Category Archives: Column: Pagan Artist of the Month

Every (first of the) month we try to interview and present a pagan artist to the world.

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

March: Pagan Artist of the Month: Nix Winter

When I first met Nix Winter, I knew him as an Author, but slowly, I began to realize that’s not his only talent. Then, once someone suggested I contact him for the Pagan Artist of the Month, I became floored—literally—at just how much of an Artist he is! Nix Winter is an artist by natural means (drawing, painting, etc) but also, a photographer, a photo manipulator, and a digital master.  So this month, I will be proud to show off Nix’s talent (his many pictures) in our Pagan Holiday posts…so make sure to catch those as we move towards April.

 

The Interview:

C.H. Scarlett: Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Nix and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Nix Winter: Labels are so limiting. They give us comfort as they define our world like borders on a map. I started my spiritual path as a Christian. It was so constricting, so linear. There is so much guilt in my experience of that path anyway. I found a book by Starhawk and my life opened up!

Over the nearly two decades since then, I’ve found I don’t believe in a particular deity. I believe in a connection to the universe, to energy that binds us all together. What brings me good, is good for the community. When I give to the community, it comes back to me.

Lately I think.. that I am a song, my being physical and soul, the path of my life. All the parts, living brings forth a kind of song, like whales or the harmony of stars.

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

Nix Winter: I don’t know that I’ve discovered something within myself that isn’t with anyone I just love trying things, seeing beautiful things. Maybe there’s something in all of us that strives be bright and vivid so that other people can see us.

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

Nix Winter: My process is incredibly varied. At the most basic, I’m just looking for some way to say what I need to say. As for mediums, I use all different kinds. I’ve enjoyed photography, digital art done in Photoshop, Painter and Manga Studio. I work with acrylic, water color, pastel, Copic markers, colored pencil, ink and brush, and even a little air brush.

For me creating some visual representation of an idea or a feeling is about trying to be one with it. I guess I’m trying to turn my soul inside out, leave a print of it like with Silly Putty getting an image off of a cartoon strip. It’s really easy… just put color to surface, let it tell you where it should go.

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

Nix Winter: Oh I love art! I love Georgia O’Keefe, Degas, Monet, Kishimoto, and Clamp. I saw an exhibition of Micheal Angelo at Seattle Museum of Art. Amazing stuff, not because it was so perfect, but because it was pretty normal, way been than I can do, but still sketches. He tried to burn up all his sketches and drawings at the end of his life to help the myth that his work was inspired by God.

I saw this amazing piece by Yoko Ono that bent my mind. It was so simple. Just a block of wood, a hammer on a chain and a bowl of nails. The art formed as viewers took a nail and banged it into place. It was ever changing, always unfinished. All art, if we know it or not, is like that…. we make something and we show it to the viewer and in the viewer’s mind new concepts, meanings, understandings are added, deleted, shifted.. and this piece of art becomes born a new for each person that internalizes it.

I love Japanese art a lot and I listen to mostly Japanese music. Sometimes music gives me ideas for stories or art, but mostly it’s my buffer, my protector.

C.H. Scarlett:  That’s awesome. I haven’t heard anyone mention Georgia O’Keefe as being an inspiration in forever. I adore her work too. Everyone you mentioned, is fabulous—and sadly, some are not spoken of so much anymore with artists. Refreshing.

Now, tell me, 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?

Nix Winter: Oh goodness! You’d probably have to read my books for that. It’s changing, growing. Sometimes my imagination is pretty dark, so it might not be so nice. I think the world we’ve got is very fantastic and we don’t use half of what we’ve got!

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

Nix Winter: I do a lot of book covers 🙂 I used to have a commission page up on my site, but I don’t now. I work mostly through loveyoudivine for cover work, but I’ve done one cover for Freya’s Bower too. If someone did want art from me, they should write and ask. 🙂

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

Nix Winter: Oh yes! I have a cover I’m working on for Jaime Samms. I need to finish covers for Cain and Shelly, The Pet 11. I want to work on a graphic novel and I have so many candidates for what I should do. I just got my copy of Immortal Fire. I was really proud of that project. I did all the covers and wrote a short story for it as well.


www.transformation.com
My work: www.nixwinter.com

 

 

 

I would like to thank Nix for allowing us to show him off!!!

