Samhain

I recently finished a drawing celebrating Samhain which has just passed . Inspired especially by Victorian fairy paintings ( particularly those luminous works of Richard Dadd), I wanted to evoke that liminal moment , with lanterns and bonfires lit when we find the boundary between this reality and that of the Otherworld a bit more easily trespassed . If one wants to cross over into Fairyland, Samhain ( and Beltain) is your opportunity ; easy passage can be found also for the spirited Dead who may wish to cross over into our realm for quick hello with the Quick.

I love this Celtic recognition of two realms , side by side , each with inhabitants leading an existence separate yet interconnected to one another . A natural acknowledgment of what seems to be so apparent – I have only to refer to my own fertile dreamscape to believe that two realms run side by side . But which is the “real ” one ?

Samhain

2019

Colored pencil with chalk highlights on toned paper

18 by 24 inches

One of the many traditions I find so enchanting about this Celtic celebration, is the historic practice of carving humble turnips into lanterns – far more charming I think than the more photogenic pumpkin .

I also wanted to capture the spirits of the Dead , utilizing one iconic image over and over – that of the winged skull found on countless headstones .

I particularly like the idea of the Dead finding escape through ruptures in the earth , cave entrances etc – here I employed the turnip , that modest root vegetable that pleases me so greatly .

And of course, the ubiquitous bat .

Mumming and costume play, another tradition that I take delight in and hope I captured just a bit .

I had hoped to have finished this drawing on Samhain proper , October 31st through November 1st- certainly a broad window . But it just wasn’t to be . Though diligent , I’m not a particularly speedy artist .

Perhaps next Beltain I will revisit the realm of the fairy and the pixie and actually meet the deadline . Until then …

Samhain Greetings!

I love this liminal time of year , when the Otherworld is just a bit more accessible. When mummery , be it thrift shop finery or garments rich in folkloric significance can be found in the elevator, on the street , even at the dog park . When fairies , pixies, elves and ogres seem believable and where the day to day grind of this reality can be relieved by the fancy of the Other.

So as Los Angeles once again burns , I play with paper dolls and imagine a more playful , magical , liminal place .

Have a grand Samhain, Hallowing, All Hallow’s Eve 🎃👻🦇💀!

The Desert Quartet: The Temptations of St. Anthony

Moments ago I finished this four sheet drawing The Desert Quartet: The Temptations of St. Anthony . I have been working on it off and on over the last few weeks . Putting it aside now and again , most recently for a trip to London but I am now back and I was determined to finish it so as to explore new work inspired by my trip to that most marvelous city .

The following images are details of what I admit is a very dense image, which may be difficult to read from an iPhone photograph . I will need to have this drawing professionally documented.

This drawing is a continuation of my Anthony infatuation , it began as the briefest of doodles . Not a particularly good one but one that has provided inspiration for some reason . I’m about to translate this doodle once again into my stitched paper dolls . I think it will be effective as a wall hung work, projecting out here and there, constructed mostly of cardboard, paint and embroidery flow . I hope to convey movement and articulation, very animated I hope .

I will post progress shots as it progresses . But until then, good wishes from Babylon.

LG

Pencil Work

In my new studio I find myself increasingly drawn to pencil work. I hurt my hand with the rather manic sewing for Fairyland, so that is on hold until it heals. I am painting however, pain free , and when committed to the task, quite happy at it . But the pencil is what is calling me presently and most immediately and most pain free. These two drawings are my latest .

The Wanderer’s Tale

2019

Sanguine and colored pencil, white charcoal on toned paper

18 by 24 inches

Harvest Moon

2019

Sanguine and colored pencil, white charcoal on toned paper

18 by 24 inches

It is I think the immediacy of drawing , that and the ability to really noodle down with detailed fine line work that so appeals to me. Line is everything to me, and I think it is this instinctive preference that separates me from painters in general – for even with a brush in hand I feel as if I am drawing .

Tomorrow I head back to the easel, I have been working on preparatory drawings the last few days and now feel ready to put brush to canvas. But for now , calling it a night .

Some of those working drawings:

Fanciful Fonts for Fairyland

As I countdown to my Fairyland opening February 23rd I have been working on marketing projects . Postcard being my anachronistic focus . While social media invitations and digital marketing will be made by my publicist, I have a deep fondness for paper ephemera.

In designing the postcards I found I needed a font for the word Fairyland. The fonts that seemed vaguely suitable were of that whimsical nostalgic mid- century sort – the sort of things that make me cringe . The Black Forest , Olde World, “Gothick” fonts seemed silly and a bit too Renaissance Fair(e).

At a loss I then recalled my hero , the Victorian illustrator Richard Doyle who in 1870 had published his own Fairyland. I knew he had designed the cover himself, I have always admired that, his insistence upon visual continuity, in fact his Fairyland is in some ways an inspiration for my own . So with his example in mind , I decided to design one myself.

While Doyle’s is adorable and sweet and my own gnarled and encrusted, I feel kinship between the two.

(The bat being perfect .)

In researching fairies and fairyland themes , I turned to late 19th century sources which seemed obsessed with the theme . As this charming cover attests , even dour science could be sprinkled with fairy dust .

My own fairies aren’t as innocent perhaps but I think just as cute.

( note the tedious font )

In addition to Doyle’s wonderful art , work that I’ve enjoyed since boyhood, another childish delight has been the illustrations of the D’Aulaires. Frequently whimsical but never silly their book art has long been a favorites day an inspiration . Their Trolls had particularly enchanting title font , it is a wonderful book , full of creepy , funny , stupid , hilarious trolls ( and comely humans ).

The inspiration has been broad and wide , from medieval illumination, to Victorian book art; I’ve had much to admire . In the end I’m satisfied with my own lettering , I may either have it translated into vinyl lettering or if time allows paint it directly upon the gallery walls myself .

With that , welcome to Fairyland.