This art by Beth Wodzinski is part of the December 2023 issue of Worlds of Possibility. The ebook of the entire issue is available to download for free as an end of the year gift here: https://www.juliarios.com/the-december-2023-issue-of-worlds-of-possibility/
Prints of Fallowtide are available at https://brightlycolored.com/product/fallowtide/, and you can get a discount if you use the coupon code: Fallow.
In addition to reading the text below, you can also listen to a podcast version of this interview along with the editor's note for the December 2023 issue and an interview with Alex Hernandez.Listen to "The December 2023 Issue of Worlds of Possibility Is Here!" on Spreaker.
About the Artist
Beth Wodzinski lives in rural Vermont with her husband, one dog, and five cats. Formerly the publisher of Shimmer magazine, Beth has shifted her creative focus to digital art, and is currently inspired by Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles. Beth also enjoys vegan cooking, yoga, and reality tv. Follow her on instagram at @bethwodzinski and view her art at www.brightlycolored.com.
Interview with Beth Wodzinski
Julia Rios: Welcome, Beth! So do you want to tell us a little bit about who you are in general? You are an artist, but you've also got a background with publishing and editing as well. So tell us who you are.
Beth Wodzinski: I used to be the publisher of Shimmer magazine with Elise Tobler, and we ran for something like thirteen years, I want to say. Elise is still writing and doing publishing, and she's working with my husband Sean Markey at The Deadlands. So I'm still very connected to that world through them. But since we shut down Shimmer, I've changed my interest, like you've seen, more to be about art and yoga, and I guess I'm looking for a more balanced life always.
And so that's partly how this piece came about. In a private group, we started talking about fallowing as a verb. And that was just sort of, you know, taking the time to chill out, especially in this time of year. And then a friend of a friend of a friend in that group has came up with this term Fallowtide, which was so great and she sent me what this friend, whose name is Friend-Crow – which I think is a great name – so Friend-Crow lives in Portland and originally described it as:
"The season of Fallowtide runs from Falloween through Fallowmas. It's observed by laying fallow and generally being as unproductive as possible. Be kind to retail workers, for the machinery of capitalism pays no heed to the observance of Fallowtide."
I think that's wonderful and lighthearted. I went in a little more meditative direction with mine, and just was starting to think about how much work is being done under the ground with all the roots and everything twining, and there's so much going on that you can't see and that's sort of the metaphor for this time of year. And so that's how that happened, basically.
Julia Rios: Yeah, so talk to me a little bit more about why you chose the symbolism of the roots and what that means to you specifically. What is your own Fallowtide mythos?
Beth Wodzinski: I've always taken the week between Christmas and New Year's off to just sort of you know, rest up and finish up any projects. But then this year it just seemed like a really good time to expand it and so in my group, we were talking about having it be from Thanksgiving through New Year's, which is a little different from what Friend-Crow describes as Falloween. I just love that term – Halloween Falloween.
Just thinking about how there's snow everywhere, but everything's sleeping underground, but hibernating, and there's all these processes that are still happening even if you don't see anything going on on the surface. And also just in art, I like the process of things overlapping each other like roots do. Over-under is fun for me in art. So a tree with an extensive root system seemed like the right thing.
Julia Rios: Yeah, so talking about the process of sort of needing to have fallow time, what kinds of cycles do you use when you're doing your creative work? Do you do a lot in a steady rhythm? Do you tend to take breaks and do bursts? What's your pacing like?
Beth Wodzinski: That's a really good question. I think I'm still trying to figure out what my rhythm is. I do tend to do something almost every day. I take a lot of classes on Skillshare and whatever, and I'm just really inspired by a lot of those. I'll just go off and do like I don't know five or six of an idea, and then maybe I move on to the next idea.
Julia Rios: What kind of mediums do you use when you're working on a piece?
Beth Wodzinski: Oh I'm almost entirely working digitally now. So I just use Procreate on my iPad, curled up on the couch, which is a very cozy way to work.
Julia Rios: So you do the entire piece from start to finish all digitally on your on your tablet or similar?
Beth Wodzinski: Usually yeah. Once in a while I'll sketch something and then copy that in, but usually I just do it all in Procreate.
Julia Rios: Yeah I was I was talking earlier with the other artist who is featured in this issue, Alex Hernandez, and he was telling me that he doesn't like to draw in Procreate. So what he usually does is sketch his things on actual paper and then scan it and trace it onto the tablet. But he likes the friction of pencil on paper, so his initial sketches are usually on paper and then he does like all of the fleshing out in Procreate which is really interesting. I just find it so interesting to hear how different artists are approaching things.
Beth Wodzinski: I just like how easy it is to undo. You just tap the screen with two fingers, boom, and it undoes it.
Julia Rios: Yeah, Alex said that he likes to paint specifically in Procreate because with using real paints, it's very hard to just erase your work.
