Category: watercolor and goauche

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.

Hymn to Pan, Dionysus, and Hymn to Lucifer

Project 3 in my Cultural Marketplace class was to illustrate 3 poems in a sequence or from the same source. I chose Hymn to Pan, Dionysus, and Hymn to Lucifer by Aleister Crowley.  While I truly love Crowley’s writing, and am fascinated with the man from a historical perspective, I chose these poems because A. I love to make my classmates roll their eyes for some reason and B. I never seem to illustrate men. I decided that I wanted the illustrations to be more devotional in nature than narrative, which is why they feel more like portraiture than an action panel. I had a very short amount of time to execute these paintings, so ultimately I do consider them to be works in progress. Here are the results:

Pan - aquarelle, Valerie Herron 2012
Dionysus - aquarelle, Valerie Herron 2012
Lucifer - aquarelle, Valerie Herron 2012

To put them into further context for the project, I designed a border to tie more Thelemic symbolism into the images, and applied it to the images in photoshop. All together, the images are presented as plate illustrations for an anthology of Crowley poetry:

Valerie Herron 2012

Hymn to Pan

Thrill with the lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Shepherdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautifal God,
In the moon of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of the amber fount!
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantonness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain – come over the sea,
(Io Pan! Io Pan!)
Devil or God, to me, to me,
My man! My man!
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill!
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring!
Come with flute and come with pipe!
Am I not ripe?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion and sharp as an asp –
Come, O come!
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All-devourer, all begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The Gods withdraw;
The great beasts come, Io Pan! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end,
Mannikin, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan!

Aleister Crowley, 1929

Valerie Herron 2012

Dionysus

I bring ye wine from above,
From the vats of the storied sun;
For every one of yer love,
And life for every one.
Ye shall dance on hill and level;
Ye shall sing in hollow and height
In the festal mystical revel,
The rapurous Bacchanal rite!
The rocks and trees are yours,
And the waters under the hill,
By the might of that which endures,
The holy heaven of will!
I kindle a flame like a torrent
To rush from star to star;
Your hair as a comet’s horrent,
Ye shall see things as they are!
I lift the mask of matter;
I open the heart of man;
For I am of force to shatter
The cast that hideth -Pan!
Your loves shall lap up slaughter,
And dabbled with roses of blood
Each desperate darling daughter
Shall swim in the fervid flood.
I bring ye laughter and tears,
The kisses that foam and bleed,
The joys of a million years,
The flowers that bear no seed.
My life is bitter and sterile,
Its flame is a wandering star.
Ye shall pass in pleasure and peril
Across the mystic bar
That is set for wrath and weeping
Against the children of earth;
But ye in singing and sleeping
Shall pass in measure and mirth!
I lift my wand and wave you
Through hill to hill of delight :
My rosy rivers lave you
In innermost lustral light..
I lead you, lord of the maze,
In the darkness free of the sun;
In spite of the spite that is day’s
We are wed, we are wild, we are one.

At Shigar Baltistan.

Aleister Crowley (date?)

Valerie Herron 2012

 Hymn to Lucifer

Ware, nor of good nor ill, what aim hath act?
Without its climax, death, what savour hath
Life?  an impeccable machine, exact
He paces an inane and pointless path
To glut brute appetites, his sole content
How tedious were he fit to comprehend
Himself!  More,  this our noble element
Of fire in nature, love in spirit, unkenned
Life hath no spring, no axle, and no end.

His body a bloody-ruby radiant
With noble passion, sun-souled Lucifer
Swept through the dawn colossal, swift aslant
On Eden’s imbecile perimeter.
He blessed nonentity with every curse
And spiced with sorrow the dull soul of sense,
Breathed life into the sterile universe,
With Love and Knowledge drove out innocence
The Key of Joy is disobedience.

Aleister Crowley (date?)

Alright, well considering the Illustration department at PNCA are not big fans of pathos, nor pretention, that should be enough material to keep them patting me on the head for the rest of the semester. May all artists that have not revelled in pretention cast the first stone 😉

Happy Spring Equinox, everyone!

Crowley and the Deep Ones

I have the pencilling and inking finished on what I’m now calling “The Crowley Trinity.” My puns have gotten out of hand lately, and I blame The Bugle entirely. Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at the triptych:

I’m debating on whether I want to finish these in aquarelle or digital painting. What do you guys think? I’ll sleep on it and see how I feel.

An in-studio assignment I have coming up is to create a wallpaper pattern. The goal is to create a pattern that can essentially be tiled and applied to things like iPhone and laptop covers, wrapping paper, notebooks etc.

Each one of us got a prompt to use as a theme for the assignment. Lucky for me, my prompt was “Creatures of the Deep.” I spent the last hour drawing deep sea critters:

 

and naturally, I had to include the Deep Ones:

I must admit, these turned out way more adorable than I had anticipated. I’m going to scan these, and create a tile pattern in Illustrator. Wish me luck, Illustrator and I don’t get along that well.

