“it’s possible.” {your own personal fairy godmother.}

fairy godmothers can be working for the heroines or their conniving adversaries.

they can be evil, or hold a grudge and take it out on the child.

“fairy godmothers” may be fairies- but they aren’t necessary alluded to as having wings- they can pretty much appear at will- or arrive via chariot (decked out with fiery dragons, or butterflies, depending on the occasion.)

madame d’aulnoy is perhaps the earliest user of fairy godmothers in fairy tales.  charles perrault famously used a fairy godmother as a replacement for the traditional cinderella tales where cinderella’s deceased mother is replaced by a gift-giving tree or a kind-spirited animal.

the thirteen (or 8 fates if you read perrault’s telling instead of the brothers grimm’s) wise women of the sleeping beauty can technically be classified as fairy godmothers because they give gifts.  beyond toys and treasures, they bestow gifts of charm and loveliness.

the moral of charles perrault’s cendrillon, or the little glass slipper, possibly the most familiar telling of the cinderella tales, ends with:

Charm is the true gift of the fairies;

Without it you’ve nothing; with it, all.

i’ve perhaps taken a bit of liberty with my fairy godmother piece, as there is no SET character of the fairy godmother throughout fairy tales, folktales, storybooks, or otherwise.

let’s look at my process for creating this painting in the faerie tale feet series, and then below, i’ll share where i got each specific background icon!

fgm blog 1
once in a great while, i’ll take my research to the outside world. here, a nearly-too-pretty to drink latte from the fair ladies at the village grind on pendleton street in west greenville. i brought my trusty li’l notebook and a couple books full of fairy godmother versions and madame d’aulnoy’s fairy tales, the earliest mentions of fairy godmothers.
fgm blog 2
once i’ve done my research (see media pile in back corner of my drafting table!), i’ll start sketching the most obvious or recognizable icons that can help tell the story visually. so i’ll do thumbnails for layout, plus lots of versions of each shape until i find something that shall read clearly visually.
fgm blog 3
here’s the final background pattern drawing!
fgm blog 5
and once my drawing is done, i’ll tape it to my illustration board, put a bit of transfer paper in between, and retrace every line and shape…
fgm blog 7
…. so the blue lines are what transferred when i retraced my drawing, so here i am painting with a teeny tiny brush around all the teeny tiny background shapes to fill in the background color– i have to do it in one sitting or it gets streaky. so that usually takes, oh, 5-7 hours at one go if i’m on a roll!
fgm blog 8
once the background colour is done, i’ll paint one color at a time… i started with the frogs, then a bit of the wings…
fgm blog 9
and more and more colours get added….
fgm blog 10
almost done! the keys were fun to paint, but oh such tiny details. i painted them once in a mustard golden hue, then went over them again with literal shiny gold gouache.
fgm blog 11
here’s the final painting and a beautiful photo of one of the fifteen stunning galleries dedicated to the “Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia” that i used for color scheme reference. i wanted her to match my “cinderella’s escape” painting so you could hang them side by side, but definitely wanted to give this one its own distinct vibe!

i’ve included background icons from these various fairy tales:

“The White Doe” told by Andrew Lang, via Madame D’Aulnoy (the dragons, for pulling chariots; a white dove; and a doe)

“La Sendraoeula,” an italian cinderella tale (the acorn, which cinderella taps with a wand and “a lovely dress like stars with golden shoes” appears)

“The Blue Bird,” by Madame D’Aulnoy (big flying frogs; the beautiful bird, actually the prince King Charming under enchantment from his beloved Florine’s rival and wicked stepsister Truitoone’s god-mother Soussio, the fairy)

“Finette Cendron,” by Madame D’Aulnoy (the golden key to open the fairy casket full of gifts which the more you took from it, the more there was in it; also starry diamond bursts, as her dress was “a gown of blue satin covered with stars of diamonds”)

Quite possibly the earliest cinderella telling, by greek historian strabo, from the first century b.c., in which the egyptian courtesan rhodopis is bathing in the nile and an eagle carries her shoe to memphis and drops it in the king’s lap, prompting him to search for the shoe’s owner and marry her. (the egyptian sandal)

“Cendrillon, or, The Little Glass Slipper,” by Charles Perrault, 1697 (the pumpkin for the carriage; the clock about to strike midnight)

i also added wings, because i would want some if i were a fairy godmother.

