Category Archives: Recent Events

Events having a bearing on DARLENE’s artistic pursuits

Explaining the Importance of Positive Feedback

It happened again last night. I shared an artistic idea that was just in it’s beginning stages, still delicate and budding. I was hoping for a grand “go for it!” kind of response—something juicy and supportive that would inspire me to dive deeper into the project.

Well, that backfired. Instead, I received a critique of what was wrong with the idea. Instantly, my energy deflated. Now, it will take a concerted effort for me to muster enough “oomph” to just get to the headspace I was in before I opened my big mouth.

I recognize it as my fault. I broke my own first cardinal rule to NEVER reveal or talk about a project before it is completed. It’s far too likely to get the result I just mentioned. Do people think artists are unaware of our own artistic challenges? When an uninvited critic takes a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, it seldom results in the artist becoming more inspired.

The second thing I’m wondering is why, oh why, do people feel the need to be critical when an artist freshly shares their work. We usually want kudos for our artistic effort, at least initially (btw–I’m not referring to gallery shows where this behavior is expected).

Also, in the case of delivering commissioned art, some business people must be under the impression that it is unprofessional to tell an artist you really like the result. Are they afraid the artist will charge more if compliments are freely given? I’m reminded of something my mother always said, “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To receive no response to delivered artwork is also very disheartening for a sensitive artist. What they are not saying can be construed as the receiver’s disappointment

Well, last night, I was ornery enough to stop the conversation long enough to inquire of my friend if there was anything he liked about my share. He seemed puzzled until I explained that I only heard negative things … were there not also positive things to balance out the negative? There was, but the positive stuff didn’t seem to require mentioning. What? Then he became embarrassed that I called him out and he back-petalled, trying to defend his reaction.

Anyway… I want people to realize the etiquette: unless specifically asked to provide an artistic critique, keep your mouth shut. However well-meaning, it is just as rude to give unsolicited criticism as it is to give unsolicited advice. When artists are ready, they will ask for honest feedback, but until then, assume they want some feel-good energy for their efforts. Often, for me, this energy is just as important as money.

Yes, I recognize my true motive in sharing was to receive emotional and energetic support so I could continue my artistic exploration with a renewed sense of vigor. But even a simple request like this can also backfire. In the past, when I expressed wanting to receive only positive feedback about some artwork I had in progress, my husband would often say, “What? You don’t want me to be honest?”

Sigh. That disempowering response always stopped me in my tracks, leaving in its wake many unfinished artistic starts, abandoned as unworthy.

Today, I’m strong enough to have responded with, “No. I only want you to be supportive. My work is in a delicate (or difficult) stage at the moment and I really need some positive energy to get through this. Are you willing to kindly do me this favor?”

It’s all about the energy.

Making A Positive Difference

As a spiritual being, I have always wanted to make a positive difference in the world, as an artist. For my art to speak meaningfully to those that behold it would be a pretty good legacy.

I started out my career doing fantasy art, design, and calligraphy for RPG (Role-Playing Games) in the 1980s. Thirty-five years later, when I started attending RPG conventions, I was shocked to learn how many people have been deeply touched by my work. At first, I thought it was nostalgia, my art symbolic of a time remembered fondly. But I’ve come to accept and embrace the fact that my art also speaks to some people in a deeper, heartfelt way.

Encouraged by the positive reactions I’ve received at gaming conventions, I decided to “give back” to fans within the RPG community by creating something for their progeny—coloring books! My first coloring book provides positive, empowered images of fantasy maidens for my fans’ daughters and sons.

Then, in 2017, at a Feminine Wisdom Intensive, I discovered that women on the empowerment path were equally attracted to my fantasy art coloring books. My next coloring book became broader in scope to appeal to “girls of all ages.”  I included a Mindfulness Coloring Meditation where it’s possible to awaken the archetypes within you by focusing on the chosen image and claiming its power through the act of coloring it. Each successive year, I’ve done more and more to make the coloring experience a transformative one.

The next advancement of the coloring book concept is its appearance in “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayBook by Kate Finlayson and myself, recently published in June. Kate’s innovative idea was to apply different movement modalities to each of the nine enneagram types.

