Welcome to Night Vale Listening Party

Allow me to use my blog to shamelessly promote a local event that I’m co-hosting:

The Welcome to Night Vale Listening Party is happening THIS SATURDAY! You don’t want to miss it. Hosted by Matthew Carr and myself, hang out and listen to the 2 latest episodes of WTNV on the stellar sound system of the Lovecraft Bar. There will also be a raffle of official WTNV swag.

graphic design by Valerie Herron

graphic design by Valerie Herron

 

A bit of background info for those of you scratching your heads: Welcome to Night Vale is a brilliant podcast. Influenced by the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, conspiracy theories, and community radio, WTNV is a hilarious and beautifully written production. Narrated by Cecil Baldwin as the Night Vale community radio announcer, WTNV illuminates the strange happenings in the desert town of Night Vale. I recommend it highly, so highly that I think you should listen to it in a group setting!

The Lovecraft Bar is Portland’s own “horror-themed” bar. With tentacles and sigils on the walls, this is the best place in town to get a drink or pot of tea, in my humble opinion. Matt and I thought it was the perfect venue for a WTNV Listening party. So go check it out. What a perfect way to punctuate the romance or disappointment of Valentine’s Day! See you all there :)

 

 

Darwin’s Dilemma

 “What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horrible cruel work of nature!” - Charles Darwin, correspondence with Joseph Hooker (1856)

“When we reflect on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.” - Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species (1859)

Charles Darwin, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron. 1868

Charles Darwin, photographed by                    Julia Margaret Cameron. 1868

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was and English naturalist and geologist who solidified evolutionary theory with his work On the Origin of the Species. While Charles Darwin continues to be a polarizing figure long after his death, many people are unaware of how polarized Darwin was in his own life.  Darwin was heavily involved in the church throughout his life, and even initially attended college to become a clergyman. It was his close observation of nature that brought him to question the concept of intelligent design, specifically the abundance of what he deemed “cruelty” throughout the natural world. His faith continued to dwindle up to the day in 1851 when his daughter Annie died.

Darwin’s Dilemma, 24”x30” mixed media Valerie Herron 2014

Darwin’s Dilemma, 24”x30” mixed media
Valerie Herron 2014

In this piece I wish to explore Darwin’s attempt to reconcile his discoveries in nature with his pre-existing faith. As an artist with a strong reverence of nature, I ask fellow nature-worshippers if these images fall into their visions of veneration. Last, I ask with this piece if cruelty is an inherent quality of nature, or if cruelty is a human projection upon nature.

I created this piece for the exhibition in Curious Gallery PDX. I felt it was in theme with the Victorian’s and their complicated relationship with science. Each image was presented as a separate photo plate within the piece, digital paintings combined with photo elements and treated for vintage effects to create a hybrid of painting and photography. Contemporary and antique visual elements, contemporary and antique sensibilities.

Curious Gallery and FaerieCon West

Hello! So, I’ve been a busy bee this last month. I was part of a fantastic local show organized by Lupa called Curious Gallery.

Curious Gallery PDX 2014 logo graphics.

Curious Gallery PDX 2014 logo graphics, by Fennec Design

“Long before public museums became a feature of many cities, private citizens in Europe and elsewhere formed their own extensive collections of scientific specimens and cultural artifacts meant to educate and inspire their beholders. A longtime collector of natural history specimens, Portland artist and author Lupa wanted to increase awareness and appreciation of wunderkammern (“wonder cabinets”), or cabinets of curiosity, and their eclectic contents. Curious Gallery is the result, a weekend of exhibits, presentations, hands-on workshops, and special programming for lovers of taxidermy, natural wonders, and strange treasures old & new.”

- from Curious Gallery PDX website

This exhibit contained all sorts of curiosities. It was as if H.P. Lovecraft helped to curate a natural history museum. Loads of taxidermy art, objet d’arts arranged from wood and moss and bones, art boxes filled with lovely and horrid treasures, jewelry created from scorpion claws and beetles, and lots of intimidating and beautiful metal art. Plus a full line up of entertainment, lectures, and workshops on a myriad of interesting pursuits. I was privileged to be amongst the 2D artists there. It was a very successful event for me, and such a stunning experience. I must congratulate and thank Lupa Greenwolf & Stephen Couchman (organizer of GearCon) for producing such a magnificent show.

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FaerieCon West is in but a few weeks! What makes this even more nerve-wracking than usual for me would be the fact that I am on a panel this year! Why did this happen? My boss thinks my tears are delicious.  I’m stoked to be giving the talk with the illustrious and endlessly fabulous Maxine Miller. The talk is “ART & SPIRIT: A conversation with Maxine Miller & Valerie Herron” and will be 4:00-4:45pm on Saturday, February 22 in the Mythic Forum Area 3.

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Productivity!

Hello, everyone! Some quick updates:

I now have two jobs! Plus art!

I am now the Social Media Manager at Faerieworlds LLC, and a trembling Neophyte at Invisible Alchemy Kombucha Brewery. Between all this and my art commissions, I have definitely fallen behind in my blogging, but I shall soon be acclimated.

Book cover for Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective by Christine Hoff Kraemer

Book cover for Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective by Christine Hoff Kraemer. Cover illustration by Valerie Herron

My first book cover commission will be out in print soon! To phrase that more appropriately, Check out this new academic text by Christine Hoff KraemerEros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective. I just happened to illustrate the cover ;)

You can read a review of the book in today’s TWH:

(Pagan) Books to Look For: Raven Grimassi, Brendan Myers, Christine Hoff Kraemer, and More! 

