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Christmastide Shop Update

 

Preview of Etsy Shop Update:
Tuesday, December 12 at 10 am PST

at http://hearthstonefables.etsy.com

 

Frost has been carpeting the ground every morning, and we’ve been bringing in cedar & holly from the hillside to deck our halls.  We keep our fire going almost daily now, and I’ve been drying sliced oranges to add bursts of color to all the greenery.  I adore this season, when we work to cultivate comfort and warmth at a time when our world is a cold winter wonderland.

I’ve been catching glimpses of magical woodland creatures that have been preparing for this Christmas season, too, and I’m excited to share their winter world with you…fragrant with spices, illuminated by candlelight.

The photos below are a preview of what will appear in my Etsy shop on Tuesday – if you’re interested in purchasing anything, please visit my Etsy shop on Tuesday, December 12 at 10 am PST…and of course feel free to get in touch with any questions in the meantime!


Vignettes

Tiny glimpses into the world of Hearthstone Fables, these enchanting faery-sized Vignettes bring cheer and whimsy into a home’s every nook and cranny.  Tuck them behind the draping fronds of a fern, amidst dusty books on the shelf…miniature windows into a magical world, they enliven all of the sheltered corners at home.

Original Vignettes are hand-drawn, inked, and colored with colored pencils & white gel pen on toned paper, then framed in tiny frames.  They have been sealed with a fixative for extra protection.  The drawings vary in size (specifics will be listed in their respective Etsy shop listings) but are generally 2-3 inches tall.  They range from $40-$45 (plus shipping).

NEW for this update:
Very limited quantities of framed giclée prints of some Vignettes will be available!  Please read the Etsy titles and listings carefully: I’ve clearly marked which Vignettes are Originals and which are Prints.  Prints are available for $20 each.

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Drawings

These original drawings are created with graphite, colored pencil, white gel pen, and ink on toned paper.  They have been sealed with a fixative for added protection and have been matted and framed.


Gaudete
Approx. 8 x 10 inches matted to 11 x 14 inch frame
Wall-hanging only
$135 + shipping

 


The Holly & the Ivy
Approx. 5 x 7 inches matted to 8 x 10 inch frame
Mat is embellished with sketch of holly
Wall-hanging only
$75 + shipping

 


Garland Maker
Approx. 5 x 7 inches matted to 8 x 10 inch frame
Wall-hanging only
$75 + shipping

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Wassail Boxes

In a snow-covered studio in the silent winter woods, candles flicker behind frosted windows…fragrant mulled cider bubbles on the stove, and Owl – bedecked in bright holly – alights on the roof.

This Wassail Box bears with it this magical winter world: an assortment of wares to bring the comfort and warmth of Christmastide to you.

(“Wassail” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term meaning “be well” or “be healthy”.  During Christmastide, a Wassailing Bowl for toasting would be carried from house to house while carols were sung.  From my studio to your home, I wish you a hearty “Wassail!” this Christmas season!)

5 boxes will be available

★ I’m so grateful to my friends Lauren of Olde Liberty Goodes and Heather of Waxing Moon Botanicals for providing beeswax treasures and mulling spices, respectively! ★

Here’s what you can expect to find in your Christmastide Wassail box:

Beeswax St. Nicholas: Made by Olde Liberty Goodes, this St. Nicholas ornament is made with 100% beeswax, scented with cinnamon and clove essential oils, and rolled in cinnamon. He holds a dried sprig of Sweet Annie!

Hand-Dipped Beeswax Tapers: These beautiful mini beeswax tapers were hand-dipped by Olde Liberty Goodes and can light the dark winter evenings for you. (Please always supervise burning candles and keep them away from flammables!)

Beeswax Art Ornament: This blackened beeswax frame was created by Olde Liberty Goodes and encircles a giclée print of my original drawing “Ancient Yuletide Carol.”

Mulling Spices: Crafted by Waxing Moon Botanicals, this warming blend of mulling spices brings with it the very taste and fragrance of the season. TO USE: remove the sticker from the bag and drop the bag into 2 quarts to 1 gallon of apple cider. Heat to a warm, sippable temperature and enjoy!

“Owl’s Wassailing Bowl” Vignette Print: Owl prepares for the Christmas season with his wassailing bowl, fragrant with spices… This is a giclée print of an original drawing on toned paper; it was created with archival Epson inks on Epson’s 100% cold press bright paper.

“Christmastide Chandlers” Greeting Card: This greeting card features a print of my original drawing on toned paper.  White envelope included.

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Prints & Cards

Share the warmth of Christmastide with family & friends!


