New Year Dragon Ladies

New Year Dragon Ladies

Allow me to introduce my two “New Year Dragon Ladies,” Theresa Mather and Rachael Mayo. When I discovered that this Chinese New Year’s animal was the Dragon, I immediately thought about all the amazing artists I know, who paint or sculpt – indeed, specialize – in dragons. You could even say that in my paper sculpture I myself lean heavily toward dragons.

Full disclosure: I also was working every spare second to complete a near-finished draft of Bone of Contention, the third book in my XK9 “Bones” Trilogy. It needed to be ready to send to Beta-Readers and my illustrator Tom Kidd by Feb. 15, so I needed a fun, I-hope-entertaining, and appropriate series (varied content takes a lot of time to curate, script, and schedule. So do blog posts).

This is a square image with the eight artworks featured in this article arranged around a middle where it says, “NEW YEAR DRAGONS by Theresa Mather and Rachael Mayo.” Clockwise from top center the artworks are: “ “Chasing Wisdom,” “Celestial Dance,” “Heart of the Storm,” and “The Astronomer,” all by Mather. “Opal Paradigm, “Emerald Unity,” “Deep Rising 11,” and “Dragon Dance 6,” by Mayo. See descriptions on the individual pieces.
Here’s the artwork celebrated in this post. All artwork is © Theresa Mather or © Rachael Mayo, as noted on the individual compositions.

A Dragon Art Celebration for the Year of the Dragon

I knew right away that I wanted to create a combined “dragon celebration” for the occasion. The concept from the very beginning was one dragon per day on social media (between my author publicity on Facebook and Instagram, my Artdog Studio, Weird Sisters Publishing, and posts for my sister’s Facebook Author Page, I had a lot of “scheduled slots” to fill. I normally put varied content on each, but every once in a while, such as on holidays, they all get the same content. I also thought a progressive exhibit of “Dragon Art” would make fun blog posts.

So, welcome to the first of my two-post “progressive art show” featuring the work of four wonderful artists whose dragons I have admired at science fiction conventions for more years than any of us probably care to admit. I know many deserving artists beyond the four I featured in this project. But I had good contact information for each of the four I chose, and at least something of a rapport. And I knew they not only had a good range of dragon art, but that the artworks are available online.

In this first installment, I decided to focus on my two New Year Dragon Ladies. I asked each to share four pieces and permission to reproduce them on social media and this blog post. All artwork is © by the artist.

Theresa Mather

Practically the very first person I thought of for my New Year Dragon Ladies was Theresa Mather. I have rarely gone into a science fiction convention art show in the last two decades without a chance to see her latest work. It’s always well made and beautiful, from the humblest bookmark to the priciest original.

An accomplished master of her media, she is steeped in both dragon lore and art history. She not only produces paintings and prints, but also gorgeous paintings on rocks and feathers.

This vertical painting, mounted on a variegated background of blues and a touch of pale rosy lilac, portrays an Asian-style dragon and phoenix against a starfield. The dragon has its clawed hand on a moon orb. “Celestial Dance” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Theresa Mather.
Celestial Dance, © Theresa Mather. This piece evokes traditional ancient Chinese designs featuring the dragon and the phoenix.
Two beautiful, Chinese-style golden dragons undulate in and out of purple and lavender clouds in a contest to capture a gleaming golden ball in a vertical composition displayed on a square background of variegated gold and lavender. The words say, “© Theresa Mather.” “Chasing Wisdom” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Theresa Mather.
Chasing Wisdom, © Theresa Mather. This piece reminds me of traditional ancient Chinese ink paintings at my local Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which portray dragons among storm clouds.
This is a vertical painting of a white dragon and a black dragon flying around each other among the gray clouds of a stormy sky. It floats on a square background of variegated light and dark gray. . The words say, “© Theresa Mather.” “Heart of the Storm” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Theresa Mather.
Heart of the Storm, © Theresa Mather. Speaking of “dragons among storm clouds,” here’s a more Western-style dragon pair, not to mention a lovely display of Mather’s skill with composition and the uses of contrast with a monochrome palette.
This is a vertical painting of a sapphire blue dragon surrounded by books. The dragon stares into a telescope. The painting floats on a square background of variegated light and dark blue and gray. . The words say, “© Theresa Mather.” “The Astronomer” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Theresa Mather.
The Astronomer, © Theresa Mather. This beautiful, Western-style, sapphire-blue dragon evokes another ancient myth: that of the wise dragon. This dragon-mage clearly is a scholar of the skies.

