Category: Blog Posts

Movies That Make Me Want to Paint – Part 1

Rather than always throwing art at you guys and running, I also hope that I’m inspiring you to create as well, if you are so inclined.  For that purpose, I thought I’d share a few of the movies near and dear to my Muse. No matter how low or art-blocked I am, putting on any of these movies always lights me up again. In fact, they are often playing in the background while I work as inspirational background noise.

Before we dive in though, here’s a quick reminder to Patrons to check this Patrons-only poll.  My Patreon will be changing themes in the near-future and I want Patrons to have a say in which path I choose for this place next!  Go throw in your votes before the poll closes at the end of February.

Now, on to the list!  I picked 10 of my favorites, but I’m splitting that up between two posts so this doesn’t turn into a book.  One day, I’ll figure out how to include clips from movies in a video version of this post, but for now, enjoy the written version!

Crimson Peak

Synopsis:  Our protagonist, a young writer with the ability to sense ghosts, finds herself caught up in the orbit of a mysterious baronet.  Eventually, she must use her wits to survive the haunted house she finds herself in after their marriage.

I just have to be up front with you guys and admit I am a huge Guillermo del Toro fan.  I love just about everything in this director’s filmography, so apologies in advance for much of this list being del Toro stuff.  Del Toro isn’t lying when he says he he believes in ‘eye protein’ and not just ‘eye candy’.  Or rather, packing every inch of his backdrops and costumes with details that support his central theme.  That kind of thought process really appeals to my artistic soul and it reflects in nearly all of my visually stunning movie choices, not just Del Toro movies.

Crimson Peak blends Victorian decadence with a Bluebeard fairy tale in a haunted house for a riveting feast for the eyes.  It’s dark, glittering horror and Gothic Romance at its finest.  Plus, there’s a banger reference the heroine tosses out referencing the badassery of Mary Shelley when other women try to insult her reclusiveness as a writer that makes this a movie a win for me, on a personal narrative level.

(The house full of secrets the protagonist must uncover before she, too, becomes a ghost in its halls.)

Del Toro’s audio commentary about all the tricks they used to convey atmosphere in this movie (including interesting tidbits such as a chair that has the word ‘fear’ inscribed into its decorative tracings) is fascinating and inspiring for the director’s thoughtfulness and thematic visual saturation. I came away appreciating that ‘Eye Protein’ even more.  Do recommend it and the movie’s wonderful art book, if you can find it!

Pan’s Labyrinth

Synopsis:  In a wartorn Spain, a little girl must survive coming to live with the terrifying captain that has married her mother.  However, the maze outside of their new country home offers respite in the form of helpful faeries promising a cure for what ails her sick mother.

I know, I know. Another Del Toro movie already? But y’all, this movie was a formative, heartbreaking masterpiece for younger me.  The first time I saw this movie, it sparked a revelation that this blend of dark reality juxtaposed with the hopeful beauty of fantasy and the catharsis of horror was exactly what I wanted to do with my own art (and writing, for that matter).

(The titular faun and Ofelia.)

This movie moves fluidly from a dark world to one touched by magic as Ofelia endures challenges set by her new fae friends in order to unlock objects to heal her mother.  This is dark, magical fairy tale imagery at its finest, including one of the most iconic monster designs I’ve seen in horror.  It’s not for the faint of heart. I swear there’s always at least one gorey flinch-worthy moment in every del Toro movie, but the rest of it is glorious dark fantasy at its finest.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Synopsis:  A retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula through a stylized gothic romance in which Dracula stalks his re-incarnated love through London and actors have terrible British accents.

Of all the Dracula movies out there, this one remains close to my heart.  As an artist, I appreciate Coppola’s dedication to using practical FX where possible and making everything about this movie feel enthralling, otherworldly, and vintage in a surreal way.  This movie takes much from the Symbolist movement of art and literature, which sought to capture deep, emotional expression through highly symbolic, dreamlike works.

