Friday, August 30, 2019

Exploring the World of Fairy in Art.

...Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world 
around you because the greatest secrets are always 
hidden in the most unlikely places. 
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.
~ Roald Dahl

To my dearest friends and followers,

Today I'd like to share with you some recent discoveries of mine concerning fairies. You should note that this post is not about fairy folklore, it's about the fairies I have taken a liking to in art.

To begin, I would like to tell you about a rather peculiar book I came across.
A few weeks ago, I happened to be in the local library for reasons not concerning books actually. The small bookstore within the library piqued my interest though. I saw a book that had to do with fairies. It was beautifully illustrated with delicate watercolor fairies. I left the store empty-handed. Later I found that I had not stopped thinking about the book. Those illustrations kept coming back to me. They were so breathtaking!

I did a Google search for watercolor fairies and though I was not able to find the book I was looking for, I found something else that caught my eye. It was a fairy by an artist I had never heard of: Toni Burt. Her work was so simplistic and yet complicated at the same time. Such fine detail showed and yet there was little detail. It was whimsical and magical and beautiful. It was a piece of art called "beguiled fairy". It looked like it had been loosely sketched and then painted in watercolor.

A few days after my initial trip to the library, I took another trip there. I went back to the bookstore to purchase the book I should have purchased the first time. They still had it, and I walked out with the book in hand and one less dollar than I had walked in with. It's called Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand by Eugenie Bird (author), David Downton (illustrator), and David Ellwand (photographer).
It's quite a humorous little book, but it is extremely well put together, filled with the most beautiful artwork. It is definitely well worth the dollar I spent on it. I'd say it's a must have for anyone who loves fairies.

I love drawing fairies, and I was inspired by both Toni Burt and David Downton's illustrations. I am now working on filling a sketchbook with fairies in like style, loose lines, just the right about of detail, and mostly pastel colors. I am however, working with my preferred colored pencils instead of watercolors.
I believe it is important to know my own style and to stay true to that, but to also not be afraid to try something new. I am doing both. XD
I have been feeling more confident in my art lately I suppose and am more open to trying something new. As my husband said, as an artist, it's good to get out of our comfort zone so as to not grow stagnate or become stale. Thank you for encouraging me, Love.
It's easy to know what you like and what you're good at. It's good to remember to be open to trying new things too. It offers an opportunity for learning and growth. I feel like I have started exploring a whole new world of fairies in art.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy some of my most recent artwork below.

Yours truly,

Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection - Eugenie Bird, David Downton, David Ellwand (Candlewick Press; 2006)

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Buried Castle Pt. 2.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Last week I shared two chapters from The Buried Castle, a novella I wrote nine years ago. I want to say thank you to those of you who voted for me to post more chapters!! 

As you may remember, the first two chapters I wrote were in a tiny book I made for my American Girl dolls. Then I later decided to turn those into a novella. Interestingly enough, the first two chapters in my pdf document are a bit different from the chapters I shared last week. They're lengthier, more detailed, and there are more characters mentioned. In general, the writing style is slightly different. Perhaps one day you will read them, but for now, I am going to continue where we left off last week...

The Buried Castle
"Shorter Lessons"

The next morning at breakfast, Charlotte asked, “Grandmother, must I do my lessons
“Why, of course, child!” Margaret answered. “What do you want to do instead?”
“I want to take Prince into the forest, and...”
“And play with John,” Margaret finished for her.

There was a forest that was not far from their cottage, and when Charlotte was

younger, she was riding Prince in it, when she met John Pixton, a boy who is a year older than her. He lived in a small little house in the forest with his father and mother.
John's father kept goats that roamed in the forest with no boundaries. He also had a beautiful sorrel horse named Gallant with a white star on his forehead. Together, John and Charlotte would spend many evenings riding on the beach.
Margaret never met the young lad, but she liked him from the things that Charlotte told her. She knew Charlotte liked him too by the tone in her voice when she talked about him and the things she said. Not once did she say anything unpleasant about him. Only kind and gentle words passed through her lips.

“My goodness! You don't even know if it really exists. No. I want you to finish your lessons before hunting for fairy tales. Besides, I'm sure John has his lessons to do also.”