In addition to applying the power of dance to the template of the Enneagram, I was inspired to make the illustrations into coloring book pages. I also included written information about colors and their meanings and created a meditation for “Conscious Coloring.”

“Dancing The Enneagram” is a useful tool for people already familiar with The Enneagram to use for focusing. It’s a visual meditation. To be the best you, as long as you know the direction you need to move, you can color in the appropriate aspects of the images.

Now, I’m still receiving inspirational thoughts about more specific ways the physical act of coloring can heal. And I’m in the process of exploring those possibilities.

I’m hoping that what I’m inspired to create will make a real difference in the lives of people.

I’m thinking of calling it: Color Me Healed!

Dancing The Enneagram

I’m very excited to announce our PlayBook,* Dancing the Enneagram, by Kate Finlayson and yours truly is now being printed for a June 1st launch.

Last August (2018), I was at my friend, Kate Finlayson’s “Dancing The Enneagram’s” PlayShop in Charlotte. The experience with Kate’s effervescent energy was inspiring. I was so stunned and impressed with its power, on my drive back home, a vision to have her material developed in written form appeared to me.

That night, I furiously wrote. Within a short time, I created an outline for her book. I telephoned Kate and relayed to her my excitement. She asked me to present her with a sample chapter, which I did in short order. It seemed to me the book REALLY wanted to be birthed. And here it is: nine months later our baby is born.

The premise for “Dancing the Enneagram” is unique and ground-breaking. Kate, who is Nia-trained and certified, moves through each of the nine personality types. Her idea is to add a somatic component to an intellectual process, grounding one’s knowing into embodiment. Kate’s work is powerful and integrative.

Originally, I intended to present only Kate’s material, but an idea popped into my head to include the component of “coloring” into the mix because each of the nine personality types is also associated with a color. I’ve been working for a couple of years creating coloring books with positive images of maidens in their power to inspire “girls of all ages.” It seemed only natural to include what I know about coloring as a further means of integration, especially for those who have not experienced Kate’s energy in person.

I’m at my first “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayShop, August 2018.

Thus, in “Dancing The Enneagram,” I present the symbology of color, explain the difference between Light (RGB) and Pigment-based (CYMK) color models, and also offer a “Conscious Coloring” technique.

So the nine full-page illustrations I created for our PlayBook can be colored in or enjoyed as is. I’m also really happy to use one of my own font designs in the PlayBook. The design of the book exemplifies Beauty as is one of my best efforts.  It’s epic!

Dancing The Enneagram

*PlayBook and Playshop are Kate’s preferred terms over Workbook and Workshop. Learning shouldn’t be work.

Darlene Marketing (?!)

I’m an artist. When I was younger and more adventurous, it was exciting to be dancing on the lip of poverty. The uncertainty of being able to stay alive by making ends meet was like a game; literally, it was “The Game of Life.” Now that I’m getting older, I realize I have to change. I no longer have the same resiliency and health I once enjoyed.

So I’ve been thinking. Being a “poor” artist does not have to be an automatic given. About 2 years ago, I realized that I sorely needed to supplement my meager income. Although it’s exciting to be teetering on the knife’s edge, I’m now longing for some stability. I wonder if you can relate?

So, instead of finding a soul-crushing part-time job (which would take me away from my art studio), I decided to invest my time in INTERNET MARKETING.

I’m happy to report, I’ve finally found a great and easy pathway to accomplish internet marketing without it costing too much or being too exasperating. For an investment of $7.00 (!) you can have, at your fingertips, the information, which took me a couple years to discover. The program is called “Partner with Anthony” and he shares his internet expertise to leverage success.

I wish I had access to the information and methodology he provides in baby steps. When I first began, many things were simply not apparent to me. (My brain must be old as it takes me longer to process the technical aspects, which make internet marketing successful). Plus, I had to really concentrate to implement everything (which tended to tire me out).

So if you are at all curious about the path I’ve chosen to take to be successful at Internet Marketing, CLICK HERE.

It’s the best $7.00 you will ever spend … because it’s the best $7.00 I spent!

THANX, Darlene

 LEARN MORE

 

PS – I hope to see you with me on the sunny side of success.

Jasmine Snippet #108

More newly discovered notes from The Story of Jasmine:

As excellent a horseman as he was, Ahearn could not follow the pale princess-maiden, Jasmine. He rode swiftly up the mountain path and sought to overtake her. At the next turn, his steed suddenly reared and threw him.

From the ground, he beheld the sight of a white maiden on a white stallion, luminous against the evening sky. She faced him with burning eyes as she thrust her staff in the air. With an edge to her voice, she spoke, “You sought to trick me — why?”

Only then did he recognize the apparition as Jasmine, more glorious and beautiful than he had seen any woman. “Not to trick you,” he called, dusting himself off and getting to his feet, “to let you understand … that I am your husband—your betrothed—according to a royal decree, signed and sealed by both our fathers, binding the Kingdom of UR to the Kingdom of Elfvenhogg on condition of our marriage! My armies can free your father from his imprisonment … think of it!”

She rested her staff, “Yes, ah yes, the dark half-elves of Elfvenhogg, renowned for their many skills. But you, Prince Ahearn of Elfvenhogg, should know above all others that the princess you seek has long since vanished.”

© 2018 DARLENE

***Note: “Elfvenhogg” is new to me … an alternative name for Dockalfar. But looking up the word “hogg” (related to swine), I think I prefer Dockalfar (meaning: dark elf)

Become a Patron!

The Energy Leads to JASMINE

“Follow The Energy,” and “Pay Attention from where the Energy Flows”

This week, I followed that advice and I received a surprise. It’s a surprise because its so obvious when you think about it, but totally invisible to me on the level I was working.

I followed the energy to another vantage point, a part of my past — to a 38-year old saga called “The Story of Jasmine.”  I recently discovered a box I had long neglected. When I opened the box, I discovered it was filled with notes for the continuation of my Jasmine story originally published in 1980. The box contained a pile of hand-written notes and scraps of writing, some loose and some in notebooks — everything that did not see the light of day from long before.

The Story of Jasmine is about the young Princess of UR who jumped headlong into her destiny. She is accompanied by a dwarf, her devoted protector. The plot revolves around a ring that the dark prince Bardulf, her father’s enemy from a neighboring territory, managed to place on her finger, hoping to keep the princess spell bound. Through magical means, Bardulf succeeded in taking down the Kingdom of UR, but the princess escapes his clutches.

J is for JASMINE

A fugitive, the Princess of UR willingly leaves her prior life behind and accepts her destiny as a Lady in White, thus becoming Jasmine. The title refers to the highest and most revered one within the ancient Order of the White Flower. However, that Order has not existed for hundreds of years. Jasmine wonders if her new identity is beyond her depths.

Jasmine needs to fully integrate the new concentration of power she feels growing within her entire being while also being present to the daily dangers that seek to destroy her. Jasmine needs to fully integrate the new power she feels growing within her being and also be present to the daily dangers that seek to destroy her.

Besides the dwarf, her other traveling companions — a battle-maiden, a royal dark elf, and a spy for the deadly Fire Queen — have vowed to protect Jasmine, for secret reasons of their own.

Beginnings

At the end of January of this year (2018), I decided to publish each little scrap of writing I found within the old box, one snippet a day. As of May 6th, I’m up to my 85th Snippet. At the moment, it’s becoming more of a collaboration between myself and my younger self. It’s necessary, because there are a lot of holes, like missing dialog / action / explanations needing to be filled in. So Jasmine is both old and new.

I could have sworn that I was going after a market that appreciates my Powerful Women’s Coloring book. That may still be the case, but a desired connection was unexpectedly paused and I found myself returning to the Jasmine story, again and again. Since I had to actually input in text daily, I became more and more focused on the story. I was giving it the energy of my attention.

Fans

So it was in the back of my mind when I was learning the technical aspects behind the various methods there are to collect friendly e-mail addresses. I decided to experiment with Jasmine. Now, after I publish each snippet, I have a place where people can become “A Fan of Jasmine.” It not that difficult to do and I was curious if a passive opt-In would work.