(One of the very pretty frames showing off the gorgeous lighting of this movie.)

The wardrobe is also fantastic and again so many little narrative details work their way into both clothing and set design, from the foreshading of Dracula’s ‘flesh armor’ to Mina’s scarlet gown mirroring her past life.  This attention to detail and otherworldly atmosphere are what get my Muse going the most with this movie, whether you dig this retelling’s narrative changes or not.  I’m here for the dresses, which were stunningly designed with Klimt-esque flavor by brilliant designer, Eiko Ishioka, in what was one of her first major outing in working on movies.

The Cell

This movie is another visually stunning, but a tough watch!  Content warning especially on this one for mature themes, violence, etc.

Synopsis:  The FBI track a serial killer down, only to realize they cannot save his latest victim trapped in an automated cell without first diving into his mind using cutting edge technology.  Psychotherapist, Catharine Deane, volunteers to venture into the killer’s mind to see if she can help save the killer’s last victim and finds herself in a dark wonderland.

I will say this movie makes perhaps a better music video than an actual movie, but it fascinates me as a dark Alice in Wonderland type of story.  Every frame and detail is arranged to hint at the layers of the mind and the dark and sometimes beautiful visions the mind is capable of.  

I still feel like this movie did the concept of a mindscape better than Inception, which felt too mundane and real-world in its mindscape sets, my opinion, while The Cell tricks the senses and conveys the unsettling nature of a dream world outside of logical time, place, and directional orientation.

Eiko Ishioka also had a hand in designing the wardrobe for this movie.  It’s fair to say following her filmography is another fun minigame of discovering inspiring surreal movies to watch!

(One of my fave shots from The Cell.)

It’s a brutal film, but an oddly beautiful one with a sense of catharsis in its ending.  Recommend it for visual inspiration, if dark, trippy, and briefly beautiful appeals to you.

Prince of Egypt

Synopsis: The biblical tale of Moses’ time in Egypt told through an animated musical.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve not seen an animated movie with more of a sense of framing and atmosphere as The Prince of Egypt (aside from maybe the Arcane animated series).  You could pause any moment of this movie and frame that still as a painting.  It’s gorgeous, and every second of it is thoughtfully composed.  

According to behind the scenes material, the art direction when we’re in Egypt mirrors the beautiful stylistic aesthetic of Egyptian art, while the art becomes more naturalistic as we leave that locale behind.

(One of the most awe-inspiring moments and images of this movie.  It still takes my breath away.)

I do not consider myself very religious, but there are so many moments of sublime awe captured in the imagery of this movie, from the whispering flames of the burning bush to the majestic shadows of sea creatures lit by the glow of a storm in the distance as the Hebrews cross through the mystically parted sea.  Whether you’re religious or not, this movie inspires with its effective storytelling and artfully rendered scenes.

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I hope this gives any of my fellow creatives some fuel for the inspiration tank!  Bulk up on some eye protein and create your innermost dreams, nightmares, and everything in-between.  I’ll have part 2 of this list next month.

Let me know how you end up liking any of these movies, if you haven’t seen them yet!  Or are there any I am missing out on that I should see?  Suggest some Movies for the Muse in the comments!

– Ang

January 2023 Musings – Plz Reboot Brain & Tentative Streaming Plans

I want to make sure I always keep you guys in tune with what’s going on around here at least once a month, so we’re back to the monthly update format with a digest of posts!

January Happenings

I’ve been all about trying to reboot my brain to do more writing this past month!  For Christmas, Kev and I treated ourselves to a MasterClass sub and I instantly zeroed in on Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass because I’ve been a big fan of his since his Sandman days.  I often turn to his “Make Good Art” keynote speech when I’m feeling lost and it never ceases to get me motivated to create once more.  