“He does not,” Charlotte said. “He does not sit inside and read books like I do, oh no. He learns his lessons by being outdoors. He is outside much more than I am and even though he lives in the forest and doesn't get a lot of sun, his flesh is still darker than mine. I look dead, I am so white! While I sit here and learn to speak Latin and French and read about the Kings of England from morning to evening, he learns about his animals by being with them, and he knows about the wild animals, and of the forest plants, and he could tell you if it is going to rain or not by the smell of the wind.
“While I sit here and write songs and play the piano, he plays his flute to the trees...”
“Charlotte” Margaret interrupted, “are you telling me do not you like your lessons?” 
“I like them, I just wish I could be outside more.”
Charlotte thought her grandmother would be angry with her, but instead she said,

“Why have you not told me before? I will make arrangements for your lessons to not last until supper.”

“Oh, thank you, Grandmother!” Charlotte hugged her to show her gratitude, then finished her breakfast and started her lessons.

She read about King Henry VIII and his six wives. His first wife was Catharine of Aragon, but when he grew tired of her, he married Anne of Boleyn. Later she was beheaded. At the death of Jane Seymour, his third wife, he married Anne of Cleaves. He then divorced her like the first, and married Catherine Howard. And then he married Catherine Parr when the other died.

Then she read stories in Latin. It is easier for someone to learn something when they have a desire to learn it, and this was the same for Charlotte Heart. She read her favourite book, “Le Morte d'Arthur” in the language it was originally written in; Latin.
Then she practiced playing a song she had written on the piano. It was called “The Shepherd and the Goose-Girl.” Charlotte played a beautiful little tune, then she cleared her
throat and sang as follows;

“The Shepherd and the Goose-Girl”

There was a shepherd boy
Who kept watch over his sheep.
He sat upon that little hill,
While most of the animals lay asleep.

Then he heard the sound
Of a maiden's voice so fair.
Her singing, thought he,
Was so beautiful, and oh so rare.

He walked through grass and trees 
Until he came to a stream with rock. 
A goose-girl is what he saw, 
Standing there, guarding the flock.

She had a sweet mouth
And bright sparkling eyes, 

With hair that was the colour 
Of honey from the hives. 

Never before, said he to himself, 
Have I seen a maiden as fair as she. 
Many a day did he watch her,
But talk to her would not he.

Then he had fallen in love with her,
 And interrupting the song, said he,
How art thou, fair maiden,
On a fine day as this be?

The maiden was startled
And stopped singing the gay tune. 

Quoth she, I best be getting home, 
For it is almost noon.

She turned to leave,
But the shepherd gently said,
Leave not, I beg of thee,
For fain would I marry thee, or be dead.

She was so pretty and so happy, 
 she began to cry, 
Willingly will I marry thee,
For I would not have thee die.

So their wedding was full of 
Happiness and laughter, 
And they lived...
Happily ever after. 

When Charlotte finished her lessons, she went to her bedroom to change so that she could ride Prince. She changed out of her pale blue frock that made her bright blue eyes stand out, and into her riding gown. She let her curly dark locks down to lay as they wished, and then she went outside. 

"Where is John?"

It was a beautiful spring day, and when Charlotte went outside, she smelt the fresh blossoms in the air. All of the leaves that hung from the trees danced in the cool breeze that went by. Many of the bright coloured birds were out singing gay little songs. Some sounded as though they were singing at the top of their tiny lungs, others sang quiet peaceful tunes. She saw a bird fly to her nest that was in a juniper tree and feed her young ones that waited their mother's return. The bees were busy buzzing about, and the sun must have been happy, for his smile was shining brightly.

Then she noticed that Oliver, the stable boy, was ready with Prince. He had been on this earth but sixteen years. He smiled at her, showing his white teeth on that dirty boyish face. He was a kind lad, and always whistled gay tunes to himself as he worked. Often he would make up his own tunes, then put his own words with them. 

“Hallo,” he said to Charlotte as he helped her to mount.
“Thank you, Oliver.”
“It is my pleasure to help a bonny lass like yourself,” said merry Oliver. “Going to have a bit of fun today?”
“Oh, yes. Me and John are going to look for the key to the buried castle,” she explained excitedly.
Oliver stared at her blankly. “If you don't mind me asking, what are you talking about?”
“Not at all. It is a key and a castle that I am not sure exists,” she explained.
“If you are not sure it exists, why look for it?” he inquired.
“Oh, Oliver,” Charlotte giggled, “that is half the fun in looking!” and with that, she 
was off, Prince's hooves kicking up the sand as he galloped in the direction of the forest. 

