Fantasy Art

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The In-Between-Places

When I was a small child there were In-Between-Places, like the street between this street and the next one over.  Not an alleyway, but a neighborhood.  You could never find it unless you walked just right, turned just the right way or slipped quickly through the little gate in the wall that has no gate.  Then suddenly there you were on a street that looked like it belonged to a much more ancient city.  There were castles and cathedrals, giant stone houses with vast lawns and massive oak trees.
Sometimes on road trips with my parents we'd turn off of the highway and follow some half forgotten dirt road that wandered between hills of desert scrub and then suddenly spilled out into a tiny rustic town lost in the past, nestled into a lush green valley with a small river or creek running through the middle of it.  There were old cars and antique gas pumps at the station an you could get an ice cream cone from a corner store that was also the post office.  One place had a fish hatchery.
No such places exist in Arizona, everyone says I was dreaming or lost in my imagination. But just a year or so before my Mom died I went on a road trip with my parents and we visited a couple of those places.  There they were, 1950's gas pumps rusting away in front of the corner store, ice cream cones and a fish hatchery.  It was as if they'd been keeping it a secret all of this time waiting for the right moment to pass the torch.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it just never occurred to them that we'd gone there when I was too young to remember the way or to be sure I wasn't dreaming.  They were never given to flights of fancy and certainly had no use for magic and monsters, but they traveled a lot and discovered many real places.  Many more than I will ever know.

I still can't remember how to find the hidden streets and when I ask about them the old people just shake their heads and smile.  Do they think I'm crazy or are they just keeping a secret?  But I have secrets of my own.  I still have the basement door, no one else knows about that so they can't hide it from me.

Sometimes though, I feel like I should just let it go.  Throw all these sketches in the recycler, get a 9 to 5 job and live out my days free of this constant yearning for something outside my reach.  Sometimes it feels like all the most important things are only visible from the corner of my eye and if I turn my head they're gone.  Don't take me wrong, I enjoy my life, it's good and pleasant, but it's not as easy as some would assume.

Still I can never stay away for very long it always pulls me back.  There are vistas unseen by man for over a thousand years.
Ancient ruins half buried under the encroaching forest floor, but not uninhabited.  Monsters unimaginable guard forgotten halls of magnificent splendor where lies treasure enough to buy a kingdom if you have the courage to try and steal it.
But you don't have to wander out into the wilds to find adventure, the City of Jespar is as wild and dangerous as the jungle that encroaches on it.
Jespar itself is built upon the ruins of a much more ancient city.  There are rumors of halls beneath the city where dark things do their business, an underground city within the city with its own people and customs.  Someday perhaps we will find out.
This is possibly my favorite model as they all are.  She's a pretty talented artist herself and seems aware of what her poses look like and whether it is one that she'd like to draw.

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