Rachael Mayo

Unlike the other artists featured in this series, Rachael Mayo never claims professional status when she exhibits her lovely work in convention art shows. Instead, she is an amateur in the most honorable sense of the word, a master who does the work for the love of it more than to make a living. A programmer by day, art is her “side gig.”

That doesn’t imply any lack of seriousness about her craft, however. She takes care to use only archival materials and media. She mats and frames her work thoughtfully. And she is scrupulous in her documentation. She knows her craft through and through. I had no second thoughts at all about including her as one of my New Year Dragon Ladies.

If you are interested in prints of any of these artworks, please check her DeviantArt Journal, where she explains how to purchase them. And if you’d like to engage more personally with hands-on explorations of her work, she has four coloring books designed for adults, which are available via Amazon.

This is a horizontal painting in three layers, studded with semiprecious stones on a square background of variegated red-violet, yellow-green, blue, and turquoise. It includes a “© by Rachael Mayo” notice. “Deep Rising” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Rachael Mayo.
Deep Rising 11, © Rachael Mayo. The original of this work is available for sale ($900; DM Rachael via FB or Instagram messages). Buy prints via Deviant Art.
This is a horizontal painting on a square background of variegated red-violet, yellow-green, blue, and gray. It includes a “© by Rachael Mayo” notice and the words “Dragon Dance 6.” “Dragon Dance 6” is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Rachael Mayo.
Dragon Dance, © Rachael Mayo. The original of this work is available for sale ($150; DM Rachael via FB or Instagram messages) Buy prints via Deviant Art.
This is a vertical painting of a green, yellow, and dark red dragon on a layered background studded with semiprecious stones. It is shown on a square background of variegated green, blue, and reddish brown. It includes a “© by Rachael Mayo – ‘Emerald Unity” notice. This artwork is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Rachael Mayo.
Emerald Unity, © Rachael Mayo. The original of this work is available for sale ($350; DM Rachael via FB or Instagram messages) Buy prints via Deviant Art.
This is a horizontal painting of an elaborate Chinese-style dragon on a square background of variegated golden yellow, blue-violet, and golden brown. It includes a “© by Rachael Mayo – ‘Opal Paradigm’” notice. This artwork is used here by the express permission of copyright-holder artist Rachael Mayo.
Opal Paradigm, © Rachael Mayo. The original of this work is available for sale ($700; DM Rachael via FB or Instagram messages) Buy prints via Deviant Art.

Rachael’s Coloring Books

Don’t miss Rachael’s “Kaleidoscopia” coloring books series, available directly via Amazon. Take a look at Dragon Adventures; Dragon Adventures 2, the Adventure ContinuesDragon Adventures 3: Dragons and Friends, and Dragon Adventures 4: Fantasy Drawings to Color. Or find them via Kaleidoscopia.com, if you want to hunt for them and risk them being out of stock.

This square image shows the covers of Rachael Mayo’s four dragon and fantasy art coloring books, each featuring 52 images and designed to be used by people of all ages. They are: Top row L-R, “Dragon Adventure” and “Dragon Adventure 2.” Second row, L-R, “Dragon Adventures 3, Dragons and Friends,” and “Dragon Adventures 4, Fantasy Drawings to Color.” All were published by Kaleidoscopia Coloring books, and all are available on Amazon. All artwork © Rachael Mayo.
Rachael’s four (to date) coloring books are full of her wonderful art. See the links in the copy for purchase.

I hope you enjoyed the New Year Dragon Ladies’ Art!

This post has been longer on art than words, but when the pictures are worth a thousand each, there should be little more to say. Please leave a comment to tell me what you think. Next week, watch for the New Year Dragon Gentlemen!

About the Author

Author Jan S. Gephardt has been bumping around science fiction fandom, wearing her metaphorical artist’s beret, since 1981. Her line art, paintings, and – since 2007 – her fine art paper sculpture appears in the Art Show at every sf convention she attends. She’s a longtime member and former officer of ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. In the 1980s she helped write the first version of the ASFA Art Show Guidelines. Between 2011 and 2013 she also stepped in as the Art Show Director for her hometown Kansas City convention, ConQuesT.

Since 2018, she’s been a double threat, wearing a second hat as a science fiction writer. When she wrote this post she was in the final stages of producing Bone of Contention, the penultimate book in her XK9 “Bones” Trilogy. Presales were set to begin in mid-August, with wide publication set for September 24, 2024.

IMAGE CREDITS

Many thanks to Theresa Mather and Rachael Mayo for graciously sharing their artwork for this project! See direct links throughout this “New Year Dragon Ladies” post!

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