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Flora, Fauna, Persona
the art & writing of Desirée Isphording
Capturing the Elusive with the Stroke of a Brush 
27th-Jul-2006 12:22 am
Artwork of fey-creatures and shape-shifters for your appreciation:

Bacchanalian Scene by Richard Dadd
My first glimpse of this painting was as thumbnail image of the cover of Loreena McKennitt's To Drive the Cold Winter Away, and I was immediately captivated. I'm seriously considering this image for my first tattoo. Thalia Took, an artist herself, has scribed some beautiful and entirely apropos words to describe his work:
Dadd was a Victorian fairy painter who in his early twenties developed schizophrenia/severe bi-polar disorder and then murdered his father. He spent the rest of his life in an institution, where he continued painting. Some, not all, of his paintings have a fey, alien quality to them. The best I can say is that his humans are not human, and have a genuine wildness to them, a deep unconsciousness, impartial and malevolent, like looking into the eyes of a leopard. Gorgeous yet disturbing. Very compelling.
I doubt that I could have described it better myself.

The Bacchante or Head of a Woman with the Horns of a Ram by Jean-Léon Gérome
This painting verges on being stark, but the delicate folds in the Bacchante's sleeve and the aching curves of the horns endow it with a surprising sensitivity.

Birthday by Dorothea Tanning
I had the pleasure of discovering this painting in person at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it inhabits the Modern and Contemprary Galleries. This .jpeg reproduction does the painting little justice. While it is a surrealist self-portrait, it nevertheless seems to possess the taint of fey. The artist, in her tendril-adorned dress, reveals a series of open doors stretching to infinity. Her strange, winged familiar is poised by her feet.

Lavinia, Deer, and Rabbit by Sam Weber
I discovered the work of this artist in the 2006 Illustration annual of Communication Arts magazine. I am enamored with his technique of rendering trees, a method which gives the impression that he glues elegant pieces of driftwood directly to the paper. Upon visiting his website, I was delighted to find animal-people among his subjects. His sketch of "Rabbit" reveals something of a trickster character. (I couldn't resist including "Deer" in this list, because, well - it's an illustration of deer!)

Flidais by Forest Rogers
I was guided to the remarkable work of Forest Rogers some time ago through a link on the Endicott Studio webpage, but I had not visited her site recently (shame on me!). I was again guided back to her amazing figurative sculptures/art dolls through the Endicott Studio and discovered this piece which especially tugs at my heartstrings: Flidais a simply gorgeous rendition of a WhiteDeerWoman. She is the artist's vision of a Celtic Goddess of wild creatures and sexual potency. Be sure to view all of the photos in this gallery otherwise you may be apt to miss some lovely details. Her feet are particularly well conceived - at first glance it might appear as if she simply has her toes curled in an interesting fashion, but this is not the case. Her creations possess a Pre-Raphaelite beauty which I really appreciate, and her commentary is also intelligent. She has an all-around great website which I highly recommend.

Faun by Lou Rogers
This remarkable painting was created by sculptor Forest Roger's late mother. Evidently artistic talent runs in the family!

First Blessing by Dawn Wilson-Enoch
Fresh out of college Dawn emerged as a fantasy book cover illustrator. Although she gained renown for her work in that field, the type of art required of her in that career became spiritually draining. She now creates visionary paintings and jewelry based upon the landscape surrounding her New Mexico home. First Blessing is a piece partially inspired by the work of another artist enchanted with the desert southwest, Windling's novel The Wood Wife.
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