Spitting Image: I Will Carry On

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Some of you may have noticed from my lack of posts that I have been in quite of an art rut. To say the least 2019 was a hard year for me and it took a toll on me creatively. Normally I would use my art as a form of escape but this past year there was a lot of death and loss that really took over and I started to feel like my art was something I was pressuring myself to do just to keep up with other creatives. In other words, this piece I am about to share with you not only represents the character I was inspired by but also a big piece of myself as well.

As a Jim Henson geek it comes as no surprise that I would fall in love with Netflix’s Dark Crystal Age Of Resistance. However, I didn’t expect to be so drawn into (pun intended) and relate so much to one of it’s main characters. That character being Deet, who I now refer to as my gelfling heroine.

Like myself, Deet (born Deethra) is a creative and sympathetic empath who feels very deeply. Being a misunderstood Grottan, she may not have the most confidence sometimes but she doesn’t let others negativity discourage her. Instead she pays it forward to inspire others to be true to themselves and try to see the world more optimistically. She will do anything to heal the pain of the ones she loves no matter how draining or overwhelming it may become for her. On top of it Deet has a soft spot for creatures and animals (hence the hint and reference in the opener of my last post) making her that more sympathetic and amped to join The Resistance and help save all of Thra from the darkness. So in other words if Nicole was a gelfling.

I was so in tune with this character that she got me picking up my drawing pencils again and helped to give me my motivation back. Then again if anyone could be inspired in real life by a puppet it’s this girl right here! When I finished this piece I was not sure what I was going to call it and then I decided on “I Will Carry On” which was a phrase that Deet says in the show (I won’t say when incase you haven’t splurged on this masterpiece yet) but I find it very fitting to Deet’s personality, her sacrifices, how I relate to her personally, my overall vision for this piece and the fact I was trying to overcome not only my art rut but other obstacles in my life while creating it.

I actually have been working on this piece on and off again since the end of December. I know this is not typical of me but ehhh art ruts suck to get out of and if you don’t want to mess what you have started up you don’t rush it. I also wanted it to have a soft feel to it so I used pencil, charcoal and chalk pastels.

I am very happy with the way it turned out and I have since accepted the fact that I don’t have to feel the pressure to make something all the time to be considered an artist. I just need to feel the inspiration and let it take over when the time is right. I have also taken on additional ways of self healing to bring more zen into my life and I feel this has helped me to release some of my artistic tension. This piece is a wonderful representation of where I was and where I am going. The Deet in me hopes this piece also finds a way to speak to and inspire other empaths and tortured artists out there that may need it.

If you would like to see more of my portrait work feel free to visit the Spitting Image page of my portfolio website. If your a Deet, Dark Crystal or Jim Henson fan and would like a print or a shirt of this art piece, they will be available in my Amazon Shop starting today!

Stay Spooky & Resist!
LDG Nicole of the Grottan Clan

Artist Shoutout: Troll Hunting the works of Thomas Dambo

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Yesterday my husband Frank and I had the day off work and decided to go on a day date adventure. I had heard that the Morton Arboretum was having a troll exhibit featuring 15-30ft trolls designed/created by artist Thomas Dambo. Needless to say, this Jim Henson, Brian Froud fantasy loving geek was in her glory. If it has to do with monsters, goblins, trolls, mermaids, fairies, gnomes, unicorns or anything else mythical from fairytale land…sign me up!

This is how their website describes the exhibit:
Journey through our far-reaching forest to hunt for six colossal trolls crafted from reclaimed wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Marvel at these 15- to 30-foot-tall (and one 60-foot long) sculptures that have been created to serve as protectors of our environment. These mysterious creatures—resembling the trolls of European folklore—were first spotted at the Arboretum in the spring of 2018. As sightings increased, an official investigation was launched to learn about these fascinating new residents. The trolls share the Arboretum’s desire to care for trees; however, they seem suspicious of humans. We need you to join the investigation and help trolls and humans come to understand each other. What will you discover when you join the hunt?

Seriously! Sign me up.

Well due to me still trying to heal from my sprained ankle, the heat and sporadic rain (which interesting enough made the whole adventure feel even more authentic) we decided to do the driving route. Doing the drive and park is the way to go even without a sprained ankle. You still have to walk and go find the trolls but you don’t have to walk miles upon miles to get to their general area. Not to mention you don’t get as tired and can really enjoy and take it all in. The arboretum is HUGE (17,00 acres) and the trolls are spread throughout all of it. Driving through the woods was magical in itself and the map they give you is both helpful and fun to follow!

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Here are some photos we took during our adventure. Click on any of them to enlarge and read the captions. These wood sculptures are massive but still incredibly detailed! We were blown away by them.

 

Such a magical day! I am literally honored we were able to experience these magnificent pieces of art and so thrilled that Morton Arboretum and Thomas Dambo brought this to Illinois for dreamers like us to enjoy!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole