Category: updates

Dang, it’s been a while!

Hello! I’ve decided to clear the dust off of this blog and start writing about my work regularly once more! Well, semi-regularly? Certainly with greater frequency than before.

Over the last year, loads of folks have been asking me to write more about my work. I’ve always struggled with this because I am most definitely not a writer. I am terrified of words, this is why I make images. The problem is that many of these images are confounding! So now that people are actually looking at my work, I must explain my bizarre creations.

This blog was initially a project for college. It was a way to document all of my studies in art and share my work with friends and family. I kept it going for a little while after I graduated. I am very amused by where it leaves off, because I recall it being point where my career truly started. For the following six years I had been so freaking busy, I don’t know that I could have stung two words together about my work even if I had wanted to.

In that time I moved to Seattle(ish), started working in the gaming industry, illustrated many publications, got so busy with illustration work that I had to move to a part-time day job, started working in the mortuary industry, and have been in numerous art exhibitions. Like one does.

Finally having adjusted to the hustle, I think I can carve out the time to talk a little bit about the work that I do. I will certainly try to keep this blog active. I aim to at least write something up for each of the images that I put out into the world. You can, of course, follow me on social media where I speak much more frequently, and display a lot of in process photos.

That’s it for now!

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!

 

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 (‚Äúwonder cabinets‚ÄĚ), 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 Kraemer:¬†Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective. I just happened to¬†illustrate the cover¬†ūüėČ

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! 

 

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

 

Mission Accomplished!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Valerie Herron BFA!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
Valerie Herron BFA!

Well, folks, I did it. I pushed through my senior year and I graduated. I will forever be grateful for my time at PNCA. There is no question that I am a better artists for it, but I feel like I obtained so much valuable experiences outside of classwork that I really just don’t know where I would be. I want to thank the amazing faculty and my amazing classmates and ALL of my¬†amazing¬†peers and loved one for without whom I couldn’t have done this.

I will miss my buddies from the Illustrations department!
I will miss my buddies from the Illustrations department!

I must give special thanks to my boyfriend Fred (or John, if you must) who stood by me through 4 years of frustration, art mess, crying, fatigue, neglect, mood swings, extreme moments of self doubt, ice cream binges, emergencies, strained finances, and general insanity. He not only stood by me, but pretty much propped up my sad husk through all of it. Sweety, I love you more than you can even fathom, and I don’t even know how to thank you for 4 years of¬†unyielding¬†support. I could not have done this without you. Thank you ‚̧

The Boyfriend de Guerre Medal goes to John Mathew Searing III for outstanding courage and fidelity in the face of Student Girlfriend.
The Boyfriend de Guerre Medal goes to John Mathew Searing III for outstanding courage and fidelity in the face of Student Girlfriend.

So, what now? I’m happy to say that I have many projects and prospects on the horizon! I will be taking the summer off to decompress from this whole college experience, and I will be finishing up my internship with Faerieworlds LLC. On top of that, I will continue to make art. I am currently starting work for an upcoming Goddess series, as I have become intrigued with the practice of creating devotional paintings. Basically, I’m giving myself a few months before I have to grow up ūüėČ

So stay tuned! I welcome this new chapter of my life, and I look forward to see the beautiful and surprising ways that life will continue to unfold before me.

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Congratulations PNCA class of 2013, and good luck!

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.

“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.

I’m Back! Get ready for consistency!

Hello! I am back from hibernation and I am now forced (via Advanced Illustration) to provide weekly updates here. Hooray! I’m actually glad I’ll be getting back into the habit of updating this blog, I love sharing the process of my various projects and keeping in touch with everyone.

Thesis update: I managed to create a solid thesis proposal, and I think I did a good job delivering the presentation. The amazing Annie Heisey agreed to be my thesis mentor, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

So that was last semester. So far this semester I have been doing a lot of ideation on my thesis, and I am just now starting to rework the visuals. The conceptual aspect of this project is in a major distillation period, and things are really starting to come together. Stay tuned for updates on the process of my thesis project.

As a follow up to my last post, I completed the cd cover illustration and the cd packaging design for the Hermetic Library’s 5th anthology album. John Bell (the Librarian) was really great to work for. He was very nice, knew specifically what he wanted, and has great design sensibilities. All of these things make a world of difference when trying to communicate with clients via email. I would love to do more work for The Hermetic Library in the future. Here’s the final cover piece:

Cover for Magick, Music, and Ritual 5 Anthology Album.Illustration and Design© Valerie Herron
Cover for Magick, Music, and Ritual 5 Anthology Album.
Illustration and Design
© Valerie Herron

“For the cover art of this anthology, I wanted to create something that was in the spirit of the Hermetic Library project, as well as something that honored this time of year. Autumn is the season of rot, and the process of death and decomposition is apparent in every direction. Leaves wither off the trees, the days grow darker, and the chill of encroaching winter begins to creep into our lungs. The veil between the worlds is receding, and the gaze of otherworldly things is palpable. I wanted to interpret this seasonal ambiance into a dark composition accompanied by the simplicity of line.

A grim icon that truly seems to resonate with people right now is the deer skull. I have seen it in numerous places lately, appearing to have surfaced from the collective unconscious with great purpose. I felt it was an appropriate¬†memento mori¬†for this image. The bind rune is a glyph that is representative of the mythical Wild Hunt: a phantasmal cavalcade, tracking and claiming the lives of mortals. Lastly, the leather book texture is a nod to the Hermetic Library itself.” – My statement about the cover art, from hermetic.com

I was happy to end the semester with one of my favorite illustrations that I have ever made. I created it for my Advanced Illustration class, it’s and homage to American Gothic literature, which I was inundated with at the time:

American Gothic, digital media© Valerie Herron
American Gothic, digital media
© Valerie Herron

If you are on tumblr and Pinterest, I have new accounts on both! This is the tumblr page for my art, and here is my Pinterest page. Follow me on both!

I’m happy to announce that I will be having a solo gallery show this summer! I will announce the details closer to the date, so stay tuned. Second, I am working on my first book cover commission. Also, I am honored to be creating an jacket illustration for Christine Hoff Kraemer‘s newest book. I don’t think she’s promoted it yet, so I’ll keep the title under wraps. I will post the developments of these projects as they unfold.

Last, my internship for Faerieworlds LLC continues as we are gearing up for FaerieCon West. If you are in the Pacific Northwest the weekend of February 22nd and you are interested in a giant fantasy convention complete with two Masquerade Balls, a slew of vendors, talks/workshops by a ton of rad people, you should check it out. I will be there all weekend doing media stuff. Here’s the official website for details:¬†http://faeriecon.com/west/

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be back next week ūüôā