fgm blog header
top left corner detail from “it’s possible.”

and for good measure, here are a few favourite fairy godmother quotes i came upon in my usual miles upon tomes of miles of my research:

  • “a folktale is not just the spoken equivalent of a literary short story.  it has no set text, but is endlessly re-created in the telling.” ~neil philip, the cinderella story, the origins and variations of the story known as ‘cinderella’ 
  • “oh!  i’ve lost one of the shoes off my feet,” said trembling.                                            “don’t mind that; don’t be vexed,” said the henwife; “maybe it’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”~from “fair, brown, and trembling,” an irish cinderella tale, 1890.
  • “and it is not difficult to imagine how happy they were after having known so many hardships.” ~from madame d’aulnoy’s “the blue bird,” circa 1895.
  • “everything that a baby could possibly wear or play with was there, and, besides, they had other and more precious gifts to give her, which only children who have fairies for godmothers can ever hope to possess.” ~from andrew lang’s telling of “the white doe,” by madame d’Aulnoy, 1906.
  • “the glass slipper is where i got the idea i might not be the best fairy godmother.  if you think about it, it’s completely impractical, uncomfortable, and un-walkable-in.  but i’m good at shoes.  the shoes are the only thing that last beyond midnight.  everything else turns back.”  ~helena bonham carter, on playing the fairy godmother in kenneth branagh’s cinderella, 2015.
  • “there’s a lot of power in godmothering.  it’s like being a part of history.”  ~from terry pratchett’s witches abroad, 1991.
  • “will she live happily ever after?” he said.                                                                              NOT FOREVER.  BUT PERHAPS FOR LONG ENOUGH.                                                            and so stories end.”           ~from terry pratchett’s witches abroad, 1991.
  • “The Authors, are in Eternity.”  ~william blake, 1803.
  • “The story is, after all, what matters.”  ~p. l. travers, about the sleeping beauty, 1975.

you can purchase the original 11 x 11″ gouache painting already framed for $425.  message me! ( halthegal @ hotmail . com )

you can also purchase the large matted print HERE on my etsy shoppe, the greeting card HERE on my etsy shoppe, and the small framed print HERE.

“go!  with the promise of possibility!”

& have a magical day!

*halthegal.

“just as sane as luna.”

inspired by everyone’s favorite dreamy-eyed, wrackspurt-seeing ravenclaw luna lovegood, this faerie tale feet piece pays homage to all who live in their own clouds of wonder.  and all those who hold fiercely to their beliefs of what others may doubt, especially the unwavering power of friendship.

let’s take a peek through my process and then i’ll reveal all the hidden background icons you’ll find in your new art!

luna blog 1
i reread the entire HP series with the intention of painting ron’s feet first, but i couldn’t help but take copious notes on one gal who just hears the drums for herself and dances anyway. so my sketching icon ideas for luna began…
luna blog 2
once i narrowed down which shapes i wanted to use in the background, i created my patterned background drawing, here ready to transfer onto watercolor paper. (she’s the same size as my harry & hermione pieces.)
luna blog 3
i looooove how glassy and dreamy the soft glazes of purple turned out for the background color. i painted ArouND most of the icons, but a few i gave a light wash over so that the colors would be cohesive and not get too loud. (i always try, even if i do fail, not to make my paintings to garishly brite! i promise!)
luna blog 4
here’s just in-progress on the luna piece. as you’ll notice, in my original drawing, i was going to give her baby doll shoes (endemic to the hogwarts’ uniform shoes the girls wear) and was going to decorate them with sunflowers, as she wore a sunflower in her hair to fleur & bill’s wedding in book 7. however, loyal online fans pointed out how it might be a BIT more luna-esque if we gave her her signature hightop kicks. so we went back to the drawing board…
luna blog 5
my wonderful cuz-in-law was kind enough to come over on a sunshiny day and pose in her chucks for me. needless to say, if you’ve ever tried, converse (& all sneakers for that matter), are very hard to draw. it took quite a bit of effort and perpetual re-dos to get them just right. (a few iterations were a bit too ronald mcdonald-like. snorkacks forbid!!)
luna blog 6
so here are the NEW shoes, inked over the best i could erase the transfer lines from the original drawing… much better, methinks.
luna blog 7
and voila! here’s the right-hand corner of the finished luna piece.

