Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fairy Exercises

Once upon a time, an elfling who wanted to be a writer discovered roleplaying games online (MUDD's... the anceint forerunner to today's MMORPG's like World of Warcraft.  They're completely text-based).  In that environment, she used to create cooperative tales with other online roleplayers. 

Nerdy, I know.
Anyway, it was during this chapter of her life that she discovered a site called Elfwood, and there found an artist named Stephanie Pui-Mun Law whose worlds in watercolor would enchant her.  While our elfling was building a website, Stephanie was even gracious enough to let her use one of these luminous works as its cover.   This was maybe 15 years ago, maybe a little less.
Fast forward.  About three years ago, after the elfling had mostly given up on actual writing (plot is not her forte, and there is not a lot of market for poetry these days) and found an outlet for creativity in other ways, like painting pewter miniatures and making wire and chainmaille jewelry (there is a nerdy thread running through this whole thing, yes).
Then she met her fairy godmother, Karen, who taught her how to paint, and more importantly, gave her the most important words an artist can know:  "Don't be afraid."  So the elfling learned to wield a paintbrush herself.
She was enchanted to discover that her favorite painter, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, had published a book on how to paint the ethereal words that she created.  She was given this book, Dreamscapes, as a gift, but it sat on the shelf for several years (she forgot that advice from her fairy godmother).

When she finally resolved not to be afraid anymore, about a month into the Journey, she finally pulled out that book, and tried her wings.

Another page in my watercolor sketchbook, an exercise from Stephanie's book Dreamscapes:  Creating Magical Angel, Faery & Mermaid Worlds in Watercolor.  The fairy, that is.  The knotwork took at least as long and is completely my own addition, and even though it has some issues, I'm fairly pleased with it... although I think maybe I should have chosen some subtler shades so as not to overwhelm the delicate fairy.  But hey, it's a sketchbook and it's my first painting that's anything like this.

Knotwork, I can tell you now, is very meditative, almost like a zentangle once you get into the rhythm.  I drew this on graph paper and transferred it with graphite paper to the watercolor page.  transferring knotwork is not meditative and is sort of a pain in the butt.

Stephanie has been one of  my favorite artists for ages, and I own this book, her Shadowscapes tarot deck, and a calendar she did a few years ago (I really wish she'd do another one!!).  There are now two more books in the Dreamscapes series, and I want them badly, but I told myself I'd have to commit to doing a few exercises out of this one, at the least, before I can buy them. :)  Besides, painting a fairy is on the list of things to try this month.