The Woven Path | November Auction

Auction Begins Monday

This Monday The Changeling Artists Collective on Facebook will be hosting the auction for original artwork, prints, and drawings from the Woven Path Tarot Project. My watercolour painting will be part of the auction, as well as many other wonderful pieces from this Tarot project. XII. Death is my contribution to the deck; the original painting (without digital edits) varies a slightly to what will be seen in the finished product. So if you’re looking to get your hands on the original piece, please head over the link below to participate in the bids or BIN (buy it now) option. *Please note that the BIN option is only available for a limited time before the auction begins.


The Faery Ring

changeling artists collective

Nov. 22, 12:00 EST – Nov. 26, 12:00 EST

Auction here on Facebook | Info. & Bids

CODEX Obscurus | 2021

The Ritual, graphite, 12×16″ (on 14×17″ paper), 2021
Strathmore 100lb. 270 g/m2

I shared a little peek into this piece sometime earlier this year, but with the project now on full swing on Kickstarter I can announce that this drawing will be part of the CODEX Obscurus Artbook. This is a project by Spiridon Giannakis with cover and Tarot deck design by Viktor Pushkarev, and is a collaboration with an incredibly talented lineup of 145 artists and their unique take on witches & warlocks, witchcraft, the occult and various folklore. As a bonus, I along with several others will be putting forth our original artwork (The Ritual in my case) for purchase in this campaign. If you are interested acquiring an artwork please head over to the Kickstarter page for all the info.

Now Live on Kickstarter

kickstarter.com/projects/spiridon/codexobscurus

The campaign runs until the end of the month & there are just a few more stretch goals to go! If you would like to back this project please head over to pledge.

Limited Edition Prints & Campaign Bundles

There will also be a limited edition run of these amazing hand-made prints by Viktor. Here’s just a little peek at his process, but you can find more behind-the-scenes on the Codex Kickstarter page as well as on Viktor’s Instagram. Depending on the pledge, there will also be different extras from other artists in this campaign from high quality Prints, Postcards, Posters & Bookmarks; with the potential of even more bonuses with the unlocking of stretch goals.

The Ritual: a look into the process

For this project I decided to go with a full graphite piece. I wanted a break from painting with watercolour last year and although I hadn’t touched graphite in while, I felt confident again after laying down the foundation and just having at it. It also helped that I was excited to create something that was very much in line, thematically, to my own work.

I knew I’d be working with a lot of blending and powdered graphite ‘washes’, so I started by taping off the borders for a clean look for the finished product. Once the prelim sketch had been transferred onto the paper, I worked in layers from 2B pencils all the way to 6B & 7B for the darkest as I could go. To achieve the softer appearance I like to create in contrast to the more defined Celtic designs and such, I went to my trusty blending stumps as well as the usual no nonsense tissue paper. This project was also an attempt to improve on metallic elements (or in this case jewellery); working in grayscale and then using an eraser to create effects for a more realistic rendering.

I hope you enjoyed a look into this project and hope you will support our work through this artbook. Take care everyone!


Hunter | Graphite Drawing

Hunter, graphite & colour-pencils on paper, 8×10″, 2021

BACK TO GRAPHITE

I’ve been enjoying all the Inktober pieces from artists on social media, as usual I haven’t been able to get into it myself. I’m fully determined to keep saying ‘next year’ however, until I get something in for the darn monthly challenge! Meanwhile, I’ve taken a little break from watercolours again, as we near the end of the month. This one being a more fun and free project, taking a character from author Nalini Singh‘s work and imagining it into a more illustrative piece.

Starting off using the same technique from my last painting (Banshee’s Wail), and layering the preliminary drawings so they are ready for the transfer stage. This time around I wanted to play with more dramatic lighting, as I’m slowly starting to get more comfortable with it for future projects. I decided to do some simple black and white lighting samples on Paintshop Pro. It’s not a really an depth study, more of an assurance really so that I’m not going to desecrate the drawing when I work in graphite powder onto the paper. Speaking of paper, I’m using Strathmore’s Bristol 100lb. (270 g/m2) in Smooth Surface. I’ve used both the vellum and smooth surface sheets from Strathmore for many years now, and I usually shift between the two if I want more texture or not; I tend to shy away from more textured paper however because I like to scan my pieces for digital use.

I tend to use graphite powder for mainly large surfaces I want to cover, and I believe you can purchase it as well. I don’t have any experience with it so I tend to just use the saved ‘residue/remnants’ of when I sharpen my graphite (using the blade method to sharpen of course). Using a tissue I then work it in, and for this particular piece adding in various forms with my Blending Stumps. I ended up feeling that the piece was a bit on the grey-scale of things and flatter than my usual work; in which I usually have some pure black elements for contrast, so I thought it might be fun to add some colour instead. Sticking to the paranormal and fantasy aspect of the author’s work, I chose to just focus on the eyes (…or rather eye) with various shades of green colour pencils. Overall, a much needed casual and experimental project; although I never want to see leopards or spots again.

