The Mysterious Dreamworld of Leonor Fini

I am cannibalizing an old website of mine; The Mysterious Domain. It was a blog of my inspirations. Now I put all of those on here at Gothic Faery Tales. Leonore Fini was a magical artist that has inspired me for ages. Please enjoy her work!

The Mysterious Dreamworld of Leonor Fini

I first came across this picture in a book about woman’s mysteries published in the mid 1970’s. The minute I saw it, I wanted a Moon Goddess costume too. I have since had few.

When I saw this image the flanking skeleton women were not there. Whoever placed them in the frame has identified Fini’s Moon Goddess as Hekate, of the dark side of the moon. Or perhaps it is a pun on her name, Fini, meaning The End.

Leonor Fini paints dreams. Her elegant canvases are filled with sleepwalkers, ghosts, mostly women and girls with deep secrets. Their eyes filled with wonder, they gaze out at you as if daring you to enter their Mysterious Domain. The atmosphere is feminine, fashionable, laden with  erotic undercurrents, magical glamor, presented in soft, alluring colors that cloak her disturbing visions of the unconscious with innocence.

Cat Woman

It has been said about her that Leonor Fini is the only artist to paint women without apology. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females. The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of ‘the double’. She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. She lived with many cats; up to a total of 23 at one time. The illness of one of her cats could send her into a deep depression.

A Portrait with her cat.


Womens Alchemy

Fini often plays with the triune nature of womens’ mysteries. Women are the holders of hidden knowledge. Close to nature, the realm of the subconscious is familiar. It has no need for explanation; signs are potent and say it all.

Women are vessels, are the openers of locked doors. Sensing already that what is inside is potent, creative, magnetic, she is entitled to the key. It is part of a what a woman is to be deeply effected by what is hidden away and that, being seen, retains its mystery.

The silence of the visual art is the perfect expression for these mysteries.

Biography: What is Allowed to be Told

I stole from Wikipedia again…..bad! Very bad! But you get  references to all these famous artists and places of interest and stuff. I will have more of my own to say further on.

Leonor Fini (August 30, 1908, Buenos Aires, Argentina – January 18, 1996, Paris, France)

She was born in Buenos Aires to an Italian mother and an Argentine father. Her mother left her father before Leonor’s first birthday and returned to Triest, Italy with her child. In an effort to foil kidnap attempts by her father, Fini was disguised as a boy whenever she left her house until the age of five.

lready a dramatic life. The stuff of Opera! And then off to Paris in the 1930’s. How exciting!

After leaving Trieste for Milan at the age of 17, she relocated to Paris in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, among many others, Paul Eluard,   Max Ernst. Georges Battail, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí. She traveled Europe by car with Mandiargues and Cartier-Bresson where she was photographed nude in a swimming pool by Cartier-Bresson. The photograph of Fini sold in 2007 for $305,000 – the highest price paid at auction for one of his works to that date.

She painted portraits of Jean Genet, Anna Magnani, Jacques Audiberti, Alida Valli, Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer) and Suzanne Flon as well as many other celebrities and wealthy visitors to Paris. While working for Elsa Schiaparelli she designed the flacon for the perfume, “Shocking”, which became the top selling perfume for the House of Schiaparelli. She designed costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, including the first ballet performed by Roland Petit’s Ballet de Paris, “Les Demoiselles de la nuit”, featuring a young Margot Fonteyn. This was a payment of gratitude for Fini’s having been instrumental in finding the funding for the new ballet company. She also designed the costumes for two films, Renato Castellani’s Romeo and Juliet (1954) and John Huston’s A Walk with Love and Death (1968), which starred 18 year old Anjelica Huston and Moshe Dayan’s son, Assaf.

She once said, “A woman should live with two men; one more a lover and the other more a friend.” She then proceeded to do so. Stanislao Lepri, an Italian diplomat when she met him, left the diplomatic corp to live with her and painted. Approximately five years later Konstanty Jele?ski, a Polish writer and journalist (i.a. from Kultura) joined them.

In the 1970s, she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe. Her friends included Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, and Alberto Moravia, Fabrizio Clerci and most of the other artists and writers inhabiting or visiting Paris. She illustrated many works by the great authors and poets, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Shakespeare, as well as texts by new writers. She was very generous with her illustrations and donated many drawings to writers to help them get published. She is, perhaps, best known for her graphic illustrations for Histoire d’O.

A biographical song about Leonor Fini’s life is featured on Welsh artist Katell Keineg’s    1997 second album, Jet.

Fallen Angels

Is the Angel in awe of the woman? Does it envy her mortal beauty? Or is the angel that fell for mortal woman and seeded the Divine Spark in the human race?

Strange Magics

There is something of the grave about these images. Fate playing at Cat’s Cradle. Pulling the strings. And then, the empty winding sheet. By their looks on their faces, perhaps someone has risen from the dead.

What is the Mystery? Red Vision




The Veil is Parted .

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Timeless Realms: Son of Ereubus by J.S. Chancellor

Son of Ereubus (Guardians of Legend, #1)Son of Ereubus by J.S. Chancellor

Through timeless realms and parallel realities, Ariana journeys to discover her true self. J.S. Chancellor has created realms out of old mythologies: Middengard, the land of mortals whose last city Palingard is slated to fall to the soul-devouring Laionai, of Eidolon. Once human, the Laionai evolved into a hive consciousness, gifted by the shape-shifting Dark Goddess, Ciara, with the ability to steal souls. The only salvation for the remaining mortals is belief in the myth of the lost land of Adoria, itself doomed to fall.

