Friday, August 12, 2011

Beauty Remembers the Beast...getting there...and disappointment...

I wonder if I'm the only one who, no matter which version of Beauty and the Beast I read (or see), always feels a sense of disappointment, of anti-climax, when the Beast turns into the handsome prince.  Beauty falls in love with an extraordinary person, she makes a huge leap of faith, and then he turns into a man.  Just another prince, like all the other princes in all the other faery tales.  Did she feel let-down too?  Did she wonder if her sacrifice deserved better?  She loved a beast who turned out to be gentle and loving, yet wild too.  Not the sort of husband who would care about table etiquette, or small talk at parties to keep guests amused.  Not the sort of husband who would care if she went barefoot, or let her hair hang down.  And what does she get?  A prince, for whom all those sorts of things would be of paramount importance.  Not a man to run wild in the woods with...a man who would require a wife who knew how to behave on state occasions, to entertain endless boring behave APPROPRIATELY.

I'd choose the beast, wouldn't you?

My Beauty did.  She's coming along, I've spent HOURS (or rather OWW-ers) hand-lettering the poem  onto the canvas.  Almost done, but OH, my aching fingers and shoulders.  So here are more progress pictures, as requested.

Some winter trees added to the horizon.

The whole canvas.  91cm x 91cm.

Beginning the free-form hand-lettering.  Guess all those hours in Typography and Hand Lettering classes during my Graphic Design course were useful after all!

Close-up.  2nd last verse, phew!

Almost done!


SIGH!  Just after I posted the pics above, I sat down outside in the sun for a well-deserved cuppa...and got a phone call.  Apparently my entry form, for the Art Award/Competition that I entered "Beauty Remembers" in, did not arrive in time.  Sad to say, it seems that it takes Australia Post 5 days to deliver a letter that I could (and obviously SHOULD) have dropped off myself in 10 minutes.  And it takes the organisers almost two weeks to let me know (on the day before it was to be taken in) that I could have saved myself the trouble of rushing to get it finished.  So I'm feeling rather down and disappointed.  These competitions are a good way to get your artwork out in the public eye.  Ah well, I've finished the pencil and it's now sealed, so I may put it aside for a bit, as I have another painting to do.  Then I can pick it up again and take my time over it.  But here's a pic or two of where it's at now, ready for the 'colour wash' step.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Talesingr: The Tale of the Wolf Bride

The Tale of the wolf bride

In the time of ice when hunger bit deep, a hunter was tracking game along the sleeping white river. But the river yawned in its sleep and the hunter fell into its mouth. A wolf saw him fall and went to the edge and looked down. The wolf looked at the man and thought, “This man will make a fine meal, for my bones are rubbing my skin it is so long since I last ate.” And the man looked at the wolf and thought, “That wolfskin will make a fine coat, for my bones ache and I cannot remember what it is to be warm.” But the wolf could not get to the man, and the man could not get to the wolf. So both decided to bargain. The wolf said, “If you will give me meat, I will pull you out.” And the man said, “If you will pull me out, I will give you meat.” But the man was foolish and thought, “I will trick the wolf and when he pulls me close I will take my knife and I will have that skin.” So the man threw his rope up to the wolf, and the wolf caught it in his teeth. And the man held the end as the wolf pulled. When he was safely out, the man took his knife and stabbed, but he was clumsy and the knife did not kill. The wounded wolf could not fight the man, so he turned and ran, leaving a trail of blood and anguish at such betrayal. The man was cold and hungry and went home to find food and fire to warm himself.

When the man arrived at his tribe’s camp, he was welcomed for they had feared him lost or dead. And the hunter told them the story of his rescue, and laughed at how well he had tricked the wolf. And his son and eldest daughter laughed and told their father how clever his trick had been.

But the youngest daughter was silent, and she saw the look the Dreamspinnr gave her father, hooded and dark. And she thought, “My father has broken an oath, and no good will come of this.” So she went to her hut and packed her medicine bag, took her knife and bow, and in the dawn before the tribe stirred, she crept away. She found the river of ice, and followed the blood in the snow to the wolf’s den. And she found the wolf, cold and close to death. She wrapped it in her new reindeer skin coat, and dressed the wound with herbs and bark, and took her bow and went to hunt. She found a snow hare and brought it back to the den.  There, she cut the meat into small pieces and fed the wolf from her own hand.

