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Visual Arts

October, 11, 2004

The Critical Edge will introduce important Artists within the Pagan Community.

Each month I shall introduce an artist whose work is essential to the pagan arts community. If you would like earthwizard to review an artist please feel free to contact him at: eartwizard@earthwisdom.info

Previous Artists of the Month

Marc Potts: The Elemental Visions of Nature

Sabrina: The Art of the Ink Witch

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Artist of the Month

Sharon George: Visions of Fantasy and Goddesses

I started my career as a freelance illustrator in 1984, back in the days when rubylith was cut daily. Ugh. From 1990 through 1993 I worked as the assistant to the Creative Director in a prestigious San Diego Advertising firm, where I was introduced to the joys of computer graphics. In 1997 I opened the virtual doors of Gorgeous George Graphics, my own computer based design firm.

My career has always been dual track. I create logos, brochures, web sites for clients. For myself, and the world at large, I create digital fantasy paintings. I call them paintings, despite the current prejudice against digital art, because...that's what they are. A computer is just another tool in the artist's studio. I use a Wacom tablet, stylus, and software, specifically Corel Painter, just like I used to use an airbrush.

The motives behind my art are: beauty, spirituality, and love. I've tried to be "trendy", I've tried to be "dark"...I've tried so many styles, all to no avail commercially and leaving me unsatisfied spiritually. I didn't believe I was making real art!

Butterfly Maiden holds the light of a newborn spirit within the aura of her hands. The rainbow spirits gliding around her flutter calmly in the morning breeze. Her wings aglow in cerulean, amber, and neon shades green and gold rise in curls of stain-glass like armatures behind her. Her raven black hair and olive skin hold a spiritual beauty that belies her inner power and grace. The purity of white, the sheen of soft silk enfolds her figure as she contemplates this miracle of light she has just given birth too. She is standing within an earthen temple, a cave carved in ancient symbols of sun and moon and desert hills blaze in the distance where a daze of clouds hang amid the soft hues of azure.

Sharon George allows us to contemplate a vision of the natural world and the elemental spirits that make up its living presence through the power of her Digital creations. To work with digital art is a difficult form to master. So many filters come with the advanced programs of our digital age, that one must draw a fine line between using a filter for effect and using it out of laziness. She has mastered this unique art form with grace and style. One can see the balance of the artistic eye as it contemplates the composition of different elements within her painting. She adds many layers of color and image in an ever-refined blend of imagination and intellect for us to feast our eyes on. Even the floor, filled with an array of unique symbols, unobtrusive to the contemplation of the picture, give hint within the scene of the painting a magickal touch of fantasy and light that lets our eyes wander endlessly into the maze of this amazing tribute to an ancient Native American legend.

With Queen of Hearts we enter the magickal realms of fa�rie where the Green Man and his Wood Wife are about to embrace the ancient world of love. She stands within a ring of morning glories her violet eyes twinkling, with crescent moon earrings dangling down and a bright amethyst stone of light hanging from her golden neck choke. She is the Queen of the Fa�rie, Mab of the wooded elves, and Oberon her consort is behind her, guardian and lord of the forests.

Sharon George folds us in to a rich labyrinth of lavender and green and gold within this painting. As she says, "I usually start with a pencil drawing on paper, which I scan into my image-editing program, Corel Photopaint. There I clean it up, create layers of different elements in the drawing, and save it as a Photoshop file so that I can import it into Painter. Once in Painter, I use mostly the airbrushes, although the other natural media brushes available are also wonderful. I go back and forth between Painter and Photopaint, using filters in Photopaint sparingly to create special effects. I've found one must be very discerning about the use of preset filters as their overuse, or lack of creativity in use, generates a "canned" effect, which helps propagate the myth that digital art is not real art."

As we enter the temple, we see a woman cloaked in emerald green with fiery red hair and one armored covered breast laid bare. She holds a weapon of war in her right hand with runes carved into the stone around her. We are reminded of the myth of the myth of Rhiannon as it is recalled in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, found in the ancient books of Medieval Wales. Aside from her son Pryderi, and the latter's avatar Lleu in the Mabinogi of Math, it can be seen that Rhiannon is without doubt one of the most significant personages in the Four Branches as a whole. She plays a leading part in the First and Third Branches, and her presence can be felt to varying degrees elsewhere in the Mabinogi as well.

