08 June 2015

"Melissae" - 'The Bees' - Art Prints & Post Reception 2015

*If you are one of the many who've joined in with the Art Dispatch Newsletter, you will have received your Pre-Show All-Access Pass for the new painting "Melissae" - 'The Bees' full reveal this past May Quarter.

But! If you haven't yet subscribed or are just catching wind of the news, here is the full debut for the public, complete with the context, conceptual process, and additional print product opportunity with the artwork of "Melissae". {Subscribe to the Quarterly Newsletter here}


"Melissae" - The Bees' - 6x6" Watercolor and Acrylic with
Prisma Color on Hot Press Rag, May 2015

"Melissae", which means 'bees' according to some research, comes from the ancient Greek culture, and even before, when the Minoans thrived in the Aegean Bronze Age, on the Greek Island of Crete.

This painting is a small 6x6" watercolor, acrylic, and prisma color pencil piece on hot press rag, inspired by the legacy of the bees, created for the up coming Great Big Bug Show for June, in York, and in honor of the bees' intrinsically important role in our modern world.

I took no preliminary drawing measures in this process, but rather dove straight in and fleshed out the face of my concept onto the hot press rag directly, eager to get to what I knew would be a playful and dynamic 'conversation' between me and the diverse mediums being used.
I wanted to build up the experience of this face and these bees in a veiled technique of lush color. I also wanted to push and pull the focus, giving the most attention to the bees themselves, the honey-drenched lips of the girl, and the symbolic white pomegranates.


Photographed by and courtesy of J. C. Fleischman - FearlessMortal Photography, 2015

On my hand-deckled rag - meaning I worked the edges of the paper with a dry technique to create the rag "deckle" edge that you see - I toned the ground in watercolor washes, lightly building an impression of what would come in the acrylic and prisma color layers. Once in the opaque stages, vivid color and detail were the priority. Bees tightened up last, to get as softly fuzzy a winged delicacy as possible.

Process photo while on the painting board, 2015.

Melissa, a popular girl's name translating as 'honey bee', has it's ancient roots in Greece, where a famous Melissa, a nymph, is said to have discovered honey. She shared her knowledge of honey properties and bee-keeping, and nursed baby Zeus with the sweet nectar.

Aphrodite is said to be known as the Queen Bee, her Melissae, or 'bees', the priestesses about her. Mediterranean cultures were riddled with the symbol of the bee; note the golden bee earring:



Demeter is associated with bees, each having a link to the underworld, and regeneration, or life cycles.
And the bee was a prominent, noble emblem used by the Merovingians.

Today, praise the bees for maintaining the diversity in our agriculture. Without healthy bees, many birds, mammals, and ourselves would be at a loss for seeds, fruits, certain other plants and produce, and considerable dairy products.




The original, framed painting will be on display and available for purchase this coming month, June 5th - 27th at the HIVE artspace in York, PA. Gallery Hours:Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11-3pm, or by appointment - HIVEartspace.com

Order an ART PRINT of "Melissae" directly, here

SHOP "Melissae" tote bag, t-shirts, greeting card, iphone case, travel mug and more products here


Enjoy the show!
-Mairin-Taj

21 May 2015

Currently In Show - "Into the Woods" Group Show - One Week Left!

Firstly, my gratitude to the friends who are local and were able to find the time to stop in at the HIVE artspace Gallery in York so far this month to see my recent painting "Aderyn" up close and personal.

Whether you were able to visit on the night of the reception or later on in the month, I appreciate it. It felt - disconcerting, nerveracking, disquieting - certainly exhilarating, to have a piece out in the public domain, far and away from the supervision of the Studio, once more, but of course, my maternal, creator-imposed concerns were entirely superfluous, and all is well.

If you would like the chance to scrutinize the original painting of "Aderyn" for yourself, she and the entire show will be up for another week, through the 30th of May! Small ART PRINTS are also available at the gallery until the end of the month.

For gallery hours, visit the HIVE artspace official website for their information, and more.