And damned if I didn’t get some responses! I have fans! Who knew? And my fans are willing to help me put Jasmine out there in the public eye! Wow! There is energy here! They’re pointing out to me how close to a ready-made book product I actually have! Why did this never occur to me before? That’s so astounding. I was so close to it, I could not see. Ohhhhh, that’s what they mean when they say, one “cannot see the forest for the trees…!”

[Ha ha ha…So now, I should start thinking in terms of offering some JASMINE swag.]

Why?

Would it be putting on the brakes to examine this a little more — or do I just enjoy the energy while it lasts? Or is concentration and focusing the entire point? Energy begets energy. If I stop myself to ask questions, will I lessen the energy in the act of doing so? If movement slows, one apt to believe “it was just not meant to be.” This reminds me that we are always in control. We are the authors of our own life.

Why Jasmine? Is Jasmine relevant today? Who knows? Maybe there’s something in there for someone who needs to hear a story with a younger voice. Maybe the archetypes will resonate with a newer generation. Maybe the story needed to season in order to flourish.

This older / younger collaboration with myself is a tad strange, but fascinating. It’s like personal archaeology, uncovering treasures through the eyes, perspective, and writing of a young woman. The plot and basic story line already originated in the 1980s. I’m adding depth to the characters and adding description where suitable. The energy is definitely there!

History

Once upon a time, 12 Installments of The Story of Jasmine Illustrated Fantasy Adventure were published in The Dragon magazine, once a month for a year, beginning in May of 1980.

When the contract was not renewed, the story continued in my mind and it morphed into an interactive card game. I divided the characters into four factions and “JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game, became the result of that. It actually gave me the excuse to create 112-miniature paintings. My card game won a Strategists Award in 1982 for the Best New Game.

From my many moves hinder and yon, I held onto many things. Some may say, too many things. But I think the box I found of Jasmine writing might end up being a great and rare treasure.

I still retain some of my original stock of card games… I also have a manuscript, fans, art and the creative desire. So everything is looking good and I’m feeling pretty good too!

Jasmine is like a care package gifted to me by my younger self.

Become a Fan of Jasmine

Become a Patron of Jasmine

For anyone who wants to read the story from the beginning of the snippets, they are archived under the Categories of “Jasmine and Role-Playing Games” and “The Creative Process.” 

Just Look to the column on the right, you can find them in the CATEGORIES drop down menu. 

“Worlds of Empyrea” Kickstarter Provokes Reflection

The Kickstarter

I wonder how many people know or have guessed just how much I’ve been a recluse during the last quarter century. I’ve seldom been “out there” in the public eye, much less actively hawk my art. I probably do less than the minimum when it comes to touting my own abilities. For a long time, I’ve chosen to remain passive, and for all practical purposes, invisible…to myself. Turns out, I haven’t been all that invisible to my fans.

What changed?

I became willing to see a different perspective. I realized my decades-old story regarding my role within the budding RPG industry has only represented the beginning parts of a saga that’s still unfolding. The past represents only the first chapters of a continuing story. In fact, I can shape and reshape the greater saga (in real time), to embellish the rest of the story–so as to inspire, empower and nurture creativity in other gentle souls working from the heart. Perhaps I could be like a beacon for women in the gaming industry (as well as those not within the gaming industry) to never give up on their integrity or passion. By example, if I’m to fully participate in life, I must relinquish my “safe” status as hermit. But it’s all good, because it’s no longer about me.

To repeat, it’s not about me anymore.

No, it’s about new generations of gamers–female and male–who, at whatever age, are maturing into a sense of who they are, and what their lives’ contributions may be, but who sometimes need inspiration, guidance and a foundation to assure them they have a place and can make a difference in this crazy world.

Currently, we reach back into the past to acknowledge, touch, and revere the genius and the synergistic mix of how, when and where it all began. We honor our beginnings while projecting ourselves into a ripe future, bridging our past with the next step towards embodying the relevance needed to create a bright, bountiful future for games and gamers.

It’s an energetic.

Choosing to embrace the energy of a new perspective, all things become possible. As I become open to possibility, I take off the hand-brake of my limiting thoughts. Finally, I’m prepared to, as my late husband would say, “surf the crest of the apocalypse…” (What an image…)!