To say Gaiman’s comics were formative for my teen goth girl brain would be an understatement!  I’m learning a lot with Mr. Gaiman about accepting failure, taking chances, and keeping a ‘trash heap’ of ideas.  There’s so much overlap between the skillbuilding of Art and Writing, which is no big surprise to me as a Studio Art and English double major, but it’s nice to get a refresher to my dormant wordsmith skills.

(Morpheus from The Sandman comics that inspired the recent The Sandman show on Netflix, at which I fangirl squeed many times at how faithful many of the scenes were to the original comics).

With all this schedule shake up, I’ve also been testing out the Structured app to help jumpstart myself into a new schedule with a digital visual planner, since I always seem to abandon physical planners after awhile and hate the waste they create.  It’s proven very useful, thus far!  The constant reminder pings help keep me from hyperfocusing too long on tasks I get deep into and even if I don’t follow the schedule to the letter, it at least makes me more aware of the passage of time, as I’m terrible at judging how long things take me otherwise when I get into a creative flow.  

I’ve been dancing between the Art and Writing Muses trying to get the brain in word-making mode, but also wrapping up a secret commercial art project you all got a sneak peek of this month and a couple of personal pieces I’ll share soon once they’re complete.

Rebooting this Patreon & Streaming Plans

While I’ve been seeing how my schedule equalizes, I’ve also been brainstorming of ways to engage with you all more directly, create more video material to share, as well as to reboot this Patreon with a new theme now that the Birthstone Goddesses have wrapped up.  

So far, I’m leaning towards the following activities, with a proper Patreon/Loyalty Merch theme to be decided via Patrons-only poll sometime in February, so make sure you’re pledged at any tier so you can vote in this upcoming massively important poll!

  • Streaming twice a week (a sketchbook session + video game night)
  • Monthly Hangout/Ask Me Anything
  • Videos on my inspirations, Art Challenge wrap-ups, Artist FAQs, etc.
  • Patreon deep dives (TBD when Patrons decide on a theme)

However, I want everyone currently signed up to my Patreon to get their full year’s worth of Loyalty Merch starring the Birthstone Goddesses before I reset this Patreon’s theme, so we won’t be changing things up around here till May when the final round of merch should be arriving to all you dazzling folks who choose to support me at $5 and above.

Till May rolls round, this Patreon is going to be a grab-bag of inspiration, art, and fun, which is ok with me while I give my Art Muse a rest from the years-long endeavor that was the Birthstone Goddesses!  It’s nice to have short-term, less involved things to explore at my own pace for just a little while longer.

That’s all for now!  I hope to have some cool art and other progress to share soon.  I’m especially hyped about how my Blue Eye Samurai personal piece is coming along and cannot wait to share it (with Patrons getting a Secret Sketchbook deep dive hopefully in February).

Till then!

– Ang

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January 2023 Digest of Posts

Coming in February

  • Patrons-Only Poll to decide my next Personal Project/Patreon theme!
  • Blue Eye Samurai x Exalted TTRPG Fan Art (Tentative. Gotta finish professional projects first!)
  • A D&D Character Portrait
  • Inspiration List – My Fave Movies That Make Me Want to Paint

Ang’s Year in Art 2023 Summary [Video + Blog Post]

It’s time for one of my favorite things – rounding up the art for a year-end retrospective!  This year, I wanted to do something different, however, so in addition to this little round-up blog post, I’ve also narrated a video for your enjoyment!  For those who don’t have 15+ mins to listen to my longer form rambling, you can skim the major talking points here instead.

Enjoy and let me know what your favorite piece of mine was from this year!  Is there anything you’d like to see me do more of in 2024?

My Month-to-Month Summary

A better look at each piece, plus extra art I couldn’t fit into the month-to-month format.

How Was My Year?

It was honestly a rough one!  From my existential dread dealing with generative AI replacing Illustrators to a significant cancer scare that derailed all my best laid plans, I’ve come out the other side with the best outcome of a benign tumor.  In spite of the dark cloud of looming disasters, I managed to complete my Birthstone Goddesses collection after 6 years of toil!  It may not have gotten the big finish I wanted for that project, but I’m happy to free up my muse and attention for other exciting endeavors on the horizon.

