Issue #33: Late June, 2023

Incantations by Ann Richmond - An enigmatic artwork featuring a magical Emperor Penguin. Painted in the artist's unique style... Framing available.

Dear Subscriber…

As promised just a week ago, I’ve returned from the framers, with Ann’s latest batch of paintings. Before we get into them, there’s one thing you should know.

This trio of artworks are much smaller, than the ambitiously-sized works you’ve grown used to seeing. As a result, we’ve decided NOT to make prints from these. If an image is too small, then subsequent prints tend to look a little ‘rough’ around the edges when blown-up to larger sizes… We’ve made that mistake in the past, only to learn painful lessons down-the-road, so these Original Works are offered here on a First Come, First Served basis only.

As a sweetener however, we’ve worked with our excellent (& patient!) framer, to find some beautiful solutions for the pieces; frames that we think you’ll love.

After sharing details on the new work, I’ll recap the details of Open Studios 2023 which, at the time of writing, is now just a over a week away!

Last year’s event was amazing for us, so we’d like to see even more of you return throughout July 😉 Oh, and while I remember, there’s a good chance that a documentary filmmaker will be spending July 23rd with us, in an attempt to put together a ‘day in the life of an Open Studio’ documentary…! Make a note of this, in-case you don’t want to be caught on-camera when you visit…

Last-but-not-least… Thanks to a massive upgrade to our printer, we’re once again offering our much-loved (and much-missed) ‘Mini-Prints’ to all main listings in the store. See below for details…

Okay, that’s enough rambling: Let’s get on with it!


Nutbringer…

Every year, as Spring breathes new life into our enchanting realm, the esteemed Venerable Company of Nutbringers eagerly prepares for its busiest and most cherished season…

Each member of this esteemed group bears a sacred twig, lovingly plucked from the revered hazelnut tree, with a precious nut nestled at its tip. But these nuts are extraordinary, for a closer inspection reveals their resplendent golden hue. Moreover, they exude an aura of enchantment, as evidenced by the delightful bubbles that dance about them.

Belonging to the Venerable Company is considered a great honour among squirrels, as it entails the sacred duty of carrying these magical relics through their local groves. Their mission is to safeguard the prosperity of their kin by ensuring a plentiful harvest of nuts that will sustain them throughout the year. Selected from a handful of squirrel dynasties, these dedicated members have faithfully performed these rites for countless generations. Each new lineage learns the secrets of all the cherished nut groves in their area and dutifully assumes the role of their vigilant guardians, shielding them from blight and pests alike. This sacred knowledge is passed down through the ages, etching the tales of the “Old Venerables” into the very fabric of our realm’s folklore, and earning them the unwavering respect of all creatures who inhabit our land.

Indeed, there really are traditions so profound and timeless, that they transcend the boundaries of forgetfulness; forever engraving their significance upon our collective consciousness.



Incantations…

Far away, in the frigid reaches of our fantastical realm, dwell the Emperor Penguins. Though naturally inquisitive creatures, when faced with the wonders of ‘real magic’, most penguins simply flap their flippers in bewilderment and get on with their day, content in their blissful ignorance.

Yet, not all penguins are content with accepting the world as it appears. Throughout the ages, those possessed by an insatiable curiosity have dedicated themselves to expanding their knowledge and refining their skills to such an extent, that they can now proudly call themselves Mages.

When not dusting the ancient library shelves or brewing delectable mackerel tea, the Apprentices of these esteemed Mages embark on rigorous studies. Their journey is a labyrinthine path, encompassing the art of blending key ingredients for potent spells (as well as knowing where to find them) and a profound understanding of the vast and ever-growing lore passed down by generations before them. But above all, their journey as an apprentice culminates in the creation of their own Magnum Opus: their ultimate masterpiece.

This final piece of work – a new spell, concocted by the Apprentice – is considered by the Master Mage. Only if it passes scrutiny as being a Work ‘neither frivolous nor fleeting’, will the Apprentice ascend to the revered status of a practicing Mage, capable of weaving magic in their own right.

This new artwork – ‘Incantations’ – shows one such Master Mage in his icy cavern. Washed in pale moonlight and cloaked in resplendent ceremonial robes, each thread resonating with symbolic meaning, he consults a Grimoire. This is the revered “Book of Spells” that his devoted Apprentice has spent seven years assembling & writing for this moment…

As the incantations are squawked into existence, a captivating ritual unfurls. Ethereal wisps of pure enchantment drift from the open pages. The spell is weaving its magic… Just what the spell is for, or whether the apprentice will be successful, I will leave to you to decide.

But think on this: Are we not all tested throughout our lives? Do we not offer up our best efforts and noblest ideas for the scrutiny of others? Sometimes we succeed and other times, we fail. But all we can do is keep striving!



Angel Mouse

When I began this painting, I had little idea that my gentle-looking mouse would turn into an Angel!

I just painted his cute face and things went from there… The little lute he’s playing. The angelic wings. His delicately-ruffed garment, complete with three little (real) pearls appliquéd at the collar.

Yet for me, it was the thought of adding the halo of real 24ct gold-leaf behind his head, which completed the work. Suddenly, here was a character who was looking out for all the mice in the world! At first glance, he doesn’t seem to be doing a great job… Harassed at every turn, the poor mouse’s short life is filled with constant danger, yet somewhere, somehow, this Angel Mouse is looking out for them…

When I found this battered old frame, I knew it would only improve the effect I was looking for: that of a Medieval Icon; like a relic from an old Orthodox church somewhere! Happily, the artwork isn’t permanently affixed to the frame, so I’m giving you the choice if you wish to explore your own options.



Because of our participation in the Marlborough Open Studios, we will NOT be appearing at any Craft Markets in the Cirencester Corn Hall throughout July…

However, we’re due back in August, so more dates to be confirmed later-on..!


‘Work-in-Progress’

Flutterbies…


Well, that’s it for now: we hope you enjoyed this Newsletter. We’re gearing-up for the Open Studios right now, but the next work is probably a fortnight or so away, so – if you can’t make it over to see us – Stay Tuned!

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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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