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About Traditional Art / Professional Member Stephanie Pui-Mun LawFemale/United States Group :iconlesfantastiques: LesFantastiques
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Honeybee by puimun
For the Insecta series that I'm creating for a solo gallery show in June at Krab Jab Studio.
Prints ($16.95), Notecards ($6.00 for a 2pack), and detail closeups here:…
Thriae - Daphnis by puimun
Thriae - Daphnis
The final piece of the Thriae trio: "Daphnis"
Detail cloiseups, 8.5x11 inch open edition($16.95), and 18x24 inch Limited Edition prints ($70.00) here:…

In The Homeric Hymns, the Thriae were a trio of nymphs on Mount Parnassus, who were said to have taught and given Apollo the gift of prophecy. They were called Melissae, bee-priestesses, with pollen in their hair and honeybee wings. Daphnis means "laurel"


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Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
United States
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law has been painting fantastic otherworlds from early childhood, though her art career did not begin until 1998 when she graduated from a program of Computer Science. After three years of programming for a software company by day and rushing home to paint into the midnight hours, she left the world of typed logic and numbers, for painted worlds of dreams and the fae.

Her illustrations have been for various game and publishing clients, including Wizards of the Coast, HarperCollins, LUNA Books, Tachyon Books, Alderac Entertainment, and Green Ronin. She has authored and illustrated Dreamscapes (2008, North Light Books), Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic (2010, North Light Books), and Dreamscapes: Magical Menagerie (2012, North Light Books), a series on watercolor technique for fantasy. She is the author and illustrator of best-selling tarot deck, the Shadowscapes Tarot (2009, Llewellyn Worldwide). Her work also regularly appears in Realms of Fantasy Magazine.

In addition to the commissioned projects, she has spent a great deal of time working up a personal body of work whose inspiration stems from mythology, legend, and folklore. Collections of this art are published by Shadowscapes Press. She has also been greatly influenced by the art of the Impressionists, Pre-Raphaelites, Surrealists, and the master hand of Nature. Swirling echoes of sinuous oak branches, watermarked leaf stains, the endless palette of the skies are her signature. Her background of over a decade as a flamenco dancer is also evident in the movement and composition of her paintings. Every aspect of her paintings moves in a choreographed flow, and the dancers are not only those with human limbs. What Stephanie tries to convey with her art is not simply fantasy, but the fantastic, the sense of wonder, that which is sacred.

While most of Stephanie's work is done with watercolors, she experiments with pen & ink, intaglio printing, acrylic, and digital painting as well.

   Only by fostering a facility with the vocabulary of your artistic medium of choice, can you begin to really free yourself to be open to being creative with it.

   The size of that vocabulary is another matter, and that’s about growth, improvement and development. These are important as well, and intricately linked to creativity, in parallel (more on that in a future article). But first let’s talk simply about the genesis aspect of art.

   Remember when you were in high school, doodling in the margins of your notebooks? Ballpoint pen and edges of blue-lined notebooks, with half an ear listening to the lesson of the day? There was a familiarity in that setting, and ease that you moved through when you sketched these throwaway doodles. Every once in a while you’d accidentally make one that you’d really like, and you’d save that scrap of paper with notes on American History melding into the lines of a drawing of your D&D character.

   This was a setting where you were listening to the impulses of your right brain, and drawing simply for the pleasure of making marks on the page and seeing where that took you. There was no self-criticism, no editing. If it wasn’t a good piece, it didn’t matter. There were more pages to fill. More margins to doodle on.

   These past two weeks I’ve been studying in a flamenco workshop on rhythmic improvisation. “Creativity is moving towards something,” Holly Shaw says, and I realized this is a mantra that is not only for dancers and choreographers, but applicable (and key!) to other artistic disciplines. It’s how I view my own creative process, especially within the past year.

   You can’t pull yourself into a creative space when you are constantly negating what your impulse puts on the table. As artists, we often talk of Inspiration. We name our inspiration: our Muse. And as wonderful, romantic, and exhilarating as it can be when we click and know definitively that the Muse is moving through our bodies, energizing our arms and down through our fingertips; it is equally as devastating when she is definitively NOT present. Or when we can’t hear her quiet whisper over the roar of our frustrations, doubts and self-edits.

   To name her and give her such overwhelming power over our ability to create, puts an incredible pressure onto creativity. It sets the process of art-making into a binary all-or-nothing scale to judge success. And too often this mentality results in the creative gears shuddering to a screeching halt, as we’re too afraid to lift a pencil and mar the white page with an uninspired scrawl. Or at least, what we perceive will be uninspired because the expectations are too high.

