Category: fantasy

Thesis Progresses and other New Developments

Hello friends and fans of my art! I have surfaced once more from the insanity of thesis and other projects to give you some updates.

Endurfæða after some finishing touches
Valerie Herron, 2012

My Endurfæða piece is in a studio show which opened yesterday for Portlands official Design Week. I was honored to take place in this show with selected PNCA illustration students, the most talented people I know!

Second, I am so excited to announce that I have been hired into a new internship: I am now the social media intern for Faerieworlds LLC! This is an enterprise that I have followed for years. They produce gigantic events on the east and west coasts that coalesce art and artist, musicians, vendors, and workshops and a multitude of other romantic expressions fantasy. I’ve participated in their events for years now, and I’ve even vended at a few. I can’t say enough good things about these folks, and I urge you to check out and follow their various outlets on facebook, tumblr, and pinterst.

Be sure to check out FaerieCon East! It’s coming up next month 🙂

I am very excited to start an artistic collaboration with The Hermetic Library. The enigmatic “Librarian” describes the Hermetic library simply as an endeavor for “Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition.”  The Hermetic Library releases quarterly music anthologies, songs are submitted by musicians who are inspired by the occult. I am in the beginning stages of working with the Librarian on illustrating and designing anthology covers. I will keep you posted throughout that process, in the meantime, be sure to check out The Hermetic Library at their official blog, tumblr, and facebook.

Thesis marches on! As I mentioned previously, my idea for my senior thesis project was accepted. I am now in the process of creating preliminary sketches and mood boards to nail down the visual language of this project. I also am starting the process of writing my thesis proposal, which I will be presenting to school in 8 weeks.

two of my moodboards in process

Ok, back to work! I want to thank everybody who has helped me out, as well as everyone who has taken an interest in my art over the years. I would not be able to keep up this volume of work if it wasn’t for all of the encouragement I receive from loved ones and even random people online who simply like my drawrings! Thanks 🙂

I leave you with this classic song to commemorate the birthday of the Megatherion himself. Herron Out!

Thesis Plans Finally Revealed!

So now that it has been approved, and I have sorted out some of the details, I will finally divulge the premise for my thesis project.

The back story is this: when I was first considering giving up smoking a few years ago, I was discussing the difficulty of addiction with a friend and fellow occultist. He said to me “you just have to see it as it is. Your addiction to smoking is an elemental, and it has you.” I had never thought of addiction in those terms before, and this concept helped me grapple with, and eventually vanquish, that caustic demon. Around that time I also recalled a conversation I had with another dear friend about my issues with anxiety. She referred to it as a monster that I needed to name and conquer. I loved this idea equally, and informed her that someday I would paint my monster so that I may own it.

I stowed both of these concepts in my head, and over the years I have thought of many ways in which I could utilize them in my art. Everything from illustration series to serious apotropaic paintings. I finally decided that these are the basic concepts that would inform my thesis work here at PNCA.

My thesis will be a series of six, mixed media paintings depicting the metaphorical demons that enslave humanity. The work will utilize both traditional and digital media. The images will be tenebrous, figurative and allegorical in nature. I will take abstract concepts such as “disease” and “brutality” and personify them each within their own painting.

Here is a slide from the presentation where I pitched this idea for the first time, last week. It contains past work of mine that represent some of the ways I plan to approach the work visually, as well as some thoughts on research:

slide from 1st thesis pitch

The title for the project is “The Allegories of Subjugation.” I must admit, I really like the title. Good job, me. This weekend I narrowed down the number of pieces I will have in the series and what allegories I am going to create. The current step in this whole process is to create a mood board for the basic aesthetic of the project:

mood board for thesis
all images plundered from tumblr and google

So now that I’ve set this all up, I have to actually live up to the insanity of my own expectations. I will be scheduling photo shoots for photo reference in the next few weeks. For those of you in the PDX area who actually know me, let me know if you are interested in modeling for me. You could be immortalized as a demon!

Classes, Thesis, and Faeries

Hello, everyone! I think I’m finally warmed up and ready to face thesis year. Here are a few updates as to what I am doing myself:

Both of my literature seminars are extremely captivating. I’m currently reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy for my american gothic lit class – I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave while doing so for the full Western Bloodbath effect. I just finished episode 10 of The Wire. I knew I wouldn’t escape that show emotionally unscathed. The 1st season isn’t even over!