Etsy shop update: Tuesday, December 12 at 10 am PST

Hearthstone Fables on Etsy

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Hallowe’en Reflections…

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One of our pumpkin patches on a misty morning…

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before – we’re farmers here in the Pacific Northwest, cultivating the land that my husband’s family bought when he was only four years old. When I came out to the farm about seven years ago, living with seasonal rhythms took on a whole new and more intrinsic meaning to me. Although there is work year round, especially with the animals, our busy summer season starts in June (although the preparation of seeding, etc. begins much earlier than that), and it ends around Hallowe’en.

Besides raising animals and growing a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and grains, we also have pumpkin patches and throw a Harvest Festival all October long – we press apples for hot spiced cider, have u-pick pumpkins, toss pumpkins from a trebuchet, the whole bit!

At any rate, October is a non-stop busy time, and when Hallowe’en comes, it feels like New Year’s Eve…it marks the end of a long, busy season, and the beginning of a new mode of being on the farm.

Shortly after moving to the farm, I read about Samhain, the Gaelic festival celebrating the end of the harvest season on October 31st & considered by many scholars to have been the Celtic New Year.  Although scholarship varies a bit on the genesis of Hallowe’en, many accounts hold that when the current dates for All Saints’ Day & All Souls’ Day were established (November 1st & 2nd) by the Church, Samhain & its customs transitioned to All Hallows’ Eve celebrations.

This notion of October 31st having been held as a New Year by a primarily agrarian society really hit home with me after experiencing the seasonal rhythms on the farm, since it marks such a profound shift for us, too.

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Now, Hallowe’en has always been my favorite holiday.  I’m an Autumn girl through and through (I love each season for what it brings, but falling yellow leaves have my heart), and I’ve always loved anything remotely spooky or mysterious.  The topsy-turvy nature of dressing in costume and gathering treats was both fun and surreal as a kid.

In adulthood, my celebrations of Hallowe’en waned for a long while as I tried to figure out how to engage with this holiday in new phases of life, once that wide-eyed wonder of childhood gave way a bit.  A swan song we all hear & recite, so many holidays have been bereft of their meaning…they’re often like echoes now, celebrations marking fuzzy memories…motions being gone through, without a lot of understanding of why.

“When we’re cut off from the moon, the night, and the waters of mystery, the spiritual world is blinding and blisteringly arid.  Mystery refreshes us.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, “HOLIDAYS AND HOLY NIGHTS”

Experiencing life on the farm helped to open up so much of Hallowe’en and its mystery for me, since I more acutely saw its classic role as a “liminal” evening – a surprising eve of transition, an embracing of the mysterious night, an end of one season and the beginning of another.  After a month of selling pumpkins, it was time to finally carve a mysterious grin into one and place a candle inside.  As a kiddo, that topsy-turvy liminality took the form of playing dress up wandering from house to house, where glowing pumpkin shells guided our way; as an adult, I became more aware of the steady march of the seasons, and that awareness leads back to wonder and the “waters of mystery.”

Encountering theories about the roots of Hallowe’en’s traditions & customs and embracing it in its role as the vigil of All Saints’ Day, & thus its relation to All Souls’ Day, enlivened the holiday for me, too, and lent me lots of age-old wisdom for celebrating it with family.

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Little Chipmunk enjoying some soul cakes on All Hallows’ Eve

Trick-or-treating, carving Jack-o-Lanterns, etc. are all very much a part of our tradition (as well as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”!), but we’ve adopted some other customs over the years.  I bake soul cakes each Hallowe’en – little shortcakes with a cross in the center – which were traditionally given out during Hallowtide in exchange for prayers for the departed.  I like to portion the soul cakes into jars to give to friends & family, along with a copy of the Souling Song:

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

&c…

We light candles for our departed loved ones, setting aside some dedicated time to reflect & remember in the midst of the busy shuffle of day to day life.

“We live in a time that so glorifies youth & everything new that we have lost respect for the old, for our roots, for our heritage of traditions.  I think that ‘ancestor worship’ is really an engaging of our own place in history & in the grand scheme of things.  We recognize who has contributed to who we are and that we contribute to those who come after us.”

GERTRUD MUELLER NELSON, “To Dance With God

I always like to buy pomegranates to snack on, too, inspired by the story of Persephone, which has so indelibly associated pomegranate seeds with the underworld/afterlife.

I find that tangible traditions like these help to serve as reminders for me – signposts or signals that pull me back to the core of the celebration.  Reminders of transition & mystery, of the crossing of thresholds.

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Hallowe’en Shop Update

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Preview of Etsy Shop Update:
Saturday, October 14 at 9 am PST

at http://hearthstonefables.etsy.com

 

It’s a stormy, blustery October day here in the Pacific Northwest as I write this – we lit our first fire of the season in our little wood stove yesterday, and for an Autumnal soul like mine, it felt like a homecoming.