Readers come to fantasy seeking the Otherworld. The unfolding intricacies of strange realms are like the unraveling of a great mystery. Perhaps we all guard a legend deep inside our souls, a sanctuary that we keep safe from the corruption of the world. Chancellor builds on this fine resonance to keep us reading. She is particularly adept at conjuring up strange creatures like the ”not quite horse or dragon” Dragee, and the Laionai, like a cluster of ancient Chinese sages.

The story opens with Garren’s brutal execution of a rival warlord. He is utterly ruthless, seemingly without heart or conscience. At the same time an agile, gritty red-haired girl, Ariana, embarks on a mysterious journey, only to be attacked and wounded by Garren. Something about Ariana stirs feeling in Garren that he isn’t supposed to have and he spares her life. She is rescued by a powerful winged warrior who forces to accept an alternative reality. By doing so, Ariana discovers her true identity and the role she is destined to play.

Son of Ereubus is a fun read, fast paced and exciting. As the plot darkens, more secrets come to light. Ariana grows and Garren finds out he has a heart.

I would love to see deeper development of the Dark Goddess, Ciara and her worship. Chancellor gives us a tantalizing glimpse  that will hopefully by more fully exploited in the next two books of this epic trilogy.

This book made me think of Anne Bishops’ Dark Jewel series in its pacing and atmosphere. If you like those, and the genre of dark heroic fantasy in general, you would no doubt enjoy Son of Ereubus.

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On Taking Your Time

Jack Torrence--one sentence fiction

I don’t usually rant about writing, especially on the blog. I’m too grateful to be able to do it. But today,  I am inspired.
I love short stories. I have numerous collections of these gems of the literary world. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to curl up with a story that I can read in anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours. If I really like a short story I can read it again without having to make a long-term commitment.  Some authors are at their best in the short form, giving you just enough brilliance to satisfy.

I struggle with the short form. Part of this is genre based. Gothic audiences love dense description, evocative atmospheres, descriptions of clothing and furnishings, the more opulent the imagery the better. We are the Baroque artists of fiction. The  last Romantics. I would be disappointed to pick up a Gothic Romance or Gothic Faery Tale and be denied entry into a seductive setting, rich, decadent, emotional, and loaded with mystery. One of the first expectations of a speculative writer its to create alternate realities. All of this imagery requires WORDS.

I have listened at open mics to writers who can  finish a story  in around 5 minutes.  I have noticed that they are by and large “literary” or “mainstream” stories that describe an emotional situation  that reaches a climax quickly and is resolved. No lush settings, no atmospheres, no passages of description that carry the reader away on the sheer power of their imaginative sensitivity to the outer world. They are inner monologues of sorts—-some of them very powerful and even great—-but NOT Gothic Fantasy, and NOT speculative fiction which what I am about. In fact, I am usually the only genre writer in the room.

Part of the problem is because of usual suspect—-the internet. Lots of people read online. I for one cannot read fiction online. Computers = work for me and aside from research, I want to get on and off fast. (You wouldn’t know it by my blog articles, but then I am writing and can’t keep it short.) If I find a story that I like, I cut and paste it and the print it out so I can read it on paper and really enjoy it. Flash fiction online, I skim and forget it. If its really powerful, I might not forget it, I might even print it out. But my tendency is to skim and not really READ, so much is lost in that process.  Some ezines stack these flashy pieces on top of each other in great numbers. More is better I guess. More skimming and skipping for me.

I used to be a poet. I’ve won prizes for my poems. But I am mainly a novelist. This is because I love to create a world an inhabit it for some time. In the same way, I love to inhabit the worlds of other authors that I like. I want to write short, but sometimes characters get in the way of that. They are like zip files. You open them and they keep opening and you hate to lose all that great material.

The normal length of a short story is anywhere up to 10,000 words. Some of my favorites are that long.  I don’t know why anyone is expected to produce abridged works to fit a 3500 word limit. Cutting can tighten and enhance, but after a certain point, it is sheer butchery. Writers don’t write because the King orders us to do it. We write because I want to, and the orders come from the Muse, who inspired us with visions that we are driven to bring to life. Why would anyone work so hard for so long for nothing unless they wanted to do it? So why should one be expected to butcher their work so someone raised on Sesame Street who has the attentions span of a flea can skim it over? Why not teach children how to read for pleasure again? I didn’t grow up and just pick up a book and start reading it. In fact I used to cut them with scissors. My dad TAUGHT me to love literature by giving me great books like he was bestowing a blessing.

I don’t remember who it was, but some successful author said: “Stories will be as long as they are meant to be. It takes as many words as it takes.” Something like that. But its true. Its like when I was in the theater. This director told us before rehearsal: “Take your time.” Which means “TAKE YOUR time.”

If we can’t create work we love, than why bother doing it at all? There are readers for long short stories. One only has to look through the newest anthologies, Best Fantasy, Best Horror, Best Science Fiction to find tales of all shapes and sizes . Even some novellas—-a form I am especially fond of.

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