I am the Blue Dragon. I serve the Blue Light; whose physical manifestation is the Universe: the One Voice, the Eternal Word, the Infinite Sound. All things are revealed by the Light. All shadows are created by the Light. Love is the Way of the Light. Either one serves Love or one opposes Love. One cannot claim to serve Love through hate. Anger and fear are the absence of Love. Love is omnipresent. There is nowhere it is not. It does not shirk; it does not hide. To be unable to feel its presence is delusion. It is we who turn away from the Light. It is constant and never abandons us. It is The Energy; The Force; The Power. The Source of all. Love is indiscriminate. Love is not concerned with what name it is called, or what rituals it is worshiped by. Love does not favor one over another. Love does not punish. Love wants you to be happy and healthy. For this to happen you must conform to Love. Love cannot be ruled by you. You are a manifestation of Love. There is no intermediary.
When a man sets out to tell a tale, he wants to entertain with adventure, action and fun. He cares not of lofty goals or higher ends. Yet tales have a way of telling themselves; at least when they are told correctly. Unseen turns and hidden paths reveal themselves with each step. Shadows shift as our eyes adjust, and then there is a flash of light as confusing as the darkness before. In the end we may have told a different story than we set out to, but it is the one that wanted to be told. We care not, so long as there is adventure, action and fun.
The road was familiar even at night. The houses, the neighborhood, the shops and bars were all known. This was home. Wandering home from somewhere, he became lost. The streetlights cast a garish glow that did little to dispell the stark and encroaching shadows. Once again he was alone in the night in a strange place. The breeze chilled his skin as it stroked his face and moaned through the sycamores. Leaves rustled and unseen whispers could be heard. Without warning a horse seemed to bear down on him, rider unseen. It was too close, too sudden; he would be trampled by the mindless beast.
Rhyder sat bolt upright in bed. Another nightmare. His wife beside him, his son in his crib across the room. The feeling of fear and disorientation hung over him, but slowly faded. He drank the water from the table by the bed and drifted back to sleep. Moments later the baby, his son, woke screaming. Rhyder leapt up and picked up his son and held him to him. The crying was unconsolable. When at last he had calmed his boy and gotten him back to sleep, he found that sleep for himself was elusive. With a heavy heart he realised his son had inherited his nightmares.
The stones of the castle wall had been searingly cold for months. Since October really. September if you thought about it. The fireplace threw off some heat to the room. The braziers helped. The kitchen was warm sometimes. The torches and the candles did little to keep the gloom at bay and nothing in the way of warmth. Nothing though, could dispel the cold of the thick stones that comprised the building proper. The thrushes on the floor didn’t really provide any kind of barrier, and had to be replaced constantly with fresh ones or they just became litter.
Even a stocky and bear of a man as William Brewer wore his heavy boots everywhere except to bed. Like his grandfather, he was known as Big Bill Brewer, and as sheriff, he used his weight to intimidate the subjects in his care. He stoked the fire himself, mindful of the winter’s stockpile. It wasn’t unlimited. Although he was on his way to becoming a baron, he was at this time just a sheriff albeit; High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, it was a position, not a noble title.
Though fortified by a thick wall and built of heavy stone, the fortress wasn’t really a castle in the proper sense, though everyone referred to it as the castle. It kept out the bandits, but not the cold. He had but a few servants and with his wife, who was as formidable as he was, performed many of the household chores himself. Weary from a long day of suffering fools, he put out the last of the candles, took off the boots and climbed into the cold bed, and prayed for sleep as his foul breath came out in chattering plumes.
e i h
High in a sturdy and ancient oak, there was another house of wattle and daub. It was invisible from the outside, though inside it was aglow with homemade candles. This room was much smaller though that had its advantages. For one thing, it was much easier to heat. The simple furnishings were cunningly fashioned in such a way as to fold away at night to make room for a bed. Marian sat in a chair in the corner and watched Robin lay it out. He started with three thick comforters, one from his childhood and two from hers. He laid them out in the meager space, centering them to provide both Marian and he equal cushion. Upon these, he laid several more blankets of varying size and shape, centering each one carefully and smoothing out any wrinkles. There was the course wool blanket made by the Smith wife in the village, there was the blanket won at the fair as a boy. There were nine layers all told, made fresh every night.. At this point, Robin lay down two down pillows, a gift from a family in town when they heard they had none. Finally, Robin lay down a few more blankets to cover them and they lay down to cuddle and keep each other warm. Marian blew out the candle and marveled how she had come to live in a tree in the forest with an outlaw.
