Helm of Awetumn….

Banner Helm of AwetumnOkay, I could not resist the pun.  You see the symbol in the center of the painting is called a Helm of Awe and there are Fall or Autumn leaves…. get it?   The Helm of Awe is part of Northern Western European culture.  It’s a very old symbol, and well, I really like it.  The design is so well thought out.  It fits perfectly with the runic alphabet, so naturally that I almost feel I have to paint the runes at the ends of this Helm.

Darn!  I just realized I should have named the painting Helm of Awetumn.  That would have been funny.  Oh well.  I have already painted a rather bland name on the back.  Perhaps I will add a special note to this one. :)

So anyway, here is my latest artistic project.  This is what I call a practice painting.  I think it is important to keep painting to keep one’s skills in good form.  I don’t want to forget what I learned in those oh so few art classes that I took a couple of years back.  I do miss those.  And I so wish that my Color Theory art instructor had been an organized brilliant teacher.  But in these difficult times, one cannot waste their money on things that do not have any value. (So I left the class and eventually the school.)


First stages on laying out the design - this painting is done in acrylic paint

First stages on laying out the design – this painting is done in acrylic paint

Starting to establish the dark areas of the painting.

Starting to establish the dark areas of the painting.

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The painting really starts to change with the dark areas established.

The painting really starts to change with the dark areas established.

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Adding the color made me nervous that I would ruin the painting.

Adding the color made me nervous that I would ruin the painting.

Back to the painting…  I am not sure I am happy with this one.  I wish it had turned out better.  Perhaps I need to paint more often, but that would mean having the inspiration, time, and space to do so.  Sometimes these things do not always coordinate.  I think I can do better next time.  There are parts of it that I am proud of and other sections that I just could not make better.  An artist needs to learn when to leave a picture alone, and I think I am doing better than I used to, but not having a mentor is hard.  Good mentors always know where something needs to be done to make a project just a little bit better.  Sometimes a lot better.

Slowly I started to feel more comfortable with the addition of color.

Slowly I start to feel more comfortable with the addition of color.

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It was hard to tell what was looking good, so I tried to focus on sections.

It was hard to tell what was looking good, so I tried to focus on sections.

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Here I put in the placement of the runes.

The think lines of the Helm of Awe looked bad so I needed to make them thicker and decide what kind of outlining or color change would look good.  This was tough.

The thin lines of the Helm of Awe looked bad so I needed to make them thicker, which was an improvement.  Then I had to decide what kind of outlining or color change would look good.   This was tough.

I finally decided to use purple instead of black to act as a complimentary color to the yellows in the painting.

I finally decided to use purple instead of black to act as a complimentary color to the yellows in the painting.

I think my next project will be one of the other Helms.  Yes, there are other symbols like this one that mean other things.  This particular symbol was painted on warrior’s weapons and armor to bring victory.  The other one I want to do is the compass one, which is supposed to keep a person from becoming lost.  I often wonder does that mean lost in a spiritual sense or quite literally being lost.  Perhaps the ancient people of Europe wanted to protect the person in both realms of existence.

Thanks for visiting.

Gretchen Winkler © 2015

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Posted in Art, Asatru, Painting

It’s going to be a Jedi Temple Guard!

Jedi Temple Guard in the Star Wars Clone Wars Series

Jedi Temple Guard in the Star Wars Clone Wars Series

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I had a friend who wanted me to make him a Star Wars themed costume, well, he has made his decision that he wants a Jedi Temple Guard costume.  This is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  Exciting because it is an interesting character that we rarely see in cosplay photography, and that I have only found one other rendition of the costume done that is not the same as the Jedi Temple Guards that are in The Clone Wars series.  I suspect there is another pictorial version in a video game or perhaps the 2D version of Clone Wars.  So making a costume that has not been made very often or perhaps not at all in real life is very exciting yet terrifying.

Why terrifying you may ask?  There are no patterns and I will need to figure this out all by myself, not to mention that the character’s clothing only exists in cartoon form.  There never was an actual human that needed to be dressed as this character since it does not appear in the live action movies.  It will be up to me to decide what materials will look as much as possible like the cartoon version.  And the one thing to remember about cartoon clothing, the cartoonist doesn’t have to make sure the actor can move or is comfortable in the gear.

So regardless, I am excited about this challenge, and I will post updates from time to time about my progress.  And who knows, perhaps what I learn will help someone else make their own Jedi Temple Guard costume in the future.

Gretchen Winkler ©2015

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Posted in Art, Costume, Star Wars

Wookiee Hair!

I have added a few new people to my cast of action figure models.  I know this probably looks like child’s play, but I am learning with each set of photos.  Composition, lighting, color, placement of figures to create or evoke an emotional reaction…..these are all things to think about when composing a painting or a photograph.  There are just four of them below, and I have placed text to tell a very short story.  It’s up to you to imagine what might happen after picture four.


