Little People looking for good homes....

Bird Girls by Terri Windling

Once again, my lovely friend Greta Ward is kindly making my prints available for purchase through her website ... and because she mails prints out once a week (from Tucson, Arizona), there's still time to order prints in time for Christmas, especially for those of you in the States. All the prints are hand-signed, and will remain on sale until the stock runs out. You'll find the prints here: http://gretaward.com/terri.

And while you're on Greta's site, please go have a look at her extremely gorgeous artwork too.

If you know anyone who might like to own one of my prints, would you please let them know about this sale? I have an ulterior motive for trying to sell as many of them as I possibly can this year: the proceeds will allow me the time to make more art, and I'm very eager to get back to the drawing board. Print purchases also help to support Myth & Moor...and to keep Tilly well stocked with bones!

This is true for just about every artist who isn't independently wealthy, of course, so please consider supporting writers, artists, musicians, and craftspeople when you're shopping for holiday gifts this year. I'm going to put a few links and suggestions in the Comments section below; please feel free to add suggestions and links of your own, including your own work.

The Lost Child by Terri Windling

The Lost Child

She had fallen out of her nest long ago and had no idea where she belonged. "Nevermind," the Bird Mother said, folding soft wings around the child. "We are your family now, so dry your tears. What was lost is found."

The Dreaming by Terri Windling

The Dreaming

Wrapped in the quilt, she closed her eyes and dreamed herself into a different story. The bunny snored softly in her arms. The wind pulled at her long yellow hair. Then she heard the rustle of footsteps...and the sound of giggling close behind her....

Best Friends by Terri Windling

Best Friends

They were the best of friends, inseparable, and they spoke the same language: the language of the soul.

Bunny Troupe by Terri Windling

Bunny Troupe

"Thank you for coming," the rabbit said, paws crossed politely on his belly. Mina gazed at the stranger curiously and waited for him to tell his story. She'd never met such a creature before! He had only one shape, the animal shape. He couldn't 'shift' like them. Imagine!

Mother Nature by Terri Windling

Mother Nature

This Mother Nature is is a muse figure, and the symbol of a fecund imagination. The original painting used to hang above my writing desk to keep my creativity fresh and fertile...before she found a new home with another artist. May she bless your creativity as well.

***

There will be some new prints coming up in early next year too, just as soon as health permits. More on that anon. If it's original work you're after, the Fernie Brae Gallery in Portland, Oregon has three of my collages and one of my paintings (among other magical things), and they do ship. 

The prints laid out in Greta's Tucson studio


Ripening like the trees

Mother Nature by Terri Windling

"Perhaps we should strive towards mythological resonances in our lives," suggests Ben Okri (in his essay collection A Way of Being Free). "Among many possible images, a human being can be seen as a tree: We should reach out for more light even as we reach deeper into reality for a more solid hold on the earth. We were not born with one eye, with only one thought in our heads, and with only on direction to travel. When we look out at the world with its multiplicity of astonishing phenomena, do we see that only one philosophy can contain, explain, and absorb everything? I think not. The universe will always be greater than us. Our mind therefore should be like Keats' thoroughfare, through which all thoughts can wander. It should also be a great cunning net that can catch fish of possibility.

Hillside 1

Hillside 2

"Maybe our minds should be sensitive to the vastness that lies behind all reality, should be open to the winds and whispers of infinity, and should be able -- by inkling and intuition-- to enter the hidden realm of the blazing Tyger, the Robin, the Eagle, the Unicorn, and our mysterious humanity. How can we, in the presence of irreducible being, view life from only one perspective -- the Cheetah's, or the Tyger's, or our own? We have the gift of overview, the tower of Imagination. We can place many perspectives side-by-side, we can even inhabit them simultaneously.

"In art a complex experiment (if fully realized, and regarded as if natural) is but a sign and a prayer to the greater glory and sublimity of our secret estate. It is a celebration of our terrestrial intelligence, our spiritual yearning, and the irrepressibility of our mischief and joy."

Hillside 3

Hillside 4

Hillside 5

Sycamore Fairy and Friend by Terri Windling

"Everything is gestation and then bringing forth," Rainer Marie Rilke reminds us (in his gorgeous Letters to a Young Poet). "To let each impression and each germ of feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist's life, in understanding and in creating. There is no measuring in time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confidence in the storms of spring without fear that after them may come no summer."

Hillside 6

Detail from ''Mother Nature'' by Terri Windling

Hillside 7

Tree fairy sketch by Terri Windling

A Way of Being Free by Ben Okri and Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria RilkePaintings & sketch above: "Mother Nature," "Sycamore Fairy With Foxy Friend," and a young tree spirit.


