from the jazz age to the space age

Tag Archives: fantasy

Most of my inspiration for my painting “Sirin” came from my general love of Russian Fairytales and Medieval painting. I spent a lot of time looking at 3 books I have on Russian Lacquer Miniatures. The art is usually on a black background with strong red and orange colors, with some lovely blue and green accents. This one in particular was very inspiring- “Sleeping Beauty.”
Screen shot 2016-01-17 at 11.16.01 AM
But I also used a few Pinterest pictures for reference and keeping me on track. With children about, I’ve found it easier to have a board rather than my usual pile of books. I still work with books of course, but I’m able to cut down on how high the stack gets by having my board up on the computer. –I made a separate board called, “Sirin.” Screen shot 2016-01-16 at 10.23.42 AMAt the top you have the “Maiden Tsar” from the Russian animated film, “The Magic Pony.” When I was a child, they used to show this movie all the time on KTLA’s Sunday Family Film Festival. In what seemed like a sea of wide eyed blonde princesses, she was a lonely island. Between her brown hair and her long, dark eyes with heavy eyeliner, she hit every mark on my childhood “pretty” target. Everything in this film is gorgeous. Don’t even get me started on the horses! Below, the two Ivan Bilibin pictures, as well as the image between them were helpful in my process of narrowing down my colors. I briefly considered a cream background. You’ll notice the Sirin on the left is holding a flower. She is proably a Gamayun, which were more likely to be shown with arms in addition to wings. I found this picture after I’d made my final sketch, but I still feel quite indebted to it. I gave my Sirin a sunflower to tie her to the Slavic solar god, (Dazbod or Belobog) as well as possible slavic solar symbols embroidered on her headdress.
Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.21.33 PMUnfortunately Slavic mythology is still much of a mystery. A few beliefs which used to be taken for granted, like the Belobog/Chernobog dualism, are now questioned. (You may remember Chernobog from Fantasia’s amazing “Night on Bald mountain”.)
nightonbaldmountain530(PS- This is not a Danzig logo)

The Sirin in the center, with the red sun stayed with me, because for many decades I’ve had a reoccurring dream of a world lit by a black sun, black, not red like this picture- a sun that looks like an eclipse. The last time I started having the dream again was when I first got sick in the Fall of 2015. I made a few drawings and took some reference photos, but they’re somewhat sad and make me uncomfortable. It’s still there sometimes, that world lit by a black sun.
Screen shot 2016-01-17 at 11.27.56 AMScreen shot 2016-01-16 at 10.24.01 AM

Russian headdresses, often called kokoshniks, vary from region to region. I have a little notebook with all the ones I’ve collected so far which I’d love, time permitting to turn into little paintings. Headdresses from the north usually feature freshwater pearls, while those from the south are more likely to have copious amounts of gold embroidery. I chose the more crown-like one on the upper right as my main inspiration. I loved the contrast of the blue ribbon and gold embroidery on the bottom left, which I incorporated, changing the blue to pale green. The totally bonkers beautiful bird woman in “Sadko” makes me want to track that movie down. The colors in the center picture made me change the background from black to a softer grey. The “Last Unicorn” has been on my perma watch list this winter. Amalthea has the best hair in animation, along with Aurora. The bottom center picture is a favorite of mine- midcentury art is the last time we saw art with small, dark eyes on a regular basis. Not soon after this, the adorable Dollybird’s with their saucer eyes began their beauty domination. And finally the amazing iridescence of raven wings. It helped me to be brave and add blue and green to the wings.

I have plans and sketches for more, but next I’d like to finish and paint my wolf girl sketches from November. Then, perhaps I’ll return to the “Land Beyond the Blue Mountains.”


I’m working on my unicorns and quite pleased with them so far~
11947952_10207414958841951_7703698198325605605_oThis is Magnolia.11879239_10207417572987303_5353102471669995882_oAnd this is Rose

A few years ago I drew my disheveled unicorn, “Keeping the Dream Alive.” It was a bit of a joke on the perfection of unicorns. After all, it takes a lot of work to look that magical. Afterwards I sketched out my “Brunette Unicorn” to kind of continue the joke. Honestly, it was a bit how I felt growing up in the land of blondes, aka Southern California- a dark pool in a field of wheat. As I was doodling in my sketchbook it occurred to me that there would surely be a ginger unicorn or a black unicorn. I mean, why not?
These two ladies are finished, drawing wise, and waiting for paint. I have 2 more in my queue that I may be able to wrap up this week, leaving next week to begin painting!


I’m very excited that my Sketchbook Project: “Here Be Dragons,” was chosen to go on the 2014 national tour. It was originally part of a small tour last year called, “The Mysterious Maps.”

jordanwestermaps

I’ve pasted the tour info below so if you’re interested in seeing my book in person, please check it out when it comes to a city near you!

3/29 – 3/30
Atlanta, GA
The Goat Farm Arts Center

4/2
Orlando, FL
Church Street Entertainment District

4/5
New Orleans, LA
Crescent City Saturday Market

4/10
Houston, TX
Lawndale Art Center

4/12
Austin, TX
The Contemporary Austin

5/4
Fort Worth, TX
Amon Carter Museum of American Art

5/6
Norman, OK
Norman Arts Council

5/20
San Diego, CA
San Diego Museum of Art

5/30 – 5/31
Los Angeles, CA
LACMA

6/1
Los Angeles, CA
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

6/6 – 6/7
Oakland, CA
1st Friday Art Murmur / Saturday Stroll

6/8
San Francisco, CA
SF Center for the Book


6/27
Portland, OR
Portland Art Museum

6/28
Portland, OR
Director Park

7/7
Vancouver, BC
Emily Carr University

7/10 – 7/12
Seattle, WA
The Central Library

8/13 – 8/15
Steamboat Springs, CO
Bud Werner Memorial Library

8/22
Chicago, IL
Galerie F

8/30
Madison, WI
Madison Public Library

9/11-9/13
Fergus Falls, MN
M State


9/18 – 9/21
Toronto, ON
The Distillery Historic District

10/2
Portland, ME
Maine College of Art

TBD
Philadelphia, PA
Franklin Square


My Mail Me Art piece, “Power Animal” will be exhibited at The Framers Gallery from July 30th to August 3rd. It’s available for pre-sale now at Mail Me Art.  All the proceeds from the sales of the original mail is being donated and shared between these charities: Animal Aid, The Teenage Cancer Trust and WaterAid.

Jordan-WesterMailMeArt