The Hallowtide triduum of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day has always been a favorite season of mine, and I’m so excited to share with you some magical Hallowe’en creatures that I’ve caught glimpses of in my art.  It’s a collection of mysterious woodland gatherings, dripping candles, glowing Jack-o-Lanterns, ghosts…just a few of my favorite things. 🙂

The photos below are a preview of what will appear in my Etsy shop this weekend – if you’re interested in purchasing anything, please visit my Etsy shop on Saturday, October 14th at 9 am PST…and of course feel free to get in touch with any questions in the meantime!


Vignettes

Tiny glimpses into the world of Hearthstone Fables, these enchanting faery-sized Vignettes bring cheer and whimsy into a home’s every nook and cranny.  Tuck them behind the draping fronds of a fern, amidst dusty books on the shelf…miniature windows into a magical world, they enliven all of the sheltered corners at home.

Vignettes are hand-drawn, inked, and colored with colored pencils & white gel pen on toned paper, then framed in tiny frames.  They have been sealed with a fixative for extra protection.  The drawings vary in size (specifics will be listed in their respective Etsy shop listings) but are generally 2-3 inches tall.  They range from $35-$45 (plus shipping).

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Drawings

These original drawings are created with graphite, colored pencil, white gel pen, and ink on toned paper.  They have been sealed with a fixative for added protection and have been matted and framed.

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All Hallows’ Eve Gathering
Approx. 8 x 10 inches matted to 11 x 14 inch frame
Wall-hanging only
$135 + shipping

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Nevermore
Approx. 8 x 10 inches matted to 11 x 14 inch frame
Wall-hanging only
$130 + shipping

thepumpkincarver
The Pumpkin Carver
Approx. 4 x 6 inches matted to 5 x 7 inch frame
Wall-hanging & tabletop
$65 + shipping

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The Haunted Pumpkin Patch
Approx. 4 x 6 inches matted to 5 x 7 inch frame
Wall-hanging & tabletop
$65 + shipping

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Paintings

Iridescent gold paint mixed with acrylic pigments lends a subtle shimmer to this candlelit scene from my 2016 Hallowe’en collection!  This painting holds a special place in my heart.  Its counterpart – an incense-bearing bat – has sold, but little Chipmunk is available to brighten your Hallowe’en decor. 

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Soul Cakes
5 x 7 inches
Acrylic on cradled wood panel
$90 + shipping

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Trick-or-Treat Boxes

In an ideal world, I’d have a mossy, stone-built studio in the woods – every Hallowe’en, I’d invite my wonderful community over for trick-or-treating, fireside mulled cider, & ghost stories.  If you came trick-or-treating at my little stone studio, I like to think that this is the box of goodies I’d hand out to you this year!

Since, for the time being, we don’t have a woodland candlelit studio to gather in and celebrate Hallowtide, I’m hoping that this box can provide you with the sights, scents, & flavors to make you feel as if you just stepped in for mulled cider at the Hearthstone Fables studio.  I feel like art is best enjoyed with a cup of tea and some beeswax candles flickering, and you’ll find all of that atmosphere tucked into this box.

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5 boxes will be available

★ Because I feel like a great part of the fun & spirit of trick-or-treating is the surprise, the assortment of specific images on the giclee print, greeting card, & beeswax-framed ornament featured in each Trick-or-Treat Box will vary from box to box. ★

★ I’m so grateful to my friends Lauren of Olde Liberty Goodes and Heather of Waxing Moon Botanicals for providing beeswax treasures and tea, respectively! ★

Here’s what you can expect to find in your Trick-or-Treat box:

  • Beeswax Witch: Crafted by Olde Liberty Goodes (www.oldelibertygoodies.com), this witch is made with 100% beeswax, scented with Cinnamon and Clove essential oils, and rolled in cinnamon. Her hair is made of llama wool!
  • Beeswax Tea Lights: These sweet little 100% beeswax tea lights were created by Olde Liberty Goodes and are perfect for providing spooky, flickering Hallowe’en light. (Please always supervise burning candles and keep them away from flammables!)
  • Beeswax Art Ornament: This blackened beeswax frame was created by Olde Liberty Goodes and encircles one of my giclée prints.  Specific image varies from box to box.
  • Hearthstone Hallowe’en Tea: Crafted by Waxing Moon Botanicals (www.waxingmoonbotanicals.com) especially for my Hallowe’en collection of art, this warming blend of herbs is the very taste of the Hallowtide season. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have any health concerns, please consult a physician before enjoying this tea.
  • ‘A Merry Hallowe’en’ postcards: Share the spirit of Hallowe’en mystery with friends and family the old-fashioned way by mailing them a festive postcard!  Two postcards are included.
  • Hallowtide Greeting Card: This little handmade greeting card, featuring one of my giclée prints, is perfect for gift-giving or framing.  Specific image varies from box to box.
  • Hallowtide Print: Please enjoy this giclée print of magical creatures celebrating Hallowe’en.  Specific image varies from box to box.

