Monday, December 7, 2015

New Blog Location

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Hi everyone!

The opening reception was a huge success and I feel so loved and supported by friends and loved ones.

My new website is now up at, and I'm moving my blogging to the integrated blog in that website. Please click on my website above to continue to get my blog posts and to see photos from the opening reception.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Prints, website re-do, etc. etc. Get it done!

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Been very busy getting ready for the Dec. 5 opening to exhibit for my Norse Mythology works. I know it will all come together, but so much to do still.

I'm excited to announce that I'm getting ready to upload my newly overhauled website! The url will be the same:, but it will be MUCH better. It currently has the problem of being "frozen in time" from 6 or 7 years ago when I built it. It was not user-friendly for editing, and then the program I used to make it became obsolete several years ago. Oops.

I built the new one using Squarespace and I think it will be pretty easy to keep current. I'll also have nifty stuff like a store where people can buy prints, etc. Exciting.

Well, many other little things to take care of this week, then the fun of the show opening at CSUF's Titan Student Union Atrium Gallery 4-7pm this Saturday 12/5.

:) :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Official Show flyer -- the show's getting closer!

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I'm proud to post my official announcement for my art show featuring all this Norse mythology artwork I've been working on!
The show's going to be at my alma mater, California State University, Fullerton, where I got my MFA in Illustration way back in '02. So excited!

I'm in the home stretch now and am finishing up the final in this series, #12, which is Baldr. I spent last week finishing up Nidhoggr and am excited about how it turned out. Here's a snippet:

I plan to have a few items for sale featuring this series of artwork also -- prints, calendar, & perhaps a couple of other small things. Some of that is going to be down-to-the-wire so we'll see.

Feeling excited though. :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Blog: A little about my illustration influences

Pin It Now! I'm continuing work on my Norse illustrations (just finished --I think-- "Loki" and am in the midst of "Nidhoggr, the great dragon"), but I thought I'd go in a different direction for my blog post this week.

Thought I would share something about my illustration influences and aesthetic. I look at a LOT of art/illustration as I'm always wanting to feed myself visually with what I'm trying to get to in my own work. I find Pinterest SUPER helpful for this. Here's a screenshot of my illustration board I keep:
It's called "Golden Age & Beyond" and I use the screen name "Nara Cilsen", in case you are interested in following it. At last count I have 518 pins of awesome illustration art that I'm into.

So I'm generally always looking at various art & illustrators and making new discoveries, but there are three "golden age" illustrators that are always in the back of my mind as my "core" influences:
N.C. Wyeth
Arthur Rackham
Maxfield Parrish

It's probably because these are the three artists that kind of blew my mind when I first started out as an art student. I suppose they set the tone for me that I've never gotten over. Some examples:
Maxfield Parrish - "Griselda"
Maxfield Parrish - "Enchanted Prince"
NC Wyeth - "The Black Arrow"
N.C. Wyeth - "Sentry"
Arthur Rackham - "Wotan furiously pursuing Brünnhilde"
Arthur Rackham - "Brünhilde with her horse"
Probably Arthur Rackham is the only influence that is apparent in my stuff. I definitely tend to go more for line and subtle color and value, more than the thick, chunky painterly sort of stuff of N.C. Wyeth. And I don't do the slick, clean, and vibrant color thing that Maxfield Parrish does. But there it is, that is what is at the back of my mind when I'm drawing and painting my stuff. I always WANT to bring in more of the thick, painterly & vibrant coloring of those artists... maybe I'll get closer to that someday :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Post: Baldr drawing + Loki in progress

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"Loki" in progress...
Happy Monday and here's some of what I've got going. Currently I'm working on Loki's painting. I'm feeling a little behind on this one, but I'm excited about getting that tree to look really good :) I mentioned the story behind this image when I posted the drawing, but the quick version is that Loki is getting some mistletoe to use to kill the beloved god, Baldr.

Speaking of Baldr...

Here's my thumbnail and finished drawing for the Baldr painting:

Baldr is a son of Odin & Frigg, the brother of Thor, and is the god of light and purity. He also has the greatest ship ever built (!) called Hringhorni AND the most beautiful of all halls, Breidablik.

Monday, October 5, 2015

New painting: Nott, bringer of night

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Here's a painting I finished the about a week ago of Nótt, who is night personified. I have also included the initial thumbnail drawing for the completed painting.

Nott rides across the sky bringing the night with her hair and cape made of darkness and stars. Her skin is dark, and she rides her horse, Hrímfaxi, from whose mane the dew falls. In relation to the Norse godhead, she is actually Thor's grandmother. Day is personified in her son, Dagr.

I posted the sketch for this one a while ago, so I'm glad to finally share the final version of this one. I really enjoyed the horse on this one 'cause I love cool horses!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Troubleshooting Norse gods

Pin It Now! Today I'm posting one that I was doing some fixing up on over the weekend. This is Skadi (pronounced SKA-thee). She is actually a jötunn which is like a Norse giantess, but there's a lot of overlap with the attributes and powers of the regular Norse gods. Anyway, she is basically a goddess associated with skiing, bowhunting, winter, and mountains.

I posted the drawing of just her figure some time ago, but here's the complete drawing, as well as a snippet of the completed painting.

It's harder to tell with the cropped figure, but I was having some size issues with the original drawing because the proportions looked a little off. In Photoshop I reduced the size of the head somewhat (after I had already painted it), and lowered the right arm a little. Something I had to do a lot of little picking at to make everything go well together after changing those size areas a little. Anyway, I feel like it looks more proper now.

I've also been completing Nott, goddess that brings the night to the sky, so I'll probably post something from that next Monday.


Monday, September 21, 2015

another drawing & exhibit date announcement

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So here's another one in the works. I've been looking over my stuff and trying to post things that I haven't really shown yet. I actually tweeted this one out a while ago, but I so rarely tweet (not really my thing) that I'm assuming very few saw it.

I'll start painting this one pretty soon, but I'm finishing up Nott and Skadi at the moment.

This nefarious looking character is my depiction of Loki. Here he's working on one of his more dastardly deeds, when he caused the MOST BELOVEDEST god, Baldr, to be killed.

Loki, what a jerk.

He found out that mistletoe, of all things, was the only thing in heaven & earth that no one had remembered to get to swear not to harm the beloved Baldr. Sooo, he got some mistletoe and handed it to this nice blind god, Hodr, and helped him to throw it at Baldr. Baldr was playing a fun game where everybody threw things at him which couldn't harm him because "everything" had sworn not to hurt him. Whoops. Yeah, that went bad.

In other news, here's my save-the-date for the exhibit for this Norse series:
I posted this the other day on Facebook, but just in case someone didn't see it there... Be there if you can!

Monday, September 14, 2015

More work, and Exhibit Announcement

Pin It Now! This lil' art blog has been shockingly silent, but I'm making a commitment to get some regular Monday posts going, so here we go!

First, I now have show dates for the exhibit of my Norse mythology series -- Woo Hoo! It'll be in December and I'll post a Save-the-Date very soon.

Second, I do have several pieces of new work so I'm posting two of those pieces today.  They've been done for a little while, but I was glancing through my Facebook posts, etc. and I don't think I've posted these yet.

They are Fenrir, the monstrous wolf child of Loki, and Hrímnir, a legendary frost giant. I like showing the progression from first thumbnail image idea to completed work, so I'm including those thumbnails here for you to see:

I'm very excited about this work and definitely excited about having the exhibit for it.