“narnia, awake.” Aslan of c.s. lewis’ the chronicles of narnia series

“i didn’t believe in Magic till today.  i see now it’s real.  well, if it is, i suppose all the old fairy tales are more or less true.”

it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that i was first swept away to narnia through that magical wardrobe crafted of the wood of the tree of the apple that digory brought back to save the life of his mother in the magician’s nephew.

Aslan holds deep spiritual significance for me.  as does the unwavering faithfulness of queen lucy.  it was with an awestruck wonder that i attempted to paint “Aslan the King.  the King of the wood & the son of the Great Emperor beyond-the-sea– the Great Lion.”

so have a look at a bit of my painting process & then scroll down for a deeper look into all those background icons i used to attempt to tell a tiny piece of Aslan’s Great Story.

Aslan halthegal blog 1
i re-used a few icons from queen lucy‘s painting so that they’d make the perfect pair on any library wall. but there was also a LOT of imagery i wanted to use in Aslan’s background. so i sketch shapes and ideas in my sketchbook until i see what shall work best with the entire composition, and what shapes are imperative to telling the tale. and what shall read clearly as a silhouette.  (in this picture, you can immediately see three that didn’t make the cut– father Christmas’ sleigh bells, the thrones at cair paravel, and the silver chair!)
Aslan halthegal blog 2
once i have my final feet drawing (Aslan is my first non-human-eque biped!), and have traced the final shapes out of my sketchbook, i use a bit of transfer paper, and re-trace my pattern drawing (created on tracing paper) onto my illustration board so it leaves a light blue line so i know where to paint inside & outside the lines!
Aslan halthegal blog 3
well before i paint the feet, and even before i paint the shapes, i mix up The Background Color…. and spend many, many hours painting around all the shapes to get a solid gouache covering for the painting.
Aslan halthegal blog 4
the red background came out exactly how i had hoped. so here i am starting to add color to each shape. i’ll paint all the wardrobes at once with the same color of brown. then i’ll mix my brown for fledge the flying horse, the yellow for the inside of the crowns, etc etc etc…!
Aslan halthegal blog 5
here’s more of the colors getting filed in and coming together!
Aslan halthegal blog 6
painting the tiny roaring lions on the battle standards made me all the more grateful for a good brush and a magnifying lamp to paint by!
Aslan halthegal blog 7
once the background is completely painted, i start on our main character’s feet. layers and layers of fur…

click HERE to see an instagram video of those fur layers!

Aslan halthegal blog 9
… about ten hours of teeny tiny brush strokes, to be almost exact. and you’d never know all those layers are there if i hadn’t have told you, but i think the final result definitely made Aslan’s fur all the more visually powerful.

so what did i scatter throughout Aslan’s background?  hopefully a little bit of the essence of all 7 narnia books.

  • the lamp-post (seen in both the magicians nephew, and completely iconic to the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe, it’s how lucy finds her way back to “Spare Oom of War Drobe.”)
  • strawberry, whose name was changed to fledge, the father of all the winged horses (the magician’s nephew)
  • apple of life (that Aslan sent home with digory to save his mother’s life; it grew into a tree in the backyard of uncle andrew’s house which was used to make the wardrobe)
  • the wardrobe (not just full of fur coats!)
  • two snowflakes (to represent the white witch & Winter, of course.  and i couldn’t help but strategically place it under Aslan’s back paw for the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”)
  • mr. tumnus (with his neck scarf, carrying packages, and carrying his red umbrella as lucy first met him)
  • four crowns (for the two daughters of eve and the two sons of adam who came in the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe to fulfill the prophecy and sit on the four thrones of cair paravel.)
  • peter’s shield (a gift from father Christmas as spring was arriving because Aslan was on the move!)
  • susan’s ivory horn (“help of some kind will come to you;” also used by prince caspian to call back the young-again kings & queens of narnia; who then called Aslan back to help conquer the telmarines)
  • the broken stone table (roar!)
  • unicorns (for the great variety of creatures and talking beasts in narnia, and the special one in the last battle.)
  • Aslan’s standard/banner of Narnia
  • the mice which nibbled away Aslan’s bonds as he lay murdered (sacrificed) on the stone table
  • giant paw prints (from the horse and his boy)
  • reepicheep (the valiant mouse whose tail Aslan restored in prince caspian)
  • dragon heads (poor eustace clarence scrubb, who “almost deserved” his name; what a fantastic transformation Story in the voyage of the dawn treader!)

i didn’t have a chance to add the silver chair, or the shooting stars from book seven… or the golden key as an homage to george macdonald whose fairy tales c.s. lewis himself read and learned from.  but i think you get the idea.  😀

the original painting debuted at artisphere 2017, and prints and cards are now available on etsy!

limited edition signed prints available here on etsy:  http://etsy.me/2ysEAWs

blank greeting cards available here: http://etsy.me/2h0NZct

original painting available framed for $495 + $30 for safe shipping.  message me on etsy, please!  🙂


“queen lucy the valiant.”

lucy 1
sometimes i sketch and research and explore one faerie tale while connecting with another. seen here are reepicheep and the sea serpent taking shape during a harry potter movie marathon.
lucy 2
tracing the lamp post– filling in the background pattern with my final icon sketches so the background is FULL.
lucy 3
painting in the background with very purple gouache– painting around every single icon!
lucy 4
filling in the icons- one colour at a time. and of course leaving the feet for last!
lucy 5
here’s lucy!

“queen lucy the valiant.”

based on the narnia tales by c.s. lewis.

lucy pevensie knew what was what. the youngest. the wisest. the least listened-to. i can empathize.

a royal purple background for our brave heroine, her story covers at least 5 of the 7 narnia books. and no doubt she is having adventures even when we don’t know her whereabouts.

reepicheep, peter’s shield, her diamond cordial of fireflowers, the sewing machine mrs. beaver wants to pack when they’re being chased by the scary wolves the queen sends after them… the reindeer, the sea serpent (or dragon of eustace, if you’d rawther), and of course the lamp post and mr. tumnus, holding both his tail over his arm as well as his umbrella and parcels in the snow.

as aslan cannae have favorites, i wouldn’t suggest such a thing. but i have a favorite. for as beautiful as susan was, as valiant as peter was, and as much as edmund was forgiven, lucy was the most in tune with her faith. knowing the right course of action even if it required the most danger, held potential for the greatest fall, and was met with the most resistance from leadership, armies, siblings, and friends.

the original gouache painting (11×11″ image size, 19″ with mat and frame) is available for $425.

you can purchase the limited edition print here on my halthegal etsy shoppe:  http://etsy.me/1KWlZi5

the lucy greeting card is available here:  http://etsy.me/1KWm3P3

(front of the cards is a lucy quote from one of her interactions with Aslan:  “i don’t know, but i think i could be brave enough.”  it’s blank on the inside for all sorts of inspiring messages to share.)