C.H. Scarlett 

February: Pagan Artist of the Month: Neil Geddes Ward

Interview by Bryn Colvin

neilB&W

Neil Geddes Ward is an artist whose work has inspired many a Pagan along the way. Talking to him raises some interesting questions about how we use ‘Pagan’ as an artistic definition. There’s a great deal of spirit in his creations. Is it the artist, the audience or both who decide what any given image means?

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Bryn : Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Neil and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Neil: There is no pagan in me, haha! I tend to think that I read a lot, and think a lot, and then have an opinion. That does not make me Pagan, I think, but more a person who is interested in paranormal things and where that might take us, and I think if you say you are a Pagan it can limit your experience, and I would rather say, I have a common interest in things that folks who call themselves Pagan might have. I do not worship any Goddess or God, but tend to think more of the overall picture. If that makes me Pagan for some people, then that is fine with me, but I am not totally saying I am!! Now that, that has confused you!!! But I do get ideas of what I want to do in my art through Pagan channels and also other areas too, and also I am inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites too!

Bryn: You describe yourself as visionary – it’s even in your email address. Can you expand on what that actually means for you?

Neil: Now what do I mean by visionary?? Well hard to explain but I would say, going beyond what we see to expand our minds a little more, open to more possibilities etc, to see things in new ways and to try to think outside the box a little more! Better to think like that than just accept the world the way it is!


Bryn: So is it more about giving people opportunity to find their own meaning and resonance in your work?

Neil: My work tends to be cryptic, some of it is very clear to me, and others are more like dreams that fade with mornings first light! So a lot of people find their own meaning in my work to an extent, I certainly don’t send out explanations with every print I sell!  Some people just like the look of something, some people choose a certain image because it reminds them of a spouse or something, and some like it because of the moon or the owl or some other element that my paintings contain. We all free drawn to something special that resonates and I guess many of my paintings resonate with some people to some extent or another.

Bryn: When did you first discover your talent?

Neil: It was not a case of me discovering my ‘talent’ but more of discovering other people in my class at school could not do what I did! So I guess I took it for granted that everyone could draw or paint! But not so, and I guess others with other talents would say the same thing. I did know something different from others, in the fact that when I was at school, when I was very young, I would always paint the sky all the way to the horizon whereas other kids my age just painted a blue band at the top of the paper. I guess I was actually looking out of the window! In fact I tended to look out of the window a lot at school! I was told I was too much of a day dreamer! haha!

Bryn: What is the process behind most of your art? What mediums do you use? Gallows wake for the web

Neil: I paint in Oils and also draw in pencil. I find Oils are very flexible and a lot easier to use than water colour or other paints. Oils have a slow dry time which helps me greatly in blending colours and tones! I also take many reference photos of models to help get the look just right!

Bryn: What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?

Neil: Brian Froud, for his vision of faeries, the Pre-Raphaelites for their genius and ability! I admire Rush, the Canadian rock group for their excellent songs and musician ship. I play bass guitar too, so I know what standard they are!!!

Bryn: 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?

Neil: Oh blimey!! Well there would be no money to argue over and no wars and no murder, pollution, or wrong doing. Hmm, is this called Heaven?? I think we all blame everybody else sometimes and sometimes, you have to take responsibility for your little corner of reality, whatever reality is, if there
is a real world out there at all!! More acid Vicar??

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

Neil: People can view my art on www.neilgeddesward.com and email me at neil@geddesward.co.uk and also find me on Facebook, Neil Pagan Artist . I do take commissions, so long as are serious ones, in the sense that people will really want them!! I will be happy to consider most projects, books, portraits, etc so give me a call!

Bryn: Any new projects in the future or plans?

Neil: Currently working on a children’s novel proposal for publication, me doing the illustrations and also basic plot lines. Will be featuring Elves and Orkney! Aim to get that to an agent in the New Year! fingers crossed!! Plan to do more pagan conferences, so if anyone needs a speaker, please email me, and I would be happy to discuss. neil@geddesward.co.uk

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A huge thank you to Bryn Colvin and Neil Geddes Ward for putting together a fabulous interview. And don’t forget….we will be featuring some of Neil’s art with our Pagan Holidays throughout the month. So be sure to check his web site out and consider him for any ‘art needs’ you have in the future!