Oliver just watched her with a confused look on his face. “Leigh Hunt was right when he said, 'A girl is the sweetest thing God ever made,'” he said, referring to the English Poet. “But,” he continued, “they sure are the queerest things He ever made too.” When he could see her no more, he went back to work, whistling to himself.

So, Prince galloped on towards the forest, Charlotte's hair flying all about her face.
Then, when they came to the forest, he began to walk. The sun was hidden by all the trees, making it dark and moist. Soft green moss covered many rocks and the trunks of trees.
Within time, Charlotte caught sight of a herd of goats. “Surely he must be near,” she thought to herself. But she did not dare call out his name, for fear that she would startle the animals.

As she came closer to them, she saw Gallant grazing with them, then she heard the faint sound of a flute being played. Now she knew he was near! She dismounted Prince and tied his reins to a tree nearby. Then she looked and looked and looked for John, but found him not. And she couldn't follow the sound of the flute, for there was no sound to follow. He stopped playing it.

After some time, Charlotte had grown weary of searching and she sat herself under a beech tree. “Oh, where is he?” she asked herself aloud.
“Here he is,” a familiar voice answered.
Charlotte was startled and looked all about her. “Where?”
“Here. Up here.”

She looked into the tree at which she sat, and saw John looking down at her. He sat on 
a thick branch to support his weight with a flute in his hands and a grin on his face. 

“Hallo,” he said cheerfully.
“Hallo? Hallo? John, are you not aware that I have been looking for you?” Charlotte inquired testily.
“Ay, I am quite aware,” he answered proudly. Again he smiled at her.

John had the kind of smile that when he smiled at someone, they had to smile too. Or maybe it was his kindness that made them smile, or maybe some just liked his smile. Whatever the reason, Charlotte could not be mad at him, but smiled back.

“What is it you wanted from me?” John asked kindly.
“I wanted to ask if you wanted to dig in the sand today?”
John looked amused. “Charlotte,” he laughed, “Charlotte, are we not a bit old to play 
in the sand?”

“I don't want to play in the sand, John. I want to dig for a key.” She told him the story of the buried castle.
“That sounds just like a fairy tale,” he said. 
"I believe one is never too old to believe in fairy tales, and I also believe it is not a tale, but really happened here in Shooting Star hundreds of years ago.”

John looked doubtful and didn't really want to look through all that sand for a key that he was sure they wouldn't find, but he could see that Charlotte was determined to find it, so his face brightened up and he said in his cheerful voice, “All right, let's look!”

Charlotte forgot herself and hugged John for excitement. He was just as surprised as she was. “I apologize.” somewhat embarrassed, she released him. “But thank you!”
“That's quite all right,” John said.“Now, tell me,” he went on, “when and where do we look for this buried key? And if we do find it..”
Charlotte interrupted him with a frown on her face. “Don't you mean when we find it?”
“But you don't know that we ever will,” he insisted.
“But we will. I can just feel it.”
He smiled at her.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked kindly, not being able to keep a

smile off her face.
“I love that about you,” he said. “When you set your mind on something, even when 
you do not know if it really exists, you are determined to find it anyway!”

“Oh,” she said, for she did not really know what to say. “What was it you were about to say?”
“Huh? Oh. Um...What do we do with it when we find it?”
Charlotte didn't know the answer to that, so she said, “I suppose we will know when 
we find it. Shall we start looking now?”

“That sounds good to me,” he agreed. “First let us ride back to my house and tell my dear mum what I will be doing.” 

So saying, they each mounted their horses and rode towards his house. All of the goats followed, for they knew John was their master, and wherever he went, they would follow. 

Thank you so much for reading. I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you would like to read chapter five. XD

Yours truly,

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Buried Castle.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Over the past couple weeks I have been going through some of my belongings and deciding what I want and what I don't need anymore. I came across my American Girl dolls and accessories. I decided I wanted to keep all of it and hopefully pass it on to my daughters one day (if I ever have daughters)!! I own six dolls and a lot of outfits and several pieces of furniture, the second version of the Coconut dog (2001-2004), and the original Licorice cat. I also have a large selection when it comes to the American Girl library. What I didn't have though, was enough tiny books for the dolls to read. XD

I made about a dozen or so tiny books for my dolls and gave them to the girls for Christmas and birthdays (yes, each doll had her own birthday marked on my calendar). 
Most of the books I made were classics. I would write the first chapter or so by hand in a tiny book that I had made from paper and glue. 
I even wrote a few of my own stories in them.

