new project: faerie tale feet minis!!

who doesn’t love affordable, original art?

not i.  i mean, i do.  i love collecting lots of little pieces!

so i’m currently experimenting with shadowboxes… still original gouache and mixed media pieces of characters from literature… but less of the full-background pattern schmorgasborg technicolor explosion of my current faerie tale feet paintings.  🙂

my husband recently bought me a magnifying lamp for my art desk– once i figured out how not to squint with one eye shut like i’m looking through a telescope… it got pretty awesome!!  which means i can get crazy detail… which sometimes looks like less than it looks without the magnifier…. so i’ll work on upping contrast for those not wearing jewelers’ goggles.  🙂

and yes.  there is legitimate debate over destroying books to make art.  i dislike when people destroy antique books.  but for something that’s still in print, available in hundreds of formats, and a copy which hasn’t been loved yet… well, i’m salving my conscience with the fact that the book publishing world still got my money even though i cut a bat out of its beautiful binding.  feel free to discuss.

i started with lucy harker from dracula for my first mini faerie tale feet experiment.  my ladies’ book club just read it as our october pick, because, you know, ’tis the season!  it’s a spectacular book.  with lots of great quotes.  once i share the final, framed, work, i’ll let you help me decide which to use either on the frame or as the title.

if ever there was a day to keep all the lights on… until it gets dark and one pretends not to be home… it’s halloween.  i love candy.  but i do not care for strangers ringing my doorbell… but, alas, the hubs and i are going to a friend’s bonfire this evening… so i thought i’d go as me with better hair.  what do you think?

mini 2

peace, love, & colour to you,


**please don’t forget to support my kickstarter faerie tale feet coloring book project!!  just a few weeks left– and i’ll be in india with water of life ( the last two weeks so i won’t be able to remind you!  ack!  i’d love to reach my goal!!  thank you!!

here’s the final:

dracula shadow box 1 IMG_3988

measures 6×9.”  like?  😀

faerie tale feet: the coloring book vol. i

this is gonna be good!

i’ve had requests.  i’ve seen the shelves.  i’ve seen the social media posts.  i understand the joy of coloring!

halthegal’s first faerie tale feet coloring book COULD be yours!  you have until black friday to help kickstart this project– i really can’t wait to share it with you!

pitch in if you can.  incentives include a first edition, or one of the original drawings used to create the book, or for the uber*generous, an original faerie tale feet painting, too!

please join the party here:

thanks for your support!

peace, love, & colour to you,


“a cobbler’s dozen.”

cobbler 2
there are SO many beautiful illustrated books by a wide range of illustrators interpreting “the twelve dancing princesses.” it took a LONG time to widdle down my ideas to a composition that told the whole story.
cobbler 3
after a lot of chats with faerie-tale minded friends, i landed on a long-format layout with a dozen pairs of shoes and two side panels to tell the story.
cobbler 4
there’s the final outline sketch on tracing paper so that i can transfer it to the watercolour paper.
cobbler 5
once i’d transferred and filled in the drawing, i started by painting the first layers of colour on the tulip border.
cobbler 6
there’s a mauve-y background to the whole thing… but the colours still went a wide range of brite and wild.
cobbler 7
i did a crayon color comp… but you know how that evolves once you put a brush and an unlimited palette in my hand.
cobbler 8
i could have spent a caboodle of months adding layers of colour and detail to the shoes and ribbons. but i eventually had to call it a day or a few…
cobbler 9
on the left panel, the soldier in the invisibility cloak is stepping on the hem of the youngest sister’s (& last in line’s) hem as they journey down to the enchanted kingdom. the drapes represent the bedroom and the secret passage that opens under the eldest sister’s bed when it’s time for the nightly ball…
cobbler 10
in the right hand panel is the kingdom, and silhouettes of the princesses being rowed to the shore by their twelve princes. in the sky are the silver, gold, and diamond branches of the forest that they walk through on the way to the boats.
cobbler 11
here’s a vision of the whole design, waiting for the final painting of the “big feet” of the eldest princess.
cobbler 12
i reaaaaaaalllly love how the castle turned out. it makes me happy. 🙂
cobbler 13
and here’s the (almost) final shoes. i think i added a few more stitching and shadow details in the morning….
cobbler 1
and here’s what the final greeting card looks like- the painting wraps from back to front!

“a cobbler’s dozen.”

original gouache painting on watercolour paper by hallie m. gillett bertling.

based on the brothers grimm’s “the twelve dancing princesses,” my painting takes me back to my very favourite faerie tale classic theatre episode of the same tale.

depending on the version you read, the king may have banished dancing in the kingdom after the death of his beloved wife, or perhaps the princesses are under a spell. whichever way, the king locks them in their room at night, and still EVERY morning without fail, their slippers are worn out and a dozen new pairs of shoes are demanded of the kingdom cobbler every day.
the king sends out a proclamation that anyone who solves the mystery of the worn-out dancing slippers gets to marry the princess of his choice and become king.
prince after prince fails (for they drink the wine at dinner that has been dosed with a lil’ extra sleeping potion by the princesses), until finally a humble soldier, returned home from the wars, decides why not him?

he meets with a peasant woman in the woods, and in gratitude for his sharing his bread and cheese with an old beggar woman, she gives him two things: one piece of advice (don’t drink the wine!), and two– a cloak to make him invisible so he can follow the princesses and find where they go at night.
i’ll spare you all the EXCITING details because of course you ought to read it for yourself, but he does indeed follow them to an enchanted kingdom below the palace where they dance the night away with twelve princes (possibly also cursed) who row them to the shore of a palace where they dance and dance until their shoes are positively worn out. they venture through forests of silver, gold, and diamond (hence the branches above the palace in the right hand panel), and the soldier’s final piece of proof he brings back to the king after the third night of watching the princesses dance is a golden jeweled goblet unlike any the king’s kingdom has ever seen.
last spoiler: it has a happy ending. 😉

(andrew lang’s version has the *spoiler* garden boy falling in love with the youngest princess; i like the grimms’ version better.  but they’re both lovely.)

you can purchase the limited edition print here on my etsy site:

or the greeting card here:

card reads “I should like to discover where those princesses go to dance their shoes to pieces.”  wouldn’t we all?  😀

original painting (6×14″ + mat & frame) is also available for $395.  contact me via etsy!