My Level-Up Piece

The piece that taught me the most and helped improve my skills – “The Lamb”

I chose this as my Level Up piece because I was able to find a balance within it that brought me a step closer to a Tarot-inspired art style I’ve been nurturing of late.  I used line art to accentuate the form and bring in very subtle hatchwork, while also letting the image be painterly. It’s a hard balance to strike, but this image was my “Eureka” moment for how to combine my love of lines and painterliness!

My Personal Favorite

The piece that I loved the most out of the rest I made – “Leaping River Orchid”

Things just ‘clicked’ with this piece.  Despite being quite loose, this image still has a good sense of character and mood.  In trying to emulate the Arcane animated series art style, I unlocked something between that space of loose lines and color that makes for a very appealing visual look.  Perhaps it’s merely her cool hat that makes this my favorite?  Either way, I hope I can use what I learned from painting Orchid for future pieces like it!

2024 Art Goals

  • Make more videos & streams – While I’ve been dipping my toe into sharing more videos this year, I’d like to really up the ante in 2024. I’m hoping to create more narrated videos and be more present as a person in them to remind folks I’m a human, not an art machine. I also want more face to face time with you all by streaming! Now, I just need to learn how to stick to a streaming schedule which I’ve had a terrible track record at.
  • Learn Clip Studio Paint – I feel like I’ve stagnated the past couple of years because I’ve avoided complex images with multiple figures and architectural elements. I’m hoping to teach myself Clip Studio Paint so I can start using 3D models to create reference materials for complex elements so painting them will be easier.
  • Re-invest in myself and my artistic voice/stories! – For years, I’ve always intended to write more, but my Art Muse has always dominated my time.  With AI now intruding into all creative fields, I want to push my work to be more about my voice, which I hope will stand out from the increase in AI material that’s bound to happen in the next few years. I have something to say with my work and now I finally have the freedom to pursue this endeavor with full attention thanks to our newfound stability!

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2023 was tough, but I’m stoked for 2024!  I feel like I’ve finally been able to slow down and heal in 2023 after literal years of health disasters, medical debt, house moves, and uncertainty.  Now, I’m able to approach a new branching path in my artistic direction in 2024.  I can’t wait to share it with you all!  I’ll be talking about the new and decidedly different work I’ll be sharing on this Patreon in the next entry.

Till then, onwards to 2024!  Thanks for sticking with me on this eteneral roller coaster of a ride.

– Ang

[Art] Exalted Character of the Week Vol 1: Rainbows, Abyssals, and Big Hats

You all know I’m a nerd for the tabletop game, Exalted from Onyx Path Publishing (and if not, SURPRISE! Prepare yourself for my weebness).  I help run a Discord server for fans who like to create art, writing, etc. for this particular TTRPG community.  Recently, we started up a community activity where we roll a die to choose a character from a member to create arts inspired by them.  This little collection features characters from our first rounds.

This activity has been an excellent opportunity for me to practice different styles, so strap yourself in for a ride through the colorful characters and styles of my first Exalted Character of the Week collection!

(My gal, Kalara, was chosen for the first round, but that’s a whole other art feature collection for later).

Theo for Jen

Theodotus is a bombastic Zenith Caste who beams rainbows from his heroic anima.  The energetic style of the Hades video game seemed like a perfect fit for him. I absolutely adore this style and always wanted to try it myself!  This style involves clean line work and bold highlighting for a signature look. I definitely want to play with it more, as it suited my own proclivity for line art and elegance very well.

  • Watch a timelapse of Theo’s creation here.

Orchid for MissSunnySweden

Next, we have Leaping River Orchid, a demure noblewoman Twilight Caste who hides her Anathema nature from the noble house she was born into.  She prefers to charm rather than combat and seemed a good fit for testing out a style inspired by the Arcane animated series with her elegant costume.

