Monday, October 24, 2011

The Veil Gets Thinner

This time of year has always stirred my senses; the sweet scent of decaying leaves, moss, and earth combined with the aroma of woodsmoke on the chill autumn air is a guaranteed fire-starter for my creative cauldron. All of the arcane mysteries of nature and the dark places are especially alive now. I feel a summoning of change; not only in the seasons, but in my life as well. I welcome the cold and the darkness; I can light my beeswax candles and create my future with my hands by their amber glow.

I've listed several new creations in my Etsy shop this past week. Smudge fans, jewelry, and other lovelies are available for your browsing (and maybe buying!) pleasure:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autumn Art Time

It's that time again. When it starts getting chilly and the trees get naked, I get in the mood to create. I'm not sure what will happen but I feel it stirring. Lots of things have been happening for me both personally and professionally. Some of them good, some of them...meh. All of them shape who I am, and who I will become.

And now, its time for pie.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quercus.....alba? Encounters with Faery trees

A walk in the park today began with an urge to get the blood flowing, and somehow ended in a thrilling scientific discovery. Sitting on a bench in the shade, I looked over and saw a little white plant out of the corner of my eye. I figured it was a variegated offshoot of a nearby shrub. I've seen this happen before with Redwood trees. But upon closer examination, I realized it was an albino oak seedling. Now this I've never seen before! There's only one mention of this on the internet, and it was a freak oak seedling at the Chelsea flower show that baffled scientists. I thought about taking it home, so I gave it a gentle tug. It didn't budge. It wanted to stay. So, I took pictures and continued down the path, whereupon I stumbled another albino oak seedling, this time much taller and in the sun. It started life in the shade of some grasses, but was now frying in the heat of the July sun. I gave this one a tug and the whole thing came out of the ground, acorn and all. The trunk is pink and the acorn is the color of antique ivory. It's sitting in a glass of water on the coffee table. I don't know what the odds are for survival of albino oak trees, but my guess is that it's not very good, as plants need chlorophyll to synthesize sunlight, and this little tree has no green whatsoever. We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Minor vs. Major Arcana

More adventures in macro photography.

Large bird versus small bird. Predator vs. Prey? If anything, it's an excellent opportunity to play with composition and lighting.

As you may have noticed, I like dead things. I spend a good amount of my free time searching for dead things to photograph. Since keeping rotting animals around the house starts smelling pretty bad and is less-than-sanitary, photographs are the next best thing.

Baby Birds II: Revenge of the Geese

Meet the Canadian Goose.

It's a fun bird. There's nothing I don't like about this bird, in fact. It's beautiful. It's graceful. It's a loving parent. It also hisses and tries to eat my face if I get too close to its babies. So awesome.

I spend a lot of time at the river near my house. Its shores are currently teeming with goslings and ducklings. I have always wanted to pick up one of these little fuzzballs but I've heard too many stories about the parents rejecting their young after they've been groped by human hands. And there's the proximity issue: I like my face. It is not goose food.

New Website!

At long last, I've re-designed my website. It's only a basic re-design of the skin, but I think it suits my work better than my previous design, which was more suited to my older (1990s, early 2000s) style of art. Head on over to or to check it out! I've also put my latest illustrations up there, as well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Springtime Means Baby Birds

It's that time of year again! Lately I've been spying on a robin's nest outside the kitchen of my place of employment. There's a wall of ivy that the robins deemed suitable for nest-building. We've been watching the eggs on our breaks (and the mother bird has been yelling at us for it) and just a few days ago, they hatched!

This evening I was doing the rounds in my garden and I was startled by a robin who burst from a cedar tree in the front yard, screaming past my head. She gave her secret away; inside the tree about 3 feet from the ground is a perfect nest with four lovely blue eggs.

I think this weekend I may try to visit a local park that's known for its massive crow population; last year I watched as the nestlings learned to walk/hop/fly as their parents looked on, yelling disapprovingly at my presence from above. I love spring!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Molesting The Mons Monkey

I spent last week in Mons, Belgium for the Trolls and Legends festival. During our tour of the medieval city, we were introduced to the Mons monkey, apparently a symbol of good luck and prosperity (at least that's what we were told).

Rubbing the monkey brings good luck. Brian Froud, always eager to, erm...rub a monkey, took full advantage of this. That monkey got a full Froudian fondling. I think Brian now has enough good luck to last him a while.

New Painting: Corax

I started this painting a while ago. The sketch happened one night, the inking happened the next, and then it the darkness of a drawer. For weeks it lay undisturbed. I went halfway across the world and back. Life went on. The drawing waited.

Yesterday I pulled it out of the drawer, cleared off my desk, and set up my space to paint. This usually involves a level of personalized ritual that I won't go into here (I can't! it's personal), but believe me: it's necessary for the magic to happen. The natural world serves as my place of worship and I like to think of my art desk as my altar.