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Gretchen Winkler ©2015

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Posted in Digital Photography, Star Wars

On pins and needles in ……anticipation

I have a friend that wants to have a Star Wars costume made, and right now he’s in the process of deciding what costume to choose.  We narrowed it down to either a Mandorlorian or a Jedi Temple Guard.  Depending upon what he chooses – I will be suddenly immersed for the next month and half in either Jedi Temple Guard or Mandorlorian.  I think both costumes are great choices for cool characters to play.

One of the reasons for my level of anticipation, and perhaps a bit of stress, is that he wants the costume for an event this summer, which is not that far away.  I usually take my time on my costume gear and hunt around for the very best deals and so forth, but this has a time deadline that must be met.  So right now I am waiting…..  I really don’t care that much for waiting. :)

Sabine Wren - a character from Star Wars Rebels dressed in Mandolorian gear.

Sabine Wren – a character from Star Wars Rebels dressed in Mandolorian gear.

So how about I share what I found out about both of these character profiles for those of you that like costuming or cosplay.  First of all, the Mandolorian offers a bit of freedom of palette choice.  There are lots of color combinations that one can choose from.  Recently presented in the Star Wars Rebel Series the character Sabine makes good use of her artistic skills to make her Mandorlorian armor very customized, so one’s personality can really show through on one’s armor.  It’s very much like the Landsknechte from the 1500’s or even like the planes flown by Richthofen’s Flying Circus aka Jagdgeschwader 1.  Also another advantage is that many of the components are available online now by enterprising artisans who are catering to the Star Wars Universe of fans.  When my husband made his Mandolorian gear about 8 years ago, these sellers were not so readily available and he had to make many of his pieces himself from patterns shared by other enthusiasts.  There are also many groups that dress up and do activities dressed as Mandolorians, which opens up reasons to wear the Mandolorian gear more often.  So this costume choice has many positives.

Jedi Temple Guard in the Star Wars Clone Wars Series

Jedi Temple Guard in the Star Wars Clone Wars Series

Then there is the Jedi Temple Guard, which I have seen very little available online concerning it’s construction.  The character is also only seen, so far, as a cartoon character.  This makes it more challenging and easier all at the same time.  It will be up to me to figure out what the pieces of gear really are and how they are put together.  This is a rare and unique costume, so the wearer will be extra special, which many cosplayers may prefer.  At some point I imagine that there will be an enterprising group that will put together a unit of Jedi Temple Guards.  Perhaps my design will be helpful to those  in the future.  Luckily, I found an online seller for the mask and there are double light sabers available as well.

Either way, I think this will be a fun and exciting project that I am sure will stress the heck out of me just like the Wookie costume did.  I was really pleased with the results of the Wookie and so was the wearer.  So come back again for an update about the choice that was made and the process of building this new costume.  Hopefully, I can share some useful photos about the process.

Have a great day and hopefully all of you lucky enough to go to the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this weekend will share lots of great photos and stories.

Gretchen Winkler © 2015

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Posted in Costume, Preparation, Star Wars

Big Clone Trooper – little clone trooper

After shooting this series of photos and resizing them, I realized they made a good Father’s Day statement within the realm of Star Wars and Legos.  It seems that Star Wars and Legos brings all ages together with each generation bringing their own creativity and dreams.  I hope you enjoy this fun little series of seven photos.

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Clone Trooper and Legos 07 1000wGretchen Winkler ©2015

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Posted in Digital Photography, Family, Legos, Star Wars

Star Wars Universe on my mind

Ever since my husband and I with our best friend decided to attend a Comic Con as Star Wars characters, the whole Star Wars concept has been on my mind almost daily.  You see, I grew up with Star Wars as a child and loved the mysterious Darth Vader character.  I even made a Darth Vader costume out of black clothing, paper plates, staples, black garbage bags, white crayons, and old sun glass lenses.  It was pretty good for my age level.  We didn’t have the fancy costume helmets that are available now.  I wish I had a photo of it.

Love the art and story line for the Clone Wars series.

Love the art and story line for the Clone Wars series.

So Star Wars has good memories for me, and perhaps that is why I have been having fun taking photos of the 6 inch action figures.  We have a pretty size-able group of figures that allow us to come up with various scenes to photograph.  But photographing the characters are not enough for me.  I think I would really like to write a Star Wars novel.  I keep asking myself questions about certain characters and events contained within the works considered to be Canon.  I have also enjoyed reading several novels that are considered Expanded Universe, aka EU.  (I kept thinking EU meant European Union.  I was really confused at first.)

