Category: mythology

Updates: Shows, Morpheus Ravenna, Totems, and more!

Greetings! I am busy as ever, and I am thrilled to announce the following updates. I will blog about each of these projects individually as they unfold, but in the meantime here is a dangerous barrage of updates!

Isis - work in progress. Valerie Herron 2014
Isis – work in progress. Valerie Herron 2014

I have 2 shows coming up in the next 30 days! I will be showing my soon to be finished Isis piece at Gargoyles Statuary in their Goddess show on June 20th. If you are unfamiliar, Gargoyles Statuary is Seattle, WA’s one stop shoppe for all things dark and dreamy. They have the best selection of gothic statuary that I have ever encountered, as well as beautiful art, handmade fragrances, jewelry, and all manor of accoutrements for the dark arts and decor. If you can’t make it to the show, be sure to check them out online!

Custom Cranium storefront. Sign art by Stephan Maich, photo by Darien.
Custom Cranium storefront. Sign art by Stephan Maich, photo by Darien.

I will be at the grand opening of Custom Cranium¬†in Eugene, OR on July 1oth with originals, prints, and cards. Custom Cranium is owned and operated by the most fabulous Darien and Adam Prawlocki, proprietors of Custom Cranium online. Be sure to check out and support your local taxidermy artist ūüôā

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This is the first of a new line of creations I shall be making, 6″x6″ mixed media on canvas. This one is already sold, but I will be making more. My vision for these pieces is that they will be totemic paintings, shields, and charms.¬†I can already see a million animals, plants, runes, and more items that I will feature in these apotropaic images. Soon I will also be open to taking commissions for these totemic images. I will keep posting them as I create them, so stay tuned!
Perhaps the announcement I am most excited about: I am thrilled to be illustrating in the upcoming book by Morpheus Ravenna : The Book of the Great Queen. Soon to be published by Concrescent Press, this is a book about the Morrígan, Irish raven goddess of sovereignty, battle, and prophecy (also my personal Matron. DREAM PROJECT.) 

The IndieGoGo campaign to fund this amazing tome is at this link. I encourage you to contribute! Support independent authors and publishers, and you know, illustrators ūüėČ

 

I will try to find time to keep you all updated in the midst of all this madness!

 

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 Рphoto © 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 ‚̧

My Cimaruta by the amazing Maxine Miller
My Cimaruta by the amazing Maxine Miller

 

“Keep your Space Face close to Mine, Love…”

Hello! I’m back from an insane week of decompressing from FaerieCon West and catching up on my work. I have finished my Star Goddess illustration!

I mentioned in the last post that Christine Hoff Kraemer had commissioned this illustration from me. Christine is a religious studies scholar, specializing in Paganism, sexuality, theology, and popular culture. She is a teacher, a prolific author, and the managing editor of the Pagan channel at Patheos.com. I was absolutely thrilled and honored that she sought me out to create the cover illustration for her upcoming book¬†Eros and Touch from the Pagan Perspective: Divided for Love’s Sake.

Christine wanted a depiction the Star Goddess from the Starhawk creation myth. Check my last blog post for details about the myth and my process up to this point.

Finished with the thumbnails, I proceeded to create a textural background that I could scan into the image. I created this with a mixture of wet media: gouache, acrylic ink, and liquid acrylic paint. I felt like I was back in Anna Fidler‘s studio! When I create these kinds of textural pieces, I really feel like I’m in communication with the animal part of my psyche, or maybe my subconscious, that part of me that doesn’t analyse but simply responds to stimuli. It is very meditative.

textual background, mixed wet media
textual background, mixed wet media
nebulous abandon
nebulous abandon

Then I moved on to the line work. I knew that the lines in this image would mainly be a scaffolding for the painting, and I was prepared to remove it all together. For this reason I tried to make it as simple as possible

Line work for Star Goddess Illustration
Line work for Star Goddess Illustration

This drawing was deceptively challenging. Because I was painting God Hirself here, my goal for the figures were for them to be feminine, but ultimately gender-neutral. I was also very concerned with being able to express the angles of the faces without much detail, which was difficult. This was was probably my fifth attempt at drawing this.

I then scanned everything in and started painting digitally. Here are screenshots to show you some of the process:

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And here is the final result:

Divided for Love's Saketraditional and digital media© Valerie Herron, 2013
Divided for Love’s Sake
traditional and digital media
© Valerie Herron, 2013

I’m happy with her, and Christine seems to be as well.

On another note, I wanted to say that working at FaerieCon West 2013 last weekend was an amazing experience. It was extremely high energy and chaotic for me as part of the staff, but it was exciting. When I got home I was apparently still reverberating with all of this insane fae energy, my boyfriend asked me what it was like and all I could say is “I feel like I just spent the last three days doing meth with my boss in a hotel filled with glitter.” It was magical!