Photograph provided by HIVE artspace "Into the Woods" Exhibit Promotion
York, PA, May 2015

What a delightful evening amongst my fellow exhibitors! And what a spread of creative diversity and dexterity. I felt in good company at the HIVE.

"Into the Woods" is the May exhibit theme, focusing on all things sylvan, woodland, enchanting, folk, or creature-like. Jewelry, pottery and sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, and other unique products, varied at a healthy price range, created by an extensive list of area-local artists, are rife within the row-house style art gallery and studio space. But only until the 30th.

First room, by the door, reception night - My piece is "Aderyn"-
Dark frame, on your left - Available to purchase
Reception night, new friends, art, craft beer, and local music - Royal Square
York, PA

See you at the HIVE artspace, friends!

-Mairin-Taj


19 May 2015

"Scrap Sneaks" - We All Need Our Playtime

Back in January, for the initiatory post of 2015, I talked about reinforcing the Art Dispatch with content sub-categories that reflect further areas in which us artists, and art-supporters, find value.

It isn't enough to stop at the final image, we all want to look behind the stage curtains, go back into the wings, and explore what the dance looks like before the spotlight hits the show. (I was a ballet dancer, can you tell?)

These further, deeper, areas of value I'm talking about are "stories" sharing experiences and entertainment within the life of being a creative, "inspiring" material worth exploring and sharing the benefits of, "learned" insights into failures and the process of improvement, "reading" material that lends education and further creativity, and of course, the "process"  tidbits giving a visual face to all the intellectual and emotionally creative 'muscle flexing' going on.

And no matter what our lifestyle complications or professional preoccupations, no matter how devoted we are to a serious and stressful project, we all need our playtime. How else are we going to work out the knots and the tension, shake out the burden we've both personally and socially been inflicted with, or discover fresh verve for the creations to come?

We do it by allotting permission and time for creativity without an agenda.

For me, having worked in the glorious safety of graphite grayscale until 2010, I still feel color is my "new world", the undiscovered country, as it were, and so, color is what I want to play with.

No pressure, no high expectations, no masterpieces, just play.

{Preview} "Melissae - 'The Bees'"

Here's some of my 'show & tell' scrap sneaks for my current version of playtime:

"April Bluebird"

From Series II of A Madcap Credo, I've hit a good note on a fresh mixed media approach, cropping composition, and stylizing with a vaguely Leyendecker-esque negative space framework.
My personal satisfaction in this monthly side project has increased my productivity, easily.

*Click on the image captions for links to the full images, background, and more.

"May Day"
And sometimes, even while playing, things can go wrong. Or right. And then you change it entirely.

Here's a {preview} of a finish before I went back into it and changed it entirely:

"Melissae" Final BEFORE I changed it again.

A final version of the new finish will be posted soon, in it's own "behind-the-scenes" blogpost to follow.

--

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Until shortly,
Happy creating!

-Mairin-Taj

28 April 2015

"What I'm (Re)Reading" - The Mabinogion {Ancient Welsh/Briton Texts}

I touch frequently on how mythology holds particular interest and creative relevance for me.

Personally, as well as in my work, I find the importance of telling stories best represented within our myth and legend; ancient, as yet immortal tales still breathing the life from our histories, our cultures, and our expansive human qualities, hold invaluable richness in our world, like deep, unrelenting wells for the psyche, and the species.

So I visit what I love, again and again. And I discover new ones to love, to learn from.

I started with a fascination in Celtic culture because of my Irish and French heritage. My tribes were fierce and formidable, and as a child, I was eager to better understand what kind of people they were. What stories they shared with each other.

I've been to Wales, on my travels, and I look forward to going back. It is truly a beautiful country, rolling, vibrant, ancient and tired old hills bound snugly within a small border, still seemingly bountiful. I wrote some of my better poetry while in Wales. And I climbed inspiring geography in Snowdonia while there.