 

so what all is in the background telling the luna’s story from the three books she appears in? here we go…

  • her necklace of butterbeer caps
  • ravenclaw shield (when harry & luna are looking for the now-horcrux diadem of rowena ravenclaw, we get a sneak peek into the mind of a ravenclaw.  instead of a password, they have to answer a question.  “which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”  luna’s reply, “…i think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.” – book 7; pg. 587. definitely my kind of people.)
  • thestrals [only she and harry can see them pulling the students’ carriages to hogwarts because they have both seen death firsthand (book 5; page 199, from where our painting title derives.)  thestrals definitely make hagrid’s care of magical (invisible?) creatures lesson all the more interesting.  they also make a spectacular appearance later when the brave DA members must get to the department of mysteries.]
  • her orange radish earrings (book 5; page 261)
  • her roaring gryffindor hat to show her support during quidditch
  • mistletoe (“it’s often infested with nargles.” book 5; pg. 453.)
  • spectrespecs (“…which gave her the look of a demented, multicolored owl.” book 6; pg. 138.)
  • gurdyroots (onion-like things given to ron to ward off gulping plimpies.)
  • her father’s golden deathly hallows symbol (he wore it as a necklace to bill & fleur’s wedding; it lead harry, ron, & hermione to xenophilius’ house in book 7.)
  • the explosive erumpet horn (which luna and xenophilius incorrectly believed to be a harmless crumple-horned snorkack horn)
  • the lovegood home (which looked like a rook- the castle chess piece in wizard’s chess.)
  • silver hare patronus (it’s only mentioned very late in book 7, but they show it in the fifth movie which i find amazing.)
  • her bright yellow robes worn to the weasley/delacour wedding; i’ve put a silver trim on the hem because of the silver robes she wore when harry took her (as friends) to slughorn’s Christmas party in book 6.
  • and of course her sneakers are all her own.

 

 

“just as sane as luna,” from the faerie tale feet series by hallie m. bertling.

gouache on watercolor paper, 6 x 14.”

the original painting is currently available for $450.  email me ( halthegal @ hotmail . com ) if you wish to claim her.  🙂

click through to follow the links to my etsy shoppe for…

large matted luna print

small framed luna print

luna greeting card

luna, harry, & hermione card set

 

 

 

 

“stages of blue.” pinocchio’s blue fairy.

carlo collodi’s “pinocchio” is a well-beloved tale, i suppose.  but the book is shockingly more disturbing than the “pinocchio” movie that i grew up with.  pinocchio is not a sympathetic character.  you too repeatedly want to throw him in with the kindling.  he’s just awful.  and gullible.  and ill-behaved.  which makes me all the MORE grateful for the geniuses at the walt disney story department who brought this great tale to life (story pun!) in a memorable, and palatable, way.  (there’s a rumor the character was inspired by one of colloid’s more obnoxious students… teachers, i sympathize with you, anyway.)

“be careful, pinocchio.  these bad companions will, sooner or later, make you lose your love of books, and may even bring some misfortune upon you.”  ~the good (blue) fairy

i’ll show you the process of painting this faerie tale feet piece, and then below share with you all the shapes hidden in the background from the original stories/book.

blue-fairy-1
because we all know pinocchio as a marionette who was forced to perform with no strings for the puppet show, i wanted for the first time to create a 3-d shadowbox piece imitating the theatre stage. so here’s the beginnings of the proscenium with the blue fairy’s feet featured in the center.
blue-fairy-2
here are 4 of the 5 layers to the original piece. the stage curtains and proscenium, the stage lights, the stage, and monstro and the waves trying to once again engulf the fleeing pinocchio, gepetto, cat, and goldfish.
blue-fairy-3
once the layers were done, i needed to paint the background pattern. so this is how i transfer it- with my pattern drawing on a piece of tracing paper taped to my illustration board… and then pressing down with my ink-less hello kitty pen with transfer paper in between to leave grey lines i can paint around.
blue-fairy-4
because i use gouache as an opaque medium, i have to paint the background color in one sitting. thankfully i have a magnifying lamp that helps me see around all those tiny shapes as i paint around each icon for literally hours on end… so here are the first few minutes, beginning in the top left corner of my board!
blue-fairy-5
here’s the background painted in and some of the shapes painted in, too…
blue-fairy-6
more colors are added one at a time across the board until the background is complete… paint paint paint.. patience paint and patience…
blue-fairy-7
here’s zoomed out for a bit of scale. the orange square (background pattern painting) is 11″ square. and yes, i mix my paints on paper plates. 🙂
blue-fairy-8
here’s a view of my tins full of gouache tubes and the pieces all painted and read to be framed together in 3d…!
blue-fairy-9
here’s a detail shot of the blue fairy flying over the background!
blue-fairy-10
and here is the final pieces of the painting all framed together. it’s so beautiful in real life, i wish you were in my living room/studio to see it…!

