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!

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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 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…

BFA Juried Show, the Wild Hunt, and Spring Break

I just finished submitting my 8 pieces for the PNCA Illustration Juried Show.This is the first time I’ve submitted work to a school show.

50 images from the 2011-2012 school year will be juried into the show and displayed in an opening reception during First Thursday in April. Cash prizes will be awarded for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners, + 5 Honorable Mention awards.

Our department is full of extremely gifted illustrators, so I’m not banking on anything. It would be pretty cool to get selected though. These are the images I picked:

The last image wanted to be in the show sooooo bad, but I could only submit 8.

Spring Break begins today!!! It’s not too much of a relief, as I will be continuing to labor over my art all the way through the week. But I can’t complain, I don’t have classes to go to. Tonight I will be conducting a photo-shoot for my final project in my cultural marketplace class. I’m pretty stoked, I rented a bunch of photo equipment from the school and I have like 9 models working with me. I even got to borrow a bunch of shamanic costumery from the infamous Lupa. GO SEE HER AT PAGAN FAIRE TOMORROW!! She will make you look like a Shaman 🙂

Other than assignments, I will be working on getting my wares together for Portland’s first annual Dark Fairytale Ball. It’s only a month away and I have soooooooooooo much to do! Some of my original pieces will be in the gallery show, and I will also be vending.

Alright, I must now go get ready for the aforementioned photo shoot. I’ll keep you all posted on these various projects as they unfold.

Moon Raven Designs, Crowley update, and Video Art

Every once in awhile I like to write up a little something about fellow Pacific Northwest artists who I know or purchase items from. – There is currently one looooooooong over due for the amazing Vajra, proprietress of Conjure Oils. Soon to come!  –

Today I received my package from Moon Raven Designs. I’m so stoked on it I thought that I would share. Mike and Diane Doyle are self taught jewelry artisans in Victoria BC, Canada (still totally the Pacific NW!) They specialize in metal casted animal jewelry.

First, I wanted to complement Moon Raven Designs on their packaging. I’m a sucker for this sort of simple and elegant (and dare I say a bit gothy?) design:

And here is my necklace:

This is a silver, antiqued crow skull. The forehead is pitted and the metal blackened in the recesses. It’s 1-5/8″ long,and even though its pretty durable, it feels light as a feather.It is mounted on an adjustable black cord with four solid brass nickel plated beads that are spaced with two blood red translucent glass beads.

It’s pretty much my new favorite thing in the world.

I ordered this 10 days ago, which is super fast from Canada. I had one question I sent the sellers which Mike answered for me in minutes. The folks at Moon Raven Designs shipped it the very next day, complete with a tracking number. Plus, it was very reasonably priced, as are the other items I was drooling over in their online shop.

If you didn’t catch the link, you can find Moon Raven Designs’s Etsy store HERE. I highly recommend these folks.

I will be starting my thumbnails for the Crowley triptych tonight. I am super excited for this series. I have already shot two model photo-shoots for reference, and I’ll be shooting the last one Thursday.

This is going to be a busy week. After classes Thursday I will be doing the aforementioned photo-shoot and all day Friday I will be filming for my friend’s music video. More details when the video is nearer to finish. Oh yeah, did I ever mention my love of making film art?? I’m still a Neophyte video artist, but I really enjoy writing, filming and editing.

On that note, I leave you with this RIDICULOUS (silent) animation I made my very first semester of art school:

Secret Project Finally Revealed!

I must apologize to my facebook followers who have been anticipating this moment, I’m not sure it is as epic as warranted by 3 weeks of secrecy.

A while ago Lucretia Renee Rathmann – proprietress of Dark Fusion Boutique – asked me to create some illustrations for DFB. She wanted me to use photographs from the website for reference, which was sweet, since she is a great photographer. First I came up with this:

Portrait of Lucretia Renee Rathmann - ink and aquarelle, 2012

For reference, I used a DFB photo taken by the insanely talented Christopher Perez. For the rest of the DFB images, I wanted to mute the models a bit so the clothing would pop a bit more. I created the foreground images and the DFB logo in the same style as Lucretia’s portrait, (sans heavy shadows on the models) then brought the images into photoshop and completed them there. I also did 3 variations of each, so there is a white, black, and red version of each model. Here is the result:

Dark Fusion Boutique: Heather - mixed media/digital, 2012

Dark Fusion Boutique: Ashley - mixed media/digital, 2012

Dark Fusion Boutique: Korina - mixed media/digital, 2012