The name Rhiannon, literally means 'Great Queen'. It seems likely that this name was one of a number of epithets for the Great Goddess (whose more personal names would have been a closely guarded esoteric mystery). She played a number of roles familiar to Celtic mythology: the Otherworld Mistress, the Calumniated Wife and finally the Sovereign Queen. Earlier prototypes of this Rhiannon, whose mythology is expounded in First and Third branches, can be found in the pagan goddesses Matrona 'Great Mother', and Epona, the Gaulish horse goddess found throughout Europe, as far apart as Rome and Hadrien's Wall. The myth of Rhiannon represents the transitional point from the pagan rituals of the Horse Goddess cult, into its sublimated form: the chivalric mysteries of courtly love.

Within the Mabinogi, Rhiannon has particularly close links with Dyfed. As befits the Sovereignty Goddess, she has as her consort the king of this territory: first in the person of Pwyll, and secondly in Manawydan son of Llyr. Her origins most likely belong in this region of Southwest Wales, where a localised version of the Goddess cult appears to have integrated the various diverse elements which made up her myth in medieval times.

Outside the Mabinogi, Rhiannon is less well known - compounding the suggestion that she was, after all, an essentially l ocal figure. The only other reference in the ancient books of Wales occurs in the primitive Arthurian tale of 'Culhwch and Olwen', in which the chthonic giant Ysbaddaden requests 'the birds of Rhiannon' for his daughter's wedding day (which will also be the last day of his on life) whose singing could 'wake the dead, and ease the living to sleep'. These same birds make an appearance in the Mabinogi of Branwen, while the Children of Llyr are sojourning in the Island Otherworld.

Rhiannon's associations with horses, magical birds and the Island Otherworld place her in a well-established tradition within the Celtic world, as does her mysterious origins, and her unjust treatment at the hands of her host community. She also exemplifies the medieval author's artistry at its very best: wherein mythic archetypes are also represented in the human dimension: with distinct emotional and social characteristics which can touch us even today. Through the figure of Rhiannon, a powerful presence is evoked: we come to know and respect this unique personality through her the power of her words and wisdom of forbearance.

Sharon George has brought the digital art form to life. Her unique vision is shaped by the light weavings of our post-modern age. As she says, "Eventually every artist finds his or her true voice, and eventually I also found mine. As a woman, I have shared with all women the journey of life, with many women the birth and raising of children, the joys and sorrows of marriage... and I have emerged with a profound appreciation of the eternal feminine that pulsates throughout the universe. I hope that when people see my art they feel encouraged, uplifted, and recognize the goddesses within themselves. What is it? It is the indescribable something that makes life "alive", the creative force, the love that permeates all. Call it whatever you want. I'm trying celebrating it with my paintings."

One could spend hours and days contemplating each of the paintings by Sharon George. Each is a blend of the best in imagination and modern technology. We live in the digital age, and its art form is the emerging within products such as Painter and Photoshop and many other fine toolsets. And, with artists such as Sharon George beginning to explore the full spectrum of effects that can be created into an imaginative whole one can be assured that the Digital Art Form is hear to stay.

Please visit Sharon George at Fantasy and Goddess art by Sharon George

 A listing of Sharon George's accomplishments:
 
	1984 - 1990 Freelance design & illustration
	
	1990 - 1993 Assistant to Creative Director, Kobey Advertising, San Diego, CA
	
	1993 - 2002 Freelance Design & Illustration
	
	1997 Founded Gorgeous George Graphics - Computer Graphic Design, Web Design & Illustration
	
	1998 California Computer Expo - Grand Prize - CyberGoddess
	
	1999 Corel World Design Contest - Honorable Mention - CyberGoddess
	
	1999 Corel World Design Contest - First Place, Abstract Category - Faeries
	
	2000 - 2003 Presenter at annual CorelWorld Software Conferences
	
	2001 10th International Design Contest - Osaka, Japan - Honorable Mention - In Collaboration with the Environmental 
	Designer Robert Wertz -for his incredible Merkaba Mandala
	
	2002 Juried into the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild 
	
	2002 San Diego County E-Arts Show - 3 Honorable Mentions
	        Annual Artists Guild Art Show
	        Comic-Con International Art Show
	
	2003 San Diego County E-Arts Show �
	        First Place �  Sedona Goddess
	       Third Place � Queen of Hearts

essay by Earthwizard �February, 08, 2004

Previous Artists of the Month

Marc Potts: The Elemental Visions of Nature

Sabrina: The Art of the Ink Witch

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enjoy the ride: eartwizard@earthwisdom.info

		
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