Nene Thomas’ faeries have long been among my favourite among fantasy artists. I love their long, flowing locks and equally long, flowing frocks. Their wings are always beautiful and delicate and their facial expressions are often mysterious or wistful.
As her book, Parting the Veil: The Art of Nene Thomas suggests, you do very much get the impression, not just because of the faeries or dragons themselves, but the haunted and atmospheric winter woodlands, that a filmy curtain has been pulled back. I love the otherworldly feel, especially in her wintry scenes, where you can retreat back into childhood longings, of wishing places like Narnia or Middle Earth really existed outside of bound pages.
I often put some music on, light some incense and settle myself down with Nene’s book. I love the detail in her faeries. They always look so lush and grand and courtly.
When I look at them, my mind starts wandering about what each character is like; what their story is, how they came to be wandering about in snowy forests….
I am fortunate enough to own several prints, including all of the pictures above. Unfortunately, I have only 3 of them framed at the moment. I’d love to further adorn my walls with her pictures, but I’m getting there slowly!
I have been a fan of Nene’s faeries for a few years now, and my love for these pictures hasn’t waned in the least. Every time I look at them, I marvel at the detail and feel a tug of longing that I could really disappear into worlds where faeries and dragons really existed.
I think the obvious appeal is also the rather gothic feel to a lot of Nene’s faeries and how a lot of them of them look they’re dressed up to attend a faery court or ball or masquerade. As far as the gothic side of things is concerned, they don’t come more dark than this lady:
As you can see, I’m very drawn to dark faeries, with long flowing locks and frocks, particularly in winter scenes, but it’s not like Nene restricts herself to these scenes, and one of my favourite pictures is set in a twisted and dark forest, and the character set in this scene looks even more striking with her red hair set against the dark green of the ivy around her:
There is one print that I own, that is the complete opposite to all of the pictures of the above, that you probably would not expect me to like very much. For one, the lady is blonde haired and wearing a gold dress. Usually, I favour dark haired faeries wearing dark or contrasting gowns, and I tend to favour them in autumn or winter scenes. The picture below is set in a lush and colourful field of flowers. However, there is just something about her pose that I find really striking:
Perhaps I like it because it’s not a twee and unambiguous scene. The central character has a wistful look about her, and despite all the colour, there are ominous clouds behind her. I always get the sense that she’s not just wandering languorously, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds. I get the impression she’s walking somewhere, with a purpose, and has stopped momentarily to consider the bird perched on her hand.
Perhaps I’m just fanciful!