Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Night Magical Movie: Avatar Special Edition 3D


I must begin by saying that I had missed this one in theaters when it first came out, you know, starving artist and all, so we were thrilled when we saw that they were bringing it back in theaters in 3D venues and with 9 more minutes of footage added on. Bonus! Since it came out the day after Dans birthday, it was decided that we were taking him as a gift. Let me just say, it costs so darned much to see a movie these days, that this is the first time in a really long time that I felt like we got our moneys worth...wow...we really did. The new digital 3D technology is really enough to get me to the theater, now that I've experienced it, for anyone who hasn't seen 3D in a long time, I'm here to tell you, it's time to see it again, this isn't anything like the old red and blue glasses. You just won't believe it! It was also nice that they didn't work in the old standard cheezy "now I'm going to jab a spear at the screen" scenes that used to be so popular in 3D movies. Ugh, can't stand that.






Avatar (2009) was written and directed by James Cameron, and is about a paraplegic marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who finds himself as part of a mission to the lush and dangerous world of Pandora. Bodies called Avatars have been grown in a lab by combining the DNA of each human and the Pandoran natives, the Na'Vi. The human team can "pilot" the bodies in order to do research on the alien world. Jake is also assigned the duty of gathering intelligence on the natives to help the coperation funding the project to seize their land
for mining of a valuable mineral beneath their home. Jake becomes caught up in this land, it's people and culture when he is taken in by the tribe and taught their ways by the chiefs beautiful and fierce daughter Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and is torn between his orders and his heart, his human self, and his Na'Vi self.



So, there we were, munching popcorn, catapulted into Pandora, a world that looked suspiciously like a Roger Dean album cover come to life, I was in heaven! This movie isn't just a special effects vehicle though, it has a really good storyline which includes social and environmental messages. What I was expecting was sci-fi/fantasy, and there, lo and behold, I also found magic in this movie! The Na'Vi, tribal natives of Pandora, called tree huggers by the human military, are actually followers of a nature based spirituality. They have an awareness of energy that flows through everything which interestingly is also backed up by the human scientists. The Na'Vi also revere a Goddess Eywa, the All Mother who holds their connection to their ancestors through their sacred site, the Spirit Tree. At one point Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) discusses with her team that the connection between all the trees on Pandora is a living real connection, not just,"pagan voodoo here-I'm talking about something real and measurable in the biology of the forest." She later is brought face to face with the spirituality behind that connection as she speaks to Jake of the Goddess Eywa, "I'm with Her now, Jake, She is real." Oooooh, I got chills!






So for those of you who have already seen it, you're probably wondering what was the added footage? Of course, I wouldn't have known, this being my first visit to Pandora and all, so I used the Google machine and looked it up. Apparently the "love scene" has a little bit added to it, as well as the battle scenes, all is fair in love and war. There is also a great hunting scene where the Na'Vi hunt the rhino-like Sturmbeests, and a really emotional scene showing Tsu'teys (Laz Alonso) death with the tribe around him. Also, if you already saw it the first time around, but not in 3D, get thee to the theater asap!


On the way home, we all discussed in the car the similarities between the human technology in this film and that of the film Aliens also directed by Cameron. Come to think of it, you also have an evil corporation and space marines in both films! Which makes one wonder, are these two stories part of the same universe? Only Cameron knows...


There are so many kinds of magic in this movie, cutting edge CGI magic, digital 3D magic, creative magic, and even the place where science and Goddess collide!

Monday Movie Featured Item:

The Na'Vi aren't the only ones that honor trees, this Dryad Spirit crystal glass pendant is stunning and reminds us that our spirits are connected to trees and the mother earth that nurtures us all.  This pendant is available in our Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/MickieMuellerStudio 

Bright Blessings,





Celtic Heather Fairy Update: Finished!

Well, dears, it was a busy weekend, but I still managed to get the finishing touches done on the Heather Fairy! I'm really happy with this one, the hair was a blast to do, I used a cicada wing as inspiration for her wings. I had a dream last night that I was trying to re-invent myself, and there was a fairy on my shoulder whispering in my ear, it was pretty cool!

Here she is..."drumroll paaaa-lease!"




Thursday, August 26, 2010

Working on the Celtic Heather Fairy

Good Day Everyone!

I've been working on the fourth installment of my Celtic Tree Fairys series, the Heather Fairy. While heather is in fact, a shrub, according to Celtic Tradition, it's part of the tree ogham.

I wanted to share some of the steps of this fairy as she unfolds, some of my pieces take longer than others depending on many factors, such as what's going on in my life at the time, my inspiration, and the amount of detail that is involved. Let me just say for those who don't know, and something that I knew, but really had to experience first hand, Egads! Heather is a bunch of tiny flowers and tiny leaves!!! Whew!

That being said, I'm very happy with how this one is developing. I have of course scaled the heather plant up in order to scale the fairy down, My Celtic Tree Fairys are all little fairies that live in the trees they represent.