Beth Wodzinski: It's true. And all the different layers. There's just so much that you can do. It's great.
Julia Rios: How long does it take you usually to do a piece like this?
Beth Wodzinski: Ah, that's a great question. That probably took like eight to ten hours over the course of three or four days.
Julia Rios: And did you have the idea for this suddenly and just decide to start doing it, or was this something that you had to think about a lot first?
Beth Wodzinski: I'm into a lot of art nouveau stuff. So I've been doing a lot of tracing art nouveau stained glass pieces and the frames and all the detail for that. So once I heard the term Fallowtide, I was like, oh that needs to be something with a tree. And in this art nouveau kind of frame, and with all these curvy things. And then the details of how that actually worked came as I was working on it, you know, as I figured out how to make the branches branch the way I wanted to. And then at the bottom, two of the leaves curved down around the words. That just totally happened as I was playing with it; that wasn't part of the initial concept. It just came up that way.
Julia Rios: Very cool. So I guess it sort of sounds to me like maybe the idea for this specific piece kind of came quickly and evolved as you were doing it, but it couldn't have come quickly without you already being deeply immersed in art nouveau as a style.
Beth Wodzinski: That's a good way to put it. Yeah, the the ground was fertile for it.
Julia Rios: I might say you had spent some time fallowing.
Beth Wodzinski: It's true.
Julia Rios: You can buy a print of this piece online. You're selling it through your online store. Tell us about the the materials that are used in that print. What would someone be getting if they bought one?
Beth Wodzinski: The printer I use is iprintfromhome.com. They're a family-based print shop in New York and they do a really great quality. So it's all archival and great inks, and it's just a really good quality piece. It's 8.5"x11" and I'm asking $50 for it – with a coupon code – just type in Fallow and you get a good discount. 50% I think. That is available because this is actually the very first art thing I've tried to sell, so mostly I was trying to figure out all the infrastructure – what goes into selling things rather than, you know, getting rich off of this one piece.
Julia Rios: Of course, yeah, and what goes into selling things is a big tangle.
Beth Wodzinski: Yeah, yeah, and it's so easy to get super self-conscious and tripped up and double overthink everything and just get in your head and panic. So I just sort of went ahead with this super rudimentary website and I'm just sort of figuring this all out as I go along.
Julia Rios: Well, that is very cool. And people can go and get that. I think it's beautiful.
Beth Wodzinski: Thank you.
Julia Rios: I think that it would be a great addition to anybody's decor. Especially if you like kind of like the dark art nouveau look, and a bit of sparkle, because it has that sort of silvery sparkliness.
Beth Wodzinski: It's also available in gold.
Julia Rios: So when when you get a print of these, will it be like a sparkly silver or will it be more of a matte?
Beth Wodzinski: Yeah, it's pretty sparkly.
Julia Rios: Okay, cool. Tell me a little bit about your history with art. How did you get into it? Have you always loved it since you were a kid, or did you do it as an adult? What's your story?
Beth Wodzinski: I did it all through all through high school and then somehow I decided that art was only for serious art people, and that wasn't me, so I didn't do any for a long time. Then in like 2012 to 2014, somewhere around there, I started really thinking that art is for everybody, and so I started taking classes online and have just been playing around ever since. So, for a long time, basically what I did was I would take these classes and I would do these assignments, and I never really had my own sort of direction. But this year something shifted somehow and I've been having more of my own independent ideas not in the context of a class or anything and this is the year that I started finding my own way, which is amazing. And now in 2024 I need to figure out how to do that more for money.
Julia Rios: That's really exciting! I'm glad that you're finding your artistic voice. I think that it's really common for people to start with classes and not really know exactly what they're trying to do at the beginning, but it takes all of that practice to learn what you're even working with.
Beth Wodzinski: Absolutely. Yeah, and you read artist statements and stuff and they're like, "this person blends contemporary whatever with the nostalgia of this and ecosensitivity and blah blah..." and it's just like, what? No, I don't understand any of that. I'm just following this lesson in this class about how to do watercolor. What are you even talking about? But now I can sort of start to see how people are trying to do something and I'm not sure quite what I'm trying to do yet, but we'll get there.
Julia Rios: Do you think you'll do more art nouveau inspired pieces?
Beth Wodzinski: I'm really into that right now. So yeah, and then someday I'll get sick of it and who knows? I don't think I've dialed in on one style that's you know, uniquely mine yet. I haven't quite found that one thing. All the advice is, you know, find your own style. And I'm getting there, but I don't think I've found it yet.
Julia Rios: Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. How about letting people know where they can find you and your work if they want to find out more about you?
Julia Rios: So everybody should go follow Beth on Instagram and go check out the website brightlycolored.com, and you can get a print of "Fallowtide" if you would like it. And thank you Beth have a have a wonderful rest of your Fallowtide season.
Beth Wodzinski: I will! And I'm looking forward to kicking ass next year, so let's go.