Category: paintings

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!

 

Darwin’s Dilemma

¬†‚ÄúWhat a book a devil‚Äôs chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horrible cruel work of nature!‚Ä̬†– Charles Darwin, correspondence with Joseph Hooker (1856)

‚ÄúWhen 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.‚ÄĚ –¬†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 ‚Äúcruelty‚ÄĚ throughout the natural world. His faith continued to dwindle up to the day in 1851 when his daughter Annie died.

Darwin‚Äôs Dilemma, 24‚ÄĚx30‚ÄĚ mixed media Valerie Herron 2014
Darwin‚Äôs Dilemma, 24‚ÄĚx30‚ÄĚ 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.

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

 

Full Blown Thesis Insanity

Hi folks! This is officially the last two weeks I have to work before I present my thesis project. A biproduct of this is that I haven’t been able to update my blog here until now. So first off, here is the finished product of my obsession illustration:

Obsession Digital media © Valerie Herron 2013
Obsession
Digital media
© Valerie Herron 2013

 

And here are some details on my thesis painting progress. I’m so close to being finished! Wish me luck on the home stretch of my studio work for this project.

 

Midterm Review and Thesis Progress

I made it through Midterm!

The midterm review was a little intense. I had to present my thesis concept to a panel of professionals (my panel consisted of art directors from the design, comics and gaming industries, and one freelance artist.) I also showed them my process and my work in progress. Here is a glance of the process behind my Brutality piece, the first image in the series. These are just a few of the items that I presented:

The panel thought my project was very strong conceptually, and they really responded to the work itself. I was thrilled. I also presented my current portfolio. Why yes, that is gold leaf!

The panel seemed excited about my work. They were all very nice, and gave extremely thoughtful feedback. This was definitely the help and encouragement I needed to push forward into the rest of my studio work over the next 6 weeks. And I must thank my amazing thesis mentor Annie Heisey once again. She knows exactly when to push me and when to not freak out! It’s a crucial balance that I think I need from all the people in my life, but she has been especially helpful this semester and I’m sure I’ll gush about her awesomeness a few more times before all of this insanity is over. Thanks, Annie.

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 ūüôā

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"

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 ūüôā

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.

My Portland

Our last assignment in my Experiments in Drawing class was to create a landscape drawing from somewhere in Portland that could also serve as sort of a tribute to Portland. I chose a landmark from a cemetery on the west side over by my apartment. I go driving and hiking in this secluded area of Portland whenever in the mood to run off into the woods. I brought the cityscape a lot closer in the composition. The spiral rock is not actually in the cemetery, I just wanted to add it as a nod to the neo-pagan vibe I find all over this city. It’s appropriate, considering the city is so Victorian (see: Arts and Crafts Movement.) My favorite feature of the city (and of all of the Pacific Northwest) are the crows, whom I had to pepper into the composition. And of course, the obligatory roses for the City of Roses.

My Portland - mixed media, Valerie Herron 2012

I really wish I had more time to work on this piece, and I will probably re-do it (seems to the theme as of late.) I really fell in love with Portland, OR. I moved here when I was 24 and it was here that I’ve made the most pivotal decisions and developments in my life. I know that I will probably have to move from here after graduation, which makes me sad. Portland is definitely its own little utopia in a way. Hopefully wherever I go, I can find as much magic in the scenery.

That being said, Portlandia is pretty apt, I have to admit.