 

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Hearthstone Hallowe’en Tea

As I mentioned above, I feel like art – especially Autumnal art – is best enjoyed with a cup of tea.  My wonderful friend Heather of Waxing Moon Botanicals designed a tea especially for my Hallowe’en collection of art – it bears the color of the season, with some spooky additions like stinging nettle.  My hope is that a warm cup of this tea will help you step into the art a bit more, and that the art will likewise bring out the October flavors in this delicious tea.

halloweenteamain

This little bundle includes a 1 ounce bag of Hearthstone Hallowe’en Tea, handcrafted by Waxing Moon Botanicals in Seattle, WA, and a giclée print of my drawing “All Hallows’ Eve Gathering.”

Tea Ingredients:
Nettle, blackberry leaf, fennel seed, cinnamon, calendula, hawthorn berry, orange peel
*If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have any health concerns, please consult a physician before enjoying this tea.

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‘A Merry Hallowe’en’ Postcards

Share the spirit of Hallowe’en mystery with friends and family the old-fashioned way by mailing them a festive postcard!  The postcards feature a print of one of my original drawings, and my hand-lettered Hallowe’en greeting message is layered on top of the art.

halloweenpostcards1
Postcards are available in packs of 6 for $9 + shipping.


Etsy shop update: Saturday, October 14th at 9 am PST

Hearthstone Fables on Etsy

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“Persephone” set to music

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Here’s a special musical treat for your Saturday!! 

I’m so excited to share a wondrous song by the indescribably magical cellist Betsy Tinney, Musician…I had the luck of happening upon Betsy’s ethereal music at the farmer’s market one day, and then discovered that she plays at many of the same local fairy festivals that I vend at. Her music is a staple in our home, and I’m so honored to know that some of my favorite paintings reside with her.

Anyway, I’m incredibly touched – one of Betsy’s new songs was inspired by my “Persephone” painting, and I’m just tickled pink to hear it!! Here’s a bit of background from Betsy about the piece:

“This piece is a musical depiction of one of my favorite paintings, ‘Persephone,’ by Kristin Haakenson (hearthstonefables.com). Persephone hangs in my studio right where I can see it when I’m playing.

“About this piece: To ‘play’ this painting, I started with the green vine (G drone) and leaves (a higher G, mostly in pairs) that frame the central image. I then added the pomegranates (an intermittent low D) and the stars (a high pizzicato). Once the frame was in place, I brought in Persephone’s melody (the main bowed cello line). Once that first melody was in place, it was clear that Persephone needed a second melody as well – probably because in the painting, she seems to be of two minds: walking forward while gazing back over her shoulder.”

★ You can listen to this enchanting piece at the link below ★
https://soundcloud.com/betsytinney/persephone/s-xAkuG

★ Be sure to check out Betsy’s Patreon, where you can enjoy a new song every month!!
https://www.patreon.com/betsytinney/

★ Please also visit Betsy’s web site to learn more about her amazing music career:
http://betsytinney.com/

Thank you, Betsy!! 

Midsummer

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Midsummer Collection (2016)

“But why should we not have one genuine out-of-door day, a day when we shall see to it that every city child may romp and play in God’s green fields, and when we make it a joyous duty to thank the Giver of all, not only for the harvests & for the full granaries as on Thanksgiving Day, but for the sun and the green trees and the flowers and grass and everything that makes us glad to be alive?  What day could be so good for such a celebration in America as well as in Sweden as Midsummer’s Day?”

FRANCIS EDWARD CLARK, THE CHARM OF SCANDINAVIA (1914)

The Midsummer¹ season of festivals and feasts – the Summer Solstice, St. John’s Eve, and St. John’s Day – have always resonated with me and filled my imagination.  As the sun reaches its zenith on June 20/21, and then the feast & festival of St. John the Baptist follow a few days later on the 23rd & 24th, it’s a sun-drenched, liminal time of thresholds being crossed and whispers being heard.

The solstices and equinoxes, as well as the festivals surrounding them, provide an opportunity to celebrate the threshold and revel in the thin places.  And what more verdant and prolific a time than Midsummer, when we’re picking strawberries out of the field, gathering chamomile, watching the world greening before us?