I’m particularly happy with how this one came out. Despite how rough it is, it feels polished in the right places, which is a valuable lesson to me on balancing detail and value in a composition so I can plan my time and effort with pieces better.

  • Watch a timelapse of Orchid’s portrait here.

Thrice-Fallen Affections for Raefen

Finally, we have the Abyssal, Thrice-Fallen Affections, who serves the Deathlord, The Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears.  Thrice-fallen Affections has some rather risque tastes in formal clothing in the skeleton themes of the Underworld.

  • See the uncensored version and watch the full view timelapse of this piece here.  Artistic nudity warning (bare breasts in a non-sexual context) for any who do decide to click through.

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It’s my hope that by experimenting with different styles, I refill my creative well a bit, as well as learn about what makes MY style “me” by figuring out what it is I like and don’t like, what feels right to me, and how I want my work to look in the future.  Most of all, it’s just nice to take a break from serious years-long projects to have some fun with casual art!  I have been emulating Mucha for so long with the Birthstone Goddesses series that it’s nice to break out of my shell a bit.

The Exalted Character of the Week Challenge is going to be an ongoing activity in the future, so I’ll probably share quarterly collections from the event from here on out.  It’s been fun to let loose with styles and fashion exploration with all the colorful character possibilities that Exalted has to offer thus far.

Next up, I hope to have a very special bit of fan art inspired by my favorite TV series of 2023 – Blue Eye Samurai!  Granted I can get it done by next Thursday.  We shall see!

Till then, I hope you enjoyed the art dump!

– Ang

Comic + WIPs – Carbon 2185: Parablepsia – “Unintentional Ninja”

I teased that I’d be cooling down after the big project milestone with fun exploratory art and part of that carefree fun art has been brushing up on my sequential art (comics) skillset.  I enjoy taking little scenes from our tabletop campaigns and turning them into one-shots like this for a lark.

Comics also make excellent drawing practice for anatomy, perspective, storytelling, the works!  So I thought you all might enjoy a peek at this one-page comic plus some WIPs I didn’t share on social media.

Programs Used – Procreate for the lines and colors, Clip Studio Paint EX for the Word Balloons, FX, and Text.

The Premise:  Welcome to the Cyberpunk setting of Carbon 2185!  Parablepsia is the name of our campaign featuring a disparate band of street runners who wake up in a morgue to find themselves embroiled in a corporate war for power and technology.

Then there’s Nightingale (Gale for short), the character I play who is a synthetic humanoid singer who believes she has no business being caught up in this mess.  Little does she know that she’s been programmed with ninja skills without her knowledge!

Making of the Comic

It all starts with the rough sketch and scribbling in the dialogue so I know that the dialogue will fit in the panel.  The expressions are also pretty abstract since I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this while I figure out the positioning of all the various elements.

I also didn’t know how Gale looks since I hadn’t drawn her before this comic, so I ended up going through a few variations trying to nail down her look.  Which one’s your favorite?  I tried to channel feather shapes like her songbird theme.

I had a good laugh making expressions into my camera trying to nail down Gale’s various shocked expressions in this comic and how silly, yet accurate the rough drawings of her face were to the emotions she was expressing.

The final comic:

  • Watch a timelapse here.  My process is absolute chaos, but it’s kinda fun to watch a story emerge from the scribbles!

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Will I share more comics here?  We’ll see!  It’s something I haven’t done with consistency because it’s difficult and time-consuming, but it’s also a lot of fun.  It’s very satisfying when those expressions work and the comedy lands!

I’m still learning how to use software, brush up the written script on longer stories, etc. which has been my hobby time fun lately.  I’ve been sharing more of this exploration over in my Discord server, which is open to both my Patrons and the public. Patrons can connect their accounts for access to my Secret Sketchbook there, while free fans can join the public areas here.