"Corax" (Corvus corax, common raven) is inspired by many things. I wanted to use a raven skull in a painting, and I also wanted to incorporate sacred Celtic herbs and trees, such as oak, mistletoe, rowan, and thorn. The raven spirit is collecting things, like she I do. Always seeking, always hoarding. There is no reason that can be explained with words. She just collects because it feels right. She collects them because she loves them.

Obvious Hole is Obvious

Sometimes when I'm going on one of my sunset walks I stop to listen to the evening birdsong. Occasionally geese will fly over honking a little tune. Crows are always somewhere in the distance bickering about something. The kestrel watches me, but she says nothing. The red-tailed hawk, meanwhile, always has something to say.

Then I trip and fall because of this stupid hole. I should have seen it coming. I's so clearly labeled.

Green World

Running around with a macro lens is one of life's simple pleasures. It doesn't have to be expensive. I just use the macro setting on my little Canon PowerShot. Moss is particularly fascinating. Try looking closely at it sometime and you will notice an entire ecosystem contained within a miniature almost bonsai-esque landscape.

Do not eat the moss. A million voices will suddenly cry out...and they will suddenly be silenced. These are probably fairies. Or worms.

Fire is Awesome

I occasionally go for walks along the Columbia River near St. Helens, Oregon. Sometimes my friends and I light things on fire. This is only natural, considering there is lots of free wood with nowhere to go. And it's usually cold, so the primordial beast inside me wants something warm to park my butt in front of...which reminds me, do NOT, no matter what any MEN tell you, use wet lava rocks as a containment apparatus for your fire. These rocks will explode with the heat and send bits of shrapnel flying right into your butt/face/eye/etc. It's no fun trying to roast weenies and s'mores while trying to dodge bits of burning, razor-sharp stone whizzing toward you only a split-second after an ear-bleedingly-loud POP or BANG.

That said, fire is awesome. Try it sometime. Safely. Without rocks.

Cherry Blossom Time

Cherry blossom time is almost over in Portland, but you can still find a few flowering trees here and there. Soon it will be time for the Magnolias and Dogwoods to do their thing. These photos are from several weeks ago at a park in the Sellwood neighborhood. There is a cluster of cherry trees there that must be over 100 years old. Going for a walk under trees like these with the petals fluttering by on the breeze as they circle toward the ground is absolutely one of the most magical things about springtime.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Talisman: Patrick Conlin

One of my favorite pieces of personal adornment is this large brooch/pendant made by Patrick Conlin in Eugene, Oregon. Patrick makes all of his jewelry by hand, and much of it is inspired by Celtic design. Patrick shares his business with his wife, Katy Jane. They are always at the Saturday Market in downtown Eugene and were spotted at Faerieworlds last year. We hope they return this year!

More of Patrick and Katy's jewelry can be seen at their website,

New Painting: Celestial Messenger

My latest painting is inspired by the many Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) I see hunting around the fields surrounding I-5 on my weekly pilgrimages between Eugene and Portland. Hawks are formidable predators, and I have seen them try to take on stray cats in competition for food. These birds look quite large when they're sitting on a branch or fencepost, but most of that bulk is actually feathers. I know this only because I have stopped to look at road-killed hawks in the past, and I find it remarkable how small their bodies really are.

This painting came to me after doodling on a Post-it note a rather tiny image of a hawk materializing from a stand of hazel trees, merging with the sun. I have read that native cultures associate the hawk with the duties of a great messenger, acting as a link between Heaven and Earth. The patterns on the bird's back are of Celtic origin (specifically, the La Tène period).

"Celestial Messenger" is currently available as a print in my Etsy shop.

Talisman: Brooke Stone

Brooke Stone is one of my favorite jewelers. She lives in the Willamette Valley in Oregon where she creates stunning sculptures of animals and other natural objects in precious metals. I commissioned this piece from her last year, and I wear it almost every day. It is a Raven with carnelian rowan berries and bronze leaves, silver twigs, silver and bronze claws, and a carved bone moon.

I recently visited Brooke at her home and studio. She is an enchanted woman who surrounds herself with nature, both indoors and out. Her husband Jim Clement is a wonderful fellow who makes beautiful chains. Brooke is going to be a vendor at Faerieworlds this year, and we're very excited to welcome her to the family.

Brooke Stone Jewelry:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Vintage" Faerieworlds Poster

I have always been a fan of the Arts & Crafts style of printmaking and design. I decided to design a special poster for this year's Faerieworlds festival that echoes this. Among my other duties as "official" Faerieworlds graphic designer and Etsy hunter for exceptional vendors for our shows (beware: if you're awesome, I will find you), I sometimes find time to make things like this.

I'm hoping to make this poster available only at the show as a limited edition.