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

02 April 2015

"What's Happening Now" - Moving March and the Interim

I'm not sure how the Ides went for you lot, but whew, on the whole, March went by in an ernest blur.

Between Buffalo, NY and  Lancaster, PA, the relentless cold of the northerly country quickly paled into the wet warmth of a quick Spring; as soon as I made my way south, startlingly steady 50+ degree fine weather replaced 20 and below snows.

My preparation to move Studio involved the two eternal imperatives: books and weapons...Bit of a violent streak there? ...The rest are out of camera frame.

{Moving} Books and swords are imperative! 
Suffice it to say, it was a bit of a squash in the car, and I drove down in a straight shot over the wee hours in the morning, arriving in my old college town by 5am. But that's another story, well worth the telling, to the appropriate audience.

Green is the color of home:

I'm back, baby! 
And then it was my birthday. In the middle of new paintings getting done and new work schedule settling in, a box-burdened mess of a fresh space, a deconstructed studio, and no lights, or internet, or...Well you get the picture.

A better picture would be the market fresh, birthday Spring-themed, green and floral salad I tossed up on my otherwise minimal day:

Art is in everything, especially food, and there lies the little celebrations:

Sunflower shoots with sugar snap peas, parsley, purple green onion, pansies, and others, with a grapefruit honey vinaigrette.

Here's to April, my favorite month, by just a smidge. And here's to longer sunlight, Gallery Row skylines, bigger work, and new friends.

April 1st, 2015

Follow up next for the catch-up full reveal of my new piece "Aderyn", meaning 'bird', in Welsh.

New reading, what's inspiring now, and art-behind-the-scenes to come in this month's posts!

Until then,
Happy Spring!

Mairin-Taj

26 February 2015

"Voice Over Vogue" - Final Art & Inside Process

If you've read my recent article On Happiness and Fulfillment In A Plugged-In Culture, you'll likely see the correlation of concepts here.

"Voice Over Vogue" is an illustration of the corresponding, subjective emotions.

My previous post What's Inspiring Now - Kent Williams, Marc Scheff, Zelda Devon, & Eric Fortune shares some of the creative choices that inspired how I thought about Voice Over Vogue's composure and playful qualities. In this post I explain how the inspiration is not limited to these examples of work.

In executing this new piece, I was also considering design components for a call for entry by Microsoft's Lumia #Create #TileArt template.

Talenthouse sends out creative invites for projects they are hosting, and the Lumia #TileArt submission window for round one closed this past week. It is looking to feature original work by artists looking for further exposure and challenge. I was interested in how they were ready to offer fair opportunity to those who participated. And it happened to fit my idea for Voice Over Vogue ironically well.

So...two birds with one stone, scheduling-wise.

"Voice Over Vogue", Original Watercolor, Live Area 8x14", 2015
My process always begins with a kind of back and forth dance between small, abstracted thumbnail sketches and full drawings in the sketchbook. Each project has it's own conceptual needs in the early stages, so this process is a bit different in volume, each time.

Here's my sketchbook on this piece:


I knew I wanted more from the face, the expression, so I used my own:


In the end I chose to keep the likeness, as it is such a personally driven experience in the concept. A lot of illustrators and artists utilize the handy advantage of being their own model, in similar ways. And we all put ourselves into our work, intentionally or no.

I painted this piece on hot press, in about 30 hours over two days.

I do indeed sit on that ball, most of the time. Or I stand.
Process photo, midway.
Final art, Detail, Watercolor, 2015.

I wanted to push some things. The hands and feet are quite red because I wanted the expressive stylization associated with flush, strain, energy, blood, and life...I don't know if anyone has noticed, but there is a lot of this sanguine, ruddy tinge with figures in the scifi & fantasy genre work again, and I actually like it because for me it alludes to color theory and archetypes in mythology, as well as fairy tales like that by the Grimms.
Color and placement can be used as a powerful mnemonic device in visual story-telling, as well as an iconic emotional trigger. Red is a very ancient, heavily laden symbol in folklore, across cultures. I felt it was important to use.

And the compliment of greens was an imperative, not only because the healing, vital, fresh, growing energy of living things is that young spring green - and I wanted the organ of the heart to be growing her 'inner voice' in that color - but it also works so well as a dynamic impression on the negative space. I wanted the environment to seem to move with that vital, personal life force.