so what’s hiding in the background from carlo collodi’s original tale?

here we go… (with a few bonus trivia facts thrown in for good measure.)

  • the talking/kicking stick of wood that gepetto carved into pinocchio the puppet (there’s a fight with his friend antonio about it when he calls gepetto “polenta,” the color of his hair that he’s teased for)
  • the talking cricket
  • ^which pinocchio smashed with a mallet when he tried to give him good advice (the ghost cricket reappears in later chapters)
  • the puppet show manager, known as “Fire-Eater” who had a long black beard
  • the gold coins that the fox and cat convinced pinocchio to bury so a tree would grow with more coins on it- i painted italy on the gold coins and marked the town of “collodi” with a tiny dot- collodi was the village in tuscany where the author’s mother was from, not his real name.
  • feathers from the black bird eaten by the cat
  • the cat who pretended to be a blind beggar
  • the devious fox who repeatedly tricked pinocchio and lead him to do naughty things and even hung him at one point.  and tried to get him eaten by a giant serpent… i tell ya, the book is just awful!
  • the snail with a lamp on his head at the blue fairy’s house that sloooooooooooowly took all night to come downstairs and let pinocchio out of the rain after he’d been chained up like a dog and bribed by the fox to steal the chickens (so complicated; and such a long story for such a short book; which was actually originally just published chapter by chapter in an italian children’s journal)
  • the dog-fish (in the disney movie, thankfully, it’s a giant whale.  in the book, depending on the multiple english translations i read, monstro is a dog-fish or a shark… regardless, i don’t want to be swallowed by one, so i painted him as cutely as possible.)
  • a headband of donkey ears for Playtime Land (or Pleasure Island) where the boys are turned into donkey slaves and sold at auction.
  • the golden locket pinocchio sees on the blue fairy (who’s really a dead ghost girl with blue hair) at the circus where he’s been performing tricks as a donkey.

i think that’s all i got in there!  🙂

i recommend the film over the book.  but curiosity would well be quenched with this crazy piece of children’s literature.

original framed piece available for $575.  email me at halthegal @ hotmail. com to inquire!

greeting cards and limited edition prints shall be availably shortly on my etsy site.  stay tuned!

here are a few memorable blue fairy quotes from the original text:

  • “yes, i promised it. now all depends on you.”
  • “be careful, pinocchio. these bad companions will, sooner or later, make you lose your love of books, and may even bring some misfortune upon you.”
  • “boys are quick to make promises, but are sometimes slow about keeping them.”
  • “in this world, one must be courteous to all, if one would expect courtesy in the hour of need.”

your own personal fairy godmother

you’ll notice the fairy godmother isn’t colored yet.

that’s because as of right now, the ONLY way you can see her is in the golden wing luxe box- a surprise box filled with handmade and artsy treasures that you can get in time for Christmas right HERE on my etsy shoppe.

i’ll probably paint her next year, but as for now, here’s a bit about this exclusive coloring page…

fairy godmothers can be working for the heroines or their conniving adversaries.

they can be evil, or hold a grudge and take it out on the child.

