So how does one sum up one's "artistic journey" in one image? Not easily.
We start in the top left corner, with a moon and a schooner and that soft rich color that only colored pencils can create. I did some of my best pencil and colored pencil work during the summers in high school I sailed on the Lewis R. French with my dad. The two women are actually the same woman: a character from a story I started way back in ninth grade. Her name is Ravana (yes, like the Indian demon, but I didn't know that at the time). The top version shows her making magic with her flute the way I first imagined her, while the second image is Ravana Trefenwyd, whom I played in an online MUD game called Achaea.
Funny story: that staff she's holding in her hand? In the interest of accuracy, I actually had to log into the game after a ten year hiatus to find out what an Achaean elemental staff looked like. Since then I've sort of resurrected both characters I used to play...I'd forgotten how fun it was to be them.
Moving on, I name significant people in my life after birds...which is perhaps why the song The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove speaks so strongly to me. The raven was the first of those people: he and the trenchcoat and fedora guy standing in front are from my time at Stetson. Worked primarily in charcoal during that time, while still breaking out the colored pencils at times. (Trenchcoat and fedora guy, Raven, incidentally enough is now my husband.)
A bird, in my personal library of symbology, also represents a trial, while the final incarnation of that bird represents me overcoming the trial and adopting the name. I came through the Raven trial and became the bleached raven, which is why the wing tips are white. Then I met the Phoenix, who quite literally dropped into my life like a bird on fire. That trial was harder, because the boy with the skateboard simultaneously a terrible match for me and impossible to get over. Thus, the Three of Swords and the unfinished Rose Cross, and all the cracked pavement: I was doing a lot of kabballah and occultic experimentation during that time. Four long years later I took the name Nightphoenix, which I still use.
The lonely orange cat by the fountain is me, at Stetson, where both of those trials happened. The second year I took a painting class that taught me pretty much everything I know about the medium...which isn't much. The pencils are graphite but the scene is in acrylic...been a while since I got the paints out.
Under the cracks and the rift, there are green hills with not much on them...I went through a long period of time where I didn't do much art at all. I was concentrating primarily on writing, and just didn't have much inspiration to draw. Then came the wolves...the five wolves and the stage, and suddenly I wanted to draw again. That's when I picked up the pens and started the Nightwish project.
The bird in the center is a nightingale. Another trial, and let's just say it's one I haven't yet overcome. I know what the final incarnation will look like, but I'm not...quite...there yet. I am the cat looking through the keyhole. The three characters in the bottom right are characters from the story behind all the stories I have planned, a concept I've called the Spindlewyrd. Three angels: Kaithaz'il, the original Angel of Death and the keeper of the Na'Vela Contract; Azra'el, the Angel of Death we mortals know, also a keeper of Na'Vela. And Satara'el with his rabbit ears...an angel more commonly known as Lucifer. As I started my journey with my first characters, it seemed appropriate to end it with my most recent characters. That part is done in marker, as that's my most recent medium.
This piece turned out to be a combination of a look back through all the mediums I've used over the years, and things that were happening in my life at the time. Contest aside, I'm glad I undertook this project...it was interesting breaking out the colored pencils, the charcoal, the acrylics, and combining them with the pens and markers I've been working with lately. And being all nostalgic about the last fifteen years or so.