There are two illustrated versions of "The Mabinogion" that I'm deeply fond of:





"The Mabinogion", translated by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones, illustrated by one of my favorite artists Alan Lee, and "Tales from the Mabinogion" by Gwyn Thomas and Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Margaret Jones.

I'll simply say these are a heartily recommended, happy addition to any library.

Now for those who are not familiar, the Mabinogion is a collection of tales encapsulating the heroes, gods and elemental powers native to Welsh culture. They are ancient myth recorded between 1325 and 1400 c. into two manuscripts, and only first translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest in 1838 +.
{And there is much to say besides about all of that...}

However, as similar in Celtic cultures, the Mabinogion and it's supporting mythos reflects strong associations between animals and powerful rulers, heroes, gods, in their way. The culture again is highly elemental, and powers between the Otherworld and the human world, or the top world, are key components to influencing characters' experiences.
Relatedly, there is magic and shapeshifting, animal representation, and such.

I'll be keeping you up on the details as it moves forward, but for now, as a minor series within the portraiture style I enjoy, I want to play with chiaroscuro and the guise between animal and human form in a three part bit on memorable characters from the tales.

Here are my rough sketches laying out the initial idea:

The Mabinogion series - or triptych: the flower-face turned night Owl, the Otherworld, red-eared white Dog, and the ever-elusive, tauntingly feminine Horse.


Owl
Dog
Horse

I'm shooting more reference and roughing up some chiaroscuro-centric color comps next, amongst other projects, so more will come on the backstory of the characters' meanings and project execution.

In the meantime, if you enjoy mythology, fairytales, epic and heroic legends, dragons, giants, trickery, war strategy, romance, and betrayal, with some history, try picking up your own copy of either of these excellent reads (or another version of the manuscripts, as there are countless publications), and see where the adventure takes you.
For a kid friendly and thrilling story-time, I recommend the latter of the two versions I mention above, the "Tales from the Mabinogion".

Enjoy!

-Mairin-Taj

04 April 2015

"Aderyn" - Final Art & Prints

In Welsh, the name 'Aderyn' means 'bird', and is of particular interest to me. (I love birds, particularly birds of prey).

This piece is now called "Aderyn", and is a mythological illustration, a Spring moment of transformation, ambiguity, elemental sensibilities, and feminine introspection, trimmed in Celtic weave bordering and 'stone' work.

Process shot, on the board.

The myth allusion is the Welsh tale of Blodeuwedd - pronounced arguably as 'blod-EYE-weth' or 'blo-day-wathe' - who was created from the flowers of oak, broom, and meadowsweet blooms by two great magicians to be the most beautiful bride for the great hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Her name means 'flower-face', essentially.
In her story, she is transformed again into an owl to forever roam the night, as a punishment.

I'll save the story for a later post, on the same subject.

But in some cases, Bloduewedd is considered the goddess of Spring and owls, maintaining a vital and shape-shifting aspect to her persona.

Process shot, in the studio.

I started this piece a long time ago, truth be told. But in the process of starting the painting, I discovered it needed a different direction, and due to a number of components, this different direction took time off from production before being fully realized.

I worked on other pieces, keeping this unfinished yet persistent concept in the back of my mind. I knew I would finish the start of this version eventually, but I needed a new direction for the second attempt before I set down to finish the first attempt, first.

Here is the final *first* attempt, and it is named alternately, "Aderyn", taking on a more personal aspect:

Traditional media on hot press, 10x14", Spring 2015
Detail One, 2015
Detail Two, 2015

This is only the initial version; the next incarnation of this concept is going to be reborn in a small series of Welsh mythos illustrations that balance the enigmatic line between animal and human shape. It's going to play with totem motifs and natural elements, and chiaroscuro. All traditionally.

I'm excited!

I've been asked, so yes, you can purchase your own print of "Aderyn" for your home collection, a friend, or to share, HERE.

New! iPhone and Samsung Galaxy cases as well as Tote Bags are also available with "Aderyn" featured art:




And as always, if you have any ideas or questions, contact me directly HERE.

Mairin-Taj