Last Midsummer, I finished up a project that had been a labor of love for quite some time – I’ve shared some photos from this collection before, but I’ve never really sat down to talk about them and put them into their narrative context, as each piece was created to tell part of a single story.  The series ended up being especially dear to my heart (perhaps partially because it marked my first attempts at so many new-to-me methods of creating), so it has a special place in my studio.

I should mention that for me, one of the great joys of creating is the research and reading that begins the process.  I chose all of the details in these pieces specifically – birch trees, elderflower, yarrow, St. John’s Wort, strawberries, fern… (Lest we forget that St. John’s Eve was traditionally considered the ideal time to collect fern-seed!  Even though more has since been understood about the way ferns reproduce via spores, this notion of elusive fern-seed appearing on a liminal evening is so striking to me.)

Shall we walk through a Midsummer story together?

midsummervignette
‘Elderflower Cordial’ Vignette

The air is filled with a delightful fragrance – a crisp burst of citrus, sweet floral perfume, and the lush scent of sun-warmed strawberries…in preparation for tonight’s Midsummer festivities, Mouse is preparing a refreshing elderflower & strawberry cordial, which so perfectly captures the tastes of the season.

This little ‘Elderflower Cordial’ Vignette may very well be the first Vignette I ever drew – the thought of creating tiny drawings depicting glimpses & moments of a magical world had been swimming around in my head for awhile, and little mice with sprigs of elderflower were the first to work their way into those drawings.

 


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‘Midsummer Sojourn’ – iridescent gold paint lends some glimmer to the stars and the arch
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“Midsummer Sojourn”, 10 x 8 in., acrylic on wood panel

As the sun drifts lower in the sky, Deer silently moves through the forest, its floor thick with fern and yarrow.  His antlers are decorated for the gathering that he approaches…

This piece was one of the first few paintings I had attempted on wood panel.  I always used to paint on canvas – textured canvas, in particular, because I loved the organic feel of the acrylic texture – so I had to work through some learning curves in painting on a smooth panel, but I ultimately fell in love with the process.  My vision was for this painting to have the feel of a stained-glass window in the illumination behind the birch trees.

 


midsummerscene
‘Midsummer Celebration’ paper-cut Scene in daylight – the string of ‘lights’ & the lantern can be rehung on the trees in various spots.  The yellow orbs of illumination behind the lantern and the candles atop Deer’s antlers are removable – velcro attaches the illumination pieces to the paper, so one can “light” the candles (these orbs were painted on clear plastic, so light shines through them).  The strawberry shortcake and wreath of St. John’s Wort can both be moved and attach to other pieces in the set.
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‘Midsummer Celebration’ paper-cut Scene illuminated at night – pinholes were poked in the starry night sky background, and a battery-operated candle provides illumination from behind.

Under the starlit canopy of the Midsummer sky, Fox and Deer – bedecked in St. John’s Wort – gather in celebration, awaiting the rest of their company.  A warm summer wind flutters through the birch grove as our forest creatures partake in the splendor of this plentiful season…they find that a shortcake, filled with flavorful wild strawberries, awaits them under the soft glow of a string of lights.

Ah, this paper-cut scene…much love went into it.  It consists of 5-6 layers of depth, depending upon how it’s set up.  I started by doing rough sketches of the scene as a whole, then breaking those sketches up into the various layers I wanted to create.  I then drew the forms for each layer on watercolor paper and handpainted each piece with acrylics.  I used an x-acto knife to cut everything out and a pin to poke holes in the stars.

All of the pieces can move around, with accessories like the strawberry shortcake being able to be placed on various spots.  As mentioned in the caption above, the orbs of illumination behind the lantern and the candles on Deer’s antlers are attached with velcro, so you can “light” the candles.

It took a bit of engineering to get everything to stand properly – some backing reinforcement on the trees, for example – but it all came together.


Just for fun, and to give you an idea of how this Midsummer narrative developed, here are some pages from my sketchbook where I was working through these ideas (click to view more detail):


Thank you for following along on this Midsummer journey…it’s such a pleasure to finally take the time to share it with you in more detail.  I hope that you’ve been enjoying a wondrous & joyful season!

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Although the originals from this series are fixtures in my studio, prints of ‘Midsummer Sojourn’ are available in my Etsy shop!

 


¹ “The term ‘midsummer’ is first found in the Old English translation of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, where mention is made of the quarter in which the sun rises at the solstice; Bede’s solstitialem becomes ‘aet middum sumere’.  It was applied to the great Christian celebration of the Baptist’s birth, just as the feast kept six months later became Midwinter or Midwinter’s Mass (rarely Christmas till after the Norman Conquest).” (Blackburn & Holford-Strevens, “The Oxford Companion to the Year”)

Drawing Process

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Part of my drawing table – the little painting of pansies was a sweet treasure I found at a thrift store.

