Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Steampunk Fairy is Done!

The Steampunk Fairy is done! This one was really a fun piece to create, she has a totally playful attitude sitting on her "paper moon" set, which I based on old Victorian designs of antique paper moon photos that were very popular from the turn of the century up into the 40's. although the Vernian looking rocket-ship was my own addition. I'll have her available in my Etsy store soon, both as prints and gifts!

I hope you enjoy my new fairy, more to come in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Now a Contributing Artist to the Enchanted Visions Project!

I got some exciting news today! I have just found out that I've been accepted to be a contributing artist to the Enchanted Visions Project! What's that? Well, it's a creative endevor that was originally concieved by legendary fantasy/fairy artists Jessica Galbreth and Amy Brown. The idea was that they would challenge each other every month by agreeing upon a thematic title for a piece of art, then both artists would create their own artistic interpretation of the theme. Artist Coriander Shea Detwiler was inspired by the project and joined as well. Coriander has since facilitated the project as something that select other artists can contribute to as well. It's really fun to look through the themes and see what different artists envision when given a theme. It's a great opportunity to be creative, and join in with other talented artists to create some very interesting galleries.

I felt very honored when I found out that I'm included as a new contributing artist. So I recieved my first theme, and hope to finish something before the deadline which is the end of the month to be posted for November. The idea is to create brand new pieces, not send in work that is already done that might fit in with the theme, so I don't have any art included yet, but plan to very soon.
I'll be sure to post my new contribution when it's finished. Watch for my new steampunk fairy later on today!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freebee Holiday Gift Tags on My Etsy Store!

We have a really fun special in our Etsy store for the month of November! I created these designer gift tags, I'll be using them on all my gifts this year for sure! So I put them all together on a digital file that you can print as many as you need yourself on your choice of paper. With any purchase in the month of November, we'll email you this file and you can print all of the gift tags you need for your gift giving this holiday season!

Here are the ones I printed out myself last night, they turned out pretty nice!

I made a little holiday gift scene showing gifts, as you can see the tags are a good size, so there's plenty of room to write on, plus if you really need a smaller tag, you could easily re size them.

Of course, as soon as I started setting this little photo shoot up, Willow the cat had to get right in the middle of everything!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Steampunk Fairy: A Work in Progress

I had an opportunity to work on this one some more last night, in fact I was looking forward to it all day. Once I got into it, I was having so much fun, I didn't want to stop, I was working on it past midnight. Still a lot to do, the skirt has a pattern with lots of detail, so that will take a lot of time. Anyway, here it is so far, I thought you might enjoy seeing where she's taking me, she's really developing a life of her own. In case you missed the first post with the sketch and the inspiration behind this piece it's two posts below this one or, click here!



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday (aaak! Tuesday) Night Magical Movie: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Since I'm working on my Steampunk Fairy, it seemed only appropriate to give a nod to a way fun Steampunk movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. For those who may wonder what that means, Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction and alternate history in which the late 19th century is re-imagined featuring fantastical gadgets and inventions that didn't actually exist during that time period. Think Victorian science fiction.
On a side note, I missed posting on Monday, due to a relatively unusual event, I actually had homework from my day job, and nothing to do with steampunk. In addition to my fantasy art career, I'm also a graphic designer for a display company, if you ever been to a grocery store or movie theater, chances are you've seen a cardboard display made by the company I work for. In the office we have only a few people so we wear many hats which means that "Graphic Designer" also encompasses less creative duties such as entering orders onto spreadsheets, answering the phone, and sending out samples, it's a pretty glamourous gig, I tell you! So we had major orders on Monday, and had to bring some work home...but I digress...

Lets get on with the movie! The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a 2003 offering from director Stephen Norrington. (Blade, Aliens) In true Steampunk tradition, this is an alternative Victorian era in which several great fictional characters join forces and talents on a top secret mission. It's a fantastic re-imagining of Victorian times where magic and science collide.

Who is the League? Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery..mmmm) is a classic adventurer and crack shot who has been magically protected by the spell of an African witch doctor. The legendary Captain Nemo is played by Naseeruddin Shah in full Indian regalia and the most amazing version of the Nautilus I've ever seen, and a totally cool car to match! Peta Wilson colors her blond tresses dark as Mina Harker, the survivor of the "Dracula Incident" is a tough, unflappable vampiress. I'll never forget how delighted I was to see Tom Sawyer had grown up and joined the CIA! Rodney Skinner AKA The Invisible Man joins the troup with his useful skills, and of course the clever Dr. Jekyll brings along his angry inner self, Mr. Edward Hyde, who is simply a colossus. The invincible and immortal Dorian Gray is played by Stewart Townsend, (rawr!) though his magical portrait doesn't look nearly as good.

So what brought these interesting characters together to join forces? The Fantom, of course. He is a mysterious and clever madman bent on turning several rival countries against each other and starting a world war. So the mysterious "M" called upon these extraordinary beings to pitt their courage, strength, wit and various unusual talents to stop him.

