A Tale Worth Telling

“A Tale Worth Telling”
Gaphite 9″ x 12″

Listening-is-a-GiftTriggle Tunsbundy’s little brother Traggle had one very very good friend in the world, Oliver Maplesmort. Although Oliver was many, many centuries old( and not to mention the obvious fact that he was a tree) and Traggle only a few hundred years old or so, they were extremely fond of each other. You see Traggle was an excellent writer, a spinner of tales of far off places, and Oliver was a really very good listener. Unable to go anywhere Oliver was usually very bored when Traggle wasn’t around to amuse him with stories. And Traggle had usually been ignored when he tried entertain others with his incredible imagination, so the two friends were perfectly suited to one another. Eventually Traggle had practiced story telling so much with his friend
Oliver that he began to be able attract other people to his enchanting tales. He became very famous, but never forgot his friend Oliver and always came to tell him the new stories first. It was and is the perfect frienship with each gaining from the knowing of the other.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Ann Gates Fiser

The Unhappy Shoemaker

“The Unhappy Shoe Cobbler”
Graphite 9″ x 12″


Tom,  the  shoe cobbler  elf was unhappy.  He had not been that way before he had visited a new friend Dib, who was a kitchen elf.   But the moment Tom entered the kitchen and smelled the wonderful aromas,  saw the textures of the colorful varieties of vegetables, roots, and baked goods and much more, he was hooked.   A passion flared in him the likes of which he’d never known.  “Oh to be a kitchen elf,” he sighed.   Well you might wonder and ask what the problem was.  Why not just become a kitchen elf?  What’s the big deal?  It was this, and very great problem it was indeed.  Tom’s family had always been, and would always be, shoe cobblers.  In fact Tom was the great, great, great, great (for at least 200 years and many generations) great grandson of one of the elves in “The Elves and the Shoemaker”, the story chronicled by the Grimm brothers.  If only the brothers had left well enough alone and never written a single line about the the three brothers that were Tom’s ancestors.  After having that much fame the family was much reluctant to let go of the prestige of being “that family”.  And therefore it was unthinkable to Tom’s rather large family that he should even begin to contemplate being anything else…. To be continued.

Copyright 2013 Ann Gates Fiser

Journey’s Start

It is important to remember when setting out on a journey that things you don’t expect to happen, do indeed happen, and things you do expect, do not. So when Oliver Oldtree and Sneed, his trusty steed, started out on a jaunt to go as far away as either could imagine, it was with that understanding. But try as he might to have no expectations, he did harbor some desires. He truly wished to see the pond his grandfather had visited as a lad in his 200th year. To folks their size it was the size of what is an an ocean to us giants. And he wanted to meet people, strangers, from other villages. And if he could, he wanted to glimpse something he’d heard about called a mountain. Mountains were not visible in the woods where he lived. He could hardly believe that something that enormous existed in the world. So with these desires tucked away in the back of his mind he joyfully and truth be told somewhat fearfully set off what would be the journey of a lifetime.  journeys_startsm

Copyright 2013 Ann Gates Fiser

Creative Funk~ How Do you Get Past Blocks?

Another artist on a FaceBook group I belong to asked the question of how to get out of a creative block that she’d been in for quite a while.  It inspired me to post my thoughts about it. My answer (elaborated here) was this:

Small Steps

“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ GraphiteTilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.
“Musings in the Daisies” 9″ x 12″ Graphite
Tilinda the elf seems to have the expression one has when locked in creative inertia.

Have you ever watched a dog getting ready to take a nap?  Mine would circle the spot where she planned to sleep several times before finally laying down.  I watched her and learned.  So my “circling” is to clean up, arrange my work space (if it needs it) and then get a piece of watercolor paper taped on a board.  I start with the mundane and non- threatening steps.  Next I flip through my my sketchbook looking for something that pops out at me that makes me want to paint and usually after circling around like that I’m ready.