If you care to ride along with me, just lean into the wave, and allow it to lift you towards wherever your own potential takes you…

Tally Ho !

The Birth of My New Endeavor

It’s no good to be mad at myself for not being able to perceive the solution earlier, especially since it’s a no-brainer. But it’s all in the timing, as they say. I needed to learn some key concepts first. I needed to know how crucial the energy of JOY is and how pervasively JOY operates.

This JOY concept is rather alien to me, given that I’ve had my share of misfortune. I thought I had many reasons to wallow in dark’s anonymity. As if martyrdom was a virtue, I fully participated in my depression. If I allowed myself to feel true joy, wouldn’t it diminish the seriousness of my suffering? I now allow myself a small chuckle at the memory. I was taking myself much too seriously.

It’s great to be at the point where I can finally laugh. It’s funny to me now, remembering myself as the misunderstood, deeply feeling artist working from the depths of despair. Who could have guessed the seeds of (my) art grows faster when JOY is present? The answer is so obvious, its hidden.

But still, I’ve ever so slowly been rising up, like a mist, from gloomy subterranean chambers into a lively expanse of light above. Today, I can appreciate the value of creating JOY. I LOVE that my early RPG illustrations of women provided lasting memories for so many. That’s why, in recent years, I’ve lent the bulk of my energy towards creating art for classic RPGs—in hopes of building positive memories for the next generation of gamers. Contributing to the feel-good memories associated with game play is a very worthy goal.

My newest dawning realization came when I proudly showed off my Coloring Book at a Feminine Empowerment Weekend. The response was so overwhelmingly positive, I’m expanding my market to include a demographic that has been as dispossessed and as invisible as I’ve been. My new demographic is women seeking feminine empowerment. Yet, I want to offer more than an awesome coloring book with archetypal images of powerful women.

I received so many comments about women’s love of mermaids, it got me to thinking. If a lady identifies with being a mermaid so much, why not create a painting of her AS a mermaid? What if I create fantasy portraits for women who wish to sustain the awesome shifts they’ve already achieved? Would women welcome seeing their innate genius and strength of spirit expressed through fantasy imagery? I hope so.

Many ideas occur to me. I could create portraits of women alongside their power animals, or as cat woman, or as an Egyptian goddess or queen or character, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination. Whatever their fancy may be, my portrait paintings will remind women of how unique and special they are—like beautiful, magical beings of light who have much to offer the world. The thought of uplifting their self-image through my art brings JOY to my heart and feeds my Soul.

I realize that this slight change in focus—from a fantasy artist to a fantasy portrait artist—has been staring at me in the face for a while. Haven’t a clue why I could not perceive the clarity of making this shift before now. But I won’t continue to admonish myself. It’s all in the timing. That’s my out. My new, and entirely unique creative endeavor feels good, appropriate, and totally right. I’m not saying that I will not also consider painting portraits of RPGers as their favorite character (think cos play)—of course, that’s always a possibility—but I’ll be directing my main focus as stated.

The portraits I’m envisioning would be painted on large canvases measuring around 36″ x 60″ in size, substantial enough to make an impression from a distance. There is so much to do to prepare this idea for launch and make a go of it…

Thank you for witnessing the birth of my new creative endeavor.

Shifting my Artistic Focus…

There is a secret language of signs and symbols that is accessible to anyone who is sensitive enough to take notice. People should be more aware of how dynamically the Universe (The Divine) speaks to us. Communications from the Divine world are constantly being directed our way to guide our paths and decisions. I’ve learned the wisdom of “going with” whatever the messages present. That’s the beauty of it. We need only be present enough to recognize these messages AS messages whenever they appear. First, notice the message and second, be able to receive its meaning.

The customary ways messages manifest are through dreams, synchronicity, song lyrics suddenly popping up into one’s head, a person inexplicably remembered, street signs and bill boards, the unexpected appearance of certain animals, significant phrases from an overheard conversation, hearing something on the radio, a broadcast or a particular movie scene being shone, recurring numbers, contact from an old friend not seen for decades, an accident –literally any happenstance or encounter can have significance enough to guide people in the right direction. All here is to do is to be open.