   Don’t get me wrong — when the Muse makes her presence known with an aria, flashing lights and firecrackers, it’s the most amazing thing to experience! But that’s not always the creative space we inhabit. Sometimes she sits down next to you and quietly sips her tea and offers a few pointers here and there. And you have to open yourself to be able to appreciate and catch those moments and not be to crippled to notice her by your own lofty expectations.

   Analogies aside, what do I mean in practical application?

   We all have our varying levels of ability with our chosen art form and medium. This is our vocabulary.

   As a flamenco dancer, my vocabulary consists of the ways I move my arms, my marking steps, my rhythms and counter-rhythms with my shoes, my palmas (clapping) — these and more are the language I use to paint a choreography.

   As a visual artist, my vocabulary consists of sketching with pencil, my ability to draw from life and to see where shadows and light meet, drawing figures, drawing poses I am familiar with, drawing from reference, color values, complimentary color schemes, thumbnail compositions, understanding how wet media moves on paper and what happens when I tilt my page or drop texturing mediums into paint.  

   Expanding your vocabulary is crucial to develop as an artist. We never stop learning. We never stop looking for the next step to take.

   But when you create, whatever your vocabulary range is at that moment, THAT is the sphere that you are free to move in, and to explore with comfort. Within this zone is where you are most likely to come across your Muse. From there, she might lead you onto an expedition outside of your range. If she does, follow her. Don’t stop yourself with doubts and hate: “Oh, that arm looks so wrong. That color looks strange next to Blue. I spilled some water on the page and now everything is bleeding into a mess.” These lead to dead-ends. Instead, explore where those mistakes can lead you. Sometimes they can become the best part of a painting.

   And if not, there’s always the next piece. Being an artist isn’t about creating something and then just sitting on your laurels forever. It’s about the constant process of creation. One thing only leads to the next. It’s about the joy and love-hate-relationship we have with creating. In a way, a painting is simply a visual record of a struggle and a dance that we had at that moment of its conception. Each stroke of the brush and line of the pen is a footprint along an unending journey.

   So doodle for the joy of it. Sketch. Participate in drawing challenges, or in your local urban sketching groups. Go to a life-drawing class. Even within the constraints of professional expectations, create your thumbnails and sketches for your art-director, but don’t hate your discarded efforts after the art-director has selected one; save them and maybe one of them speaks to you on a personal level that was not right for the project, but is right for you. Make time to do personal pieces. Never start painting until you know what it is about this piece in front of you that really excites you, that element that gives you a reason to paint, even if it’s just the curl of a tree branch, the expression on a face, or if the only thing you see in it is an opportunity to expand your artistic vocabulary.
Now, go away and draw. My Muse is complaining that her tea is growing cold.

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XxZelda-de-katxX Featured By Owner 20 hours ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
i found you! i have your book for fantasy watercolor, i just absolutely love your arts, and how much it impacted my painting skills!
phoenixfeatherxlight Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow Pwease? Your gallery is absolutely breathtaking Stephanie~
I can't describe how much I love your creations ...Pwease  dreamlike!
RitaCosme Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
bom trabalho :)
Pax-Aeterna Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
I bought a deck of Tarot cards a year and a bit ago after looking for quite some time for one that truly appealed to me. You cannot imagine my delight and surprise at finding the artist behind them on DA! I Adore what you've created and cannot wait to see what else you've done. :)
puimun Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!  I hope you enjoy my gallery
Reginacamargo Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Amazing gallery..congrats Heart 
PrincessNeko93 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015
You're great artist, your arts are so beautifl <3
karenataliaa Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi! I just randomly found your deviant profile, and I fell in love with all your drawing. It's simply majestic.

Roseprincess1 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
OK.. in need of some artistic advice..
So.. i was re-looking through your books.. and several others... 
I have a question .. How exactly do you paint with your watercolors? 
in your books you talk about laying on the shadows first and building up the other tones.. 
However I have looked at some other ideas and they speak of laying the base tone and then the shadows.. either way is working light to dark.. and reserving the white of the paper for highlights yes? 
So which do you prefer to start with when your just doing your own art.. base color then s hadows? or shadows then other layers?
I have largely found it depends on WHAT i am trying to paint.. for somethings one way works better for others another way works better.
It also depends on the water colors i am using..
Traditional water colors (pigment based ) I think i prefer the laying in the shadows first.. 
however.. I have recently tried these lovelies >>>>>… since they are slightly different i have found that laying the base coat first when using these works better.
so purely out of curiosity which do you use and how do you do it? thx RP 
puimun Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Professional Traditional Artist
It depends on what, as well as the texture you want, and which colors you are using, as some colors lay better on top than others, while some look very muddy if you put them on top. So I guess the answer is there isn't really a simple formula or definitive answer. I do frequently lay shadows underneath because I like to be able to smooth the subsequent layers on top and really blend things.  But as I said it's not a hard and fast rule.
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