But if I have no idea of what I want to paint after that, here are a couple of things that usually work.   I  grab my sketchbook and start doodling.  A lot of times something will emerge that I want to do.  If not then I look at other artists works for inspiration.  I find 3-4 paintings that I like of 3-4 different artists and  using one or two elements that I liked in each painting create a new piece.  Something new emerges that I might not have thought of before.

in·er·tia ~  [in-ur-shuh, ih-nur-]  noun

1.  Inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like;
inactivity; sluggishness.

2. Physics.
       a.the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity
along a straight line
so long as it is not acted upon by an
external force.
        b. an analogous property of a force: electric inertia.
3. Medicine/Medical . lack of activity, especially as applied to a uterus during
childbirth when its 
contractions have decreased or stopped. 
(Kind of sounds like creativity stopped dead in its tracks….)

Creative funk is nothing but of inertia.  It takes energy,  some kind of movement or force to get going from a point of standstill.  If  I take any small step, even if it seems insignificant, I can start moving in the direction I want to go.   I’m able to build momentum and move past whatever is keeping me locked up.   And usually but not always it’s fear.  Fear is an emotion,  e-motion, or energy in motion.  Or at least it should be in motion but what is usually done is that I bury it, stuff it down so that it becomes trapped in my body.  I don’t think I’m alone in that. 😉  The way to release any emotion it is to feel it.  You don’t even have to give it a name, like  fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, resentment, etc.  Just feel it.  Notice where it’s living in you.  Feel the spot in your body and really pay attention to what it feels like. When I do this I notice after a relatively short time that it starts to move and dissipate and I feel so much more free and energetic.   Because there’s so much that I haven’t been willing to feel forever I find that I’m peeling an onion layer after layer.  It’s getting smaller but it’s not gone. And most importantly I have to keep feeling.  Feeling is where it’s at and most importantly, the more I feel the more creative I am.  And that is what’s so important~ that I’m able to fully express myself into the world.


One more thing about inertia.  If you do get yourself going and moving, don’t stop.  At the very least have the next idea ready in your head. A sketchbook filled with ideas goes a long way toward giving you the momentum that you need to stay out of the funk bucket.  Sketches are also a great way to keep exploring new directions, because boredom is another kind of block inducer.   Let whatever idea comes into your head take shape on the paper.  It doesn’t mean you ever have to do anything with it but you will have told your unconscious that ideas are important and the muse of imagination will gladly give you more.

Your Turn

So how have you gotten past creative  block?  Or are you stuck now?  Please leave your comments below because  I’d love to hear them.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Ann Gates Fiser

Returning Home

“Returning Home” graphite 12″ x 9″

On the tenth day of the tenth month in the year of the Owl, Oliver Oldtree arrived home at last. He’d last seen his friends and family six months ago. It started with the realization that after 60 years of staying close to home, he was bored. He wanted to see what was outside the confines of his usual habitat. In short he had a bad case of wanderlust. He’d set out on a walk-a-bout with what he could carry in his backpack and his friend and trusted mount, a field mouse named Sneed. But that is a tale for another time. For this tale is about coming home just in time to avoid the cold winter winds and snow that Oliver was beginning to sense was coming very soon. Not only that, but he was truly homesick for his hearth, his warm bed, and the company of good friends and family. All he could think about was sitting in the pub and having a pint or two and telling the tales of his fantastic journey while his friends listened in rapt attention. After all he had traveled at least five miles there and five miles back. That was an amazing feat for someone who could easily fit in the palm of your hand. Imagine that! And that is the end of this very tiny tale.
returning_homesmCopyright 2013 Ann Gates Fiser

“The Wisdom of Trees”

“The Wisdom of Trees”        Graphite 9″ x 12″

the_wisdom_of_treesblogTrees begin their long lives smooth of bark with no discernible features.  Only after many, many cycles of seasons when the tree begins to develop a very thick skin,  does anything resembling a face begin to emerge from the trunk.  There’s a reason for this.  It is only when a tree has achieved a ripe old age has it observed, felt and understood the ephemeral, changing, but eternal nature of life.  By then has it gained the necessary experience to speak its wisdom to the very young, and truth be told the not so young,  that they need and long to hear.  A wizened face emerges from the gnarly trunk of the tree and it is then the tree has a voice and  is available for counsel.