I’ll keep you posted as these projects develop 🙂

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

Constructing the Sea Witch

I love reading about the processes of other artists. Most of the time I don’t have the foresight to document my process as I work on a piece, but I actually took the time to do it this time. Here are some photos of the process behind my newest painting, Circe:

 Circe

watercolor on arches

Valerie Herron 2011

Domos Aidaou

*ATTENTION: While I’m on the subject of writing, please go check out this new novel on Kindle – Eidolon’s Wager. Written by the brilliant Dr. Michael Friedrichs. You will not be sorry :)*

I’m currently in a class titled Narrative Image. As you probably gathered from the name, it is a creative writing/illustrating for narratives class.

For me, writing is like dancing. I’m no good at it, but it’s fun for me regardless. My first project was to create a piece of flash fiction and illustrate for it. I decided to revise an earlier narrative + illustration that I created. Previously called Black Planet, I decided to go with something even more pretentious this time around: Domos Aidaou. The main difference is that I added a narrator and turned it into an actual narrative as opposed to the description of a scene with more words than necessary. I decided to name the narrator after a favorite musician of mine who recently passed away.

This time around with the illustrations, I decided to create an Audubon-esque illustration of some mutated critters, as the narrator was an old biologist. I think these turned out pretty sweet.

Species of the Domos Aidaou

watercolor on hot-press

Valerie Herron 2011

Alright, if you are interested, here is a bit ‘o flash fiction, written by me:

Domos Aidaou

It has been at least a month since I last spoke with another person, and I fear that these might be the last words ever written. It is my hope that this record may be found after my death by some sort of cosmic travelers. In this, my last journal entry, I will tell the story of the end of humanity.

Throughout the whole of our existence, humanity has been obsessed with the end of the world. Despite this careful study of eschatology, from every possible contingency, we brought about our own demise. We were thwarted by our own sentience: our attempt to achieve god-hood with mastery over the microbe, the atom, the elements and nature. From every corner of the globe it was the same: taring away at each other like rats, fighting over life sustaining resources, all hoarded by the upper rungs of society. The lower classes were always lost in the fray. A dark alchemy of industrial contamination, global-scale murder, and the devouring of resources could not be tempered by the last weak efforts of the few toward preservation. Epidemics emerged, the numbers of the dead metastasized like the sicknesses in their bodies. Eco-systems died out and eliminated all sources of food. Desperate wars over the last farmlands and water-sources killed off the majority. In the end, the upper echelons of society were able to buy themselves the luxury of dying last.

I am writing this from an old cabin I had the fortune to discover deep in the woods. I found it when I fled from the city. It is an oddly comforting place. I know that it is just as saturated with radiation as everything else, but the blanket of vegetation that covers it provides a sort of imagined barrier. I feel removed from that contaminated wilderness. The biologist in me yearns to spend my final days wandering this strange world, but I can not find the strength to stand.

A ghostly terrain roles out from the mists, like a real Domos Aidaou. For now the only stirring in this world is the movement of contaminated flora and fauna. The trees hum with a poisonous bioluminescence. Scurrying forth from many generations of mutation, the cacophony of a thousand gnarled creatures can be heard in the darkness. The occasional darting retina can be spied by lurking predators in between glowing branches and leaves. The steaming and hissing of a once toxic steam now gently licks the faces of the horrid creatures and lurching tendrils as they reach into the water for nourishment.

Looking at the tumors in my hands that have formed within days, I can not imagine any other humans could have survived this. I suppose the pendulum always swings. For centuries we were all so worried about the end, we forgot that the planet does not need humans to endure. Though ravished through the ages by predatory giants – from the dinosaurs to humanity – Nature will not be victimized. She will always prevail. I pray that someday the ancient remains of this crumbling domicile will be discovered and this journal within it, lest humanity forever be forgotten with the death of human consciousness.

Dr. Peter Christopherson

7/17/2041

All Hail the Mighty Tome

I was super into working in my various sketchbooks this semester. Here are some pearls that have happened over the semester from my personal illuminated manuscripts.

 

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Henry Molaison

One of my assignments for Illustration Studio was to create a half-page, magazine illustration for an article about Henry Molaison. I did some research on Henry Molaison, and the images that stuck with me were the descriptions of him in his courtyard, watching trains with his bunny and his dog. Here was my first ideation comp:

 

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I then painted the final draft, scanned it, and switched the orientation in Photoshop so it would read better. Here is the result:

 

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Scelerophobia

My first big illustration assignment was to illustrate a phobia. I chose Scelerophobia.  We started the project out with ideations. I knew that I was going to create something of an image montage, so I churned out a bunch of compositions for the elements of my main piece out in my sketchbook:

I then created the sketch for the actual composition:

Then the final piece, composed with goauche and color pencils. I tried to figure out how to work the contrast in this image to make the female the obvious focal point. I decided to make the images that represent the phobia as a transparent, make-believe membrane that was encroaching on her reality. This worked out pretty nicely as far as balancing out the contrast. And I’m happy to report that I finally found a place for Albert Fish in my artwork. Even the Zodiac!

Scelerophobia

goauche and color pencils

Valerie Herron 2010