with a certain amount of accuracy, albeit a bit more slowly. I told Dan last night that I was drawing with my left hand, and he said, "Oh, that's not good." He looks after me and take great interest in my work as my husband, marketing manager and logistics wizard. So I grabbed a little scrap of paper and wrote, "Lets see how well I can write with my left hand."

...with my left hand. When I handed it to him, his eyebrows went up, and he muttered a sound of approval. It wasn't perfect, but my penmanship isn't great anyway. I have many tricks in my hat!

So I hope you enjoy this noble looking African fairy, I had so much fun working on her. Her wings are that of the African Monarch butterfly, I just love the warm rich colors!



Monday, October 18, 2010

Magical Movie Monday: Penelope

My daughter (Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage blog) was over during the week and recorded this charming 2006 movie for me on the DVR. I'd never seen it, but I knew that she's planning on being Penelope for Halloween this year, so I thought, "fun, let's watch this." So I plopped down to work on drawing African Monarch butterfly wings for my Aziza Fairy piece and watched a modern fairy tale, Penelope.

This was a totally cute movie. Like so many fairy tales, this one starts out with a witches curse. "Ugh," I thought, "that tired old chestnut." Witches often get relegated to the magical thug in so many fairy tales, even the modern ones they are seldom portrayed in a positive light, which is a shame. But, let's face it, I can't really blame this witch for being so upset. The witches daughter, a servant girl, got pregnant by the wealthy young aristocratic son of the Wilhern family. His family ridiculed him for thinking of wedding a servant, so he spurned her. She was so distraught that she tossed herself off a cliff. So the witch put a curse on the family that the next girl born to the family would be born with the nose of a pig. Pretty mild really, considering the loss that the witch had just suffered. As we find out in the end, there's more to the witch than meets the eye. Like all good fairy tale curses, the witch gave her an "out." The curse would only be broken when one of her own kind loves her faithfully just as she is. After 5 generations of only boys being born in the Wilhern family, Penelope was born, with a pigs nose.

Stalked by paparazzi and reporters, the family faked her death and kept her hidden from the public, but once she was old enough to marry, her mother began working with a dating service, bringing in all the blue blooded young men they could find making them sign a gag agreement promising not to talk about meeting Penelope (Christina Ricci.) Once they saw her however, they all end up diving out of the window including Edward Vanderman who does blab, and as a result was accused of being a little off his rocker.

He teamed up with a small statured reporter (Peter Dinklage who I loved in Death at a Funeral and Elf) with an eye patch who has a grudge against Penelopes mom for the loss of his eye while trying to take Penelope's photo as an infant. They both wanted to "out" Penelope for their own reasons and enlisted the help of another bachelor whom they were told is a down and out aristocrat with gambling debts and agrees to help them, until he falls for Penelope, and then things get even more interesting.

I think I'm not the only one who thought Christina Ricci looked totally cute with her pig nose, hardly bad enough to send suitors shooting out the window. She's got those big soulful eyes, so it really worked. James McAvoy plays her slightly scruffy hat wearing love interest with lots of sex appeal and a kind of modern James Dean like charm that makes him very easy to watch. Reese Witherspoon surprised me with her performance as Annie, the street tough courier that rides a winged Vespa and befriends Penelope. Catherine O'Hara was spot-on as Penelope's overbearing mom, reminding me of her role as Delia in Beetlejuice. Though he had a small role, I must also give a nod to Burn Gorman who played the late, resurrected, and then finally dead again Owen in one of my fave series' BBC's Torchwood. I really loved Penelope's bedroom, it looked positively enchanting, any little girl would love that room! They decorated it to look like the outdoors, she even had a swing!

This movie has several really great themes in common with classic fairy tale story lines, of course the most obvious being that what some might think of as a big flaw, might also be considered quite cool by others, case in point: Cindy Crawfords mole, which became her trademark. She was once told she could never be a model with it and she should have it removed. We must all value ourselves sometimes in the face of someone else's less than good opinion of us. Also, the theme of loving your family no matter what is very prominent. As I try not to give any spoilers, I still must mention the theme of learning to be comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself "flaws" and all is one of my favorite messages of this movie. The butterfly theme appeared throughout the movie and the advertising too, pointing to the theme of perceived beauty as well as inner and outer transformation. It made me glad I was drawing butterfly wings while watching it.

