My latest project for Spellbound Magazine, a relatively new children’s e-zine produced by Eggplant Literary Productions. They’ve been a great press to work with; the editor and art director are lovely people and the issues have themes that are open to wide interpretation. This issue’s theme was Creatures of the Deep Dark Woods. My first sketches for it were more fantastical: dragons, elves, the obvious mythic creatures. But I felt that they missed the mark. I’ve spent more than one night in the deep dark woods, and few fantasies come up to the strangeness of the real thing. So I shifted toward actual forest life, though a kitsune did creep in to keep watch.
Final for the spring issue of Spellbound. Still deciding how I feel about that background color. Believe it or not, it was done with just one ink, a brown that bled out in mysterious ways.
To purchase an issue or learn more about the magazine, visit:
I hate waiting for things. The deadline for Modcloth’s latest design contest was just yesterday, and I am already gnawing my nails waiting to find out whether I made it even past the first cut (news that won’t be released for like a month). Yeah. I have no patience.
So at long long last the September issue of Art*Throb is being released, with my illustrations on the cover and feature story. Come to the launch party tomorrow at Montserrat Gallery, Thursday, Sept. 6, 5:30-7:30pm to get your free copy.
Prints can be purchased here:
I’m going to be in RAW Boston’s Ensemble show!
September 13, 7-10pm, The Estate
These shows are always a blast. RAW does an amazing job of putting them together, the venue is a welcome change from the whitewashed gallery, there’s a great bar, live music, and a fashion show to boot. And this time I will be on site with original pieces and prints! The last time I went there, it was packed, so my advice is buy your tickets early. You can get them through the following link:
I used this personal project to experiment with a lot of new techniques and to explore a fairy tale that has come to be known through several different interpretations. At first I was determined to focus on the ballet version of Sleeping Beauty (which is where the costume originates), but this immediately led to practical questions such as Was the painting set on the stage? Should I focus on the dance aspect or the story the dance revolved around? In the end it became a mash-up of several concepts, which, in hindsight, don’t entirely work together. The execution of the painting also gave it an unintended melodrama. I wanted the rose thicket to seem wilder, so I threw in some more colors and ink lines and muddied everything, probably a bit too much. In the end, it’s the initial sketch that best captures the mood I was going for. Sometimes it happens that way. Still, the technical challenges made this a fascinating piece to work on, and I think I will definitely try this color palette on something else.
Prints of this painting are available at:
In one of the rare Arabian Nights stories that deals with discrimination against women, a merchant hangs a sign above his shop that reads: Men’s wits exceed women’s wiles.
Soon a beautiful young woman comes to him, in tears, demanding whether he thinks she is hunchbacked, or pockmarked, or one-eyed. The merchant says that of course she is not, and asks where she got such a strange idea. The woman says bitterly that her father, who is the Chief Kazi of the city, turns away all her suitors by claiming that she is deformed, and that she is doomed to a single life. The merchant begs her to stop crying and vows to marry her himself. The woman warns him that her father will try to discourage the match. The merchant assures her that he won’t be moved by the Kazi’s lies.
He goes to the Kazi’s palace to plead for the girl’s hand. The Kazi, greatly surprised, protests that his daughter is hunchbacked, pockmarked, and has only one eye. The merchant insists that he doesn’t care. So there is a grand wedding and the Kazi’s daughter, heavily veiled, is brought to the merchant’s house. Whereupon he discovers to his horror that she is indeed hunchbacked, covered in pock marks, and has only one eye, just as the Kazi said.
The next morning, as the merchant sits in his shop, who should sashay by but the beautiful young woman, who is actually a blacksmith’s daughter. The furious merchant demands to know why she has played such a trick on him. The girl points to his sign and asks, “Who is smarter now?”
Humbled, the merchant agrees to change the sign if she will help him. So the blacksmith’s daughter tells him that he must hire all the gypsies and beggars in the city to come and sing the next morning, when he will be having coffee with his new father-in-law.
Accordingly, the horde show up the next day, startling the Kazi, who demands to know what all the racket is about. The merchant says what the blacksmith’s daughter has told him to say: that these are all his relatives who have come to wish him joy over his new marriage. The Kazi, aghast that he has married his daughter into such lowly company, immediately sues for divorce.
The merchant re-paints his sign to say: Women’s wiles exceed men’s wits. Eventually he persuades the blacksmith’s daughter to marry him in earnest.
True to the culture of their time, the tricks of the blacksmith’s daughter turn on some unpleasant facts of life in the 1300s. The Kazi’s daughter is the unsung victim in this story, as she is badly used by her father, the merchant, and even the heroine. The gypsies also get a bad rap.