Issue #27: October, 2022

Midnight Messenger by Ann Richmond - An artwork of a soaring, armoured, Red Kite. Painted in the artist's unique style... Framing available.

Dear Subscriber…

Gosh. These are Difficult Times, are they not? But all things will pass, as they inevitably do.

We’re getting over our first bout of Covid-19; an experience which has left Ann in far worse shape than me, it must be said. Whilst I got off with little more than a day of dry coughing, poor Ann is now on her second week of nausea, wonky sense of taste and overall tiredness (which she insists isn’t down to the need to ‘keep painting’!).

That said, something new is coming together and might – just might – herald a new series of pieces…

But today, it’s all about ‘Midnight Messenger’!

This beautiful work has been a long-time coming and we think it’s going to make a LOT of you very happy! We’ll be taking freshly-minted prints to the Craft Market in Cirencester’s Corn Hall TOMORROW, October 22nd if you want a closer look 😉

Okay: let’s get on with it!


Midnight Messenger

Visit my corner of Wiltshire for long enough and you’ll notice just how many Red Kites now live in the area. These amazing raptors have gradually replaced Buzzards at the top of the aerial pyramid in these parts and to see them hovering just above the apex of our roof, remains an enduring spectacle.

It was to honour them, that Midnight Messenger was painted and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

In the beginning, Midnight Messenger was going to feature a Barn Owl but, as often happens, luck intervened. A chance conversation with a wildlife photographer gave us some fabulous reference photos of Red Kites. Given that we’ve just enjoyed a long, hot Summer with these magnificent birds circling right over our house (and in one memorable case, swooping right through), it only seemed right to change direction.

Let’s begin with the Red Kite itself, shall we?

You get a great view here, of the intensity of a gaze unchanged from the original reference.

The ornate headpiece went through a few revisions, as Ann struggled to find something that would fit – yet not overpower – the space available. The finished result – a metallic design, with a pleasing Celtic-motif & weathered patina – gets there with style, I think.

We ‘Ummed’ and ‘Aahed’ our way to the Hedgehog at some length. For a long time, it was going to be a Squirrel. Then a Field Mouse. Then something else I’ve forgotten (a Frog?), but in the end, it HAD to be a Hedgehog because…

…We’ve got a resident Hedgie! He / She lives deep within our box hedge and can often be seen rootling about for tasty morsels, so when it came to choose a companion, it seemed both right and inevitable, that we choose another neighbour!

I love the details here: the way he’s holding onto the saddle for dear life. The delicately-shaped pair of goggles. The matching headpiece. Also, have you noticed something ‘odd’ about his quills? Ann gave them a slight hint of being metallic! There wasn’t enough room to give him the usual set of armour, so we thought: What if its actual quills were steel-plated..!

Ann took a different approach to the painting in Midnight Messenger, opting for a more ‘painterly’ style than used previously. In practice, this meant opting for broader-tipped brushes for the bird’s plumage. This ‘looser’ style allowed for a faster work-rate and more control over the lighting effects, rather than pinning-down the tiny details.

This dynamic approach can be clearly seen here, in this view of the Kite’s extended right wing. Being more of a dynamic study than a ‘photo-realistic’ portrait, Ann’s decision allows the suggestion of movement; of camera-blur.

While we’re here, have you seen the range of mountains in the background? I think we’ve seen them somewhere before…

I LOVE the look of this scroll. How its ‘Seals of Office’ shine in the light from the orbs. At the obvious power implied by the Kite’s grip…

Note also, the wispy feathering above the foot: Ann’s favourite bit of the entire work!

Within the world we’ve been steadily building these past couple of years, a few ideas have seen gradual re-use: balloons, for example. But with the ‘glowing orbs’ seen here, we might’ve found something new…?

As ever, the question is: What do they represent? To which, the usual answer is: ‘Whatever you want them to be!’.

Getting the look of the orbs ‘right’, proved a harder nut to crack than you might imagine. Ann had used a similar effect some months previously, on ‘Moon Dancer’, but had forgotten the tricks… So it was back to the jotting pad for more trial and error!

As you can see, the trail of floating orbs extends all the way back to the castle from which the Kite has flown!

Even at this small scale, Ann did well to give it some character; note how it still catches the amazing sunset?

Last – but not least – we have the balloon… As ever in this world, balloons represent MAGIC in its purest form; a key in a lock, that’s turned by the Universe, to make amazing things happen…

In this case, it’s leading the Kite & his Messenger, on a hair-raising Midnight adventure to parts unknown! What does the scroll contain? Is it a race against time? What hazards will they encounter along the way? Will they be successful?

Only YOU, Dear Collector, can answer THAT question!

In our last Newsletter, I forgot to mention that there’ll be NO CRAFT FAIR on October 29th. That’s because it falls on the Fifth Saturday in October. For those who don’t know, the Fair’s charter only allows it to run on the first FOUR Saturdays in a month…

We’re there on October 22nd, return on November 5th and run through to our LAST market of the year, on December 3rd…

We’re heading into our busiest time of the year, so rest-assured that if you can’t see us in-person, our website remains open for Mail-Order in the run-up to Xmas.


Message in a Bubble…

Well, that’s it for now: we hope you enjoyed this month’s Newsletter. I’ll be sending out something ELSE quite soon: Stay Tuned!

If you find yourself at a loose end and you’re able to visit us in Cirencester’s Corn Hall one Saturday, we’d love to see you!

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Ann paints animals wearing ornate armour & Gary unearths wonders with AI. We ship both Original Artworks and our superb Fine-Art Prints worldwide, from the Otherwurlde Studio, here in Wiltshire, Southern England.
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