For now, I hope you all enjoyed this errant one shot!  Stay tuned for more character portraits and a painting over the next few posts.  Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy the end of the year.  Stay toasty and warm!

– Ang

Health Update + Year End Wrap-Up

Hello, it’s my face!  I just wanted to give you all a sign of life after my last posts.  I am alive and well!  For those who didn’t catch the great news on social media, my latest scans say that my kidney lump is STABLE!  This is such a huge relief.  I was very much preparing for life to go a different way this year, considering my family’s history with this malady.  We’ll have to keep an eye on things for the future, but for now, what I have is slow-growing and generally benign. It’s really the best news in my case!

This year has been a challenging and introspective one. I had to simplify my life knowing that treatments might be a possibility, which meant I had to abandon my Kickstarter ambitions this year.   Never-the-less, your support here has helped me accomplish quite a lot!

With your support from Patreon this year, we’ve:

  • Kept my Etsy ads going through a year with failing social media reach
  • Helped me invest in a Canvas lamp for better lighting and for recording video
  • Upgrade my copy of Clip Studio Paint from the basic to the EX version for more helpful features
  • Launched my exclusive Patreon Merch as a special reward
  • Allowed me to purchase a few storage racks to help organize the new studio space
  • Helped cover part of my usual expenses, like my website, shop bills, etc.
  • Helped me survive a nearly year-long semi-hiatus due to shoulder surgery and rehab AND further medical challenges this year
  • Allowed me to go on a REAL vacation outside of the house for the first time in years

(The beginnings of the great studio re-organization!)

Honestly, this Patreon has been such a consistent source of succor for my husband and myself, so thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts!

Featured Posts from This Year

Here were some of my posts moments that I got to share with you all this year:

What’s next?

For now, I’m queuing up the traditional Year in Art Summary for a look back on what I’ve created this year, my favorites and lessons, etc.  I also have a few pieces in the pipeline I plan to share in a few errant art posts by the end of the year.  Mostly, I’ve been focusing on some frivilous fun pieces to wind down the end of the year with and enjoy this slow project time before I dive into the next big ambitious thing.

Till then, I hope you all enjoy the holidays and the end of the year!

– Ang

The Woven Path Tarot Deck + 20% Off Holiday Sale!

The time has come, my dears!  I’m full of happy news today to announce that the beautiful gilded deck that I worked on alongside my talented colleagues at the Changeling Artist Collective has arrived to my shop just in time for my yearly holiday sale.  

It’s so beautiful!  The cards are weighty and gorgeous with 2 foil colors.

You can watch a flipthru of the tarot deck here.

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I was responsible for the Temperance card of the Major Arcana (which I shared more Behind the Scenes about its creation here).  This card’s themes of balancing and tempering one’s strengths and weaknesses appeals to my ongoing journey as an artist seeking self-discovery and improvement.

The rest of the deck is also full of gorgeous art inspired by medieval tapestry, making it a unique collaborative deck.

These decks were independently printed, so they are extremely limited!  They will only be available from the participating artists.  I have only 7 left as of this writing!  Snag a deck here.

The Spirits of Winter Return

For those who love the glitz and shine of holiday themes, my Spirits of Winter art series has also returned to my shop for a limited time (till the end of January).  I’ve also made sure to stock the Christmas cards and prints for those who enjoy spreading the holiday cheer!

I’ve also made sure to stock a few sketch originals for those looking for small one of a kind gifts under $100 that won’t break the bank.

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  • Find my Fine Art shop here
  • And if you fancy more of my Kushiel’s Legacy and ttrpg/geeky art, find my Fantasy Art shop here.  The holiday sale also extends to this shop!

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As ever, I’m grateful to anyone who shops small this year!  Times have been rough for artists and every little bit helps my lil one-person biz out.