Here's my submission to Talenthouse, as per their template format:

Creative Invite, Call for Entry, Microsoft Lumia #TileArt, Round One, February 2015.

I am glad I got to this illustration straight away, further encouraged to completion by the deadline of the contest, but it is also rewarding to have repurposed the concept into an entry for an exciting and enjoyable public event!

Whatever happens, I feel good about the work, and still, it would be awesome to get some support with your votes for my submission to enter round two of the contest.

Share the love - VOTE HERE for my "Voice Over Vogue" and chance to design more art for round two!
Vote via Talenthouse, FB, or Twitter in a matter of seconds.

Thank you for the support and encouragement in advance.

If you're on the list for my Newsletter, I'll be in touch directly with the highlights for this quarter.
Don't want to be left out? Sign up HERE.

In the meantime,
Happy creating!

-Mairin-Taj

20 February 2015

"What's Inspiring Now" - Kent Williams, Marc Scheff, Zelda Devon, & Eric Fortune - And a New Project Preview!

To be entirely honest, there is far more than this brief selection of artists' work inspiring and informing my creativity at any given time.

I find my creative energy is best fed by multiple resources, project outlets, and playful directions at once. Otherwise, I tend to get too quickly bored, disheartened, emotionally stagnant, or just artistically dull.
And I'm learning more how I don't want to be dull with my creativity. It makes me feel like a big, worn spoon, and I'd rather hack away at the creative feast with a carving knife, honing finesse, precision, cleanliness, and impact.

If this need for split attention and divergent exploration means I have a smorgasbord of personal imagery to show as a result, then so be it. I'm keen to gain stronger direction out of ambidextrous expression.

Overspecialization is old.

I've been looking again at Kent Williams' work:

"Mother and Daughter" - By Kent Williams

Finding some new intrigue in a few recent pieces by Marc Scheff:

"Argus" - From the "Three Greeks" Series - By Marc Scheff

I've been really drawn to the conceptual flair of Zelda Devon:

"Fragments" - By Zelda Devon, Drawn by Kurt Huggins

And Eric Fortune's sleek stylization in emotive perspective is always intriguing:

"Lie's Objective" - By Eric Fortune

I've started a quick piece for a contest, which serendipitously came out of concepts I've been dwelling on - and writing on - considering inner happiness, creative voice, and the plugged-in tech vogue of current culture. 
I wanted to create something to begin visualizing this recent writing of mine, but it was an extra egging-on edge to have it repurpose into an external project.

Here's a detail shot of the drawing in the meantime:

Detail Snap Shot - WIP - Graphite

Much appreciation and respect to the inspiration, as always.

-Mairin-Taj

19 February 2015

Hoth, NY - Illustration & Products

I've been posting a steady stream of process snap-shots of this #wip on social media recently, and the positive response has further boosted my excitement to get this particular piece out and accessible for you all.

Hoth, "New York" is a Star Wars pastiche of sorts, playing on the winter experience in Western NY/Buffalo, as well as the upstate regions.

Having spent most of my childhood in Western NY, I am familiar with the Winter lake-effect snows. The last couple of seasons around my holiday visits have reminded me of the force (pun intended) of the regional storms.
As a kind of inside joke amongst Star Wars fans and natives of the area alike, the reference to Hoth has been circulating. On a visit recently, I made the reference myself; if you've got the thick skin from living and working through our winters, then you know that it fits!

So here’s my contribution to the movement. It's a different kind of NY pride:

    {And then check out the T-SHIRT version with more information below!}

(Hoth) New York - Star Wars Pastiche - Mixed Media, 2015.




New Yorkers, Star Wars junkies, you know what it takes to get through our winters, and you’ve consequently got the experienced toughness to make it on Hoth.

Want a print for your very own? HERE

Share your NY grit with this allusion to hard-core winter and the epic planet Hoth from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, original trilogy. SHOP HERE


As always, if you've got some thoughts to share, you know where the "comments" tab is at the bottom of every blog post. I want to hear from you!

And again, contact me directly with your questions HERE, or in the "Contact" link in the side panel to your right side of the page. 

Share the love!

-Mairin-Taj