The Lady Astronaut of Mars

Two figures in profile: A young girl of middle eastern descent, hair plaited in two black braids, in overalls, stands in front of a white female astronaut in her 60s, dressed in a spacesuit. Stars and nebulas swirl beside them and throughout the girl's hair. The spacescape above fades to black.

I’m so pleased to finally reveal the cover for Mary Robinette Kowal’s SILENT SPACES, a collection of short stories in the Lady Astronaut Universe.

It was such an adventure reading the stories in this collection and falling in love with these characters. When approaching an illustration project, I like to let emotional moments speak to me as I read. It’s always my goal to capture the emotional resonance of the story. This particular illustration is meant to accompany The Lady Astronaut of Mars. I hope you’ll pick up the book and find out why.

Thank you so much to Mary Robinette for trusting me with your world!

Inferno (Anima Sola III)

A woman kneels amid a misty, liminal space, her hands open and empty on her lap, blackness behind her. She stares abjectly into the middle-distance, off canvas and toward the right, her eyebrows just barely knitting together. She has pale skin and auburn hair, which is on fire, burning hot and bright - an inferno. The light and shadow from the fire throws her body and the surrounding atmosphere into an eerie red-orange light. Three shadowy hands reach up through the mists below her. Orange sparks whip around her in a vortex of wind, blowing the fire up and towards the right. Cool reflections linger in the shadows, in between darkness and redness. On the left, her body and the mists below her are shadowed in a numinous red, while on the right, the dim, sickly blue of the mists twirl. She is empty, both frozen and inflamed, fire burning from nothing, paralyzed in the in-between.
Presenting Inferno (Anima Sola III). Completed September 2023.
I did not die, and I was not alive;
think for yourself, if you have any wit,
what I became, deprived of life and death.
Io non mori’ e non rimasi vivo;
pensa oggimai per te, s’hai fior d’ingegno,
qual io divenni, d’uno e d’altro privo.
–Inferno 34, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri

Strange Agony

“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 summer comes; but in the meantime there are grubs and larvae, don’t you see–each with their particular propensities, necessities, and structure.
You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me and still come with me, hating me through death and after. Love will have its sacrifices. No sacrifice without blood.”
STRANGE AGONY – the second painting in my series on Carmilla, the 1872 vampire novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.
Endless gratitude to my dear friend Lacy Rose for embodying my favorite vampire.

Purgatorio (Anima Sola II)

A femme figure appears as if lit from below by firelight; she stands in front of a solitary mountain, its single peak backlit by the setting sun, or the first rays of dawn - in this liminal space, it is hard to tell. The figure has cropped dark hair, a pale olive complexion, and she raises her right hand, palm open, which has a bright red-pink blistering burn wound. Her left hand gently grasps her right wrist, and her left pointer finger rests in the center of her right palm. She wears a classical white robe, her shoulders bare. On either side of her, serpentine chains dance on their own accord. The terminal link of each chain has been broken. On the mountain, in the distance, eight iridescent lights scale up the peak. Stars dimly twinkle in the liminal sky above.

With apologies to Mr. Alighieri. Presenting Purgatorio (Anima Sola II), completed October 2022.

Look: she lingers at the bottom. A far cry from the contrition of the blessed souls Dante encountered on his winding way up the mountain; indeed, watch as she creeps down again. Don’t pray for her! She chose this, and is marked by it. She’s looking for something.

130 Cinque volte racceso e tante casso
131 lo lume era di sotto da la luna,
132 poi che ’ntrati eravam ne l’alto passo,

133 quando n’apparve una montagna, bruna
134 per la distanza, e parvemi alta tanto
135 quanto veduta non avëa alcuna.

Five times rekindled and as many quenched
Had been the splendour underneath the moon,
Since we had entered into the deep pass,

When there appeared to us a mountain, dim
From distance, and it seemed to me so high
As I had never any one beheld.

–Inferno 26, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri




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 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.


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 love letter to my home state of Texas. The landscape of my life, the centuries-long open wound of colony from whence I came, the broken body of malign governance and treacherous climes. How bright the beauty, how sharp the knife.


Go back to the Home Page



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


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

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


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…..”

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Take me home.