In the meanwhile, I hope everyone enjoys a bit of time to relax, reflect, and have some good food!  I’m going to do my best not to set any rum glaze on fire this year.  Stay happy and healthy and I’ll be returning soon with more art musings!

– Ang

Unveiling the Birthstone Goddesses 2024 Calendar!

This collection has been years in the making and after hours of inking, painting, and toil, I have finally completed “The Final Goddess”, the 13th Goddess in the Birthstone Goddesses series!

The turning of the year ends. The cycle begins anew. Her delicate touch brings the frost. Her delicate touch brings the first blooms. Birth, Death, Grief, Healing. Turn, turn, turn.

She is all of these Goddesses and none, the Lady of Eternity, The First and Final Goddess.

I’m so pleased to introduce the calendar!  There were many unforseen challenges along the way, from a pandemic to printing woes, but with the help of new technologies in print on demand, I’m able to bring these calendars directly to you all from a printing partner!

Where to get a Calendar

  • The calendar is available in my Etsy shop here.
  • You can also find a print of the cover here.

Journey of Creation

If you missed the Behind the Scenes look at the calendar’s journey of creation I wrote for Patrons, be sure to catch up here:

“The Final Goddess” Original Painting

Watch a timelapse of this painting’s creation here. That’s 10+ hours of work condensed into 1 minute!  I hope to upload a longer narrated version of this painting and the others in the Birthstone Goddesses slowly, but surely, as they take a lot of time to edit and record.

The cover painting was created with india ink pens and watercolor with accents of white gel pen and measures 8×20 inches.  The original is available for any interested parties!  I’ll be accepting offers from Patrons for a week (till Fri. Nov 10th) before she goes live in my Fine Art shop for the general public.

She can be yours for $2700 unmatted or have me choose a mat, frame, and proper glass for her for $3240, with free shipping within the US and Canada. Patrons will also be eligible to use their 15%-25% discounts on this original as well! The discount is dependent on what tier you’re supporting at.

If interested in adding this painting to your collection, drop me a private message here via Patreon.

Help Support the Calendar!

As this calendar is a homegrown project, your word of mouth really helps me out!  Please feel free to share these social media posts and help spread the word about my calendar.  The biggest time to share is now, since the calendar will be less in-demand once 2024 begins:

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This has been quite the journey and I’m still reeling being at this bittersweet end!  I’ve prepared a retrospective look at all of the work I’ve created for the Birthstone Goddesses over the years for the next post that will go live next week. It’s been a joy to look back at all my favorites, especially as it’s easy to forget everything I’ve made after this long, ha!  It has been a flurry of artistic creation.

Till then, it is time for much-needed rest and celebration!

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween and that this calendar will be a light of beauty and inspiration throughout your 2024.

– Ang

The Birthstone Goddesses Collection, A Retrospective + Future of the Project?

It’s the end of an era for me with the Birthstone Goddesses wrapping up!  I thought it only proper to send the project off with a look back at how it evolved over the years I spent on it.  This journey started as a simple set of 12 paintings for a calendar and ended up being so much more!

The Birthstone Goddesses

These paintings started it all!  Lady of December was the original first entry into the series in 2014 as a gift to my mother inspired by Alphonse Mucha’s Precious Stones series.  A couple of years later, the idea to continue with a series of similar paintings came to me.

The Birthstone Goddesses Masquerade

At the start of the series, I was also invested in leathercrafting as a hobby and wanted to explore the themes of flowers and birthstones via masks as well.  Each one of these is a limited edition of 10 per mask, some adorned with crystals and all hand-tooled and painted.  With the way the movement of Art Nouveau also extends beyond 2D art into jewelry, textiles, etc., I found masks to be a poetic addition to the Birthstone Goddesses’ growing ouevre.  (There are still a few masks left in my Artisan shop for anyone seeking a unique cosplay or display piece.)

(The masks were photographed by the talented Winter Wolf Studios).

