Very excited to announce that my second book will be released June 9th. Trail Blazers, Women Who Explored The World is a fully illustrated non-fiction book for 9 to 14-year olds. These women were extraordinary and I am very happy to share their stories.
Here’s the cover! That’s Lady Hester Stanhope on the camel.
Pre-lease and Book Signing info coming soon. Stay tuned.
Number 4 on my list of favorite women in history is a six-way tie. Hard to pick a favorite from these ladies- I love reading about all of them. I think Anne of Cleves made out best of the bunch and Anne gets voted most Controversial. Seymour- probably the least favorite, but only because there isn’t much to say.
For more information on the Tudors, check out Barb Alexander’s Book:
I’ve written some goofy little poems about each one too. You can double-cllck the images to see them larger.
Elizabeth was born into extreme power and privilege. Bathory was a clan who’s name literally means “brave” but in order to preserve their blood, decades of inbreeding led to mental instability, violence, and VERY disturbing behavior. Torture and mistreatment of peasants was very common in the very turbulent times of Elizabeth’s youth. Wars with the Turks and religious battles were fought throughout Hungary and Transylvania. It’s certainly no excuse- but gives us a little insight on her brutal behavior. She was, indeed, a monster. There is one (unproven) story that Elizabeth witnessed her father have a man sewn inside the body of a live horse as punishment for treason. Yikes. (Edward Snowden… lookout.)
Church and village records show that over 600 women went missing from the villages surrounding Elizabeth’s castle. Villagers who were proud to have their daughters work in the castle, soon discovered that their children were not coming home. Families began to hide their girls after hearing the gruesome tales of murder. Bodies were scattered in parts in the areas surrounding the villages to instill fear and maintain control.
Many of the stories that surround Elizabeth are hard to prove. There is no evidence that she bathed in blood (a myth most likely sensationalized in literature and movies) but eyewitness accounts (over 300 reports) confirm that her methods of torture varied from extreme mutilation (ripping jaws off entirely) to covering a girl with honey and leaving her outside, naked in the sun- letting the bees and ants have at her. It’s horrifying. Access, ability, power, control, and an obsession with sexuality and youth led to a perfect storm for a well-documented sexual sadist.
Some have tried to say she was framed by men trying to acquire her lands, some say the mutilated bodies were due to the fact that she was running some sort of hospital or abortion clinic… these theories all appear to contradict the evidence.
It wasn’t until King Matthias II launched a full investigation into the complaints against the countess that her crimes were exposed. Because of her wealth and power, she was never brought to trial- but three of her faithful servants were found guilty, had their fingers ripped off and were eventually burned at the stake. Elizabeth spent her last four years confined to her Castle. Boo hoo.
There is a great documentary here: http://documentaryaddict.com/Lady+Killers+Elizabeth+Bathory+Blood+Countess-10658-documentary.html
I did say that not everyone on my top ten list would win a popularity contest. I do think, however, that opinions of Queen Mary I split right down the middle… no in-between-ers. I’ve painted her as No. 6 on my list because I love reading about her: harsh upbringing, cruel yo-yo father, false pregnancies, and a painful death. Her reign was not a successful one. Those years were so terribly rainy- it led to famine and sickness which was, of course, chalked up to Mary’s regime. Paired with her decision to marry Philip of Spain and her hardcore punishment of the Protestants… well, it wasn’t pretty. Hence the name “Bloody Mary” sort of stuck. It’s a shame.
One very cool tidbit of info- Mary was the first Queen Regnant, meaning she reigned by her own right, not by marriage or on behalf of another.
Number 7 on my list of favorite women in history- Gloria Steinem. I think we all owe her a bit of gratitude- a true champion of women’s rights, a breast cancer survivor, yogi, tap dancer, award winning author, activist, feminist, advocate and just one of the coolest women on the planet. I also love that her alias was Marie C. Ochs.
No. 8 on my list of favorite women in history: Anne Frank.
She was the very first woman in history that I remember studying. I also distinctly remember (after reading the diary) thinking that being mad at my parents for not buying me a synthesizer was really stupid.
Anne’s famous diary reminded us all that it was a cruel, unfair world- but that there is hope even in the darkest of times.
(Wait, is that a quote from Lord of the Rings? damn.)
I am having the best time working on my top ten! I think it’s because I love all of these women so much- that some interesting styles and compositions are working their way onto paper. This was done in watercolor and ink.
No. 9 on my list of favorite women from history: Eleanor of Aquitaine. Power, beauty, intelligence, military skills, a vast empire, patron of the arts…there’s not a lot NOT to like about the Queen Consort of France and England. Women in her presence were so ridiculously jealous and fearful, they often said she must be a witch to have that much power and beauty. Bitches have always been bitchy. *sigh*
Again- trying new styles and techniques with my illustrations and paintings. When I’m done, I’ll be asking you all which is your favorite.
In an effort to try and explore new techniques and methods of illustration, I’m starting the new year with my top ten favorite women in history. When I say “favorite” I’m mean the ladies I find to be most interesting. They weren’t all the most popular or most heroic, in fact, several are more villainous than victorious. So… here is my number 10. Mary Queen of Scots. Maryr? Murderer? so much scandal!!!