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Posts Tagged ‘painting’

I’ve been lucky over the past year to have had several of my paintings selected for cover art for magazines. The nicest part about this wonderful series of acceptances is that multiple editors have chosen my work.

“A cover is a cover,” you might say. “Why does it matter how many editors are involved?”

My response would be the same if it was artwork, stories, articles, or poems: One editor is just one opinion, but a group of unrelated editors brings different backgrounds and preferences to the table. If an artist or writer is able to please several editors, then she is also able to connect with a larger group of readers. And connecting with readers is what writers and illustrators need to do if they hope to build an audience for their work.

 My latest magazine cover is for the October/November 2012 issue of Harford’s Heart Magazine. Not only is one of my paintings on the cover, but there’s an article about me as an illustrator, and several other pieces of my art featured on the inside of the magazine (p.8 and 44-45). Here’s the link to the online version of the current issue: http://www.harfordsheart.com Click on: Current Issue, then flip through the pages to see the article.

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “That painting looks mighty familiar.”

And you’d be right! The artwork is part of a larger painting that will be the wrap-around cover of my next collection of speculative stories, Owl Light, due out from Cold Moon Press in a few weeks. Again, I’m trying to build a group of readers who like the look of my art, and are curious about what sort of tales would fit into a book with a yellow-eyed owl peering from its cover.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you find the barn owl in front of an orange moon with the dark forest and sky an appealing cover? And what sort of stories do you think will be in Owl Light?

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In my mind’s eye and according to several dictionaries, Bards were traveling poets and minstrels who wrote and sang (or recited) tales of historical and legendary events. Sages were wise men and women who were calm, far-seeing, and prudent. And therefore, sages were often sought out as counselors or revered as philosophers. So it’s a great name for a speculative fiction magazine.

 Bards and Sages Quarterly lives up to the billing. It was with pleasure that I opened the April 2012 issue (which features one of my paintings on the cover), and discovered some delightful tales inside. Reading the stories printed in this issue made me want to sit down and write a piece of fiction worthy of acceptance by the editor of Bards and Sages.

As a writer, this isn’t the only time I’ve found reading a collection of stories inspired me to create a new tale. Fiction writers should be reading current fiction. Yes, the Classics are time-honored material, but in order to appeal to today’s readers – a writer needs to understand which books and stories are “hot” at the moment.

Plus, I recommend finding anthologies looking for submissions, and write a story (or poem or article) that would fit the theme. Even if you don’t manage to make the deadline or have a piece of writing accepted for that antho, it’s a challenge to write about a specific subject that’s perhaps outside your comfort zone. The worst that can happen is you have a completed story to submit elsewhere. One source for anthology markets is www.ralan.com

Tonight, I’ll be working on a tale for a themed anthology I saw listed on Ralan. Maybe, you’ll be doing the same. Or maybe, you’d like to see the full painting of Daughter of the Ocean for the Bards and Sages April 2012 cover at my website’s art gallery: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com/art_gallery You can also check out another painting, Garden Skull, on the wrap-around cover page of the gallery, that has been accepted for the cover of one of the 2013 issues of Bards and Sages.

Whatever you’re doing this evening, may your night be calm and inspiring.

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Happy Chinese New Year to each of you. 2012 is a Year of the Dragon — a most auspicious year indeed!

I was born in the Year of the Dragon, several dragons ago, and I think that was the genesis of my life-long fascination with mythical beasts and magical stories.

In celebration, I’m working on a new painting of a red dragon. I began the painting yesterday with washes of colored inks and metallic watercolors. Then, I added a few drizzles of India ink and brilliant green. Next, I used acrylics to paint my slender, long-necked dragon clinging to some vines in the foreground.

Today, I’ve been adding more layers of acrylics on the dragon. I’ve also added a small barn and house with an “English countryside look” to them to the background. And I’ve painted a red dragon’s egg hidden in a leafy spot on the vines. The dragon’s face still needs more detail, and a few of the vines need to be “freshened up” because the newer layers of paint have muted their vibrant green. Still, I think I’m satisfied with my first dragon painting of 2012.

 The painting you see in this post is an older one — but I still like Strawberry Dragon because of his whimsical vibe. However, liking my older artwork is not a “given.” Luckily, I’ve grown as an artist, so much of my older work seems out of step with my new art. But I’ve decide that is something not to cringe at — but to celebrate.

As each of us grows a year older, we hopefully learn new things and improve upon our work — whether writing, painting, teaching, repairing engines, or whatever it is we do.

So chase away the bad luck by banging some pots together, set aside your broom so as not to sweep out the good luck, and remember to honor your ancestors and the local dragon.