The day they came to evict Robin from his childhood home, he was already gone. He had taken everything so Big Bear Brewer would get nothing. He had spirited his meager belongings into the woods, weary of the thieves that populated the forest, but willing to take his chances. Bill had threatened Robin with imprisonment, as well as seizing his property if there was trouble. Robin wanted trouble, but he had been talked into fighting another day. He had planned on watching from a hiding spot, but couldn’t bear it. In his minds eye, he saw the Bear arrive with a handful of deputies. He saw himself loose arrow after arrow into each man’s heart. Then he would be a murderer. His great great grandfather had built that house before the Normans had come, and now one of Brewer’s men lived there.
At first, the taxes had not been much. They were levied, it was claimed, to support the office of the sheriff, who protected the subjects of the realm from outlaws. As far as anyone could tell, the only outlaws sheriff brewer went after were the ones who’s crime was not to pay the ever increasing tax. Tax was supposed to go to paying for services such as roads, or actual law enforcement, but everyone knew Bill sent some to the crown for the privilege of being sheriff, and kept the rest to fill his coffers. The nobles could pay the crown directly and thus escape Bill’s tax with a writ of exemption, but the lump sums required for such a writ was too steep for the commoners. Some of the nobles would complain from time to time, to the realm, at the bequest of the servants who worked for them, that Bills methods were corrupt.. But Bill was wily, and hid his money in “monestaries” he gave to. He would retire to them one day, and find them nicely furnished and waiting for him.
The first night in the woods, there was no tree house, no Marian, no blankets and not much sleep. As a Yeoman, and the son and grandson of a Yeoman, Robin was no stranger to sleeping in the woods. It was just very different when it was not by choice. He built a fire to cook the rabbit he had caught for dinner. there was no biscuits or coffee or beer that night. He set his leanto and his thin bedroll and said to himself; “Here’s your new home Robin. Nice view, but a bit draughty.” The water from Spritescreek had been bracingly cold, and had never tasted better.
Robin found it hard to keep his mind from wondering how he could regain his property, his reputation, and his place in Nottingham. Yet, the forest was alive with sound that kept him from forming any concrete plans. He thought he heard voices and clumsy movement in the trees. Then at one point, it was quiet. A hush fell over the forest. It was louder than the noises that preceded it. Robin quietly pulled the thin cover off him, and silently moved to look out of his tent. He expected to see a murderous brigand. Instead, he saw a stag. Regal and lit by the moon. When he saw Robin, he didn’t dart away, but lowered his great antlered head, revealing a star filled sky with the effect of a cascade of celestial light showering down upon them. Silently Robin approached the deer and placed his hand on the muzzle of the noble beast. It was a singular moment in Robin’s life, as if the forest welcomed him and offered him protection. Once again, the stag bowed and with a lingering look from his shining black eye, he turned and disappeared. Slowly the forest came back to life but without the clumsy ghosts he had heard earlier.
When Robin woke in the morning, he wondered if he had dreamt the incident, but there in the soft dew covered ground, was the unmistakable deer track. From that moment on, whenever doubt or fear entered Robin’s head, any uncertainty about the future; he remembered that night and that provisioned him with such courage as to forge ahead, no matter the odds.
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I’ve been working on a new series of faerie sketches for a children’s book. Some are more finished than others. Most of them are in a little 5×7 sketchbook that my wife gave me as a gift, so the sketches are kind of small. These newer ones are being done with water soluble graphite, watercolor pencils and markers. They are helping me to flesh out the story. I’ve also been writing some poetry for the book, but again, more as sketches or ideas that may or may not end up in the book.
All I can really tell for sure is I probably won’t do the finished pieces in watercolor pencil and marker.
Marina was born on the night of a surging storm. The clouds hid the moon, but the sky was lit intermittently by blue crackling lightning. It was neither cold nor warm. The whole of the sky was filled with dark, thundering clouds, rolling in the wind. These things didn’t frighten the newborn Marina; she was a raindrop. The whole world was rain.
