Saturday, May 17, 2014

Halloween In June (or May, even)

A couple of Etsy teams I'm pleased to be a member of, are starting up Halloween in full force this summer- Halloween Artist Bazaar and Spooky Cute Team. I started selling Halloween art online regularly in 2001, but it wasn't around was actually in February or March. As it turns out, those of us who really like this stuff, don't pay too much attention to the calendar. In fact, I was usually always so busy with other things in the fall with work, that I didn't do a lot of new Halloween art in the weeks leading up to the big day.

But right now, with the worst of summer heat still ahead of us, is a good time to start stockpiling these things, so to that end, I present a small selection of some of my "classic" Halloween paintings that are currently available as originals, and as prints. I have many more but these are some images that have proven popular in the 12 or so years since I originally imagined them, and I'm pleased to actually have originals available for these in 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 inch formats at rather reasonable prices. They are all $80 or below, which isn't bad for an original work of art, and the prints can be had for $8 (5x7) or $12 (8x10).


"Haunted" is listed under another name on my painting gallery website Art by Sarada but I like this name better for now. :) An 8 x 10 this is a recently repainted original, and the colors in person are very soft yet striking. Although prints are not yet listed on my Etsy site, they can be made on request.

Sisters of the Crypt

 "Sisters of the Crypt" is another 8 x 10 recently repainted, with prints also available on request. A zombie girl with Frankenstein stitching and a ghostly mummy girl, descend hand in hand upon an unsuspecting world.

Ghost Sisters of the Tower
Also available as an original, a small print, or a large print by request, "Ghost Sisters of the Tower," another of my paintings of pairs of ghostly creatures - this is a 9 x 12 and I have painted several versions over the years, but I'm happy to say that an original is in stock as of this writing.

Dark Lanterns

Another of my most-requested paintings, "Dark Lanterns" is available as an original 9 x 12 painting, a small print, or a larger print upon request.

A Ghostly Meeting

"A Ghostly Meeting" is a painting I always wanted to use on greeting cards, and while that is still something that may come down the road, right now it is available as an original 9 x 12 painting, a small print, or a larger print upon request.

Alice in the Dark Woods

Finally for this post, but not for my shop, is "Alice in the Dark Woods," a sort of signature painting for me -- remembering my dear departed kitty companion, and my impression of a Halloween-inspired Alice in Wonderland wandering through a mushroom forest. As with most of my paintings listed here, it is available as an original 9 x 12, a small print, and a larger print can be made on request.

So that's the first layer of Halloween that is available this summer. I will be adding more to this as the months progress, of my classic Halloween paintings, newly available both as originals and prints...and other stuff too. And please check out the other shops in both of these teams as the months move towards autumn!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Notes from the Gothic Graveyard

About a month ago I was listening to a relatively new compilation 2-CD of "post-punk and dark pop" from 1981-1986 Spain, called Sombras:

Delving into the lesser-explored gothic and post-punk corners of the late-70s through the mid-80s is one of my major musical interests, but there has been relatively little available in terms of reissues of previously unknown obscurities, to my knowledge, so this was an exciting find for me. Since then I've uncovered a few more modern bands that capture that aesthetic (Ashrae Fax, you are amazing), and also found a few private-press albums from that time period that scratch my itch (the 1986 album by the band the Soul Merchants was another recent find). 

The spidery Siouxsie guitars, the echoing empty-room Joy Division drums, and the throb of a Bauhaus bass are all represented in the tracks on that compilation, along with vocals across the spectrum of agony and dolor. It immediately put me in a mind of wanting to gather up pits and pieces of fishnet and spiderweb, silver rings and coffin-shaped things, as I have been known to do since age 14. 

I tried to capture a little of this aesthetic in a new little painting, "Meet Me at the Cemetery Gates," which I have up now. I have vague plans to do more art along these lines, though at the moment I am just of the mind to do cemetery-based paintings with this theme. Among other things, it's fun to play dress-up with paint, putting characters in outfits that I like.

The girls in the painting are both wearing things from my own wardrobe, and carrying purses that I've had at one point or another. Including little details like that is important to me, in capturing that moment where you are hanging out on a spring weekend with your friend taking cemetery photos in 1989. You have to put down your purse, take off your glasses and try to look serious even though you were just quoting the Young Ones to each other.

In fact, here is some photographic proof of myself with a lifelong friend, as we did this very thing some time around 1991. I'm not wearing a gothic gown at this particular moment, but the idea is there.

In fact, armed with black and white film and a home darkroom in the basement, I did quite a bit of cemetery photography back in the day.

And fortunately, New Jersey is full of old and interesting cemeteries and monuments in historic areas.

For now we bid farewell to the graveyard, but I suspect I will do a lot more art along these lines with my musical inspiration. This was never a phase to be grown out of or looked back on with amusement, for me. I love cemeteries, gothic guitars and spidery gowns with even more enthusiasm now -- fueled by several decades of continued musical enjoyment, along with literary and cinematic inspiration, to know that this is a world that will always feel like home to me.