A year or two ago at a craft store, I bought a pad of brown-toned paper on a whim.  In my acrylic paintings, I’ve always really enjoyed the process of playing with lighting – especially with glowing faery-orbs providing the illumination – but I wanted a way to sketch the lighting & experiment with it a bit before committing paintbrush to canvas/board.  The toned paper I bought worked perfectly for that, since it allowed me to start with a mid-tone and then shade and highlight from that base.

Soon enough, I found my sketches on toned paper (mostly just using ink and white pencil) evolving more and more toward finished colored drawings rather than staying as lighting studies for other work.  I fell head over heels with that medium, and now it’s one of my favorite ways to create!

I thought I’d share some process photos with you here – drawing on toned paper has been a trial-and-error experience for me…so this isn’t a tutorial but rather a glimpse at the process that tends to click with me after lots of experimenting. 🙂

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This particular creation is one of my Vignettes – a little mugwort-crowned Midsummer bobcat, with the drawing space measuring about 3.5 x 2.5 inches.  (Please pardon the variable lighting of all the pictures!)

I use graphite, ink, colored pencil, and gel pen on Kona Classic Premium Toned Artist Paper (100% recycled).

I always start with a pencil drawing and then ink over the drawing/erase the graphite underneath…but it seems I didn’t save a photo of that first part, so let’s move on to part 2. 😉

‘Illuminating’ the drawing is one of my first steps – I use a white pencil to draw faery lights or some other source of light (candles, etc.), and then I contour the creatures & plants in the drawing based on that light source:

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Next, I add yellow:

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…followed by magenta.  This layering of white/yellow/magenta is the way I begin virtually every drawing I do, no matter what the subject or color scheme…it was a method I started using after experimenting with it to make glowing faery lights:

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Next, I start adding in some other colors:

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…blocking in some layers of color for the stripes & spots:

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…followed by a tawny coat:

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I like to start shading using purples and blues – the way they interact with each other when layered creates some rich depth:

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…darkening the stripes & spots, adding more shading:

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Once I have the colored pencil base to where I want it, I switch gears – I use a white gel pen to highlight the contours & light sources.  Depending on the drawing, I may use an iridescent gold gel pen or bronze gel pen, too (though I’m just using white gel here):

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After the gel has dried, I soften it by adding more layers of white pencil and colored pencil – especially yellow & magenta:

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And, lastly, I ink portions of the line-work again, since it has been covered by a fair amount of colored pencil & gel pen:

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After the drawing is finished, I spray it with a fixative, let it dry, and then cut it out & place it in a miniature frame.  As you can see, especially for a tiny 3.5 x 2.5 inch drawing, a lot of layers are involved!

I also keep sketchbooks of white paper for experimenting with watercolor, sketching out ideas, and compiling research & reflection for drawings & paintings…but that’s for another blog post. 🙂  Thanks so much for letting me share a bit of my process with you!

May Shop Update

Preview of Etsy Shop Update:
Saturday, May 27 at 10 am PST

at http://hearthstonefables.etsy.com

After experiencing one of the longest, rainiest winters in the Pacific Northwest, May is perhaps even more glorious than usual this year.  A little collection of springtime-inspired Vignettes and Drawings will be flitting into my Etsy shop this Saturday, and I hope that they’ll bring to you the refreshing scent of spring rain, lilacs in bloom, and mossy forest floor.

The photos below are a preview of what will appear in my Etsy shop this weekend – if you’re interested in purchasing anything, please visit my Etsy shop on Saturday, May 27th at 10 am PST…and of course feel free to get in touch with any questions in the meantime!


Vignettes

Tiny glimpses into the world of Hearthstone Fables, these enchanting faery-sized Vignettes bring cheer and whimsy into a home’s every nook and cranny.  Tuck them behind the draping fronds of a fern, amidst dusty books on the shelf…miniature windows into a magical world, they enliven all of the sheltered corners at home.

Vignettes are hand-drawn, inked, and colored with colored pencils & white gel pen on toned paper, then framed in tiny frames.  They have been sealed with a fixative for extra protection.  The drawings vary in size (specifics will be listed in their respective Etsy shop listings) but are generally 2-3 inches tall.  They range from $35-$45 (plus shipping).

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Drawings

These original drawings are created with graphite, colored pencil, white gel pen, and ink on toned paper.  They have been sealed with a fixative for added protection and have been matted and framed.

