Painter of the mystical, otherworldly, sensual, and whimsical.

I'm a painter living and working in the beautiful finger-lakes region of Western New York State. I am also an avid gardener and nature lover, so the lush green rolling hills, gentle streams, and majestic lakes that surround my home in this world often appear in the fantasy worlds of my paintings.

Many of the pieces draw inspiration from folk tales, myths and legends. These "teaching tales" were what drew us together around our hearth-fires for centuries, and I believe those stories still carry power.

I enjoy looking at these ancient tales, through my eyes, and painting what I see, no matter if it's beautiful or disturbing. But what's more fun is when others can see those same paintings and find something within of value that speaks to their soul directly. I do not plan for this, but am honored when it happens, and, oh, yes, do love hearing about it every time that it happens. It reminds me that maybe we are not so different after all.

Glad to meet you, and please enjoy the paintings!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 washes away

"May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams & good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art (or write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can). And somewhere in the next year, I hope you surprise yourself." -Neil Gaiman

Friday, December 30, 2011

“I'm a painter, Jim, not a writer!”

I wonder if mid-winter depression is a blessing wrapped in a curse... a shaman's journey, if the seeker allows it. Walk through Chapel Perilous, and there's wisdom to be learned. I have to wonder if that's where I am right now. Then again, I may just be a self-deluded twat. It's hard to tell.

I haven't been updating my blog ( ) for some time. To be frank, I wonder how the artists who are also prolific writers manage to create their (often amazing) art and write at the same time.

I sealed myself off from the world. I set my instant messaging to invisible. The people who need me can leave a message... I'm never really that far from the screen anyway. You know the computer's in the studio. I'll see it eventually. I'm probably at the art desk 6 feet away with my nose too close to the paper, inking something.

Enough other folks have told me that having a Blog is important that I really can't ignore them anymore. However, writing about the art itself feels a little too much like “Art Therapy.” “What was I thinking? How was I feeling about this piece?” Do I write from “inside the looking glass,” or as the outside observer? How much information is too much information, anyway? I've been told that having a Blog is important for an artist, but I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to communicate about that work, or that process... or how.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet

"Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet," 
by Portia St Luke, 
Pen and Ink on tinted paper highlighted with white, 
December, 2011.

These figures are inspired by the traditional Yuletide figures of Holland, Sinterklaas, or "Saint Klaus," and Zwarte Piet, or "Black Pete," the chimney sweep that has become a cherished part of the holidays in Holland. Many progressive Americans have inferred the legend of Zwarte Piet has racist overtones. When asked, however, the majority of Dutch people seemed to find this notion absurd. By the same logic, would the American Santa with his elves be "sizeist"? Stop complaining, children. The Austrian version of the Christmas Saint doesn't arrive with a cherished icon nearly as friendly. If you're too naughty, maybe next year I'll draw the Krampus...

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Christopher Holt - Morden Surrey - Sunlight filters through the autumn leaves
‎"We return thanks to our Mother, the Earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness, and Who directs all things for the good of thier children."

-- Iroquois Prayer, adapted Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Surviving the World - Lesson 28
above: Lesson #28 from "Surviving the World."

Happiness and Success 
(...with thanks to Jaana Nyström at G+!)

1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
2. Work at something you enjoy and that's worthy of your time and talent.
3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
6. Be generous.
7. Have a grateful heart.
8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
12. Commit yourself to quality.
13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
14. Be loyal.
15. Be honest.
16. Be a self-starter.
17. Be decisive even if it means you'll sometimes be wrong.
18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.
20. Take good care of those you love.
21. Don't do anything that wouldn't make your Mom proud.
     21-B. (Portia's correlary) If you choose to do something that would go against what you raised to know as "the rules," know first which rule you're breaking, know why you're breaking it, and know how while causing the least unwanted harm.  (Remember, some of humanity's greatest discoveries were made by bloody-minded people who were willing to question Mom!)
The path to success

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Masked Angel."

above: "Masked Angel" by Portia St. Luke

Just finished, here's a new pen-and-ink on tinted paper, called, "Masked Angel. "

It felt good to get back to good old pen-and-ink, but the piece took me a helluva lot longer than I ever would have anticipated. (Does anybody still wonder why I'm terrible at updating my blog?)

I do love this style, though. Pen and ink on tinted paper, highlighted in white was a common method found in the sketchbooks of the Renaissance masters. About a year ago I did a similar piece called "Holly King, Oak King," that used this technique. The result looks cool and re-prints beautifully. It's still a favorite piece.

(above: "Holly King, Oak King" by Portia St. Luke, November 2010)

The design for the "Masked Angel" came from the friend who purchased the original piece. However, with permission, I am selling prints. Posters are available from Zazzle by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First-hand Account: "I Went To Occupy Wall Street. This Is What I Saw"

Great bit of surprising first-hand perspective, with photos, from somebody who was at OWS, camera in hand.