“fairy godmothers” may be fairies- but they aren’t necessary alluded to as having wings- they can pretty much appear at will- or arrive via chariot (decked out with fiery dragons, or butterflies, depending on the occasion.)

madame d’aulnoy is perhaps the earliest user of fairy godmothers in fairy tales.  charles perrault famously used a fairy godmother as a replacement for the traditional cinderella tales where cinderella’s deceased mother is replaced by a gift-giving tree or a kind-spirited animal.

the thirteen (or 8 fates if you read perrault’s telling instead of the brothers grimm’s) wise women of the sleeping beauty can technically be classified as fairy godmothers because they give gifts.  beyond toys and treasures, they bestow gifts of charm and loveliness.

the moral of charles perrault’s cendrillon, or the little glass slipper, possibly the most familiar telling of the cinderella tales, ends with:

Charm is the true gift of the fairies;

Without it you’ve nothing; with it, all.

i’ve perhaps taken a bit of liberty with my fairy godmother piece, as there is no SET character of the fairy godmother throughout fairy tales, folktales, storybooks, or otherwise.

i’ve included background icons from these various fairy tales:

“The White Doe” told by Andrew Lang, via Madame D’Aulnoy (the dragons, for pulling chariots; a white dove; and a doe)

“La Sendraoeula,” an italian cinderella tale (the acorn, which cinderella taps with a wand and “a lovely dress like stars with golden shoes” appears)

“The Blue Bird,” by Madame D’Aulnoy (big flying frogs; the beautiful bird, actually the prince King Charming under enchantment from his beloved Florine’s rival and wicked stepsister Truitoone’s god-mother Soussio, the fairy)

“Finette Cendron,” by Madame D’Aulnoy (the golden key to open the fairy casket full of gifts which the more you took from it, the more there was in it; also starry diamond bursts, as her dress was “a gown of blue satin covered with stars of diamonds”)

Quite possibly the earliest cinderella telling, by greek historian strabo, from the first century b.c., in which the egyptian courtesan rhodopis is bathing in the nile and an eagle carries her shoe to memphis and drops it in the king’s lap, prompting him to search for the shoe’s owner and marry her. (the egyptian sandal)

“Cendrillon, or, The Little Glass Slipper,” by Charles Perrault, 1697 (the pumpkin for the carriage; the clock about to strike midnight)

i also added wings, because i would want some if i were a fairy godmother.

take a look at my process for creating this piece, and then enjoy a few quotes on fairies, fairy tales, and from fairy godmothers below…

fairy-godmother-halthegal-1
my stack of reference books, and a few great movies to inspire me while i sketch out ideas and shapes for this final piece.
fairy-godmother-halthegal-2
after i reduce down all of my ideas from reading all the fairy tales that included fairy godmothers, i decide on the shapes i want to use and i trace them to fill in the background pattern.
fairy-godmother-halthegal-3
using an 02 micron pen, the background starts to fill up!
fairy-godmother-halthegal-4
i just had to share this page, images i’d never seen before of the miraculous dress transformation animation by master animator marc davis. with special effects animation overlay on the right. just mind-blowing.
fairy-godmother-halthegal-5
i highly recommend this book which was released when disney put out their live action version of cinderella. of course the classic animated one is an all-time favorite movie, but this book had lots of great anecdotes on the making-of the animated one, the creation of the new movie directed by kenneth branagh, and lots of great background information on traditional cinderella tellings.
  • “a folktale is not just the spoken equivalent of a literary short story.  it has no set text, but is endlessly re-created in the telling.” ~neil philip, the cinderella story, the origins and variations of the story known as ‘cinderella’ 
  • “oh!  i’ve lost one of the shoes off my feet,” said trembling.                                            “don’t mind that; don’t be vexed,” said the henwife; “maybe it’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”~from “fair, brown, and trembling,” an irish cinderella tale, 1890.
  • “and it is not difficult to imagine how happy they were after having known so many hardships.” ~from madame d’aulnoy’s “the blue bird,” circa 1895.
  • “everything that a baby could possibly wear or play with was there, and, besides, they had other and more precious gifts to give her, which only children who have fairies for godmothers can ever hope to possess.” ~from andrew lang’s telling of “the white doe,” by madame d’Aulnoy, 1906.
  • “why i do what i do for a living is really because of those moments walt did for me as a kid in the audience.  what he did for audiences all over the world:  blending story and art and animation and music and color and everything together to craft these incredible emotions.  happiness and hope and joy; good over evil.”  ~john lasseter
  • “the glass slipper is where i got the idea i might not be the best fairy godmother.  if you think about it, it’s completely impractical, uncomfortable, and un-walkable-in.  but i’m good at shoes.  the shoes are the only thing that last beyond midnight.  everything else turns back.”  ~helena bonham carter, on playing the fairy godmother in kenneth branagh’s cinderella, 2015.
  • “there’s a lot of power in godmothering.  it’s like being a part of history.”  ~from terry pratchett’s witches abroad, 1991.
  • “will she live happily ever after?” he said.                                                                              NOT FOREVER.  BUT PERHAPS FOR LONG ENOUGH.                                                            and so stories end.”           ~from terry pratchett’s witches abroad, 1991.
  • “The Authors, are in Eternity.”  ~william blake, 1803.
  • “The story is, after all, what matters.”  ~p. l. travers, about the sleeping beauty, 1975.