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January: Pagan Artist of the Month: Kelley Heckart

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Interview with Kelley Heckart

C.H. Scarlett :Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Kelley and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Kelley says: Well, I was raised Catholic so I was exposed to crosses/crucifixes at an early age. Later, when I decided I didn’t want to be a part of the Catholic Church, I was still drawn to the symbol of the cross. So I did some research and I found out that these ancient symbols were around long before Christianity as the most cherished of religious symbols. It is believed that the ancient cross symbolized the earth’s four directions and the divine center.

Spaniards saw Indians worshipping the cross. The Peruvians and Babylonians had the Maltese cross. The druids were believed to have made their cross out of a stem and two branches of the oak tree. Buddhist crosses are common throughout the East. The Thor’s hammer cross is a well-known Pre-Christian cross and several deities of ancient Egypt hold a cross in their hands. Wheeled crosses are seen on some Pre-Christian stones, possibly as symbols of solar worship. Ireland is known for its many ancient crosses. The ancient faery people of Ireland, the Tuath-de-Danaan, had crosses that were adorned with snakes, birds and other animals. In the Scottish Highlands, the Fiery Cross, when dipped in goat’s blood and flaming, was a message of alarm among the wild tribes. A serpentine figure was often twisted around the Fiery Cross.

This information inspired me. I wanted to create crosses, but with a pagan influence.

C.H. Scarlett : When did you first discover your talent & what inspired you to make these crosses?

Kelley says: When I was a kid, I started picking up shells, driftwood, feathers and interesting rocks. I never knew what to do with all of that stuff until I decided to start making my crosses. My first cross was small and simple. I made it for my mom who was critically ill in the hospital. I don’t know if it was my cross that made her well, but from then on I decided to keep making them.

C.H. Scarlett : What is the process behind your art?

Kelley says: First I go through my Canadian driftwood and match two pieces together to make the cross. Then I stare at the wood for a while, deciding what style to make—Southwest, Goddess or Rune. Then I stare at the wood some more envisioning what crystals, shells and other decorations will work with the piece of wood. If the wood isn’t smooth enough for me to burn in symbols, I have to use something else like strips of leather. Each piece of wood calls for something different and the wood speaks to me.

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

Kelley says: My favorite art is faery/fantasy art like Amy Brown, Jessica Galbreth and Nene Thomas. I also like Susan Seddon-Boulet. Her artwork is so dreamlike with titles like Seven Moons Passing and Playing with the North Wind. Her art is inspired by Native American art and Greek mythology, which inspires me as an artist and writer.

I love all kinds of music, but my favorite bands right now are Icelandic metal bands like Apocalyptica and Nightwish. The music is very energetic and dark with haunting melodies. I also love Flyleaf, Evanescence, Loreena McKennitt and Blackmore’s Night.

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?

Kelley says: All the men would be wearing kilts and they would have long hair. LOL Seriously, I think we live in a beautiful world. Where I live in Arizona we have gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The Colorado River flows through the canyon, a bright turquoise color that is so striking to the eye. There are beautiful red painted rock formations in Sedona, AZ that are incredible—nature’s artwork. I don’t think I would change that. I just think we need to take care of the world we have and stop polluting it.

C.H. Scarlett : *note: I want to live in Kelley’s kilt wearing world!!!!! M-m-m-yummy*

If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you?

Kelley says: On my main website at http://www.kelleyheckart.com I have a page on there called Kel’s Cool Crosses (direct link is: http://kelleyheckart.com/kels-cool-crosses.html) I have instructions on there on how to buy my crosses. My crosses can be found on eBay under the category of ‘wall crosses.’ Put wall crosses in
the ‘find’ box, put home and garden in ‘in’ box. Click on ‘refine search’ to specify seller
and enter havasukelley. For custom work, email me at
kelleyheckart@yahoo.com with Kel’s Cool Crosses in the subject line.

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

Kelley says: I am just going to continue doing what I am doing now–keeping my work available on eBay. I will see what happens in 2010. Maybe I will try to get my work in more stores.

Thank you for the interview and the opportunity to showcase my art.