David A CherryKeeper of the VinesImage size: approx. 14 x 11 inches
Framed size: approx. 22 x 18 inches
This was a piece I painted for my own, personal pleasure, as well as to practice my technique. I had been wandering around the Renaissance Faire in Texas when I happened upon an actor who allowed me to photograph him for reference. The sketch I made from that happened to turn out well, and so I pursued it into a fully fleshed out piece in the rare moments I had between paid work. Clothes in hues that bright, I rather imagine to be a noble out slumming it in the commons, or a minstrel enjoying a break by the tavern, shaded by the vines.
She is a vision, certainly. But what kind? She appears to be a simple peasant maid passing time with her sewing as she awaits an unknown someone at the crossroads. But in the realm of fantasy she could be much more. Perhaps that gap in the trees is a portal to adventure in another time and place, and she is the guardian of that gate. She seems to beckon with a shy smile, trustworthy, surely. Or is she? Many a thrilling journey has started with less.
This was a design submission requested by one of the major collectible plate companies which was considering a collectible series based on this theme. The art director praised the style and execution but called for another submission (The Little Kingdom) in which none of the characters would be prominent in the foreground. Ironically, when the art was publicly tested, it was rejected for just that reason. The feedback suggested it would have been well received if it had had a couple of the characters appear prominently in the foreground to draw the viewers into the scene. Art directors.
My dear friend, Barbara Higgins, is a master costumer. One of my greatest honors was when she created an epic recreation of the character from my painting, Soror Marium. She wanted to present it at the WorldCon Costume Contest, but she said she needed a male companion to escort her down the runway. So, I created Sir Hector and Friend to provide a male counterpart. In the end, the costume for this gentleman was never made, but Barb's presentation was glorious nonetheless.
Soror Marium is Latin for Sister of the Sea. Over the years, I have acquired an eclectic library, including many books on historical costumes. Here, I used them to imagine a young lady of means made up for a fancy dress ball with a nautical theme. It quickly became popular. My friend, Barbara Higgins, recreated this outfit for a cosplay competition. It was glorious, and I was tremendously flattered.