We all have cards that life deals us, and perhaps find that we all have a curse or two either literally or figuratively. It's how we deal with those that's important, life's challenges are tests that we all must face. My favorite quote and the very most important lesson from this movie came from the wisdom of a child, "It's not the power of the curse, it's the power you give the curse." That is a great lesson that we all can take to heart.

If you're looking for a magical movie with heart, give Penelope a try, I bet you'll fall for her too.

Monday Movie Featured Item:

The Lady of the Forest, while she has no pigs nose, she does have very long faun ears and horns, and it would take a really big hat to cover them up.  She's beautiful just the same!  She adorns this compact mirror so that you can see how lovely you are! Available in our Etsy shop
Bright Blessings,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Night Magical Movie: FairyTale: A True Story

Happy Monday everyone! Here's what's playing in my studio this week to provide inspiration while I'm working at the old wooden art table.

My son Tristan and I of course are both believers in the fae, so we enjoyed this version of the story of the Cottingley Fairies. While we were watching it he looked up more information about them online.

"FairyTale: A True Story: directed by Charles Sturridge (Brideshead Revisited, series) is in fact based on a true story, but don't, please don't get your history lessons from movies. There are many inaccuracies between this movie and the actual accounts of how this situation actually played out, but watch it with an open mind, and open heart, and enjoy it for what it is, a great piece of escapism about a great piece of turn of the century escapism!

Our story takes place in 1917, two little girls, cousins Francis and Elsie (played by Florence Hoath and Polly Wright) have claimed to have discovered fairies in Cottingley Dell, and this is the juicy part, they have captured them on film! Well, it's WW I, people are in the midst of turmoil, and what's better that something you can put your finger on to give you hope, photographs, actual photographs of fairies! It kindles everyones imagination, even catching the attention of famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (I love Peter O'Toole!) The photographs were even examined by experts at Kodak that couldn't figure out how they had done it. The girls and their family were visited by Doyle and entourage including the famous magician and fake psychic medium buster Harry Houdini, played believably and delighfully by Harvey Keitel. During the visit, the girls are presented with cameras and run into the woods, coming back with more photos, furthering their credibility. Eventually, their photos are published by Doyle who kindly changes the girls names for their privacy, but when their real identities get out, their land is over run by intruders with cameras and butterfly nets!

Although it wasn't in the film, the two famed girls as old women later claimed that they had made the photos using cutouts of fairies, which is also alluded to in the film, but no one will ever know for sure. I personally agree with the stance that Harry Houdini takes in the film (even though he was never involved in real life with this incident) When asked by reporters how he can support the children's claims when he's busted so many frauds, he explains that while the false psychic mediums he had exposed were trying to make money off of other's sorrows and loss, the children were bringing only joy. He never really says if he believes or not, but expresses that it doesn't really matter.

There is another film based on this facinating story, the slightly darker "Photographing Fairies" which I can't comment on since i haven's seen it, but I would love to compare the two films sometime.

The true events make an interesting story to research, (just google Cottingley fairies) and a delightful movie as well!

Fare Thee Well!
Enjoy a couple of the real Cottingley Fairy pictures below...charming!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Aziza Fairy Queen, A Work in Progress

I'm really having fun with this fairy, I wanted to share my progress so far, I've got her costume and wings to work on still and details in the background. Olivia is coming over today, so I don't know how much I'll get done, but here is my new fairy coming to life!

Fare Thee Well,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

A New Fairy Sketch: Aziza Fairy Queen

Greetings Friends!

I wanted to share the sketch of the new piece I'm working on!

I enjoyed doing my Celtic fairies so much that I decided to explore the fairy realm further, looking into different cultures, when I discovered a fairy tribe that lives in Africa called the Aziza. They are helpful fairies, blessing hunters with good luck, and passing on practical knowledge and spiritual wisdom to the people. They live in the forests near Dahomey in west Africa. They seem like Good Fairy Folk to have around!

I think this noble queen will be standing on the edge of an African forest, her wings were inspired by the African Monarch butterfly with beautiful shades of browns, tans and creams. To invite the blessings of the Aziza to this piece and bring inspiration as well I'm enjoying some excellent African music on Pandora radio, the the mbira is one of my favorite African instruments, it's so healing. I'm sipping bush tea (roobios) in the studio this week. Mmmmm. As Mma Precious Ramotswe says in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, "There's no problem too big that can't be solved with a cup of bush tea."