I’m at the halfway point on my icon assignment for my Advanced Illustration class. I finished inking the line work and scanned it in so I can create some digital magic with it. Here is the line work I finished this weekend:

linework for icon piece
Valerie Herron 2012

I’m not sure, but I think my professor mentioned something about this piece being in a gallery show once it’s finished? Stay tuned!

I somehow managed to keep up on all this work on top of rehearsing and performing in my dear friend’s wedding ceremony. Congratulations Chris and Terry Hartgrove!

I pitched my basic thesis idea yesterday, and it was approved! So I will be spending the next several months researching allegories, demonology, and the Romantic & Symbolist painters. Woot! I will reveal my thesis idea when it is a little more realized.

The Nightmare
John Henry Fuseli 1781

Last but not least, for fans of the Faerieworlds/FaerieCon events: it was announced today that a new feature has been added to the upcoming FaerieCon East, The FaerieCon Book Club! The FaerieCon Book Club will give people a chance to join a discussion with fellow FaerieCon participants, hosts, and fantasy authors at the next FaerieCon East. You can find out more details about the book club at the FaerieCon East website, and you can join the discussion early at the FaerieCon Book Club Facebook page.

That’s all I have for now. I will continue to keep you all posted as thesis and the rest of these projects unfold 🙂

Thesis Year: Into the Fray

Alright, I am back in school for my senior year at PNCA. So far it appears that the whole process around my senior thesis will be a harrowing experience. Having my ideas ripped apart my the department head and classmates until they are distilled into something good, two speeches in front of the school and a panel of inquisitors, and a giant research paper. Not to mention the massive project itself. Pray for me. I will definitely show some of the process here as my thesis project develops.

please don’t break me.

I have two literature seminars that I am so insanely excited for. One of them is about American Gothic literature, and the other is all about The Wire. Will I have a shred of optimism, or any trust in my culture’s institutions at the end of this semester? I’m not bothered, I feel like both are going to inform my thesis quite a bit.

Omar comin’ y’all.

 

In my illustration classes, thankfully we are starting with some basic, warm-up design assignments. My first was to create a collage combining my work with the work of others (max. of 10 images total), and then designing it into a composition.

ATTENTION ARTISTS: It is only appropriate to do this sort of thing for educational purposes. I will not be putting this piece on my website or selling it. Do not use other people’s art in your work!

I decided I wasn’t going to make it some sort of homage to my favorite artists because A. that would be hard to narrow down and B. how fucking tacky would that be? I looked through the pile of images that I collected of work I love and made this weird, sci-fi image:

a collage of stolen goods

I’m sure you can recognize the work of Hieronymus Bosch, John William Waterhouse, and Stephanie Lostimolo. I collaged in Circe from my work. Oh yes I did just put a collage within a collage! I’m a loose cannon.

Then I added my Cernnunos icon, scanned and collaged in some textures, threw on text, and there you have it. It was a fun assignment.

Imagepath assignment, Valerie Herron 2012

The second assignment – the process for which is stretched out over the next few weeks – is to choose an image from a list of options and create an icon. I chose the option “your choice of animal.” Here are a few of the thumbnail sketches from Friday. Are those ram-horned serpents? Maybe…

I swear they’ll look fierce when they’re no longer thumbnails…

I’m still on the fence. They may end up just adders.

With my workload increasing, I’m not sure how often I will be able to post updates here, but I will do my best to stay somewhat consistant. I sleep now!

Faerieworlds, Dead Can Dance, and Portraits

Heh, it’s been about a month, so I suppose it’s time for an update…

Faerieworlds 2012 Summer Festival was amazing, hands down. I drove down to Eugene with my dear friend, Tina, on Friday and Saturday. I ran into so many good friends and danced more in 2 days than I have all year. So necessary. Sadly, I had to come back from Arcadia.

Buddies at Faerieworlds. Clockwise from the bottom: Michael, Tina, Jason, and me.

Back to work. I just completed a portrait sketch for friend and local musician Kenneth Barton. His band Petal Songs is based in Portland and has been together for over a decade. He commissioned this another portrait, and we are talking about album cover design and illustration work coming up in the fall. I’ll continue to post all the work I do for Ken.

