The fairies were actually first. The first thing I wanted to do when I rented my little studio was to paint a flock of fairies. I can’t explain why, exactly. I love to draw, and I especially love to draw people. All my multiple thousands of doodles are fanciful, stylized, idealized women who are neither young nor old. There is something of the fairy in each of them. Again, I am not an art psychotherapist although I have worked as a research assistant in the field. I don’t know where that impulse came from.
But something that resonates with me is John Steinbeck’s short essay on creativity, tucked into his novel East of Eden. He believes in the spark of joy that occasionally comes to us as a compelling idea. He explains that this is the miracle of the individual human soul, which can become dampened or extinguished by conformity to the collective. Steinbeck writes, “If the glory can be killed, we are lost.”
We are not lost! Little girls will always have the good sense and perfect faith to fly away with the fairies. When I sent photos of my fairy paintings to my good friend Judy Christensen, former owner of “Imagine That,” a children’s bookstore in Riverside, California, she said she had a whole section on fairies-- a hands-down favorite with her little customers and their parents. Another close college friend, Jeannie Vincent, told me her local public library hosts an annual fairy tea party, a hugely popular event that she attends with her granddaughters.
It was Judy who recommended the miniature fairy books as party favors, and Jeannie who confirmed that fairy parties are indeed afoot.
Some of the fairies in the "Fairies" coloring book are blending into their background as if only a child can see them. My thought was that fairies live deep in the woods where adults seldom notice them, and represent a magical bridge between the observable and the spiritual.
If we could fly (and flying is so universally embedded in our mysticism, it is surely important), my visual idea was that we could swoop and soar, but we might also float and hover, part of and yet apart from the forest and meadows. All of my coloring books are printed on only one side of the page. My hope is that the blank pages will beckon to your inventive little girls, and that they will spread their own beautiful wings.