Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bronze Dragon Miniature

In 1980 I won an art contest illustrating a then-recent story by Anne McCaffrey about her dragonworld of Pern. The prize was a trip to Ireland to meet Ms. McCaffrey and tour around. I did this in October of 1980, traveling with a friend. We visited McCaffrey's home outside of Dublin, and met her family and pets. On the walls of her home were paintings and drawings inspired by her tales of the dragon-riders. There was one portrait of a rearing dragon that she said was the closest any artist had come to depicting what her dragons looked like. I was surprised, because it was not reptilian and graceful like most "classic" dragons, but massive and plump, with wings that were much too small for a creature that size to fly with.

I asked her how these dragons were supposed to fly with those little wings, and she said with a smile, "They LEVITATE." Magic, perhaps, though that wasn't mentioned in the stories. Or perhaps they flew like bumblebees, with that famous "impossibility" technique that turned out not to be so impossible with a flexible wing. Anyway, the Dragons of Pern were not your typical dragon, though they would easily be recognized as "dragons." This nametag miniature shows a bronze dragon done according to the image I saw at the McCaffrey home, complete with giraffe-like tubular "ears."

I did this nametag miniature as a blank to be sold at convention, and later someone named "Lyn" bought it and had me inscribe her "Pernese" fan name variant, "J'Lyn," on the card. Unlike Darkover fandom, which dwindled away after the death of the author Marion Zimmer Bradley, Pern fans still exist and enjoy new stories written not only by the matriarchal 85-year-old McCaffrey but by her son Todd as well.

"Bronze Wings" nametag miniature is 3 1/2" x 2 1/4," ink and watercolor on Fabriano paper, summer 1981.

1 comment:

Tristan Alexander said...

COOL! I did not know you won a trip to Ireland and the McCaffery home!! Wow!!