glinda the good & raggedy ann…

i just finished painting two new faerie tale feet minis in preparation for the harbor arts & books festival next weekend in maine.

glinda the good already sold (woohoo facebook progress photos!), but wanted to show you the process.  🙂

i read “glinda of oz,” l. frank baum’s last oz novel, posthumously published.  glinda isn’t in it as much as i expected, but it was a good read.

and i RE-read yet again “the wonderful wizard of oz.”  unlike the movie version, glinda is not who we meet when we land among the munchkins once dorothy’s house takes out the wicked witch of the east.  it’s actually the good witch of the north, a little old lady in all white.  we don’t meet glinda, “the good sorceress of oz” until the end of the book, after dorothy and friends have crossed the desert, and some other kooky lands, to reach her once the wizard has accidentally flown away in his hot air balloon to kansas without our fearless farmgirl heroine in the basket, too.

in the book, glinda wears an all-white dress and her throne and crown are accentuated with rubies.  (probably where mgm got the idea for the ruby slippers to show off dorothy’s footwear in full technicolor glory!)

but for this painting, i couldn’t bear not to do glinda as pictured on film in munchkinland. so we’ve got her bubbles and fluffy pink dress.  and all the rest of our oz friends are down below on the yellow brick road.

it’s literally my favorite painting i’ve done in a while.  i love it.  and it’s already found it’s own “no place like home.”

here was my favorite quote from “glinda of oz,” by l. frank baum:

 

“am i really wonderful?” asked the scarecrow.

“you are unusual,” replied glinda.

 

🙂  i get it.  thank you for being gracious, glinda the good!

 

and here’s another mini i just finished, “sewn hugs,” inspired by johnny gruelle’s raggedy ann and andy stories, and modeled from my very own raggedy ann my mom sewed for my VERY first Christmas.  it includes the candy heart that was sewn into her when her stuffing got replaced, the shoe-button eyes, and safety pin because she was always encouraging the other dolls and mending things with kindness.

this one is still available, so email me at halthegal@hotmail.com if you’re interested in taking her home.

IMG_1645

8.25×6.25″ in the frame
just $110.

 

happy adventuring!

peace, love, & colour to you,

*halthegal.

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,

*halthegal

**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 (www.givefreshwater.org) the last two weeks so i won’t be able to remind you!  ack!  i’d love to reach my goal!!  http://kck.st/1W75Xe6  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,

*halthegal.

“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:  http://etsy.me/1OMK537

or the greeting card here:  http://etsy.me/1OMKsdL

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!

“harry– yer a wizard.”

IMG_3613
research on harry potter was of course fun– and i’ve got a bit too much to work with. so we’ll eventually have to paint ron & hermione’s feet, too.
IMG_3644
we [royal, just me, really] reduced harry’s tale down to these images and icons- and decided on the painting layout.
IMG_3671
here was the final background pattern drawing.
IMG_3682
and for a wee bit of texture on this one, we painted it on watercolour paper instead of my usual illustration board.
IMG_3689
i still painted it in gouache, but layers and layers of washes instead of the usual opaque application of one colour at a time.
IMG_3691
and here is the final painting!
IMG_3702
and here’s the print that you can buy on my etsy shoppe!