In the days that followed, the wolf grew stronger. His eyes grew brighter, and the ribs that pressed against his skin were covered with flesh as the girl hunted for him. She made fire to keep them warm, and at night she lay beside the wounded wolf and wrapped them both in her coat. In this way, the wolf grew well, and grew to love the girl who saved him. In return, he taught her wolf ways and wolf lore. How to track, to sniff the wind and find game that men could not, to hunt like a wolf and how to sing the moon song when the curved moon grew fat.

One day the girl said, “Now you are well, I have righted my father’s wrong doing, and I must return to my people.” The wolf was sad to see her go, but she had saved him and he could not make her stay. And the girl returned to her people, who were overjoyed to see her but unsure why she had chosen to leave. She said nothing, but the Dreamspinnr knew and smiled, for the girl had averted the fate that might have befallen the tribe with the breaking of an oath.

But the girl could not settle, she no longer felt she belonged to the human tribe, she saw them through different eyes. She hunted strangely and they began to fear her success, for it seemed like sorcery. She could smell and hear things they could not. And she would sing the moon song when it rose full and fat, and it frightened them. She longed for the company of the wolf, for the smell and touch of his fur, his bright eyes that saw the wind, his loyalty and lack of human guile. And once again, she packed her belongings, and in the dawn before the tribe stirred, she crept away. The Dreamspinnr saw her go, and nodded. The girl followed her own tracks back to the den, and found the wolf waiting for her, for he sensed her coming. And she knew this was her home now.

And it is said by hunters who pass that way, that they have seen a wolf and a woman dressed in white fur running beside each other, swift as the wind. And their feet never touch the ground.

All text and images © Christina Cairns 2011

‘The Talesingr’s Children’ is a story invented by Christina Cairns, and all accompanying ‘anthropological information’ was found hidden in an old wooden box with aged brass handles, in the attic in a corner of my mind that doesn’t get dusted very often. Or perhaps it’s all true...............................

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Work In Progress: Beauty Remembers

This is 2 days worth of work, I've just about finished with the pencil rendering (some trees to be added to the horizon), then it will be sealed, then I'll get into the acrylic washes.  I'm working with it leaning up against the dining table while I sit on the floor in front, probably not the best way to go about it, but I couldn't get it on the easel at the right height to sit at.  The canvas is 91cm square, and I intend to have a fair bit of white space.  I haven't worked out how I'm going to incorporate the text of the poem yet though, what style writing and whether I should do it in pencil, or pen and ink, though I think it should be either grey or sepia toned.  Beauty's hair seems to be taking on a slightly tree-like look which I quite like, though it wasn't intentional.  I struggled with the folds of the sheet though, I REALLY can't do draping cloth!  It has to be finished by the end of the week, so no time to stop and procrastinate about which way I should go, which is probably a blessing!

Late Note: for everyone popping in thanks to Terri Windling's very kind recommendation at The Drawing Board, thanks for dropping by, and it you click on the 'Beauty Remembers' label just under the post title, you'll get all the posts relating to the creation of this drawing/painting as it progresses.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I must share this, I love it!

This gorgeous illustration is by Lecte on Etsy!  It's called 'A Net for the Birds'.  Hmmm, does it ring any bells?!  How many birds are there?!  Lecte added me to her circle and so I popped over to her Etsy shop to have a look around, liked what I saw and something about the thumbnail for this piece jumped out at me and I clicked to have a closer look.  I looked at the picture, then noticed the title, it was all looking very familiar and I thought 'Oh my goodness, I must have read the 'Tale of the Seven Bird Spirits' somewhere and completely forgotten, I obviously didn't make it up at all!!!' (Well, aside from the fact that it's intentionally based on a fairytale that I hope people recognise, because if you believe my controversial...and fictional...Professor Woodford-Harding, the Talesingr's Tales could be the ancient prototypes upon which famous fairytales are based!)

So I quickly read through Lecte's description.  And NO, I haven''s actually an illustration of MY story!  How cool is that?  Someone all the way across the other side of the world was inspired to illustrate my little Talesingr's story.  And how cool is that drawing?  I love the dynamism in it, I love the strength in the Dreamspinnr's arms, I love that she is tattooed just as I imagined she would be.  It's just stunning, isn't it!