For a time, the wind blew Marina in the clouds where she was born. In the diffused electric light of the lightning behind the clouds, she could see the other baby raindrops whirling around in the high winds of the sky, playing in the clouds.
Marina played in the clouds, too. Weightless and small, she flew around and around, whirling and dancing in the safety of the clouds. Sometimes the wind would slow down, and marina would fall, laughing gleefully almost to the bottom of the clouds, but then she would catch another gust of wind and go soaring back up into the clouds.
When the lightning lit up the clouds, you could see marina, clear, and round, and pure, spinning up into the highest part of the clouds, only to be lost in the millions of baby raindrops swirling in the sky.
Once the wind blew Marina above the clouds where the moon shown its cool, distant light over the surface of the clouds, stretching as far as the eye could see. The clouds glowed in the moonlight, and swirled and danced in the wind. Marina realized the clouds were made of tiny dancing baby raindrops, and that she made up a very small part of clouds. She never wanted to leave.
Marina danced among the clouds, and began to grow. Tiny bits of mist through which she danced became part of her.
As morning came, marina began to fall beneath the clouds. The cool grey clouds began to blur. All around marina, there were millions of other raindrops all falling through the endless sky. She became friends with many of the raindrops around her. Some became part of her life.
The storm began to grow cold. The rain cascaded into a wind that was getting bitter from blowing for so long in the distance, lightning was shattering ice.
Marina’s heart was born. It solidified into crystal ice. Marina took shape as only marina ever would. She sprang out in six directions at once. All around her, rain was blossoming into snow.
Marina swirled, and danced, and floated and, fell. all with vigor new to her. For the first time she looked where she was. Marina sparkled in the diffused morning light in an endless sky of glittering snow.
Far above were the distant massive storm clouds of her birth. Far below she could see glittering blue. Marina wondered what future awaited her in the vast blue expanse.
Marina saw a brilliant light at the end of the vast expanse of clouds. The sun was breaking through the grey above. Great shining streaks of light poured through the sky. Marina felt the glorious warmth of the sunlight and melted back into a clear shining raindrop.
Marina and her friends basked in gleaming morning sunlight. She could see light pouring through her and her friends creating an arcing rainbow that stretched to the sparkling sea below.
Marina and her friends wondered about the sea and what it held for them. Marina seemed to have an inner feeling that the sea was good, almost like a memory.
Quite unexpectedly, marina came upon the sea as she plummeted into the vast unknown; she realized that she had been here before. She became the sea. Once a drop of water enters the ocean it is no longer a drop of water but part of the greater whole. Marina felt her self lap on distant shores; she welcomed the rain that swelled the ocean. Marina had come home.
Far away, in the sky a tiny bit of mist becomes a swirling baby raindrop, dancing in the clouds.
The story of Saint Bernadette and her vision of the Virgin Mary.
Marina is a baby raindrop floating in the clouds. Follow her on her journey through life as she makes friends, becomes part of a community, blossoms into a unique individual and contemplates life in this short, poetic story about life. Beautifully illustrated with aquatint etchings. This is not your typical picture book. Order your copy here.
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I listen to a lot of music when I create. I lean heavily on it to keep me in the mood I’m trying to convey as I work on technical aspects of the work. Mostly I listen to sacred music. Often Eastern music. Indian or Sufi is best, but I also listen to Medieval Christian music. It is fairly important that any vocals not be in English as that would distract me, particularly if I’m writing. If I’m painting, it’s not as big a deal to have English lyrics but they rarely are. Donna De Lory’s music in mostly in English and that’s ok. Her music is wonderful. Anonymous4 is a favorite too. I hope the spirit of the music keeps my spirit focused as I’m concentrating on mixing a particular color or trying to paint a representation of the Goddess, or otherwise caught up in some technical aspect of work that is necessary but could distract me from imbuing my painting with the spiritual energy that is my goal in the first place.