The Visage Collection

Over the course of creating the paintings, I also started thinking about the prospect of creating a book, which I thought would look lovely if I started each section with a thematic banner of each Goddess.  And thus the Visage collection was born! Inspired by the gorgeous hand mirrors and cameo necklaaces from the Art Nouveau movement.

The Enamel Pin Designs

Once again, I was tempted to explore more wearable art forms by enamel pins, which I also thought would make a beautiful collectible item that would work with Goddess-themed gift sets.  The form of these pins were inspired by the cameo jewelry of Art Nouveau.  These designs were also used for stickers.

Ink & Gold Drawings

These drawings were created to promote the enamel pin designs as luxury tiers for the pins’ Kickstarters, stripping down the pin designs into elegant ink and gold.

Embellished Mats

I created these hand-drawn mats accented with gold leaf especially for display at cons. Several of them were sold before I had a chance to photograph them, as I created the full set of 12, one for each Lady.

The Little Gem Goddesses

During the coloring book’s Kickstarter, one of the stretch goals was the fun idea to do chibi versions of the Birthstone Goddesses.  Luckily they were unlocked and thus the Little Gems were born!  They’re a fun addition to this otherwise very serious series.

The Fashion Illustrations

Each Goddess’ painting was meticulously researched, planned, and rendered, including a fashion sketch on a croquis form to sort out the Goddess’ visual themes and dress.  All of these originals are still available in my shop with the exception of Lady of January’s sketch.

The Goddesses’ Windows

Each painting in the series also called for thematic mandala designs for their ‘windows’ that appear behind their heads in the main series’ paintings.  At some point, I’d like to do more with these designs to let the non-figural designs shine in all their intricate elegance.

Birthstone Goddesses Amulets

These designs were made as stickers for my Patreon Patrons, as well as what I hope will be enamel amulet necklaces I’ll be crowdfunding in the future.

Books & Misc

At the beginning of this journey, it was always my intent to create a wall calendar.  A coloring book and Lady of Eternity themed products arrived later as Patreon exclusives.  The Lady of Eternity enamel pin based on the drawing on the limited edition print is still an exclusive badge of honor for those Patrons who supported this series early on.

The Final Tally

125 creations, not including unique designs re-arranged for product designs like totes, pouches, etc.

  • 14 Paintings
  • 72 Drawings
  • 25 Pin and Amulet Designs
  • 12 Mask Designs
  • 6 Kickstarter projects
  • 1 book
  • 1 calendar

The Future of the Goddesses?

While I’m wrapping up the Birthstone Goddesses collection for now, it was always my intent that I could return to the wider Gemstone Goddesses theme and explore other gem-related Goddesses.  It’d be a chance for me to break away from the Mucha style and try other visual approaches.  I also feel that I have a few more ideas for additional paintings involving some of the Birthstone Goddess characters that I’d love to include in a prospective Birthstone Goddesses art book collecting all of the images you see here.

However, after 6 years, I desperately need some space before I take on creating a book collection for them.  I want to allow myself some creative freedom and a chance to thoroughly rest before I try anything else.

It’s strange to think what’s happened in my life during this 6 year span as well. I’ve gotten married, moved 4 times, helped my husband through his fight with lymphoma, heart failure, and job loss, had several surgeries, and so much more.  Life has been coming at us sideways for so long, I’m happy to be at an ending now that I can savor and appreciate!

It’s been quite the journey and I’m so grateful for those who provided encouragement and support along the way!  Thanks to everyone who pitched into my Patreon, supported my Kickstarters for this project, and left a kind word of encouragement in the years I’ve been doing this.  It helped my husband and I survive during rough times, as well as let me focus more on the art that helped the Birthstone Goddesses happen.

This entry is already long enough, so I’m going to leave off here!  I have some thoughts and feelings about the future of this Patreon and what art I’ll be sharing here that I’ll discuss in a later entry.  For now, let us bask and enjoy this moment of accomplishment!

– Ang