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...