Lately I have been writing the story of Robin Hood and that requires a different approach. I still like to listen to music, but in this case I will listen to music that sets the period for me. The piece is set at about 1100 ad, so music actually from that era is a bit hard to come by and when one does, it can be; shall we say, an acquired taste. More Anonymous4 is in order. There is a French album of music dedicated to the Madonna that is really 14 century. More on the money is “Origin of Fire” which is music by Saint Hildegard circa 1000 ad. The fact that it’s German and that “La Bele Marie” is French and Robin Hood is English doesn’t bother me. Loreena McKennitt is faux period and English language to boot, but it’s so ethereal that the language isn’t a problem. This kind of New age, Medieval crossover works ok because Robin Hood is widely regarded as a fantasy although there is no magic in it and it takes place in history. My version has a bit of New agey fantasy aspect, but not really. It’s similar to the amount you find in David Gemmell’s Troy series, but with less “K”s.
If I am making a Halloween card, I may listen to Halloween like music. This can be tricky because I am not interested in the Monster Mash. At least not over and over again. The same goes for Christmas music when making Christmas Cards. I want a mix of Standards, Classical and Modern (like Sting or Annie Lennox) Throw in some Vince Guaraldi and there’s my Christmas mix.
Speaking of Sting and Annie Lennox, Soundtracks like the Lord of the Rings can be very good, but invariably the Bridge of Khazad Dum comes on at the wrong time. Don’t get me wrong. I love that piece. I should just put it with the Halloween music. ; ). Last of the Mohicans is a favorite also.
When I’m painting landscapes I sometimes like to listen to jazz. I like Charlie Parker best. My jazz world basically centers around Bird. My favorite is Bird with Strings. I also love Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. One of the Best selling jazz albums of all time, the musicians were paid a standard session fee of $10 a day each. That kind of thing really chaps my hide.
I hope this rambling tour of part my working process helps you to find a groove to work to. Or at least provide you with some musical ideas to listen to.
Sheriff James Brewer was ecstatic. No one had ever seen him so giddy. It was frightening. The sheriff would look wistfully up into the distance and talk longingly of Robin’s summary execution. Then his eyes would refocus and he would engage people around the room on what kind of tortures to subject Robin to first. They would have to start him out slow, they didn’t want to overdue it too quickly, his pain might become to intense to register further torture. He might expire. The sheriff wanted to see Robin weep. He wanted to see Robin lose control of his bowels, of all his bodily functions. He wanted to clear a field big enough for all of Nottinghamshire to gather to witness the humiliation, lest anyone think such behavior might be tolerated. he’d heard of such public tortures in London. Spies or traitors would be disemboweled in front of their families and the countryside would gather and buy souvenirs to mark the occasion.
There would be a public trial where the sheriff, an expert at trials, would explain how Robin had perpetrated these crimes on the people themselves. Which, when you stop to consider that the sheriff was a public servant and the money Robin stole was the public funds, was actually true. The public would be screaming for Robin’s head. Why, the sheriff would find himself in the awkward position of having to protect Robin from the people of Nottingham. He’d seen such things before with his own eyes.
This was call for a celebration. He would feed the entire shire for a day! He would send to his coffers and get enough petty cash to pay for a feast. He could recoup the cost by collecting a tax. It was all over. It had been a long slog, but there had never been any doubt that the side of law and order would win in the end.
He could dismiss that army of rabble. That was actually a relief. They were never quite under his absolute control. They were always going too far, causing trouble, raping killing. The sheriff was of the mind that a little of that went a long way.
And he had won! Now there would be no more opposition. Ever. The peasants of the shire would think twice before they risked life and limb to stand up to the sheriff of Nottingham! To think he had actually feared Robins numbers. It had been all too easy to capture him after all. Robin was foolhardy. That was the problem with most leaders. They were either too weak and timid, or foolhardy. Not Sheriff William Brewer. He had acted wisely on every count. Why he was undefeatable! He would impose new taxes. New tariffs. He would invent new names for new types of taxes. He would retire early and buy a title, it could be done after all. King John was sure to face rebellion at some point, he was such a weakling. He would simply back the winner, and he would have his title. Until then he could live like a king himself in one of his monasteries. This would actually turn out to favor his fortune in the long run.
It began to rain early before dawn the next morning. The clouds had gathered in a cold, biting breeze. Not a blistering wind, but a gentle breeze that curled around you so that you were chilled to the bone before you knew you were cold. The rain began the same way; a gathering mist, swirling and cold, growing heavy and collecting the folds of your clothes until they were damp and clinging to your gooseflesh. Then a slow gentle drizzle, which had grown by the time the sky had lightened, into a steady, unrelenting downpour.