The Journal of Joe The Peacock. Yay.: I Went To Occupy Wall Street. This Is What I Saw: So, with all the blah-de-blah and hoo-de-doo I've been posting about Occupy Wall St. (and the subsequent Occupy [insert city here] movement...

"Holly King Oak King" now available for order as cards, prints, and other schwag

Above: "Holly King Oak King" by Portia St. Luke

"On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, "Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark." Back on Earth we call this Christmas. Or the Winter Solstice..." 
Kazran Sardick, Dr. Who, "A Christmas Carol,"(11th Doctor, Matt Smith) 

Every year, I've been asked to come up with a cover for the December issue of one of the publications I've worked for. Now, I was raised very English and very Protestant, so I was pretty well indundated with the traditional yuletide images that follow. However, ancient Europe has a deep, rich history of traditions for celebrating the Solstice, or, as was so elegantly put in Dr. Who, that day when everybody joins together and says, "Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark."

In so doing, I always challenge myself to look at things a little differently. I've done the Green Man (another Blackfox Winner), Charity, Mother and child (not specifically "the Madonna," but it's the closest I've come), and there's one on the drawing board fo Hades, Persephone and Demeter that's still fighting me. Friends and fans have pointed out the obvious: put together, this has evolved into a set.

I hear you, and I appreciate that kind of love. So, I'm uploading those pieces so that they'll be available as cards. Once they're uploaded, it's pretty easy to turn them into posters, high-end prints on canvas, or t-shirts and other schwag.

First piece, then, in the "Halfway out of the Dark" series: "Holly King, Oak King," available as both displayable art and collectible schwag from LaMagnifica.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In appreciation to my friends in the SCA for showing the love!

LaMagnifica Signora is thrilled to announce that, for the third (really? Third?) year in a row, she has won the Society for Creative Anachronism's (SCA's) prestigious William Blackfox award for excellence in Artwork published in an SCA publication.  As a result, she finally got on the stick (yeah, OK... ) and took care of creating that Zazzle account so that friends who would like prints of this particular piece can have them without needing to track me down. (October. It still sucks.) 

You know what? It wasn't really that hard... and once I made a simple poster, I had a little fun and made some more things, too. So, we have that same image commemorating the growth and history of this big, crazy party we've all been showing up to for the last 45 years available on some fun schwag, too... (Hey, everybody loves fun schwag!)  Visit LaMagnifica on Zazzle for high-quality wrapped canvas prints, posters, greeting cards, t-shirts, hoodies and other schwag are available.

Text on the shirts reads:
Berkeley, California, May 1966
Diana the Listmaker did plant a seed in her back yard and tend it well.

The SCA is one of the largest "geek subculture" groups, so opinions on it vary wildly among other geek groups. However, I found them when I was 18, which gave me a lot of time to do work within that world. Having a piece published as the cover of the booklet for the Pennsic War means 10,000 to 14,000 people will see it, if only for a minute. Do that twice and it becomes multiplied by two. Having a shop every year in a locale that couldn't possibly be more public is free advertising the likes of which the Devil himself would envy.  Some of the Pennsic War merchants duplicate the Renaissance Faire Circuit, so much of the same wild, creative energy appears, and every year I'm grateful that I found these folks so many years ago.  Even if you never join your local SCA group, Pennsic is a party not to be missed.

Signora Portia de Sancto Lucianno
Order of the Broche (Barony of Thescorre)
Order of the Sycamore (AEthelmearc)

William Blackfox Award:
Commended, AS 43 (2008)
Winner, AS 44 (2009)
Winner, AS 45 (2010)
Winner, AS 46 (2011)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Introductions are for Pikers

Introductions, to me, feel like being at a party and being asked, "So, tell me about yourself. What's your gig?" Where do you start? Artist, lover, dreamer, starry-eyed idealist, "liberal hippie socialist scum not entitled to fly the American flag," feminist, crazy bitch, Goddess-worshiper, lunatic...

If you've found Google+ by now, you may have noticed that each friend has a brief one-or-two word descriptor/ identifier under their name: "University of..." "XYZ Corporation," "SCAdian, geek, and science-fiction writer." Even "mommy and wifey," (yes, in those words) showed up, bringing me a nostalgic smile for a bygone era when women were viewed as much more simple creatures than we actually are.

The personality comes through in the writings and the art. You'll see it, and, if you keep reading, I'm pretty sure you'll learn more about me. I'd like to learn more about you, too. I'm easy to find on Google+ or Facebook... "So, tell me about yourself. What's your gig?"