Heather as you might guess in this instance is for love, and she really looks like she's thinking of that really special fairy guy, you know the one, gives her compliments, respects her, always leaves the seat down...ahh, love! Of course this is easy for me to convey, cause I have a guy like that!

Without further ado, the Heather Fairy, thus far...

Bright Blessings!

Mickie

This was how it looked a few days ago...

Here is how it looks on my art table right now!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Secret of Roan Inish


Happy Monday!

Monday? Happy? Well, it is Monday after all, back to work, the weekend's over, but that doesn't mean we can't still have some fun! So here at The Old Wooden Art Table I'll be having Monday Night Magical Movies to brighten up your day and chase those "blahs" away!



We had a nice weekend, I got some artwork done, happily, and we also had a big family gathering/surprise birthday party for my sweet hubby Dan and his beautiful cousin Stacy who is in town from Virginia! My mother-in-law had a cake made with a photo of the two of them together as little kids! It was such a great surprise. I also got to hang out with my two grown daughters and watch my granddaughter Olivia play with her cousin for the first time, they are only two days apart! What a couple of cuties!

Family is so important, which brings us to my movie pick for my first Monday Night Magical Movie post, The Secret of Roan Inish. This is a movie that played in my studio this week. I often have a movie going on the laptop in there, I love to have one playing while I create. This is a simply beautiful 1994 American independent film that was shot in Ireland, a place I yearn to visit someday. It was written and directed by John Sayles, who later worked on the screenplay for The Spiderwick Chronicles.
It's based on a novel The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry, by Rosalie K. Fry. Roan Inish was filmed from the point of view of little Fiona, (played delightfully by Jeni Courtney) who's widowed father has sent her away from the gloomy city back to live with her grandparents in the fresh air off the coast of Ireland. Their family are fishermen and originally from the small island of Roan Inish which can barely be seen across the water.

The more she pokes around, she learns the mysterious secret of her family, one of her ancestors married a selkie, (played hauntingly by Susan Lynch) a magical creature who can transform from a seal into a beautiful woman. When the family finally left the island, the selkies hearts were broken, so they stole away Fionas baby brother Jimmy in his tiny boat-like cradle never to be seen again, or so they thought. Fiona has spotted the dark haired toddler running around the island picking flowers and having "tea" with seals!
This film just makes your heart happy, and is filled to the brim with beauty. It has wonderful "story" sequences in which Fionas grandfather recounts (Mick Lally) tales and folklore from the past, it's easy to get lost in this beautiful film.

One of my favorite scenes is when Fionas grandmother (Eileen Colgan) warns her grandfather that his stories are just "superstition" then proceeds to preform a smooring the fire ritual invoking Saint Bridget to protect the house and it's inhabitants while they sleep, an old Christianised ritual that harkens back to the old Pagan ways of the Celts!

The soundtrack is steeped in Celtic folk music and is firmly on my "gotta have it" list. I would also love one of those lovely little thatched cottages on Roan Inish while we're listing and wishing, but can I have plumbing and Internet please? Well, at least Internet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Little Bird Told Me...

Merry Meet Friends!


I've been writing for Llewellyns periodicals for quite a few years now, and I'm holding in my hand, the new Llewellyn's 2011 Magical Almanac. I love when it arrives, I always pour over it, and this year I was pleased to see my article mentioned on the back cover. In this issue I have an article about the art of ornithomancy, or reading omens and signs from the appearances and actions of birds. Many cultures all over the world consider our feathered friends messengers of the Gods and consider their council very wise indeed. In the article, I discuss a little history on the topic, but mostly practical information like what each kind of bird means when you see them, the significance of birds color, actions and even included a little spell that allows you to ask a question from your local bird population.


(Cover art by Tammy Shane/Langley Creative)

I also had the honor to illustrate several of the articles in the Almanac, my own included. It's always fun when they send me a stack of articles and I get to read them and pull ideas out of the text to illustrate for each one. It's a really good almanac they put out, perfect for anyone who enjoys working with the cycles of nature and the power of the natural elements. It has tons of great articles by some of the best Llewellyn authors. It also includes a reference in the middle featuring world holidays, festivals, moon phases, astrological info and even daily color and incense correspondences.

For those of you who are interested, I just looked at their website and Llewellyn has last years Magical Almanac on sale right now for only 2.75, which is a steal for all those great articles. That one also contains many of my illustrations, and two of my articles "The Mysteries of Rhiannon," and "As Above, So Below" where I discuss manifesting and glamoury.


I've been working away on my contributions for the 2012 Magical Almanac, Witches Companion, and Spell-A-Day Almanacs, gotta get those deadlines met. And of course, I have edits for the companion book for my new deck Voice of the Trees also, but it'll be all worth it. The best part about hard work is the feeling of accomplishment when you're done!