 

Le Fata Morgana

Greetings,

My triple super secret painting was a success! My buddy Jason had a landmark birthday this year, and so I wanted to commemorate this with a painting of Morgan Le Fay. I’m happy to say he was very pleased with it.

Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864

Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864

Morgan has been interpreted by so many artists over the centuries, it was definitely challenging to come up with an image that was largely original. I tried mostly to stay true to my personal vision of her, as mutable as that happens to be.

 

Sushila Battagione (incase you haven't heard, she has great hair.)

Sushila Battagione (in case you haven’t heard, she has great hair.)

As I mentioned before, I was so fortunate to have the lovely Sushila Battagione model for this epic role, and she was absolutely perfect. Conducting this photo shoot reminded me how much I love photographing people for reference in my paintings, and I decided that I want to create a series of devotional paintings of Goddesses that I have found connections with over the years. I have already scheduled the photo shoot for my next painting, which will be of Isis. I will continue to post updates here as that process unfolds.

Fata Morgana, mixed media, ©Valerie Herron 2013

Fata Morgana, mixed media,                          © Valerie Herron 2013

 

O sweet illusions of song
That tempt me everywhere,
In the lonely fields, and the throng
Of the crowded thoroughfare!

I approach and ye vanish away,
I grasp you, and ye are gone;
But ever by night and by day,
The melody soundeth on.

As the weary traveler sees
In desert or prairie vast,
Blue lakes, overhung with trees
That a pleasant shadow cast;

Fair towns with turrets high,
And shining roofs of gold,
That vanish as he draws nigh,
Like mists together rolled –

So I wander and wander along,
And forever before me gleams
The shining city of song,
In the beautiful land of dreams.

But when I would enter the gate
Of that golden atmosphere,
It is gone, and I wonder and wait
For the vision to reappear.

Fata Morgana, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

P.S. If you love this Morgan Le Fay painting as much as I do, you can obtain a print of it from my website! Check them out here:

http://www.valerieherron.com/buy-prints.html

Recycling Myths

No, not as in the claims that recycling is bs. Think Joseph Campbell.

I finished the super secret painting. Unfortunately, I can not show you this piece until its great reveal, so stay tuned for next week: the return to aquarelle!

3 weeks ’til Faerieworlds! I am still enjoying my internship as the social media extraordinaire for Faerieworlds LLC. This weekend I will be at an exciting pre-event celebration for FW down in Eugene, OR doing live tweeting, facebooking, and enjoying myself. If you are in the area, or are within driving distance, you should come out. All the details are here on this lovely flier:

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Since I haven’t any of my own art that I can share with you at the moment, I thought I would share this beautiful piece of video art that I came across last week. Even though it is old news in the world of fine art theory and practice, I can never get over the many ways that mythology is recycled and manifests in the arts. I definitely subscribe to the Jungian and Campbell-ian theories about myth, in the sense that studying mythology is the path to understanding the human psyche and the human experience. This exercise is one of the biggest inspirations behind my work.

This video is a contemporary rendition of the Actaeon myth recreated in a Victorian setting. It was inspired by the painting Diana and Actaeon by baroque artist Titian. I would also like to point out his painting The Death of Actaeon for further context. The video was created by Tell No One for the National Gallery in London.

Secrets

Happy Wednesday, All. As promised, I am going to commit to updating this thing at least once a week. So what’s going on in Mystic Media studios today:

I CAN’T TELL YOU! Normally I would post about the process of my projects, but I’m in the process of working on a top secret painting. I will let you know this, however. It will be mixed wet media, much like my Crowley poem series, and I was fortunate enough to have the gorgeous and talented Sushila Battagione to model for this painting. I’m hoping to have it finished by the 1st of July. Stay tuned!

the lovely Sushila Battagione - photo © Scott Belding 2013

the lovely Sushila Battagione – photo © Scott Belding 2013

**NOTE: Does this lady look familiar? That’s because you probably know her either from her artistic excellence in producing Raqs Oubliettes or from her many services and workshops via her health spa Oracle Wellness. If you are unfamiliar with either of these enterprises, I insist that you check them out immediately!**

I was so pleased to receive so much positive feedback on my thesis post, I was even quoted in The Wild Hunt (WHAT?) Thank you guys for taking an interest in my art and taking the time to tell me what you think. And thank you all for being so forgiving about the offensive amount of typos in my mini dissertation! I basically sat down and typed it all out in an hour, so it was naturally rife with mistakes. Meh. Thankfully my actual 50 page thesis paper was coherent and beautifully copy-edited.

Enough with the face-saving. There isn’t much else new and exciting going on around here. I did get to visit with my dear friend Sean who blew in from the midwest this week. We went to The Lovecraft and caught up a little bit. I brought my sketchbook and drew in the dark. C’mon, that isn’t nearly as pathetic as reading a book in the club. Is it?…

OH YEAH, it was my birthday on Sunday. I had a wealth of birthday wishes, my best friend Kelli took me out for dinner, my boyfriend organized a surprise goth pool party for me (for realz) I received 2 birthday readings and my dear friend Maxine Miller gave me this AMAZING cimaruta. Maxine is the artist that designed this cimaruta for Raven Grimassi‘s line of witchy products. I was stoked to get it from the artist herself <3

My Cimaruta by the amazing Maxine Miller

My Cimaruta by the amazing Maxine Miller