Little People Looking For a Good Home

Bird Mother by Terri Windling

The Dreaming by Terri Windling

Fairy Tales by Terri Windling

I’m absolutely delighted that Greta Ward will be selling prints of mine at her Open Studio in Tucson, Arizona this weekend, including the little people pictured in this post, and a few lonely animal spirits as well. For more info on Tucson’s Open Studio weekend, go here.

If you’re interested in prints but you’re nowhere near Tucson, she’s also selling them by post through her website, while the limited supply of them lasts. Follow this link if you’re interested...and while you’re on Greta’s site, be sure to take a look at her absolutely gorgeous work too.

Can you give some little people a good home….?

Terri Windling prints

Bunny Troupe by Terri Windling


The magic of hope

Morning walk

From "Myth and History in Fantasy Literature," a lovely essay by O.R. Melling:

"At the heart’s core of fantasy literature lies the infinite possibility of dreams. Whether it presents alternate worlds in outer or inner space, alternate forms of life beyond humanity, alternate realities beyond our own, this genre speaks not to the limited self but to the limitless spirit. The well from which it draws its inspiration -- be it established myth or the capacity for myth-making -- is that which Joseph Campbell calls ‘the lost forgotten living waters of the inexhaustible source.’

Morning walk 2

"Fantasy literature of the high tradition is a song of hope. It whispers a simple message: as long as the spirit is intact, nothing is broken irreparably. It is idealistic in both the conventional and the Platonic sense and can therefore be a nourishing source for the idealism of youth. Young people are by nature idealistic as, regardless of the hardships they may have already endured, they do not have the accumulation of failures which every adult has gathered through time and experience.

"We as adults can react to youth’s spirit in either a negative or positive way. We can envy or resent their innate optimism and we can discourage it with cynicism, or even actively try to break it. Or we can nurture and encourage that fiery seed in the hopes that this generation might actually win. This generation may not inevitably lose their dreams to disillusionment or defeat. Gottfried von Strassburg, the 13th century author of Tristan, wrote of his work: ‘I have undertaken a labour, a labour out of love for the world, to comfort noble hearts.’

Morning walk 3

"Fantasy literature is often considered to be simply a form of escapist fiction. Firstly I do not feel that ‘escaping’ is necessarily valueless in itself. As anyone who needs a holiday will attest, escaping can be a form of psychological and psychic regeneration as necessary as sleep. But I would also maintain that anything which encourages dreams and aspirations of a better self or a better world, anything which ‘comforts noble hearts’, is hardly an escape from reality. Rather, it can be an aid to survival and a source of strength, as well as a possible vehicle for improvement. And, as Tolkien pointed out, ‘a living mythology can deepen rather than cloud our vision of reality.’ "

Morning walk 4

Morning walk 5

Morning walk 6

Painting by Terri Windling


Letting judgment fall where it may

The Angel of Story,Terri Windling

From "Blood and Guts," an autobiographical essay by novelist Erica Jong:

"When I look back on the years since I left college, and I try to sum up what I have learned, it is not to fear change, not to expect my life to be immutable. All the good things that have happened to me in the last several years have come, without exception, from a willingness to change, to risk the unknown, to do the very things I feared the most. Every poem, every page of fiction I have written , has been written with anxiety, occasionally  sketch, Terri Windlingpanic, always uncertainty about its reception. Every decision I have made -- from changing jobs, to changing partners, to changing homes -- has been taken with trepidation. I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far....In the past several years I have learned, in short, to trust myself. Not to eradicate fear but to go on in spite of fear. Not to become insensitive to distinguished critics but to follow my own writer's instinct. My job is not to paralyze myself by anticipating judgment but to do the best that I can and let judgment fall where it may. The difference between the woman who is writing this essay and the college girl sitting in her creative writing class in 1961 is mostly a matter of nerve and daring -- the nerve to trust my own instincts and the daring to be a fool. No one ever found wisdom without being a fool. Writers, alas, have to be fools in public, while the rest of the human race can cover its tracks*. But it is also painfully true that no one avoids being a fool without avoiding growth."

sketch, Terri Windling

From "Freedom from Fear" by Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi:

"Fearlessness may be a gift, but perhaps the more precious thing is the courage acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions, courage that could be described as 'grace under pressure.' ''

sketch, Terri Windling* Jong's essay comes from The Writer on Her Work, edited by Janet Sternburg (1992). It should be noted that her comment about writers being fools in public (while other people are better able to cover their tracks) was written before the rise of social media, of course. Now we can all be fools in public. Suu Kyi's great essay can be found in Freedom from Fear and Other Writings (1991), and has been widely reprinted. My painting above is "The Angel of Story," and the "little people" are from my sketchbooks.