Fare Thee Well!
Mickie

My article and illustration in the 2012 Magical Almanac





Another page, I love how they did the layout!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Celtic Tree Fairies Series...One To Go

Hello All,

I'm happy to report I'm almost finished with a series of pieces I call my Celtic Tree Fairies.  Yep, that's one of them you see on my header above!  There will be four in the series to start out, although you never know, I may add more in the future.  My idea was to create fairies for protection, prosperity, healing and love.  Since I had recently finished up the art for my upcoming deck "Voice of the Trees"  (Llewellyn, Sept. 2011)  I was still in that Celtic frame of mind.  The deck is all about the Celtic Ogham and tree lore.  Basically, the Ogham is an early medieval alphabet used as early as the 4th century.  Each symbol is associated with a different tree and has it's own divinatory meaning and mystical teaching.  The Ogham is sometimes referred to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet.

So, I had finished the art and the writing for the Ogham deck, and the idea for these fairies came to me.  I decided to use four Celtic trees and place the fairies each in a stance and attitude of the tree they represent.  I also included the Celtic Ogham symbol in each piece to further add to the tree connection and bring more magic into each piece.  They actually started off as black and white jewelry designs for Peter Stone.  I did about 30 new designs for them this year, every time I sent more, Peter kept replying with,  "Great! what's next?  Send more." How can a girl refuse?  I expect the new line including the four fairies be out soon, he's teased me a bit on Facebook, so I think the production is close to completion and they're waiting just around the corner.  They will be lovely pendants, and honestly, I can't wait to wear them.

I liked the jewelry designs so much, I wanted to see them in full color, and the idea of this new series of Celtic fairy art was born.  I added a small bit of each tree to my watercolor wash,  leaf, blossom, acorn, or flake of bark, to bring the tree energy magically through.  These were really fun to create, and have become very magical pieces.

I've been at the writing desk, i.e. laptop, a lot lately because I have some deadlines for articles that I'm contributing to Llewellyns 2012 periodicals, and I'm also working on re-writes for the Voice of the Trees manuscript, so the last fairy has patiently waited.  My fingers are itching to draw though, so I plan to work on her this weekend and see how much I can get done.  The final addition to the series will be the heather fairy, for love!  I know, I know, we don't think of heather as a tree, but it was a very important plant to the Celts, and they ranked such thing according to usefulness and importance, so in the Ogham, it's considered a tree. Below are the first three, I'll post some pictures of the work in progress of their fair sister as I have them, so keep checking back!

Shine On!

Mickie

The Apple Tree Fairy bring healing of the mind, body and spirit.  She sends magical healing energy through the power of her healing hands, the Ogham symbol of the apple tree glows forth from a leaf.


The Rowan Tree Fairy is a fierce warrior, she brings protection and shielding.  She'll lead you through the dark forest of life armed with a sword and wooden shield that bears the Ogham mark of the rowan.


The oak tree fairy is content and has blessings of plenty to bestow on those who need it. She cradles an acorn in her arm, caring for possibilities and holds a golden coin bearing the Celtic Ogham symbol for the oak tree.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Pretty New Blog!

Hi my friends!

My name is Mickie Mueller and I'm an artist of fantasy, fairy and myth. The place where I create my art is actually an old wooden art table. It's a bit rickety, but well loved. I watched my dad work at this table when I was a kid growing up in Albuquerque NM. He was a well known watercolor artist in the area and taught classes as well, so I picked up some things watching him work. Later Dad got a great new table, and passed the other one on to my mom, who is also a talented and creative gal. Being the great parents that they are, and realizing that my art was being born on the kitchen table shortly after I moved into my own place, it was then passed on to me.

It's a warm colored wood, a classic tilting type of drafting table, but stays in a flat position for my purposes. It's covered with art supplies, crystals, random bits of inspiration, notes, and probably makes no sense to anyone but myself. Brittany concurs. It has aquired many gouges and battle wounds through the years, and much like myself, has a couple of screws loose but is still totally functional! I've had offers to replace it with a shiny new model, but man, we've got history! My daughters both sat on my lap when they were babies while I worked, learning at a tender young age, "Don't touch the pencils!" A lesson that was later forgotten in their teenage years, but you can't stifle creativity, so be it. This table is a magical place, where real magic happens, you just can't replace that, so why try. I'll just keep tightening those 'ole screws.

All that being said, it seemed only fitting to name my new blog after my old wooden art table, so here it is, my first post on my new blog! Yeeeea, *and the fairy tribes and elven folk celebrated across the land and there was much rejoycing, feasting and merriment!*

I tried this "blog thing" once before, and never really got the hang of it. So my wonderful daughter, Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage fashion blog, came over to help me set up a brand new beautiful blog and showed me the ropes of the blogosphere. We laughed, we cried, we blogged!

I'll be updating you on all the new going ons at my old wooden art table, and other fun stuff as well. Here is where you'll be able to see works of art in progress, updates on my many projects in publishing, design, inspiration, and more. I'm brainstorning on some great features to add here, so please come back and visit soon.
view from my art table

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Here I am, working away on a project.
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Willow the cat guarding her post in the studio.