And I love the way the world wide web makes this kind of thing really is a kind of magic!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Etsy Treasury inclusion! Yay!

Got back from a few days away down south (relaxing with the other half sans munchkins, and window shopping for blocks of land!) and found my little Autumn Hanger included in this lovely treasury of all things Autumnal, by Robyn at Cardstamps

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A faery you wouldn't want to meet...and a gift in the mail

I think this needs a colour wash, it's not finished yet, and I think it needs some green.  This is the kind of faery you don't want to bump into.  I've written short story, a scary faerytale for big people...well, I hope it's scary...and this is the character met by the protagonist.  As part of my plan to continue being a frustrated writer, I submitted the story to The Fairy Tale Review for their latest issue, and this was meant to go with it, but of course, it's not finished yet, and submissions have just closed.  I have a snowball's chance in hell of being accepted (I mean, Marina Warner is just one of their stellar contributors!), but it doesn't matter, it's the writing and the sending off that's important.  If I keep doing that, then one day I might write something that is good enough.

And this is what I received in the mail yesterday!  From Mo who bought my little Talesingr.  The card is beautiful enough, but the little heart is so perfect in its raggedyness, it has love in it, can you feel it?  I love, love, love it!  Thanks you so much, Mo!  Do pop over and visit her lovely blog, and check out the other beautiful hearts and wonderful crow drawings she has there.

P.S. if the Scary Faery (or Erl King as I'm thinking of him as) looks vaguely familiar, then yes, it's based on me...with some distorting and fiddling done!  But I'm not in the least bit scary!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birthdays, goblins, and W.I.Ps...

I've committed myself to doing a new, large painting for an art award/exhibition coming up in a couple weeks.  It's at least a year since I last did something big, and it's a scary prospect, so I decided the best way to get myself to stop procrastinating was to provide a deadline.  So now I have one, Friday week!  I've decided to do something using the same technique I used for the 'Green Jack', a pencil sketch on canvas overlaid with acrylic colours.  The 'Green Jack' was the first piece I've done using that method, and it was only 20cm x 20cm...this one is going to be 91cm x 91cms.  So I'm a little apprehensive about how I'm going to go about it, but I know without a deadline I'd never give it a go at all.

So I've entered a painting that doesn't exist yet, called "Beauty Remembers".  If the title sounds familiar,  you might remember the poem I wrote last year.  I've had an image in my mind for a while now, so it's as good a time as any to get cracking on it.  I want to incorporate the text of the poem into the painting, and I've been scribbling some ideas.  So here's a peak at my sketch/ideas/general ranting/notebook.

And as my smallest munchkin had her birthday during the school holidays, we delayed her party so her school friends could come along.  Several faeries and a couple of pirates turned up, and it seemed like a good time was had by all.
A Faery feast.

No, my munchkin isn't levitating, unless those wings are genuine.  A robust game of Musical Statues got everyone up on the dance floor (er, carpet)!

It was bucketing down for most of the morning, but luckily the rain held off in the afternoon long enough for little people to head outside and go Goblin hunting, with prizes for the most goblins rounded up (because as I explained, my garden was over-run with goblins and they're a terrible pest, scaring the birds away and teasing poor Flynn by pulling her tail and biting her nose).  The goblins were simply pictures purloined from the web (late the previous was a last minute brainwave!), printed in black and white, cut out (very roughly) and stuck onto pop-sticks and pegs, then stuck in the ground or clipped to trees and bushes.  Beloved hid them all in the garden and I gave him strict instructions to remember to think like a 4 foot tall and rather over excited 7 year old (sometimes he forgets everyone else isn't as tall as he is)...and they found them all within 5 minutes!'s a goblin for you (this is one of mine)!  I think though, that he really isn't ugly enough.  An extreme makeUNDER required perhaps!?

Monday, August 1, 2011

"The Green Jack" featured in this lovely treasury!

My 'Green Jack' has popped up in a lovely Etsy treasury Have You Seen the Green Man? along with some other beautiful items.  The treasury was created by Dante at Suntribe Designs, who makes the most gorgeous jewellery...the sort of thing I can just imagine Boudicca, or perhaps Helen of Troy wearing.  I've got my eye on some earrings in there!
Related Posts with Thumbnails