An altar to the Tenth Muse

A detail from ''The Angel of Childhood'' by Terri Windling

In her essay "Nine Beginnings," Margaret Atwood discusses why so many talented young people lose interest in writing as they grow up. The essay was published in a book about women authors and she focuses on issues common among girls, but I'm sure there are boys and men out there who will relate to this as well:

"There's a lack of self-confidence that gets instilled very early in many young girls, before writing is ever seen as a possibility. You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer, an almost physical nerve, the kind you need to walk a log across a river. The horse throws you and you get back on the horse. I learned to swim by being dropped in the water. You need to know you can sink, and survive it. Girls should be allowed to play in the mud. They should be released from the obligations of perfection. Some of your writing, at least, should be as evanescent as play.

"A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The waste basket has evolved for a reason. Think of it as the altar of the Muse of Oblivion, to whom you sacrifice your botched first drafts, the tokens of your human imperfection. She is the tenth muse, the one without whom none of the others can function. The gift she offers you is the freedom of the second chance. Or as many chances as you'll take."

Sketchbook page, Terri WindlingArt above: A detail from my painting "The Angel of Childhood" (which now hangs in a Family Room of the New York court system, watching over children who are waiting to testify in court), and some "little people" on a sketchbook page. Atwood's essay was published in The Writer on Her Work, edited by Janet Sternburg (Virago Press, 1992)


In the studio

In the studio

How to be an artist

Stay loose. Learn to watch snails. Plant impossible gardens. Make little signs that say 'yes' and post them all over your house. Make friends with uncertainty.

- Henry Miller
a note on the door of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, California

Drawing board

"The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication."  - Cyril Connolly

The Dreaming (collage) by T Windling

The Dreaming (collage) by T Windling

Cuddle Bunnies by Terri WindlingLet me keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still
and learning to be
 astonished.

- Mary Oliver (from "The Messenger")

The Dreaming (collage) by T Windling

The painting here is called "The Dreaming," made of oil paint on paper with collage and hand-stitching. It is part of my Bumblehill series of art for children (and the young at heart), inspired by the flora, fauna, and folklore of Devon.

The tall figure is a woodland Guardian Spirit, the young girl represents the dreamier side of my younger self, and the little people are the gentle, joyous and mischievous fairies of Nattadon Hill, the hill that I live on in Chagford.

The Dreaming (full collage) by Terri Windling

Here's is a brief snippet of the tale that goes with the piece:

"Wrapped in the quilt, she closed her eyes and dreamed herself into a different story. The bunny snored softly in her arms. The wind pulled at her long yellow hair. Then she heart the rustle of footsteps...and the sound of giggling close behind her...."

I leave you to imagine (or dream) the rest.

Tilly dreaming in the studio


To all my American friends, family, colleagues, and readers. . .

Bunny Troupe

Enjoy that turkey and pumpkin pie for me, the latter of which is virtually unknown here in England. (As is Shoofly Pie, which I grew up with in a family that is Pennsylvania Dutch on my maternal grandmother's side.)

And since I've been recommending something every day this week, here are Thursday's recommendations:

Reading/Print

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neil Grace and Margaret Bruchac. Published by the National Geographic Society, this is a fascinating book for children which dispells many of the myths that have grown up around the holiday by exploring the actual history of the event. 'Sure wish I'd had this when I was a kid.

Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp, with illustrations by Erwin Printup, Jr. This is a truly lovely children's book that draws on the Iroquois ceremonial tradition to remind us that giving thanks shouldn't be limited to a single day each year.

Reading/Web

The Cranberry Cantos: The editors at the Poetry Foundation provide a wonderful round-up of Thanksgiving poems old and new here. (Don't miss "Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Navajo poet Joy Harjo. Or Bruce Guernsey's ode to the Yam!)

Listening

 

 

A British friend asked me recently if Thanksgiving was a religious holiday. "No," I said. "It's pretty much all about the food, and watching football, not going to church."

Then to whom, she asked, are we giving thanks?

I reckon that all of us Americans would give a different answer to that. Some would say "to God," some would say "to the land, for its bounty," some would say "to the family and friends gathered 'round the table, who sustain our lives as food sustains the body," and some would say, "who the hell cares, pass the turkey."

I'm in all these catagories, thankful to it all and for it all...although "god," to me, isn't Our Father sitting on high with a long white beard, it is the mystery of life that permeates all things. I don't seem to have a need for god/spirit/the mystery to be explained, or proved, or confined into one set of religious practices; the mystery of life just is, and for that I'm thankful today, every day, always. So my Thursday "listening" recommendation is Iris Dement performing her charming song "Let the Mystery Be."


Trees . . .

Tilly & the tree 4

     Green Woman and Child
 
Tree_child_150_pix

Tree Child & Bunny

Tilly & the tree - winterWinter 2010

 

Tilly & the tree 3Summer 2010

Tilly & Tree Summer
Fairy Tales"I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!" ~John Muir