Hope you all have a fun Halloween!

A CLOSER LOOK


(This post contains affiliate links. I can receive a small amount of commission should you choose to purchase from a link provided. It helps me keep this blog going and supporting my work here on this site. I will only recommend items I’ve used and already purchased with my own money, or know enough about to recommend as an alternative.)

Banshee’s Wail | Watercolour Painting

A CONFOUNDING PIECE

Hello everyone. I’ve finally had the chance to get this one scanned and uploaded. My latest painting Banshee’s Wail, taking on themes of Irish folklore. This year has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions in terms of development of artwork and style. Taking this piece for example. What started off as an idea I couldn’t wait to get on paper, transformed into a drawing I really liked, and then the initial excitement petered off. Any other artists out there who can’t stay on an artwork for too long? In the end I was satisfied having accomplished somewhat of what I had imagined in my head. I’ve found the best remedy in these situations is to just move on and create more. So off to a new drawing I’ve been working on…and of which I’m enjoying far more than the process of this painting. I think after a little self analyzing it’s come down to missing incorporating some design elements I used to love doing. Let me know what you guys think and feel free to share your own experiences; I love chatting with you all. As always thanks for stopping by the blog, and hope you are all well!

Banshee’s Wail, watercolours, 8.25×10.75″, 2021

Original now available artofshaima.bigcartel.com

NEW METHODS

If there was one takeaway from this painting, it was through the preliminary stages of the piece. I’ve been trying out a different way of developing the initial drawings for the transfer stage. I usually just go the regular route and add in elements, erase, add some more. With this method I’d be transferring each individual element/figure one at a time from tracing paper onto the final sheet. The idea is to eliminate the need to erase parts of a perfectly good drawing in the vicinity of another piece being added to the artwork. Personally what tends to happen when trying to overlay other figures and objects, is the sheer number of unavoidable adjustments; trying to get the face, anatomy, flora, etc. just right. I’m not sure I’ll use this technique for all future work, but it seems useful at the moment for pattern and graphic elements, or in the case of this painting for sheer and translucent subjects. A lovely follower on Instagram referred to it as “analog Photoshop layers” which hadn’t occurred to me till now; a fun way to look at it nonetheless.

Inspiration in Many Forms | Pagan Folk

As I went to post my latest Wardruna inspired drawing, I realized I missed posting the last two pieces I had done. So here’s me backtracking to a couple of older sketchbook drawings. As usual I’ve been using Strathmore’s Tan Drawing Sketchbook, and I would say after using it for this long it’s the only sketchbook I’ve gone back to over and over again (sadly some of my regular sketchbooks are collecting dust). Many artists, myself included, love the amount of depth you can easily create on toned paper. You already have a working middle ground, so pushing the shadows and highlights comes easier and results in better depth in the overall drawing. At 80lb (118g/m2) I find the paper to be quite substantial as well; I’ve tested out a few markers and microns on it without any bleed-through. I’d be cautious of using things like Copics and Shinhanart Markers however, as those notoriously over saturate most paper (unless you don’t mind avoiding the use of the back of every page).

WARDRUNA ‘Lyfjaberg’, graphite and white colour-pencil on paper.

The Appeal of Pagan Folk

I’m using the term ‘pagan folk’, but sometimes placing specific genres on a musician or band can be a bit vague or confusing to others. People come across bands like Wardruna and Heilung and call them ‘Viking’, or more amusing terms such as ‘demonic’, ‘barbaric’ or the best one of all, ‘is that Ragnar?’. Wikipedia tends to take the more…generic route, and uses terms such as ‘Norwegian music group’ or ‘Faroese singer-songwriter’ for someone like Eivør Pálsdóttir. I think Heilung does the best at identifying their music as “amplified history”, as thematically they tend to gear more towards the Bronze & Iron Age. Where as a band like Faun from Germany, often has a more identifiable ‘medieval tone’ to a general audience. You also have bands like Kalandra who are referred to as ‘alternative Nordic pop’, and singer Aurora thrown into these genres as well; either because of their collaborations, or messages surrounding nature and/or wilderness in their songs. I know I just threw a whole bunch of names into the field, but I thought it would be the best way to explain the difficulty of having to explain to someone that I listen to pagan folk for inspiration, without a whole lot of head scratching.

Although fairs and festivals have been going on in Europe for a while, I think it would be fair to say that in North America at least such events aren’t as common place. The occasional summer music festival usually tend to promote musicians from Hollywood; the mainstream genres of pop, rap, rock, etc. Renaissance, Medieval or Pagan festivals weren’t something you came across, unless you were actively looking for them I suppose. There has definitely been a shift in recent years however, as Scandinavian and other European folk bands have had tours lined up more regularly across major cities in North America.