My mom had gotten the The Secret Garden. I read it and loved it. The version I had came with a cheap gold necklace (but I didn't care at the time!!) with a key on it. I loved the key so much, I wanted my doll to wear it. I then kept thinking about the key and wanted my own story with a key. It became an enchanting thing to me: where did it come from? What did it unlock? There was a sense of magic about it, an unknown mystery.

So I wrote what I called The Buried Castle. The tiny book consisted of only two chapters, but I later turned it into a novella of about 27k words. I decided to share two chapters for you here. I hope you enjoy and thank you so much for reading. If I get enough feedback, I may post the rest of the book. :D

Created with QuizMaker


Once Upon A Time, in the land known as Shooting Star, there ruled a very noble king, King Richard, who lived in a castle on the beach with his wife, Queen Lusot.
He was a very rich king and kept all of his gold, silver, and valuable jewels in a very large room that was hidden somewhere in the castle. Not even his own wife knew the whereabouts of this room.

Word had got out to other kingdoms that King Richard had a secret room filled with treasure, and this brought war to that peaceful land. Many bloody battles were fought and many lives lost. But still the treasure remained hidden.

However, the King was wounded very badly by Sir Henry, a prince from another land. Richard never recovered from his wound.
The king died and was mourned by everyone.
When the king's son, Sir Triston, was of age, he was very angry and wanted to avenge his father's death. This meant that he would have Sir Henry's blood on his own hands. His mother begged him to leave Sir Henry be, for fear that her son might end up like her husband.
But Sir Triston would not listen to the queen and would have no peace until Sir Henry was dead.

Queen Lusot became angry with him, and being an enchantress, she caused the castle to sink into the earth, trapping Sir Triston and everyone else, inside the castle.
Sir Triston became frightened, and not wishing to spend the rest of his life trapped, he seized the key to the castle door and scratched the word HELP! on it with his dagger. He ran as fast as he could up the stairs to the tallest tower. The window was nearly blocked with sand, but he quickly threw it out with the hope that someone would find it and set him free. 
No one ever found the key though. Poor Sir Triston remained there and never ceased praying. Eventually Sir Triston died, and within time, everyone else in the castle also died.
The end.


We now turn to the mid 1800's to a cottage that is only a short distance from the beach. Behind it, there was a stable in which Prince, the beautiful white horse, stood sleeping. You see, it was night in Shooting Star, and all of the glistening stars were out with a full moon shining brightly.
Around the cottage was a garden of flowers and trees that only added to its beauty.

Inside the cottage, a cheerful fire was burning on the hearth. On the chair nearby, sat an attractive, slim, silver-haired woman. She was the grandmother and guardian of Charlotte, who sat next to her.

Charlotte's father and mother died when she was an infant and her grandmother, Margaret, had taken care of her ever since.
Margaret just finished telling the story of the buried castle. Charlotte asked, "Oh, Grandmother, is that the end of the story?"
"Why yes, Dear," Margaret answered.
"Oh, but it can't be," Charlotte insisted. "It did not end in happily ever after like all of the other romantic fairy tales."
"I do wish it did end in such a way, but I told it to you the way my mother told it to me and the way her mother told it to her," Margaret admitted sadly.
"I thought you made it up," Charlotte was surprised.
"No Dear. It has been in the family for generations."
"Grandmother," Charlotte said, "I wonder if it is not just a fairy tale, but perhaps it really happened in this land long ago!"
Her grandmother just looked at her a moment, then said, "I have never thought about it before."
"No? I think it would be so grand! Just think, finding the key that Sir Triston threw out the window would be exciting! Imagine, finding a castle that has been buried to hundreds of years! And suppose the hidden room was found and the treasure too! What if the people hadn't really died, because they have been trapped all these years with magic. There would be dancing and feasting once they were found, because God let them have one last celebration before entering Paradise, which they are all overdue. And Sir Triston was still young and handsome and..."
"My Child!" Margaret laughed. "What an imagination you have. But I think we had best get some sleep before the night is over."
"Yes, Grandmother," Charlotte kissed her cheek and went up the stairs to her second-story bedroom. She changed into her long white nightgown and got into bed. She said her prayers and not long after, she fell asleep.

Yours truly,