“harry– yer a wizard.”

original gouache painting by me, hallie m. bertling

based on the collected works of our beloved j.k. rowling, here in all its glory is harry, flying off to the next adventure in my faerie tale feet series.

search the background for icons relaying people and events from his magical journeys:
chocolate frogs, the winged key (book one on the way to face quirrell), his stag patronus, the grim, golden snitches, the gryffindor crest, dobby, his hogwarts acceptance letter, the sorting hat, his infamous broken glasses & lightning bolt scar, dumbledore’s half*moon glasses, the prophecy from the department of mysteries, hedwig, the hungarian horntail faced in goblet of fire, buckbeak the hippogriff…. i thinks that’s it, but maybe you’ll find more. 😉

hogwarts is pictured in the bottom right*hand corner– with a hint of knitting in gryffindor burgundy & yellow– for it was HOME to harry. and i always think of mrs. weasley knitting him that Christmas sweater- his first real Christmas present. homey, no? (also in the tower is a famous symbol and the title of book seven.)

also, the one sock you can see on the harry figure is his homemade gift from dobby– his mismatched red sock with broomsticks on it. the other unseen sock of course was the green one with snitches. so since you can’t see both socks in the composition, i combined them into a red sock with snitches. sneaky.

🙂
the original painting has sold, but you can purchase the limited edition print here on my etsy shoppe:  http://etsy.me/1MZXhh3

 

“unfettered pippi.”

pippi 1
my niece kathryn, modeling for pippi in my socks and shoes for that dramatic wrong-size feel. i bought her ice cream {with sour gummi worms} later.
pippi 2
pippi feet! a lil’ more in action than my model reference, but just as much character.
pippi 3
the final background pattern ready to be transferred to illustration board.
pippi 4
me, slowly painting in that lemon chiffon yellow around all of the background icons until the piece is full…
pippi 5
beginning to fill in each icon shape it’s own colours. i typically only do one colour per shape– as a pure silhouette. i mixed it up with pippi and all the shapes got LOTS of colours. it got a little crazy.
pippi 6
detail of still building in all the colours for all the different shapes. {yes, yes, i know i struggle with editing and being subtle. alas.}
pippi 7
background and icons done… now comes my favourite part… painting the shoes and feet!
pippi 8
lots of layers went into these shoes {a gift from a friend who either couldn’t pull them off, or they didn’t fit, either way, it worked in my favor!}

“unfettered pippi.”
original 11×11″ gouache painting by me, hallie m. gillett bertling.
i know it looks like i put skittles in a food processor to make my own sprinkles. but i kind of like it.

here’s the thing about pippi:

pippi won’t let tragedy keep her from adventure. inventive, if unstructured and ill-mannered for lack of tutelage, her creative solutions have been proven to save lives and enlighten livelihoods.

if you are wondering about any of the icons in the background, just ask. but from the slew of her adventures, here’s what i threw in there:

her father’s mustache (missed and loved, and of course not really lost at sea, but a cannibal king as she’d hoped and knew), her horse (never named; i found that odd); mr. nilsson (her pet african monkey/roommate in a straw hat), her heart*shaped gingersnap cookies she’d roll out on the floor, the oar from her shipwrecked adventure with neighbor children tommy & annika, a ladder from when she evaded the police who were to take her to a children’s home (she was a child & already had a home; no need, obviously), a pillow (for she slept with her feet on the pillow and her head under the covers), a message in a bottle (a rescue maneuver), a rusty tin coffee pot from the secret hiding place tree, a coffee cup with a green ribbon (when she went to tommy & annika’s house for a fancy coffee party their mother was throwing, she put green ribbons on her shoes for the occasion), the fire flame (a terrifying scene for me, but she did rescue two boys from a burning building with her wit and athleticism), the famous kitchen-scrub-brushing mopping shoes, the blue bird whistles she bought for all the kids in town at the toy store with her gold coins, the pineapple and spear from her adventures as an island cannibal princess, the pirate flag she and her father sailed under, and of course her enigmatic red*haired straight*out braided silhouette complete with freckles.

well done, pippi. i applaud both your charisma, bravery, optimism, quick-thinking, and utter hopefulness at life’s greatest adventure: every day.

you can purchase the limited edition faerie tale feet print here on my etsy shoppe:  http://etsy.me/1i9mhZy

and the greeting card here:  http://etsy.me/1LBFZqC

(the front of card reads:  “But one person gave four cheers instead of three.
And that was Pippi.”  of course it was! )

and yes, the original framed painting is still available!  i sell those for just $425.  contact me!  🙂

“i’m actually quite shy, so if i don’t issue commands to myself, i’d just stand in the hall, quite stubborn, and not sure to come in.”