A sketch of Kenneth Barton.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a tentative painter. I hate the process of creating a painting when the piece is very important to me. For over a year I have been trying to start this portrait of my dear friend, Eleanor. Over a year ago I conducted a photo-shoot at her house in Seattle to capture the composition and have reference for the piece. Then I did a digital mock-up painting for a study, and then moved on to the actual painting. I restarted it twice. Then I put it aside. Then I did countless tiny studies, scared to death to start working on the actual piece. I finally started working on the final piece this week. I must finish this damn painting before school starts. Here are some pictures of the process so far:

On Friday I will be driving to Seattle to see Dead Can Dance in concert. This has not quite sunk in yet. DCD is largely responsible for most of the music I love. This may be the only concert I’ve ever attended where I get a little star-struck and manic. As manic as one can be while listening to droning incantations and folk dirges. If I can dissociate from my inner 14-year-old enough to notice various details of the concert, I’m hoping I can write a review of it on The Movement of Sound.

There, I’m that is enough update to make up for a month of silence!

Conjure Oils! and other updates

Hello kids! I hope your summer is shaping up to be as magnificent as mine is. One thing is for certain, having a magnificent summer is distracting. I have to bring myself back inside from my woodland mirth-making and Venusian inebriation to actually get some things done! With that, I bring you my review of :

CONJURE OILS! graphics by Vajra Conjure

Now, it is no secret that Vajra Conjure is a personal friend/one of my favorite people on this planet. I would like to point out, however, that our friendship started because I sought her out to tell her how baller I thought her oils were! She truly is a genius parfumier. She is also a liscened councilor, and an art school graduate. I actually really aspire to her level of talent in design.

the beautiful and talented Vajra. Graphics by Vajra Conjure.

Vajra’s business is Conjure Oils. It is a local (Portland, OR) company that makes and sells perfume oils, soaps, and lotions. I used to get my perfume oils wherever I could, but now I really can’t bring myself to use anything other than Conjure Oils. Seriously, they will ruin you for all other perfumes. I have quite a few of Vajra’s products, but I will review the few that I had intended to review awhile ago. I will certainly update with reviews of her other products as I purchase them, but I encourage you to go to the website to check out her entire inventory, as I guarantee you that you will find something that you absolutely can’t live without!