You also can’t overlook the impact of shows like Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and even Game of Thrones & Outlander for that matter, have had on this growing interest on festivals and activities surrounding historical reenactment. I think the musical aspect goes hand in hand as lot of bands like Wardruna for example, with their track ‘Helvegen’ on Vikings, drew the attention of audiences unfamiliar with pagan folk. Similarly, my introduction to my favourite singer Eivør was through the very first episode of The Last Kingdom, and drew my curiosity into discovering more artists from Northern Europe. Even in adolescence, I think I’ve always had an interest in outside what mainstream music would be playing on the radio. I remember having The Mask and Mirror & The Book of Secrets albums by Loreena McKennitt on an endless loop, then substituting it for tracks like ‘La Notte Etterna‘ from Emma Shapplin.

I think the desire to be closer to nature, live more rural, and escape from the general madness of our concrete jungles is no longer reserved to a small population. It’s also something being translated more and more into different art forms including music, and of course visual arts. You’ll be able to find a lot more contemporary artists across social media for example, displaying work that incorporate nature in some capacity; some approaching it through its beauty and volatility, others through messages for environmentalism and conservation. My work probably encapsulates the former, although there’s no denying it’s a continual effort to try and portray that accurately. I think this is where my interest in pagan folk intersects with the creation of artwork. Inspiration can be found in many forms different from your practice; photography, film, etc, but mine has overwhelming been through music and literature. I can easily get lost in the rhythms and voice of a singer; feel transported enough to feed that imagination and overactive brain, and translate it to paper and paint.


“I think many people who don’t go to church or other religious ceremonies,
I think they miss that solemn, holy place.

One of the goals with Wardruna concert is to actually create that space.
To create that serious space, moment, where you can just get lost into the music.

It’s about communication, back and forth.
About acknowledging things that are bigger than yourself. Remembering nature,
that we are part of it, etc.”

-Einar Selvik with Iron Realm Productions at Midgardsblot 2016.

If you made it this far, thank you for stopping by this longer chatty post and feel free to continue the conversation below. Take care everyone!

WARDRUNA ‘Kvitravn’, graphite & white colour pencil on paper.

The drawings for Kvitravn; the one above and the one with the white raven featuring Lindy-Fay Hella, are both inspired by Wardruna‘s latest album and the visuals from their respective music videos which you can find on Youtube.


(This post contains affiliate links. I can receive a small amount of commission should you choose to purchase from a link provided. It helps me keep this blog going and supporting my work here on this site. I will only recommend items I’ve used and already purchased with my own money, or know enough about to recommend as an alternative.)

Soul Collector | Watercolour Painting

Testing New Brushes

I’ve been meaning to get some new watercolour brushes, as the ones I’ve been using (although having served well for years) are fraying and/or have rogue hairs going in one direction. Debating on whether or not to invest in squirrel-hair brushes, I decided it wouldn’t really serve me any purpose as I like painting in a particular way; and perhaps even more impractical for those who use hot-press paper. There are definitely a wide range of brushes out there and admittedly quite overwhelming, but after watching some reviews by other artists on Youtube I settled for trying out the Princeton Neptune range. I went for the Round Synthetic Squirrel in 0, 6, & 12 (as they are the sizes I use the most) of the 4750 Series. I’ll provide links below of where I got mine, even though this is not sponsored, and I’ll be sure to provide updates on how they fare with more use. I’m loving them so far, as the handles in particular feel more comfortable than my standard ones from the art stores here like Deserres or Curry’s. If any of you have used brushes from this brand please share your experiences in the comments, or even what your favourite brushes are; I’m sure we could all glean something useful from it. In the meantime I’ll be continuing using these new brushes as I’ve done for this latest piece, and will be retiring my older brushes for inks and acrylic washes.

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 0

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 6

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 12

The Prelim.

As usual I started out with my drawing on tracing paper, eventually transferring the finished product with a graphite backing and tracing all the lines and details. I was sharing this thought on Instagram as well but, does anyone else hate ‘transfer’ days as much as I do?! Recently I’ve been laying some scrap paper as masking (as you see on the right side), just so I have less graphite residue to erase off of my watercolour paper when I’m done transferring.


The finished drawing ready for transfer.

There’s no better feeling than finally getting to put pigment to paper.

You always feel ambitious with the thought of filling a piece with knotwork, until the realization sets in of having to trace said knotwork for a second time accurately. I cheated a bit with this piece as you’ll notice with my preliminary drawing as I drew in only one side; the other side was cheekily transferred by doing a mirror/flip transfer of the paper. I also decided to incorporate some cute little Robins as well; going on themes of death and souls for this painting. You might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, and rightfully so. I often tend to come by weird articles and stories (go figure), and a few that have interested me are of Robins visiting people in grieve and mourning. One in particular was that of a woman grieving the death of her child at his grave and a robin flying and landing on her. I hadn’t known of the bird’s connection in folklore and symbolism surrounding death. Truly fascinating.

Soul Collector, watercolours, 8.5×11″, 2021