I also discovered that they have fairy rings in Africa! These rings aren't mushrooms though. They are in the plains near Namibia. They are circular depressions with no vegitation growing in them, but sometimes the grasses around the outside gets quite high. Scientists have been researching the phenomenon for 25 years, but no one can figure out what causes them!

I'll work on Aziza Fairy Queen some more this week, new pics of this work in progress coming soon!



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Winner of the Fairy Tote Bag is...drumroll...

Olivia came to my house for dinner last night, I made a lovely pot of stew and some crusty bread, it was delicious.

I have a very scientific method for doing the drawing for the tote bag contest, it is as follows. I printed out all of the entries, and I folded them up really small. They went right into my wonderful metal colander. Then I stood the baby and the colander in the middle of the room. Olivia, curious about the big strange metal bowl full of papers, marched right over and began playing with them. She pulled one out of the colander which immediately went into her mouth, as expected. She liked the taste of it, because when I snatched it away to get the name and email address, she tasted all of the rest, it was great fun!

So who was the first entry to be covered in baby drool? Why it was witcho2o752! Contact me right away with your address, so I can send your Tote Bag, you have 48 hours!


I hope you love the bag, and thanks so much to everyone who entered, I will do more givaways in the future, so don't dispair, and Oliva thought everyones entries were quite tasty!



Friday, October 1, 2010

Fairy Tote Bag Giveaway!

Hi Dears!

I can't believe it was a year ago tomorrow that I held my little grand baby Olivia for the first time! It's her birthday tomorrow, and Brittany's planned a party in the park with a charming lady bug theme! It was also Brittanys birthday yesterday, so how cool is that?! I made a huge bowl of pasta salad with fresh herbs from the garden, and I'm bringing two of those awesome beef briskets from Sam's Club that Ellie and I picked up today. All I have to do is toss them in the roaster tomorrow morning.

I was working on Brittany's gift when it occured to me that it would be fun to celebrate little Olivia's first birthday birthday here at the Old Wooden Art Table too, with my first blog givaway!!

I'll be giving away this beautiful tote bag made right here in our studio featuring my "Mother and Child of the Fae" art. This lovely tote is great for shopping, carrying books, papers, or other goods. Made from 100 percent white stain resistant canvas, this fabric feels really nice to the touch, and has a tight heavy weave, a durable finish, and sturdy stitching. It features 2 strong black handles. Most of the time you can just wipe it off with a cloth or sponge, but you can wash inside out in the washer if needed. It measures a generous 16.5 x 16.5 inches and has gussets on the sides to handle quite a bit of cargo.
The design is printed right in my studio and then hand pressed onto this handy tote bag.

How to enter the giveaway (mandatory)
It's easy to get in the drawing. Follow these three easy steps:
*FIRST follow my blog publicly using Google Friend Connect, you'll find that on the side bar of this website, on the right.
*THEN visit my Etsy shop, click here
*LAST post a comment below this post, letting me know that you're following me publicly and tell me what your favorite item is in my Etsy shop! Easy, right?
***put your email address in your comment so you can be notified if you win.

That's all there is to it! You'll be entered in the drawing to win the tote bag. Easy Peasy.

If you've already entered by the method above you can get bonus entries too...

1 Bonus entry for Facebook Friends!
* FIRST add me on facebook if you haven't already...
*THEN share a link to this blog on your facebook!
*LAST Leave me a comment below letting me know that you shared the link on facebook and you'll get 1 extra entry... include your facebook link in the comment or it won't count.

3 Bonus entries for Bloggers!
*To get 3 bonus entries in the drawing, blog about this giveaway on your blog and you must include a link to this contest post.
*Then comment below and let me know you posted a link on your blog, and you'll get 3 extra chances to win. Make sure you add the link to your blog to then comment or it won't count.

Super Important for everyone!
Put your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!
The Giveaway will end Monday October 4 at 4:00 pm central time. If you enter after that time, it won't count. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
The winner will be chosen by Olivia's little fat baby hand randomly since it's her birthday giveaway! How fun is that? We'll take a picture!
Sorry, this giveaway is open to US only!

*How to add a comment to this blog
Some of you who are new to blogger might have trouble finding the comment button, I had trouble finding it on my daughters blog too, so don't worry. Look right at the bottom of this post, right below the three square pictures with the caption "you also might like:"
Click the link that says"dropped a note on my art table"

Good Luck!!