Conjure Oils merch. Photography by Valerie Herron 2012

 ~~~

Circe: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.
  CIRCE

{Master Sorceress}

Hypnotic star anise, narcotic opium and black ice mesmerize the senses. Pure magic.

This perfume unfurls like a narrative. At first it comes across as dark, cold, sweet scent that brings with it imagery of deep, coastal grottos and lurking Nerieds. As you wear it through the day, the scent transforms from a powerful anisian aura to a trace of something similar to Baby Soft, but much more stunning. Oh, and you may recognize that graphic on the bottle 😉

Morrigan: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron

MORRIGAN
{Celtic Goddess of Death & Magic}

“Murders of ravens shriek hungrily over a battlefield: Smoky amber, white narcissus and bloody rose blossoms wilt in the night air”

 Sorry to disappoint, but this perfume does not smell like a bloodied field of sundered Celts. It does, however, smell fucking amazing. First you will notice a misty hint to this blend that is reminiscent of a rainy forest. It reminds me of walking around in the Pacific Northwest. Next comes a subtle note of  rose, and it is then encapsulated in a bite of something that makes it all smell antique. It’s how I imagine women of the Unseelie Court smell, and I slather it on regularly.
Aradia: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

ARADIA
{Bella Strega}
“Italian holy daughter of Diana who was charged with the protection of the oppressed and the guardianship of her subversive witches. 13 sacred ingredients grace her perfume including rue, Tuscan bergamot, olibanum, black myrrh, artemisia, thick nocturnal musk and incense burned in the light of the full moon”

This blend is definitely on of my favorites. It is spicy and summer-y. Sniffing it straight from the bottle, it smells similar to Circe, but more savory. After rubbing it into my skin the scent turns into a candied bouquet of witchy plants. You will smell like a witch’s spice rack, and probably get more compliments on your perfume than ever before. I certainly do whenever I wear Aradia.

Eve: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

EVE
{Biblical Temptress
}
“Red apples, green serpents, fig leaves and other forbidden fruits and flowers in the Garden of Eden”

When I first smelled this, I was so stoked. This is the perfect “medieval” perfume I had been searching for. Sniffing this blend will fill your head with tart apples, mulling spice, and the colognesque scent of distilled fig. MADRIGAL!! I love this blend so much I somehow managed to spill it all over my altar 😦

Wear this to accentuate any medieval costumery.

Whore of Babylon: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

WHORE OF BABYLON
{Sacred Slut
}
“A wanton blend of a fallen starlet: scorched vanilla, champagne and pink diamonds. Our most popular fragrance has been restored to is former glory!”

With good reason, this is Conjure Oil’s most popular scent. Even my Mom (who is a Baptist) LOVES this perfume and hints at me constantly to procure more for her.

How to even describe this masterpiece? It’s like being in a bath full of fragrant herbs while naked priestesses are poring candied sangria into your mouth. It’s like Mickey Avalon in a bottle, minus the sleaze. Perhaps I should say Dionysus in a bottle. And one can not help but feel irresistible when wearing it, people will seriously sniff you as you walk by. It makes me wonder if Vajra put pheromones in it.

Spellbinding Soap: by Vajra Conjure
Photography by Valerie Herron

I have the moodiest, sensitive skin. I look at soaps with fragrance in them and I break-out and dry up. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to use fragranced soap without some sort of annoying skin problem, with the exception of Conjure Oils Spellbinding Soaps. These soaps are amazing. Vajra handmakes them, whatever scent or color you want. I have used  “Sweetest Strawberry” and “Whore of Babylon”, and both made me feel like a goddess. More importantly, they both made my skin soft and in no way irritated.

So there is my long overdue review of some Conjure Oil products. As promised, I will share more reviews in the future of Vajra’s products, as I will inevitably buy more.

Be sure to check out the Conjure Oils website, blog, facebook page, twitter, livejournal, and forum. Like me, Vajra is all over the interwebs.

Quickly, here are some personal updates: I am spending the next week reclaiming my house from clutter and working at my internship. Then I will start work on round 3 of Eleanor‘s portrait, and some video work for Raqs Obliettes. And somewhere in there I have a birthday.
Goodnight!

The May Queen

My last project in Experiments in Drawing. We had a model come in for the last 2 classes and we were supposed to think of how to super-impose the model into a drawing.

I took some sketches of the model for reference. I drew the linework in graphite and ink, and then I scanned it in and colored everything in photoshop. The three hares are from a previous drawing of mine.

It’s not very experimental, nor is it very dark, but believe me: wheat takes an impressively long time to draw. Fact.

May Queen: digital media, Valerie Herron 2012

I spent the last few hour working on my promo-pack, which is my final in Cultural Marketplace. Once that’s finished I’ll post it up here. Wow, this is my last week of school. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

The Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball

Hello everyone. I’m a bit late to blog this week, but I am now all caught up after vending, and I am so ready to report how the Ball went.

The Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball was a total success (good job Joe, Aaron, and Jesse!) It had a great turn out, and it was a lot of fun. Here’s the breakdown of my day at the event:

Set up

We got there around 2:30 pm to set up the booth. As you can see here, the organizers supplied me with a table and two walls to hang my work:

Val's booth Before
hallway for the artists
the main room and stage
the lounge for the venders

If you ever find yourself vending at an event for the first time, be sure to give yourself as much time as possible to set up. It takes a surprising amount of time to set up, and you will inevitably forget important things at home. Everything looked pretty good after we set up

Fred and the booth
high end prints
booth
booth
originals
my originals

 Artists and Vendors 

Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of everybody, but here are some of the super talented artists that were in this event:

the work of Jesse Lindsay
Jesse Lindsay, Becky, and Dan Boles
Wes Rogers
Sushila reading tarot
Luke Green and his work
vendors in the lounge
Lupa's sweet booth

Aaron Shallock’s Aerial Performance

This was the only performance I got to break away from the booth for. Event organizer (and my Buddy) Aaron Shallock did his first public, aerial performance here at the ball. Since I had never seen him do this before, I found myself worried that he was going to fall on his head at several points. It was a beautiful performance, no accidents nor injuries, and he looks like a freakin’ saucy vampire in these photos:

Costumes

Fred dressed as Pan. He makes a sexy Satyr.
I wore antlers, a medieval dress, and was fabulous.

Fred and I had a great time, and we even made some sales!

Alright, back to the grind. I have 2 weeks left of school and it is officially ultimate crunch time. I would like to say congratulations to all of my school chums that either gave their thesis proposal or defense this last week. Everyone who I got to see present did an amazing job. I’m so proud of all of you, and I hope I can be even half as suave when I present in the Fall…

The Wild Hunt (of Portland) and Vending

I’m stoked that I managed to get this painting done this weekend. I know I say this a lot, but I do feel like this one is still a work in progress. Really I would just like another week or two of tweaking it. So here it is:

The Wild Hunt (of Portland) - digital media, Valerie Herron 2012

I’ve been wanting to do a Wild Hunt painting for some time, and there are many different versions that I want to create. This one was supposed to be sort of comical. I brought a few of my favorite Portlanders together for the photo shoot I conducted for the photo reference for this painting. As you can imagine, it was pretty hilarious. My buddy Lupa loaned me all of the fur items you see in the painting (FYI- you can buy these ethically obtained furs and others like them via her website thegreenwolf.com.) I had to later superimpose Fred (who you may recognize from this) into the photo reference. Even though a celestial harvesting co-op or whatever is so much more Portland, compositionally the hunt needed a leader.

I went down to Mt. Tabor Theater to meet with the organizers of the Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball. They showed me my vending space and  I started to get super excited. I really have to thank Aaron, Jesse, and Joe for being so helpful and flexible with all of my planning and obsessing.

It’s next weekend, folks. You don’t want to miss it.

Now I must go to sleep. This week is going to be insane…

Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball, Ostara, and More

Hello! I step out of the fray once more to deliver an update to you lovely souls whom are following my art.

I finished and scanned the line work for my Wild Hunt (of Portland) painting. For the assignment, I plan on creating the painting digitally, much like the treatment on my Oberon and Titania illustrations. After school is out, I’m planning on redoing the same painting in the mannor I dealt with my alchemy series.

linework for the Wild Hunt (of Portland)
graphite on strathmore paper

As you can imagine, the photo shoot I conducted to get the photo reference for this project was so much fun.  I’ll be sure to post the results when this piece is finished.

In my free time (which means the hour that I’m waiting for my sleeping pills to kick in every night) I have been working on this piece:

Adder and Hawthorne - digital media, Valerie Herron 2012

It’s the first of what I would like to be a series of plant & animal totem series. I will continue to post them as they are created 🙂

Next order of business: Portland’s First Annual Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball!! APRIL 21ST!! Will Valerie manage to complete all her assignments in the next few weeks AND get all of her swag ready for vending AND original paintings ready for the gallery show? Of course she will, it will just involve a lot of swearing, lack of sleep and a lack of showering. People that don’t think artists work hard are crazy. Anyway, here is the all of the info if you are interested, AND YOU ARE DEFINITELY INTERESTED!

artwork and flier by Jesse Lindsay
This is a 21 and up event.The First Annual Dark Fairy and Fantasy BallPlease join us as we welcome the coming 2012 Spring in our own twisted way. Enjoy a night of Decadence, Dancing, Artwork, Performers, Vendors and much more.
See mystical dark artwork by local Portland artists, while you dance to the chaotic rhythms of faery music!
Be entertained by local Portland aerial, stilt and stage performers weaving a twisted spell taking you to the twilight world of the Unseelie court…DJ’s all night providing dark music to celebrate the darker side of spring!PERFORMANCES by:

Bhrigha Gypsikelt – Dark tribal Unseelie fae bellydance!

Aaron Schallock ~ Aerial Silks
Chaunda VanTassel ~ Fairy on stilts.

Infamous Nina Nightshade – Dark delightful burleque!

Ari Lynn & Meg Russel from Dreamscape theater – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreame-Scape-Theater/156563571061551

Elizabeth Soots ~ Dark fairy Bellydance!

Plus surprise guests!

VENDORS:

The Green Wolf – animal masks and tails, pagan ritual tools and implements.
http:/thegreenwolf.com

Rosarium Blends – Dark and fae oils
www.rosariumblends.com

La Vie Macabre
http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaVieMacabre?ref=si_shop
laviemacabrestore@gmail.com

Elizabeth Soots
Headdresses, hairclips and accessories.

Bratty Hats Brattyhats.com – Mini hats!

Conjure oils

Visual Artists:

Jesse Lindsay

Valerie Herron

Luke Green

Wes Rogers

Maxine Miller

Dan Boles

the rest TBA.

Costumes are highly encouraged but not required.

A limited number of tickets are now on sale and available through the calendar at the Mt Tabor website.
Save some money and assure your spot !$10 presale

http://thetabor.com/

Poster and flyer image by Jesse Lindsay http://www.facebook.com/theartworkofjesselindsay

Mt. Tabor Theatre
4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
$15 at the Door. 9pm, 21 and up please.

As you can see, there are a collection of insanely talented people in this show that you must go see.

Last, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Ostara, Easter, or whatever spring holiday you are observing this time of the year. I celebrated a late Ostara yesterday. I drove out to my favorite hide out (featured in the My Portland drawing) and ate breakfast. Check this view:

Blix says "Happy Ostara"