If you’ve ever sought out a very old tree and asked advice,  then you know that it takes along time to get an answer… if at all.  There a few reasons for this.  The first might be because the tree knows very well from having observed you since you were an acorn, that you already have the answer and are either too lazy to dig it out or you don’t believe enough in yourself to accept that what you know is the correct answer.  Second a tree might not answer because it knows that you aren’t ready or you won’t accept its advice and wisdom (because you rarely do).  And lastly and this is very often true, you simply haven’t give the old tree time enough to deliberate and decide what is the best recourse it should give to you.  So as another great wise teacher has said…patience grasshopper… patience.  All things come forth in time.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
Ann Gates Fiser


12″ x 9″  Graphite

Medusa, or “M” to her friends was pretty sure she was having a really bad hair day. Which wasn’t unusual for her. She mostly had bad hair days, because she had particularly unruly hair that seemed to have a mind of its own. She would wash it and condition it and still she couldn’t get it to behave. When she asked her boyfriends if they thought it was OK, they would just stare at her in stony silence.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
Ann Gates Fiser

Taking a Breather

“Taking a Breather”   12″ x 9″   Graphite

“Taking a Breather”

taking_a_breatherMeleah, like many mermaids loved to go top side to sun herself and contemplate having another existence, one where she could walk upon the land and visit exotic places that were out of reach to her in her present form.  Or she would stare at the sky and watch the flight of birds, to her they were the  fishes of the heavens,  and wish that she could join them in their utter freedom of flight.   But though these things appealed to her strongly, she was as aware as any human child of the story of the little mermaid, who traded her tail fin for legs to be with her love.  And more importantly she knew the ending of that story. How the little mermaid had been left painfully without home or love.   The story had even more impact on her because to her. and her kind, it was not a story but history,  the history that was taught to every young one in hopes that they would not make the same mistake.   So  Meleah’s longing never went any farther than a wistful daydream. 

Copyright 2013  All rights reserved  Ann Gates Fiser


Will the Wise

Will the Wise”  9″ x 12″  Graphite

will_the_wiseWill was an extraordinary elf known across the land for his wisdom and sage advice .   He could usually be found sitting on his front porch smoking his hand carved pipe, slow lazy circling puffs of smoke curling upward.   He would turn slowly and give you a look that felt like he could see straight to the back of your soul and nothing could be hidden from those probing eyes.   If after that you still had enough gumption to ask your question,  he would consider it for a awhile and then just when you might have given up and gone home,  he  would in a quiet, very deep voice (for an elf anyway)  give his pronouncement,  his thoughtful answer to your query.    It wasn’t always what you wanted to hear but it was exactly what you needed to know.   And then you would turn to go because no one including you felt that you had leave to engage him any further. That was just the way it was.   Whenever I went to see him I always wondered if he had a friend,  someone to whom he could bounce his thoughts and feelings.   I didn’t know, but what I did know was that it wasn’t me.

Copyright 2013   All rights reserved  Ann Gates Fiser

The Witches Ball

“Arriving at the Witches Ball”    9″ x 12″  Graphite


The witches arriving for the annual Witches’ Ball were just like any human, which they were or at least had been, and they enjoyed getting together once a year to dance, drink, and generally let off steam.    Most of the year they lived a rather solitary existence  except for the occasional human who came seeking a love potion, a fertility charm, or rarely some kind of hex.    Only the darker witches practiced those arts, thank goodness!   And just like humans they would catch up on the latest gossip and goings on in the witch and wizard community at large.   They also would talk  about others within earshot of the victim of the gossip, especially if  jealousy were involved.

“After the Witches’ Ball”  
9″ x 12″  Graphite

Of course the aftermath of the Witches’ Ball was the same as any party, where the liquor has flowed freely.   Some witches and wizards were able to fly home, however wobbly they were, but others could still be found at sunrise hanging around by the brooms.   Fortunately a drunk witch who takes to the air in an inebriated state only risked harming others by falling on them.   Of course the wise witch would spell their broom to remain under them no matter what.   Which explains why you’ve probably never seen a news report about a oddly dressed weird person falling out of the sky.   Of course most wizards didn’t ride brooms, preferring to disapparate.   This is its own challenge when you’ve drunk a bit of the bubbly.  One might just reappear in the middle of a wall, or just as detrimental to one’s health,  leave bits and pieces behind.


Copyright 2013 All rights reserved Ann Gates Fiser