I not only got to see my dear friend Maxine Miller completely pwn her presentation about her illustration career, but I got to meet and hang out with a number of luminaries and creative professionals that I’ve been really wanting to meet like Raven and Stephanie Grimassi, T. Thorn Coyle,¬†Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Charles De Lint, and Mariee Sioux.¬†

Faerieworlds LLC is such a wonderful creative enterprise. There is something very empowering about giving people permission to harness their creativity and step into fantasy roles which express something very real about their inner selves. I have had a few conversations with the producer of Portland’s annual Vampire Masquerade Ball who has expressed that that is the main reason she runs the ball every year. She loves to see people feel beautiful and empowered at her event.

I view these sorts of events as giant art instillations that implore the viewers to interact. In fact, the instillation is comprised mostly of the participants and their contributions. It was truly amazing to be part of such a gorgeous, giant, crazy piece of living art and I look forward to working with Faerieworlds LLC as long as I can get away with it.

Valentines, Thesis, and The Star Goddess

Hello, Friends! I hope the Year of the Water Serpent is treating you well so far. Things continue to get busier and busier for me here, but as thesis progresses I become more inspired and excited about my project.

ecmajor-the-black-water-snake-of-the-new-year

I survived the dreaded PechaKucha. It wasn’t too painful, everyone seemed to feel equally unprepared and unsure of what they were supposed to be presenting. The good news is that it did really help me determine a direction for my research.

“In this paper I will consider why people need fictional allegories to empathize with the reality of suffering. I will explore the connection between allegory and social responsibility, as well as the ways that some find empowerment and catharsis through allegorical devices.” ¬†– current thesis statement

I am examining historical and contemporary artists that utilize violent and tragic allegory to convey social and political messages within their work. To bring my paper back into the realm of contemporary illustration, I plan on dissecting a few relevant graphic novels that speak with the same vocabulary.

research materials
research materials

 

I finished the last bit of conceptual groundwork for my thesis project and created comps for all six pieces. This week I start actually working on the art, and I couldn’t be more excited. I will continue to post updates throughout the process.

a comp for one of the six pieces
a comp for one of the six pieces

 

Phase one of my book cover commission is complete. What Christine requested was an image that would evoke the imagery of Starhawk‘s Star Goddess creation myth:

“Alone, awesome, complete within Herself, the Goddess, She whose name cannot be spoken, floated in the abyss of the outer darkness, before the beginning of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space, She saw by her own light her radiant reflection, and fell in love with it. She drew it forth by the power that was in Her and made love to Herself, and called Her “Miria, the Wonderful”.

Their ecstasy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was, or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth to a rain of bright spirits that filled the worlds and became all beings.”

– Starhawk, The Spiral Dance

Christine wanted something more anthro and less pin-up, but sensual none the less. I was up for the challenge. I started out with some very loose sketching trying to design shapes that would be appealing for the composition.

sketches
sketches

 

I then created six variations of silhouettes to see which I liked best. I decided that the second and sixth had the most potential for a pleasing composition that met the client’s criteria

silhouettes
silhouettes

From there I created some final thumbnail comps in photoshop to get an idea of how the silhouettes would look in the form of star clusters. I imagine the line work will be created out of stars (white light/linework) and the line/star clusters will dissipate the further they move away from the goddesses’ kiss. The same would go for the misty looking nebula color which I plan to paint in. To mimic that, I made the shapes/nebulas more transparent moving from the center outward in all of the comps.

As much as I think there is potential for lovely shapes with the full-body nebulas, the client doesn’t want the cover to resemble a pin-up in any way, so the faces definitely are less problematic in that sense. I also appreciate the possibilities of conveying intimacy in a more subtle way through facial expression with the face nebulas. Between the two comps that feature the faces, I prefer the third. It is the better composition, it contains the potential for key facial details, and it gives more room to show off the fading effect of the nebulas and line work. So this is the composition that I proposed for the book cover. Christine seems pleased with that decision, so the next step is creating the line work.

For all of you who celebrate, happy Valentine’s Day and a joyous Lupercalia to you! My boyfriend and I exchanged gifts early, since his work week starts tomorrow. More traditional gifts would include jewelry and chocolates, but we are far from traditional. (Bragging time) He got me my favorite candies, a big bag of tea lights, and the Wildwood Tarot, which I have been coveting for a long time! I got him a locally made set of runes – carved from white tail deer antler – complete with a handmade leather bag, and a Chinese zodiac pendant. And of course, a sappy, sappy card.

nerdy love
nerdy love

 

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.

Endurf√¶√įa after some finishing touches
Valerie Herron, 2012

My Endurf√¶√įa¬†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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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

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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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 ūüė¶

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!