As for me — I think I’ll sketch a unicorn!

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I’ve been taking time out from writing to do some drawing & painting. I finished a fantasy watercolor painted in various pinks, blues, and purples called Poet’s Moon, then sent a bit of it off to an editor for cover art consideration. That bit will be the cover of the February 2012 Scifaikuest.

I drew a pen & ink, faeriefolk-infested maze for BSFAN, Balticon’s souvenir book to promote my book from Cold Moon Press: The Greener Forest. (I’ve received positive feedback from a number of attendees on the maze). I painted a sweet little fairy, “Crocus,” for an ad in the next Faerie Magazine. Plus, she’ll be matted & framed for an upcoming art exhibit – I’ll have to let you know after it’s published what folks think.

I painted 2 gouaches “on spec” for the cover of an upcoming speculative fiction anthology: Rush of Wings. (Hmm, I’m not sure if that’s the true plural for more than 1 gouache — that strange child of watercolor & acrylic paints). One painting, “Rush of Wings,” was declined, and I’ve since sent it out to another editor for another project. The other, “The Golden Egg,” is still being held by the RoW editor. Both speculative paintings just sold from an art exhibit I have at Bel Air Barnes & Noble (MD) for June 1-30, 2011.

Two other paintings have also just sold “off the wall” of my local Barnes & Noble: “Mermaid & Friends,” the cover art for my eShort Sideshow by the Sea, (soon to be included in my new book) and “Three Dwarves,” a watercolor used as cover art by the now defunct Lite – Baltimore’s Literary Magazine. For those interested, you can see the mermaid painting and also, “Acorn Sprite,” a small painting that another buyer has expressed interest in purchasing when the B&N show ends — at the art-gifts on this blog: https://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com/art-gifts/

 I sent the 2 gouaches (mentioned in paragraph #2) plus a watercolor called “Strawberry Dragon” off to my local Society of Book Writers & Illustrators annual Jack Reid Scholarship for free tuition to their July conference. And, gulp, I won the illustrator’s scholarship, so my $195 tuition is being waived!

So what does this “sudden” artwork success mean? Should I stop writing and devote myself to illustration? I think not! I believe these positive responses to my artwork tell me the hours, days, weeks — actually years — that I’ve spent painting and studying art are being acknowledged. Practice has helped me to get better.

I’ll continue to practice my painting and my writing this summer. Hopefully, I’ll have good news in both disciplines. But most importantly, I hope to grow and improve so I can bring my readers better stories and more powerful art in the future. And I encourage all of you to practice whatever it is that you enjoy doing — and I bet you’ll see an improvement in your skill-level, too!

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 Beginning a story, a relationship, a quilt, a painting, or a garden is exciting and a bit scary. You start with a blank canvas, an empty plot of ground, a pile of scrap fabric, a character, a smile and “Hello,” or a wag of a tail. Wag of a tail?

Yup, this blog is about my new dog acquired from the local animal shelter. Sandy, (and, yes, I loved Little Orphan Annie’s pup) was a stray who obviously came from less-than-wonderful circumstances. On her first visit to the vet’s office it was determined she had Lyme’s Disease & worms. She was also intact (hadn’t been spayed yet) and wasn’t fully housebroken.

Yikes! There was going to be a big vet bill to get her healthier. Plus, I was going to have to spend lots of hours helping her understand it was wonderful to pee on the grass and not acceptable to pee on the rug. And she was weak and lethargic. But there’s always a price (time, money, sweat, etc.) to be paid to get something in good shape.

We visit the vet again tomorrow for some more shots. The spaying surgery is just a few weeks off. Sandy seems to understand where I want her to pee. She’s eating better and she’s building muscles in her legs. And best of all, she sleeps by my bed at night, can’t wait to see me in the morning, begs for belly-rubs and back-scratches, and looks at me lovingly with her chocolate eyes. Has the time I’ve spent working with Sandy been worth it. You bet!

Now, back to writing, quilting, painting, and gardening! The time you spend in learning the how to’s necessary for these tasks, the mistakes you make and grow from, the small successes, the support of friends and others interested in the same thing, and the finished project are all a part of the creative process. Will we all write a best-seller, stitch a first-prize quilt, paint a masterpiece, or have a garden worthy of a photo feature in a magazine? No, of course not. But each of us can do our best and be proud of our efforts.

Sandy will never be a champion dog (heck, we’re not even sure what breed/breeds she is) — but she brings me joy. And in the end, isn’t happiness, whether from writing, quilting, painting, gardening, or having a pet, what life is all about?

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