Victoria Frances



Tony Mauro



Anne Stokes



Victoria Frances


Festive Fantasy Art

This festive season has been very busy, but in a good way. I’ve attended some wonderful concerts like Carols by Candlelight by the sublime Mozart Festival Orchestra. That certainly helped to get into the festive spirit.

At this time of year, I love the wonderful festive fantasy art around, particularly of dragons by the likes of Gothic artist Anne Stokes. If only this little fella could be found in my Christmas stocking!

I love depictions of cosy festive scenes, they make me feel safe and warm, and adding that fantastical element with mischievous dragons amidst the brightly coloured Christmas paper just adds to the whole magic of the season.

Anne Stokes also has a wonderful talent for presenting incredibly touching scenes of dragon companionship and she recently created this beautiful festive image that I immediately fell in love with the intimacy of the scene.

Magical snowy scenes are also beautifully rendered by Stokes, and they’re the kind of images that really make me feel nostalgic about fantasy lands like Narnia and trying to get there as a child by playing in the wardrobe.

For Christmas, I got a beautiful black porcelain cat from my sister-in-law. I’ve had some beautiful black cats over the years and it was the perfect gift for a black cat lover.

Since I recently discovered the delightful Fortuna the Cat by Ash Evans, I was obviously very pleased that the little critter was depicted in some festive images!

I’m hoping that this Christmas, I’ll be able to get some of these images as prints and add them to our festive decorations.

I hope 2012 is a good year for everyone. Best wishes!


Much like faeries, I have always been fascinated by the idea of dragons and dragon lore.

When I was a child, I used to write a lot of stories and they were always filled with tales of dragons. Around that time, I used to watch the film, Flight of Dragons over and over again. The cartoon Dungeons & Dragons was also a big favourite of mine.

One of my favourite dragon artists is Ruth Thompson. The way that she depicts dragons is how I’ve always imagined they might look like. They’re so fiercely beautiful and majestic. The painting above is of a dragon called Thunderstruck and I’m happy to say that I own a copy of this print and also one of the wonderful Obsidian:

Ruth Thompson probably isn’t what you would call “renowned” for her backgrounds, but I think that emphasises the brilliance of the dragons themselves. The settings are merely functional and are usually a cliff ledge or ruin for the dragon to perch on.

I think it’s wonderful how Ruth Thompson imbues her dragons with such character. No dragon looks the same even though her style is very recognisable.

I love this painting of two duelling  dragons:

I love the ominous clouds and the striking difference between the two dragons. There’s something almost dance-like in this painting.

While Ruth Thompson depicts so well the fierceness and majesty of dragons, Anne Stokes has produced some wonderfully tender pieces in her Dragon Friendship series. Maybe I’m just terribly maudlin, especially where companionship is concerned, but I love the idea of dragons as companions. I’d hate for that to sound demeaning, as I’ve never thought of my cats as “pets” because they mean so much more to me than that, and I think Anne Stokes demonstrates what I truly mean in her images:

I think this is such an evocative picture. There’s something so imploring and sad in this image. It looks like the dragon is trying to console the maiden. I think the general setting is gorgeous too without taking any attention away from the main image.

I’ve really fallen in love with Anne Stokes’ work. She definitely portrays dragons as fierce and majestic, but my favourite images tend to be the ones that portray a more tender nature to the dragon.

What I like about Anne Stokes’ tender dragons, is that even though a lot of them you could describe as “cute”, they aren’t “cutesy”. They don’t make the dragons look any less majestic.

I recently e-mailed Anne Stokes to ask if she had any plans to produce a book of her art, and I’m happy to report that she was very enthusiastic about an art book which I would love to add to my collection. This Christmas, I have purchased a set of Yuletide cards for my nearest and dearest, as I always enjoy sending cards that are a bit different and reflect my own interests and personality.

Moving on to sculpture, it would be impossible to not mention Andrew Bill, particularly his delightful Bookwyrms. I just love the idea of these little dragons guarding my favouritebooks.

I haven’t seen for myself, but once you line all of the Bookwyrms up, they all join together. At the moment, I only have possession of this one:

It is obviously my aim in the future, to have all of the Bookwyrms collection. I’m already quite behind as there is a series 2 available to buy and I understand Andrew Bill is currently working on a third.

Again, I love the character Andrew Bill gives to his dragons. He manages to make them look fierce, but lovely at the same time!