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The Paraclete
Approx. 5 x 7 inches matted to 8 x 10 inch frame
Wall-hanging only
$75 + shipping

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Artemis of Broad Pastures
Approx. 4 x 6 inches matted to 5 x 7 inch frame
Tabletop & wall-hanging
$65 + shipping


Etsy shop update: Saturday, May 27th at 10 am PST

Hearthstone Fables on Etsy

Music to Create By

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Music is a huge part of the creative process for me, and I wanted to share some of the artists & albums that are on regular rotation in my little studio.

(I should mention that my hands-down, all-time favorite band is The Beatles…but I don’t include them here, since I generally don’t paint or draw by their music, for some reason.  It doesn’t feel quite right to leave them out altogether, though, since they’re a long-time obsession of mine!)

Loreena McKennitt

Loreena is just indescribably marvelous.  Everything she touches is magic.  I’ve seen her a few times in concert now – with one of those performances being her gorgeous candlelit trio tour – and each time, she’s so completely charming and inspiring.  I love that she’s such a captivating storyteller – she puts so much research into all of her music.  Loreena is also such a gracious and thoughtful musician – if you subscribe to her newsletter (and if you don’t, you should!), you know about the thoughtful and engaging pieces she shares.  And her music…well, it just transports the listener to another time and place altogether.

I don’t know how to choose only a few albums of hers to recommend, but here goes: seek out An Ancient Muse, The Visit, The Book of Secrets…and at Christmastime, A Midwinter Night’s Dream is a necessity.


Joni Mitchell

Joni and her brilliant songs have always been a balm for my soul.  I have an ever-expanding collection of her music on vinyl, and there’s something so magical about putting on one of her records – she has a song for every mood, suited for every day.  I went through a phase where I tried to learn her music on the guitar, and after trying to wrestle my way through the complicated tuning, I came out the other side feeling even more stunned by her musical prowess.  And her lyrics! Oh, those lyrics.

I may as well just recommend her whole discography, but please do be sure to check out Clouds, For the Roses, Night Ride Home, Shine


Sarah McLachlan

Oh, Sarah.  Her albums are ethereal.  I got to see her perform a few years ago (outdoors, at a winery, with twilight falling on us while she played), and it was such a beautiful experience.  Her voice is so captivating, and her albums have been cornerstones throughout my life.

I love all her albums, but Mirrorball, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Laws of Illusion have my heart in particular.


 Storyhill

Storyhill – the singer/songwriter duo of Chris Cunningham & Johnny Hermanson – holds a special place in my heart.  Chris & Johnny are from my home state of Montana, and their songs always seem to capture the geography and soul of that place for me, whether they’re writing about it or not.  We’ve seen them perform time and time again, and their performances are always absolutely captivating and magical.  Our son’s first concert – in utero – was Storyhill!  They’re on hiatus now, but between studio albums and live recordings, there’s a wealth of their music available.  (You may remember them from their feature on Prairie Home Companion!)

Be sure to seek out Shade Of The Trees, Storyhill (self-titled), and Dovetail.


Áine Minogue

Áine is an Irish harpist whose music is ethereal and transportive.  I love painting and drawing with her harp filling the air.  She puts so much thought & care into researching and creating all of her work.  She also worked with John O’Donohue, including providing the music for the audio recording of John’s book of blessings, To Bless the Space Between Us.

My absolute favorite albums of Áine’s are The Twilight Realm, Celtic Meditation Music, and Winter: A Meditation.


Moby

Moby‘s music has been the soundtrack to so many of my paintings – there’s something totally captivating about it that really helps me to get into a deeper mode of concentration when I’m working my way through thin layers of paint & color.

In particular, his albums Play and 18 are on frequent rotation here!


Oldies!

Music from yesteryear is a staple in our home.  I often like to listen to a Seattle-area radio station that broadcasts a huge variety of “oldies” – AM 880 KIXI.  They also broadcast old radio dramas, episodes of “The Twilight Zone”, etc., which are especially fun to listen to around Halloween!

Their lineup can be a bit mixed – sometimes they stray from oldies – but for the most part, they feature a lot of wonderful gems.

If you’re in the Seattle area, you can tune into AM 880 to see what they’re playing – but you can also stream their station online!


Fall Fantasy Faire

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Come in from the cold!

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Each season brings its unique charm and inspiration, of course, but my heart tends to leap at a chill in the air, warm scarves, crackling fires, warm apple cider, and all those other comforting autumnal delights.

On September 17th, I had the great pleasure of sharing my art at the 2nd annual Fall Fantasy Faire hosted by Crescent Moon Gifts in Tacoma, Washington, and it was such a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty of the season with other artisans and performers.

Despite the blustery weather, so many folks came to visit the festival.  It was wonderful getting to greet familiar faces and meet new friends, too.

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This little Hallowe’en tableau features a print of my recent bat painting (“Incense Bearer”) accompanied by a ghostly friend!

