It’s a popular thing to draw on fairy tales and the fairy tale tradition as inspiration for art, but painter Stephen Mackey has invented a whole fantasy world of his own. Working with oil on wood, his paintings are by turns in media res cautionary stories and mysterious rituals straight out of make-believe myths. Each painting is labeled in cursive script or all caps serif, and the titles don’t do much except further the enigma. “Somnambulist as a Bride Ascending a Staircase Backward,” proclaims one. Another is straight out of the recipe book of some apocryphal apothecary: “Charm No. 2: Attar of Knotgrass.”

madamoisellemouchete somnambulistasabride magicuncle lookingglass stepmotherwithscissors theunjinxing unspeakablefortune aballoonmadefrom attarofknotgrass conjuress invisiblegirl whatthemoonsaw polkaandherchildren thesecretpeople covenofonemadamoisellemouchete covenofone thesecretpeople polkaandherchildren whatthemoonsaw invisiblegirl conjuress attarofknotgrass aballoonmadefrom unspeakablefortune theunjinxing stepmotherwithscissors lookingglass magicuncle somnambulistasabridePopulated with velvety plush clouds and soft-focus girls, Mackey’s world is certainly charming. There are friendly faces in his darling cat-headed children and the moon, which is adorned with a Mona Lisa smile. However, there is sense of danger in the still water: a menacing shadow looms in “The Secret People,” and another painting shows a little girl being lured to a cottage by a wolf-headed mother. The latter is simply called, “What the Moon Saw.”

Mackey’s paintings seem to all occur in the twilight hours or at least before waking. They hint at elusive stories that promise to be as interesting as they appear. Richly colored and filled with wonder, they feel like an elaborate game of hide and seek with one’s own dreams.

Stephen Mackey’s Fantastical Soft-Focus Fairy Tale Paintings appeared first on Beautiful/Decay Artist & Design.