April: Pagan Artist of the Month: Margaret Shaffer

birds in flight

April’s 2010 Pagan Artist of the Month is Margaret Shaffer.

The picture to the left is called Birds In Flight. The piece of art made Today’s Best Award for 1-22-10 on Zazzle.

Margaret seems to have a story behind every single one of her pieces of Art and she was a joy to interview. So please keep reading so you can discover Margaret’s talent through her eyes the way I did.

The Interview with Margaret Shaffer…

C.H. Scarlett: First, welcome to The Pagan and the Pen and thank you for agreeing to be our April Pagan Artist of the Month.

Second, tell us about the Pagan that lives inside Margaret Shaffer and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Margaret : I personally follow a path based on a blend of Greek and Celtic wisdom. I follow the Greek Pantheon but incorporate elements of Celtic traditions to honor my ancestry.

Yes, my beliefs inspire my art but I find my self trying to find the words to explain how, so I will try by explaining the samples I sent to you.

My “Birds in Flight” piece is an illustration of how beautifully birds coexist with the element of air.

“Dragon Smoke” is an ode to my totem animal. I choose a dragon because it symbolizes wisdom and all five elements working in harmony.

“Moonlight Dolphin” is in tribute to the sea goddess Amphitrite

C.H. Scarlett : So with so much spiritual/magical/symbolism and intent pouring into your creations, whoever buys and or wears your art might bring a little bit of that to them, correct?

Margaret : True, but it also boils down to what the symbolism means to the individual. For example Moonlight dolphin to any one else could represent any other lunar / sea deity, childish whimsy, or a dolphin totem. Like the old saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and so is the power of the symbol.

C.H. Scarlett : Your art being something like Kitchen Witchery, except where they work with food and herbs, you work with art and the supplies to create it. The designs and drawings themselves have deep meaning, therefore, something like a spell, that meaning is blessed to the purchaser. Would you agree?

Margaret: I never thought about it in that way but yes I agree. When you combine any symbol with the power of colors and positive thought then yes you are creating a talisman.

C.H. Scarlett: When did you first discover your talent?

Margaret : To be honest I have always drawn but I usually just shoved it in a box or threw it a way. The only reason I decided to do anything with my pictures was because a friend caught me throwing some of it away and he dove in to trash can to rescue it and lectured me about wasting my talents. With a lot of encouragement from my husband I entered a few pictures in the art show at a Sci-Fi / Fantasy convention and over heard a professional artist complement my style. That was the boost of self-esteem I needed to motivate me to share my art with the world.

C.H. Scarlett: It’s amazing what we don’t see in ourselves, yet someone else can home in on it right away, especially where talent and such exists.

Margaret: Well as my husband is always telling me “The artist is their own worst critic”. For this reason I make him help me pick out what pieces I make public because where I see flaws he sees a masterpiece.

C.H. Scarlett: What is the process behind most of your art? What mediums do you use?

Margaret : Well I usually start by staring at a blank piece of paper till I get inspired. I then sketch it out with a pencil and then go over it with a Sharpie marker, but some of my best work starts out just doodling with a Sharpie. I just love the sharp contrast between paper and ink. After the art is done I scan it in and touch it up using an art program called Gimp.

C.H. Scarlett: What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?

Margaret : Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is my primary inspirations, but I am also fond of Celtic Knot work and Tribal Tattoos.

C.H. Scarlett: If the world was created in the image of your imagination, what would it be like when we woke up tomorrow and seen it with new eyes?

Margaret : It would be a lot closer to D&D.

C.H. Scarlett: Very cool. So tell me a normal day if the world reflected something of Dungeons and Dragons. What sorts of creatures would I meet when trying to hop over to a grocery store, or would there be markets for bartering and so forth?

Margaret : Well you first would get up in the morning and converse with your familiar about how much it wished it had thumbs so it could make its own breakfast so he would not have to wait on you. After breakfast you two go to the local market to do some shopping. On your three block walk there you pass by a poster advertising a griffin race this weekend unfortunately you can’t go because of your job helping an elderly dragon write his memoirs.

When you get to the market your cat reminds you that you promised him trout for dinner. So you make your way past the venders selling fresh vegetables, bolts of silk and magic items to find the fish venders. On your way you stop by a merchant selling scribe supplies because you need some new quills. You decide to splurge and buy a beautiful pale blue one made from a Pegasus feather.

C.H. Scarlett: If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you? What are you open for—Book covers, Graphic Novels… what?

Margaret : I can be contacted through my Zazzle web site http://www.zazzle.com/magikosstudios

The few things I have been commissioned to do in the past were tattoo designs, but I am open to expanding my horizons.

C.H. Scarlett: Any new projects in the future or plans?

Margaret : I am currently focused on scanning in and touching up a pile of art that I’ve create over the last five years.

We’d like to thank Margaret for allowing us to peek into her world. It was a honor having her here at The Pagan and the Pen.

C.H. Scarlett

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