So here are my thoughts concerning the Star Wars Universe…

  1. Star Wars Prequel movies: Many people really hate the 1,2,3 movies that I knew back after seeing 4 and reading articles about Star Wars in magazines that Darth Vader had indeed a duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi and had been injured by lava.  Sure there are some aspects that I don’t agree with or characters that I find annoying, but the reality of life is that not everyone likes the same thing.  I don’t buy the whole Midi-chlorians concept.  It doesn’t make sense and it seems to me as a writer that it was done to explain how the Jedi were able to measure and determine that Anakin was the Chosen One.  Someone didn’t have enough confidence in the Jedi Knight concept to believe they could tell through other means that Anakin had this high level of potential skill.  This also means that all the Force users – Jedi and Sith – do not have free will.  These microscopic lifeforms are influencing and using others to have a battle.  Not cool.  I think a better solution could have been made.
    To me Jar Jar Binks is an irrelevant comedic relief character.  Yes, he is annoying, but not as annoying as the Jedi Council.  As a real Knight of an Order that used to have Jedi like skills – maybe not as fantastic – it was a moment for extreme frustration to see the Jedi Council and their over the top arrogance with young Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn.  My Knight companions and I walked out of the theater feeling pretty cheesed with the Jedi Council.  Most of us felt they were the cause of Anakin’s eventual downfall.  A downfall that also injured Obi-Wan, who was not really yet ready to take on such an unusual Jedi apprentice without any real support from the Jedi Council.  So do I hate the 1,2, 3 movies?  No.  They are what they are.  Could they have been better? Yes, but I think that is a topic for a blog of it’s own.

    This was not the fight of a frail old man.  Makes me suspect that he was holding back on fighting Mace Windu to get Anakin to help him.

    This was not the combat of a frail old man.   Makes me suspect that he was holding back on fighting Mace to get Anakin to help him therefore destroying Anakin’s happy future.

  2. Why was Palpatine so Powerful?: This question plagues me, but I suspect from what I have seen in the Canon level works that he might be considered something of an energy vampire to use a modern term.  He seems to really enjoy inflicting mayhem and misery on others and I think it feeds him.  I started to suspect this more seriously after watching the Clone Wars series when he vanquishes Darth Maul and his brother apprentice, Savage, on Mandolore.  He doesn’t kill him.  Then the Inquisitor from Rebels allows himself to die because there are somethings more frightening than death.  What would the Emperor do to him if he failed?  What did the Emperor do with Darth Maul?  How can Palpatine control Darth Vader, who is one of the most powerful Force Users in the Universe?  This crazy clever old bastard has the ability to cloud the Force for the entire Jedi Order on Coruscant.  This is no minor player.  I would not be surprised if he shows up again.  I have been told that some expanded universe literature have him returning in cloned bodies of his own.
  3. Fascinating character that has so much potential.

    Fascinating character that has so much potential.

    What Happened Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress:  Well, Rebels has explained what happened to Ahsoka, which makes logical sense,  and I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the series.  I really like Anakin’s spunky Padawan.  As for Ventress, she was very stereotypical at the beginning of Clone Wars, but as her character developed, she gained more depth.  She is a wronged soul, who just needs to belong with worthy individuals.  She has a lot to offer, but the one person willing to give her the consideration she deserved died.  I could easily see her appearing again, not as a Sith contender, but as an opponent to the Sith.  She may also decide not to trust the universe again and stay a bounty hunter.

So this is just part of the reason why I keep thinking I would like to write a Star Wars story.  I think there is so much potential here for more stories that are intriguing, imaginative, and just plain fun.

G. Winkler ©2015

Please note artwork is not mine to give permissions to and are from Clone Wars series.
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Posted in Culture, Star Wars, Writing

Telling Tales without Words

StormTrooper and Legos BannerMy apologies.  It’s been too long since my last post, but this year has been rather curious and not very inspirational.  So I have been on a small quest to find inspiration.  After all any good writer or artist needs inspiration to keep themselves motivated, so I deemed this time to be worthwhile and logical.  Just like a good business is wise to re-invest in their company’s infrastructure, it is wise for the professional to take some time to improve skills, expand knowledge base, or perhaps take the time to re-energize.  So I have been playing with toys.  Yes, toys.

My focus has been the Star Wars action figures that are 6 inches tall and I have been photographing them.  Now, I am not a professional photographer, but I do find using photography helps get ideas for paintings and letting myself imagine helps with my writing.  And yes, I have been writing, but not on my blog.  You see, I have a story that I am telling and the characters come to life and they need my attention.  It is my hope and desire that someday, I may have the opportunity to share those characters with the world.  So when I need a break from fretting over events occurring in my head, I take the time to photograph the action figures.

This batch that I am sharing with you today is simply telling story without any words at all.  I am hoping the images will bring a smile to your face.  After all, in these strange modern times, I don’t think there’s a person out there that couldn’t use a reason to smile even if for a short time.

G. Winkler © 2015

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Posted in Inspiration, Star Wars

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