In a similar way, a major shift in my artistic focus recently became revealed. Back in September, I’d paid for a marketing class I was unable to attend. A portion of my payment had to be swapped out within a certain time for me not to forfeit. I transferred my funds to a weekend intensive in Colorado called “The Art of Feminine Presence” because it was the closest in cost. I took this odd change in focus as significant and chose to be open to whatever the lessons would yield.

This is where it gets interesting. It wasn’t necessarily, what was taught. It was the fact of me attending with a copy of my recently-created “Fantasy Maidens & Beasts” coloring book to show. My artwork received such an overwhelmingly positive response that if I had brought a stack to sell, they would all be gone. That’s when I realized, “Gosh! I’m catering to the wrong market.”

What a realization! The true demographic for my work are the participants of this class. Thus, I’m reorienting my artistic focus to cater to women who are stepping into their feminine empowerment. So, in a very interesting, but round about way, I found a key piece to my marketing puzzle, even though I did not take a marketing class. My creative orientation will adjust towards aiding the course of feminine empowerment in my art through the use of fantasy images.

And I thank the Divine Universal Mind for revealing this to me.

DARLENE’s “Jasmine” card game–about the Mid-Realm

On June 2nd and June 5th, within the hallowed halls of the NTRPG Con (North Texas Role-Playing Games Convention), DARLENE will take exceptional individuals (who have signed up) on a journey through the Mid-Realm via her 1980s JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm card game. There can be only one victor.

For a glimpse into the realm, here is the lay of the land:

Within the Mid-Realm lies four Kingdoms. The rulers of each kingdom have different strengths and weaknesses depending upon their nature. The experience of playing JASMINE: the Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game differs depending upon the faction played.

BLUE FACTION TARRANT is a very large kingdom on the tundra in the northern most regions of the Mid-Realm. It is ruled by Thorgall, a cold-hearted man who has built a tremendous fortress of ice and snow. Thorgall regards all other factions with cool indifference, secure in knowing the icy reaches would claim any of their armies long before any weapon could. Thorgall lives in a crystalline ice palace, deeply immersed in the secret which keeps his icy kingdom intact.

RED FACTION A very different Kingdom lying in the Mid-Realm’s west is ruled by the ruthless Queen of Fire, Melantha. She is effective because she knows the value of infinite patience. As silently as a spider, Melantha weaved a powerful web so she can study her enemies and identify their weaknesses. Her magic is strong, but her armies are weak. She may have plenty of demon minions, but they are of little use in battlefield fighting. Besides relying on her magical skills, Melantha also schemes, such as making alliances to have someone else eliminate a mutual enemy. Her Castle Ildshoii was built within the side of a volcano.

PURPLE FACTION Like the fire queen, Bardulf, the dark prince, knows how to use cunning and guile to attain land and privilege. He has already stolen Jasmine’s ancestral kingdom of UR and rules it from his Castle Swartzborg which lies to the East. Bardulf has been to known to dabble in the practice of magic, which luckily granted him the protection of a powerful dragon called Gryth. But he much prefers stealth to being on the open battlefield. His armies consist of spys and assassins who work behind the scenes to obtain control for their master.

YELLOW FACTION Jasmine, along with her father the king, have lost the Kingdom of UR. She escaped Bardulf’s abduction attempt and has made her hiding place within the crystal caverns her Castle. To survive, the princess has had to quickly learn the power of diplomacy and rediscover her enormous aptitude for magic. Now she’s at the point where she can boast alliances between the Dwarves, Battle Maidens, Mounted Warriors who, all together, have impressive fighting skills. They perform their best when Jasmine or their own leaders are with them.

Battle Maidens within Jasmine's Faction.

Battle Maidens within Jasmine’s Faction.

GREEN FACTION The King of UR (along with his army of mercenaries) and the Nomadic Barbarians will also add their strength in battle to any faction who successfully negotiates with them.

When the game gets started and the factions mix it up, interesting things happen. Then, for a completely different gaming experience, switch factions!

btw- The original game is still available online