I was excited to have a fun new addition to my booth – I collaborated with a dear friend, Annie, who created the most wonderful little felted creatures to accompany the images I’ve been painting & drawing.

She also created some beautiful journals – and I have to say that the sketchbooks/journals that she has made for me are my absolute favorite.

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Our cozy booth!  Bunches of dried herbs hung over the threshold.

I had a lot of fun preparing the decorations for our booth.  We were fortunate to have a beautiful Fall scene as a backdrop – it’s a perfectly-suited section of a much larger mural on the side of the building, and the pumpkins and black cat fit so well with everything else!

A few days before the festival, we collected dried leaves, pinecones, and acorns to scatter throughout the display.  Here are a few photos of the autumnal details:

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My friend Ashley (For a Lark on Etsy) was weaving flower crowns at a Harvest Moon celebration the previous night, so I had the perfect autumnal crown for the festival:

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I was thrilled to get to see the amazingly gracious and talented cellist Betsy Tinney perform yet again – seeing her is always such a joy!

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Betsy Tinney performing her gorgeous music!

The Fall Fantasy Faire was such a fun celebration of creativity and whimsy, and I’m grateful to all of the folks who braved the rain to visit the fair, to Crescent Moon Gifts and all of their employees and volunteers for being such gracious hosts (as always), and to all of the other vendors and performers for sharing their passions and creativity.

And many, many thanks to everyone who purchased my art that day!  I was incredibly humbled by the kindness from everyone who visited our booth – thank you for giving homes to my paintings, prints, and drawings and for supporting my art.

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Viriditas

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“The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.”
– ST. HILDEGARD VON BINGEN  

I’ve always found the life and writings of St. Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) to be deeply stirring, and just a day after her feast day of September 17th, I wanted to share  this painting that was inspired by her use of viriditas (Latin for “greenness”).  Hildegard’s writing features this term heavily – it’s an image that she uses to represent the “greening power of God”:

“But even more than that, [viriditas] refers to a lushness and fecundity in the world, a greening life force we can witness in forests and gardens and farmland. Hildegard, who lived in the valley around the river Rhine in Germany, was profoundly impacted by her witness to the profusion of greenness and how this green life energy was a sign of abundance and life. It is what sustains and animates us.

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“Greenness became not just a physical reality, but a spiritual one as well. Hildegard believed that viriditas was something to be cultivated in both body and soul. Her language is filled with metaphors for seeking out the moistness and fruitfulness of the soul. The sign of our aliveness is this participation in the life force of the Creator.”

– CHRISTINE VALTERS PAINTNER, “Hildegard of Bingen and God’s Greening Power 

Hildegard’s notion took root in my sketchbook, where a “greening” elk started to develop, and I wanted to bring him into a painting in which he would represent this concept of nourishment, growth, and vitality of both the physical and the spiritual.

Since I’m always so curious about other artists’ methods, I managed to capture a few progress shots of this painting to share with you.  To be honest, sharing the progress of incomplete paintings has always been a bit of a struggle for me – inevitably, almost every piece seems to go through that awkward phase where a leap of faith is required to see it through to completion.

With Viriditas, as with most of my paintings, I started out by doodling in my sketchbook and coming up with a concept.  I usually try to get the structure of the animal the way I want it in the sketch, and then I worry about the other details during the painting process.

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I used a 10 x 10 inch cradled wood panel (i.e. a flat wood panel with a reinforcing wooden frame, which helps to keep the wood from warping and also sets it out from the wall when it hangs).  First, I primed it with three coats of white gesso.  I then applied a few background layers of a blue/teal color.  With that background fully dry, I started creating a gradient, “illuminating” from the middle and darkening toward the corners.  This requires a fair amount of wet-on-wet painting to get a subtle gradient.

I should mention that I tend to use acrylics more like watercolors, in that I apply thin washes of color, with layers showing through each other depending on a paint’s transparency.

After the gradient, I painted the circle and stars with Golden‘s iridescent gold paint.

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At this point, I traced my elk sketch and then transferred it onto the panel.  After layering thin washes of color, he started to take shape:

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I wanted him to be illuminated from behind, so I brightened up the background a bit and started adding a base for the moss, ferns, and nest.

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More shading and details on the plants followed:

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To keep with the theme of “greening”, I did a wash of green over the background within the circle.  More detail was added to the plants and nest, and some dancing faery lights appeared around the elk.

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O nobilissima viriditas…
Tu circumdata es

amplexibus divinorum
ministeriorum.

Oh noblest greening…
You are enfolded
in the embrace of divine mysteries.

– ST. HILDEGARD VON BINGEN  
O nobilissima viriditas

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