Becoming

A glowing milky-pink cocoon hovers on a background of midnight blue. Out of the cocoon emerges the head of a girl, with white blond hair that tumbles gently over the cocoon and blue eyes. She looks pale-sick with an element of quiet, dreamy shock, her dark lips softly parted. A white Apollo butterfly lands on her cocoon, the crimson dots of its wings hovering over her neck, which is faintly visible from through the cocoon's weird, skinlike membrane. Glowing veins pulse at the cocoon's base, and a shocking pink light illuminates the cocoon's opening.

“But to die as lovers may – to die together, so that they may live together. Girls are caterpillars while they live in the world, to be finally butterflies when the summer comes.” –Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu

The Ecstasy of St. Joan

A femme bodied person, illuminated by blue, pink, and gold light, wears steel plate armor and stands facing front, eyes gently closed and head slightly turned into their own hand, which is caressing their face. They have medium brown skin and black hair, and entwined in the fingers of their hands are devotional beads. Around their head is a circular halo, upon which is written “I am the angel and there is no other.” Within the halo there are many lush flowers, and these flowers surround and caress the head of Joan. There is prismatic light suffusing the scene with a background of subtle indigo, and small, graceful, glowing motes of dust, or stars, or glittering orbs of violet and golden and chartreuse light, surrounding the figure.

The Ecstasy of St. Joan. Completed July 15, 2022.

From the transcript of the trial of Jeanne D’Arc: “Jeanne replied she would not receive the Eucharist by changing her costume for a woman’s; she asked to hear Mass in her male attire, adding that it did not burden her soul.”

Bodily autonomy as Holy Edict. Freedom unyoked by God or State. Self-Divinity, whole, joyous,  and eternal.

Bodily autonomy has been weighing heavily on me (and on most women, trans, & queer people in the US). Joan has always been a figure of devotion for me. Most don’t know that she was executed as a relapsed heretic *because* she refused gender conformity. I paint Joan (or a Joan-like figure) free from God or State, in the power and joy of the fullness of their expression.

“Her judges gave her hope that she would be allowed to hear Mass if she would finally put off man’s dress and wear female attire, as befits her sex. She would not agree, and preferred not to take Communion and the holy offices, rather than abandon this [male] dress.”

“We questioned her to find out [why] she had resumed man’s dress and rejected woman’s clothes. Asked why she had resumed it, and who had compelled her to wear it, she answered that she had taken it of her own will, under no compulsion, as she preferred man’s to woman’s dress.

“The report has now become well known that this woman, utterly disregarding what is honourable in the female sex, breaking the bounds of modesty, and forgetting all female decency, has disgracefully put on the clothing of the male sex, a striking and vile monstrosity.”

The charge: “The report has now become well known that this woman, utterly disregarding what is honourable in the female sex, breaking the bounds of modesty, and forgetting all female decency, has disgracefully put on the clothing of the male sex, a striking and vile monstrosity.”

One of her final words before her execution was this: “I was the angel, and there was no other.” This (though likely referring to her martial success for France) drew me into a beautiful possible world for Joan, where she could be her own Holy Angel.

Home

A painting by artist Lauren Raye Snow called “Home.” A female presenting figure in the foreground, ambiguously young, with an olive complexion, orange-red lips, flushed cheeks bordering on burning, dark hair in braids, dark brown eyes, and a slender build, wearing a black satin fantastical confection of a dress, like a nun turned into a gothic cupcake. In the background a giant thunderhead looms heavy and foreboding in the turquoise-blue sky, itself bright and unnaturally orange. Flanking the woman in the background are two live oaks barren of leaves, and the ground is green but singeing a yellow-brown from the extreme weather. The woman clutches an armadillo, like a precious relic, or as Mary to a baby Jesus; her face is ambivalent, tense, afraid, sad. She is crowned with the blown out wildflowers native to Texas.

My latest, “Home.” When home is hostile, beautiful but brutal.

My bittersweet farewell love letter to my home state of Texas. The landscape of my life, the broken body of malign governance and treacherous climes. How bright the beauty, how sharp the pain.

 

Go back to the Home Page

 

Colleen

Colleen by Lauren Raye Snow

Colleen, 2021, cover for Mermaids Monthly, December 2021 Issue

Inspired by “Colleen” by Joanna Newsom

Then dive down there with the lights to lead
That seem to shine from everything —
Down to the bottom of the deep blue sea;
Down where your heart beats so slow
And you never in your life have felt so free
Will you come down there with me?
Down where our bodies start to seem like
Artifacts of some strange dream
Which afterwards you can’t decipher
And so, soon, have forgotten
Everything

Anima Sola I

Anima Sola I, September 2019

She’ll never burn, but she’s doomed to watch her flowers turn to ashes again and again, forever. In a way, it is like burning – a consumption of the soul.

tiMe tO gEt SpOoKy

Plumage

Gothic illustration of woman with ravens in her hair, titled "Plumage"

“Plumage,” for the October 2020 issue of New Gothic Review.

“Plumage” accompanies a story of the same name by Nadine Rodriguez. The story is full of vivid imagery, but this line inspired my piece: “Hay cuervos viviendo en su cabello…..”

If you want to read spooky stories and enjoy spooky art, follow New Gothic Review on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Take me home.

A Haunting Too Close to the Heart

“A Haunting Too Close to the Heart,” painted April 2021 for New Gothic Review; story by Charlotte Heather

I deeply and personally resonated with the story by Charlotte Heather for reasons that felt uncanny and unreal. I honestly felt honored to illustrate it, so I am so pleased that it’s out today and that you can read it in New Gothic Review Volume 3!

Finding

a young Mexican woman pointing to her heart, which is exploding out with lightning

“Finding”, Procreate on the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

This piece was inspired by my experiences volunteering with the immigration rights community on the Texas/Mexico border.