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!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lunar Eclipse Magick

Wednesday morning, November 28th, the Lunar Equinox will occur.  While it won't be visible for me, I'm still a geek about earth magick and general Pagan Orthopraxy, and love doing wonderful things to celebrate and honor special occurrences like this.

For me (and everybody else in New York), it'll be happening early Wednesday morning from 7:14 AM to Wed 11:51 AM. This means I won't be able to see it.  Really.  I love my friends, but these fun things don't help, other than in the sense of celebrating the Earth's magick:

If you would like to find out when and if it is visible in your part of the earth, you can click here for an interesting site with a graph that details exactly when it's happening by your local time.  (Isn't science neat?)

Those who deeply enjoy astrology have already delved further into this than I possibly can.  The Tumblr feed Lunar+Eclipse has gone farther than I possibly can with suggestions for possible meanings and suggestions for rituals.  If you, too, enjoy lunar magick or working with manifesting positive energy, there's a lot of fun suggestions in that feed so far. However, if you're expecting hard-science astronomy, you may be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rethinking Salome

The dance of Salome for the Head of john the Basptist is one of the many Bible Stories that I've wanted to explore for a long time.  Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau has an interesting take on the subject, and, this fall, the the Hammer Museum is presenting an exhibition devoted to Gustave Moreau’s Salome Dancing before Herod.  The write up calls this, "one of the most remarkable and best-known paintings in the museum’s collection."  One of the parts that makes this particular exhibition so interesting is that it includes the related paintings, drawings, and preparatory studies that went into this piece, which allows us to see more of how the artist worked and went through his creative process.  Typically, most of these materials are housed in his home country, France.

When fellow artist Michael Manning sent me the link about the exhibit, he added, "Moreau's work has an iconic sensuality to it - haunting/haunted-looking figures, shadowy supernatural environments, and layered textures, all dripping with exquisite detail, sometimes incised directly into the paint surface - that can be almost overwhelming, even chilling to me."

Looking at Moreau's take on Salome has me re-thinking how I might work this subject when I get a chance to tackle it.  What is the best way to capture, in paint, a dancer so sensuous that she could make a king take leave of his senses?  It's an interesting question!

Gustave Moreau, Salome Dancing before Herod (detail) 1874-76

Gustave Moreau, Salome Dancing before Herod (detail) 1874-76

Above: Gustave Moreau. Nude Female Model for Salome (Study for Salome Dancing before Herod)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Artist to Watch Out For: Marco Mazzoni

I'm in love with this artist.  If you can't get enough of Marco Mazzoni either, please visit his FB page here, or cut the foreplay and enjoy his gallery here.

Above: the Hairy Fish, by Marco Mazzoni

Above: the Pink Skull, by Marco Mazzoni

Above: “Somnarium,” by Marco Mazzoni 

Strange WWII Propaganda posters

So, I'm taking a break from my current animation project to work on the next piece of creating a world for a video game.  This particular piece is creating propaganda posters for inside the world, as a way to flesh out the darkly oppressive look and feel of AErligheim.  As a way to research what makes good propaganda great, I began wading through the dark and unapologetic back-eddies of the internets in search of the truly unique propaganda imagery from during WWII.  I love the skill that allowed a masterful graphic designer to drive a point home, in one, punchy frame, and I do not care, for this exercise, how crazy the message itself was.

...which is good, because, man, it gets strange.  It gets very, very strange.  Like with these two handy broadsides about how to avoid chemical weapons:

Remembering all the times Grandmother told us not to waste food...

...and, for all of my friends who actually are Canadians...  (Love the hat!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autumn Fairy, Finished Image

Final details and Finished Piece: Here's where the most opaque "darkest darks" and "lightest lights" are added, and always with care and restraint. Remember, true black and true white do not occur in nature, so before adding a really inky black or a hot, bright white, I make sure to really think about it. More often than not, that black is really a deep burnt umber, and that white is an off-white or cream. However, if they need to show up, this is the layer where that fine definition happens. "Finis!"

New Yuletide Card: Freya at Her Spinning Wheel

The next card in my series of Yuletide Cards is up.  Freya at her Spinning Wheel.  The inside reads, "Blessings to you as the wheel of the year turns once again."

If you'd like to help spread the love, feel free to directly copy-cut-paste the link here:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Riding with Holda

In years past, I have always created a Yule-themed image. I know I've been threatening to draw the Krampus, but I just found this beautiful, ancient Yuletide legend: Holda, (whose name means “Merciful”) was the Teutonic (old German) goddess of winter.

In her form as the noble White Lady, Holda is beautiful and stately, with long, flowing golden hair, which shines with sunlight as she combs it. She was typically shown as a beautiful blonde wearing a shimmering gown (often white) and a magical goose-down cape (resembling the snow... shaking it makes the snowflakes fall). At Yuletide, she travels the world in a carriage and bestows good. Flying through the night sky on December 24 ("Mother Night," or "Lady Night"), Holda brings gifts and spreads joy to the good.  Remember, she also keeps track of those who have been "naughty" and "nice!"

Holda was a sky goddess riding on the wind. She is thought to be an older form of Frigg, wife of the Father God Odin; in some tales, Holda and Odin ride the sky together.

I could see having some real fun illustrating my impressions of this fascinating goddess. We'll see where this goes!

First Yuletide Holiday Card Design is up....

c. Portia St. Luke 2009

More will follow. Please enjoy, share, and pass them along!

My favorite parts of this holiday are the more traditional European "Yuletide," and "Father Christmas" parts of it.  I especially love the warm firelight, so this one has a very old, English poem called "the Yule Log" printed on the inside. It was written by the English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674), and Zazzle was able to print it in a beautiful Old English typeface.

Here's the poem:

The Yule Log
Come, bring with a noise,
My merry, merry boys,
 The Christmas log to the firing;
While my good dame, she 

Bids ye all be free,
 And drink to your heart's desiring.
 With the last year's brand 

Light the new block, and 
For good success in his spending, 
On your Psaltries play, 
That sweet luck may 
 Come while the log is tending. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Amazing Art: Daniel Agdag's Intricate Cardboard

Some work is simply too exquisite not to be shared.  Australian sculptor Daniel Agdag's "unbelievably intricate" cardboard and glue sculptures create tiny worlds, or, as he puts it, "Sets for a film I'll never make."  For more about this amazing artist and his upcoming film, just click here.