Baby Dragons hatching

The Trouble With Twins

The trouble with twins is that they are twice as cute as a solitary baby, and twice as clever as they look. I should know, I’ve been a twin my whole life. It was only natural that I would not be satisfied with a dragon hatchling of solitary birth. No, I had to paint one egg with two little dragons coming out of it. I had to. They are dragons of different colors, as sometimes happens with dragons. One cannot be sure what color will come out of each egg. What is for certain is that they are born with their best friend, as was I.

twin dragon chicks hatching with runes

Double the trouble, double the fun! Twin dragon hatchlings by Beth Hansen-Buth.

What is uncertain is what they will grow up to be, more alike or more different. Seven years after painting this, I finally have decided on a title: Double Trouble. But any parent of twins can tell you it’s more like Trouble squared, because when twins get together with an idea, watch out! My twin has always been super supportive of my artistic endeavors, and is very happy to cheer me on, now that I’m getting back into the art groove again.

One of the wonderful things I discovered about working on the scratchbord is that the watercolor virtually disappears into the india ink. I didn’t know until I tried. It was a scary thing the first time I added color to the beautiful white clay surface, as I didn’t know how it would turn out. It was like magic! I was instantly rewarded for my effort with a pop of color that seemed almost back-lit to me, like stained glass. It really was love at first sight, but I put my boards aside when I got stuck on a larger image that wasn’t working out for me. It took a long time, and years of immersing myself into music, to bring me back to the drawing board. Now that I’m looking back, I notice that the year this was painted, 2009, was the year I bought my first Autoharp. The rest fell into place over the past seven years, instruments, more stability in my home, a steady job… all bring me back to where I want to start sharing the art I’ve made, leaving me eager to make more.

So now I’m working differently than ever before, learning as I go and loving every minute of it.Watercolor is a joy to work with, and I’m glad that the last time the urge to paint came upon me I invested in a good set of Winsor & Newton artists’ professional quality paints. Try as I might, I can’t find a picture to match the set of half-pans that I bought. All the more reason to clean the studio and do a studio tour video and or slideshow. I love seeing where other artists work, I’ve always found it very inspirational. Right now I’m becoming more and more inspired by the art I’m making, even if it’s in very small five inch by seven inch paintings, I find them immensely satisfying.

The Hollow Hill original art by Beth Hansen-Buth

Entrance to the Celtic Otherworld

It has long been told that the Sidhe, the Irish fair folk, live under the hills. There are many hills known as fairy hills in the Brittish Isles, and there are also many rings of standing stones. You can get the facts through Wikipedia:

As part of the terms of their surrender to the Milesians, the Tuatha Dé Danann agreed to retreat and dwell underground in the sídhe (modern Irish: ; Scottish Gaelic: sìth; Old Irish síde, singular síd), the hills or earthen mounds that dot the Irish landscape. In some later poetry, each tribe of the Tuatha Dé Danann was given its own mound.

In a number of later English language texts, the word sídhe is used both for the mounds and the people of the mounds. However sidh in older texts refers specifically to “the palaces, courts, halls or residences” of the ghostly beings that, according to Gaedhelic mythology, inhabit them.[3]

The fact that many of these sídhe have been found to be ancient burial mounds,[citation needed] has contributed to the theory that the aos sí were the pre-Celtic occupants of Ireland. “The Book of Invasions”, “The Annals of the Four Masters”, and oral history support this view.

The story of the Aes Sídhe is found all over Scotland and Ireland, many tales referring to how the Norse invaders drove Scottish inhabitants underground to live in the hills. This part of the legend contributes to the Changeling myth in west European folklore.

But it is the stories and the tales, of sleeping on the mounds to learn magic, or of musicians stolen away under the hill to play at a fairy wedding, that I find so enchanting. In 1850, a farmer in the Orkney Isles uncovered the true fairy mounds. There is truth to be found in fairy tales, and we are discovering it every day.

Entrance to the underworld in the Orkney Isles

Entrance to the underworld in the Orkney Isles

red baby dragon

Going Beyond Here

On the edges of Wyrdhaven Studio, I shall have to make a sign that says “Beyond Here There Be Dragons” because they have been with me since the very beginning. Back in the early 1990’s I was doing pen and ink drawings of dragons. They were fun and I really enjoyed doing them. I even painted them in Acrylics and Oils. Funny thing is, my early scratch board work has them too, and this time the color was added with watercolors. So I wanted to share this dragon with you. Mind you, it is just a wee babe, but maybe I’ll continue following it’s growth into a full sized dragon! After spending years working in oils, I found the process of creating this little darling a bit like instant gratification.

red baby dragon egg

Watercolor and ink on scratchbord (clay on masonite)

Although this was completed quite a while ago, it was my first step back into painting in watercolor. The lettering around the edge is in standard Futhark Runes, which a very industrious person can read as English. As I continue to practice and learn, I am looking forward to sharing my work with you as I go. Contemplating that has let me think very deeply about the role art takes in my life. Each piece adds to an overall narrative about the nature of Wyrdhaven Studio, along with my music. I already have plans for the art and songs to play off of each other, and each creation is an exploration of the nature of inspiration and imagination.

It isn’t easy showing my new work, as I’m working with different materials and techniques, and different goals in mind. So much of my previous work featured people portraits, albeit fantasy ones, and now I’m very interested in exploring themes in nature as well as mythology, finding a mood rather than a likeness. I want the colors of my paintings to evoke movement, and the sounds of my music to evoke colors, and the words of my lyrics to paint scenes in your mind. That’s not too much to ask of my artistic endeavors is it? I hope not. Because this isn’t about just one song, or one painting, it’s about transforming the world around me a little bit at a time as I continue to create new works. Those are some pretty deep thoughts that bubbled up as a result of the appearance of a baby dragon. It will be interesting watching it grow to full size.