I just love this movie, it's totally fun, it has great gadgets, fun characters, and some great lines too! You'll be on the edge of your seat! This was based on a graphic novel, and apparently there were many changes made, as often are for the film version. I haven't read the graphic novel yet, but it is on my wish list as I'm a fan of comics and comic art.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Steampunk Fairy Sketches

During the turn of the century, "paper moon" photos became very popular. The moon was cut out so that people could sit on the moon to have their photo taken, ladies, couples, even whole families would get their photos taken posing on these celestial sets. I think they're charming!
I wanted to draw a Steampunk Fairy, and I decided to take the inspiration for my new piece from these whimsical old photos. Sunday we turned our clocks back, and I used that extra hour to go back in time, and revisit not only and old photography tradition, but also a time that never was and created this sketch for my new Steampunk Fairy! I hope you like her so far.

Below is a detail shot of the Steampunk Fairy Sketch

Join me later for my pick for Magical Monday Night Movie!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Midnight Ice Fairy: A Redoux

I had an old piece of art on the wooden art table this weekend that I wanted to share with you! Back in 2004 I did this piece I called The Ice Fairy, I really liked the pose, she's enchanting sitting up there on her snowy branch blowing ice across the land on a winters day. There were a couple of problems with the Ice Fairy though. One was that there was simply not very much contrast, with so much white from the fairy herself, the overcast sky, and the snow on the branches, she just never really "popped." The other problem was that my vision for her wings, and how they turned out really never really pleased me. At the time, I just left it as is and never really fiddled with it. In my head I visualised her with wings that looked like frost on the window, but what I ended up with looked kind of chunky and really didn't have much grace. But at the time, I just went on to the next and left her as is.

Dan and I were pulling together all of my winter pieces to press onto these sweet little porcelain ornaments that we got to dye sub on when we looked at The Ice Fairy. "Yea, I was never really happy with how that one turned out." I explained. So Dan suggested, "Can you change it, what would you do differently?" When I told him there just isn't enough contrast, so she doesn't stand out, he said, "What if the scene was at night and the sky dark and full of stars?" Epiphany!
So I mocked it up in Photoshop to see how it would look and we both agreed, it was a huge improvement. So I got to work with the pencils and paint this weekend! I really had fun with it, I changed her hair, ears, added more contrast to the entire figure, and added a starry night sky, changed to sun behind the clouds to a moon with a ring around it. I also did away with her old strange chunky ice wings and gave her delicate graceful iced wings that fit in with my original vision. Who says you can never go back? Sometimes you can. I hope you enjoy the before and after pictures of what I'm now calling Midnight Ice Fairy! She'll be available in my etsy store as prints, cards, and ornaments very soon!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Another Halloween has come and gone, blustering in like a mad swirl of cheesecloth, cupcakes, pumpkins and chocolate, and now lurking quietly like the styrofoam headstones and ghouls left powerless in the daylight as they await their plastic tub tombs until next year. What's that tug? It's my heart, and something else...ah, the last bit of spirit gum stuck to my ear...

Every Oct. 1 when those plastic tubs are opened up and the magic comes bursting out, my kids and I begin the traditional cacophony of singing, "This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween...Halloween..." they are adults and teens now, but they know all the words and sing it with feeling! I couldn't pack it all up again without sharing Tim Burton's classic that encompasses the current offerings at most retail stores, "The Nightmare Before Christmas!"

This weirdly wonderful musical stop animation film came out in 1993, and when it did, we hadn't seen anything quite like it! In this strange land of Halloween Town, lanky skull-faced Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon) is the dapper Pumpkin King, and he delights in the organising of a good scary Halloween. But lately, he's become bored, and feels like he's looking for something more out of life. (or death, as the case may be) He ends up wandering, and discovers a magical grove of trees, each tree with a door to a different holiday. Jack steps through the door to Christmas Town and becomes enchanted, he feels this is for him! Upon his return to Halloween Town, he gathers the denizens together and tells them tales of Christmas and Sandy Claws!

The well-meaning yet misguided Jack is certain he could do this Christmas thing, and even improve it. He enlists all of the citizens of Halloween Town to get to work of their version of Christmas which includes heads in boxes, hideously stuffed stockings and kidnapping Santa! All along Sally, (voice of Catherine O'Hara) the sweet rag doll assistant to the mad scientist warns Jack of the folly of trying to take over Christmas while she pines for him secretly.

Tim Burton came up with the idea back when he was an animator for Disney taking his inspiration from those old stop animation holiday classics we grew up on. Michael McDowell wrote the adaptation and Henry Selick directed. The music of Danny Elfman sets the mood, as he frequently does for Burton's films, and a team of 10 sculptors created the characters and sets, a whopping 227 puppets and Jack Skellington had about 400 heads himself! The time consuming process of stop animation is unbelievable, and the creativity, attention to detail and dedication really shows in this film.

It's hard to watch this movie without singing along, it has everything, horror, fantasy, romance, action, singing, dancing, and a snake that can swallow an entire Christmas Tree. What more could you want in a film, really.

Momma always said, "If Mickie could have anything she wanted for Christmas, it would be Halloween!"