Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rose O'Neill's Faerie Gathering at Bonniebrook

Calling all faeries, elves, trolls, fauns, their cousins and ALL WHO BELIEVE!

Join us for an enchanting time at Bonniebrook on Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25, 2011 for Rose O'Neill's Faerie Gathering, a celebration of Rose O'Neill's art, Irish heritage and folklore.  Eight groups of musicians/entertainers will be featured including Elvendrums, EznDil, Eire and Brimstone, Irish Jammers, Beltana Spellsinger, Stormy Weather, Withe and Stone, and Gypsy Sol.  Among the activities planned;  the art of sculpting faeries by artist Kent Melton, storytelling, seminars, a faerie house building competition, and various craft and vendor booths.  The newly renovated gallery and museum will be open both days to attendees.  Made In The Shade will offer food and beverages until 6:00 p.m.  For your comfort, feel free to bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnic baskets and coolers to enjoy a light repast on the lawn.  Costumes are encouraged! 

Saturday hours10 to 10

Sweet Monsters Ball and Masquerade 6 to 10  -  featuring Stormy Weather & Eire and Brimstone - "Rock and Roll with Celtic Soul"

Sunday hours 10 to 6

1 day pass - $15.00           2 day pass - $20.00         Children 12 and under free

Bonniebrook is located 9 miles north of Branson, MO east of Hwy 65 at mile marker 20.2

For more information and updates visit http://

Faeries, Elves and Friends from the 2010 Gathering

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sweet Monsters

Rose O'Neill led a fascinating life.  She did everything on her own terms.  Married and divorced twice by 1909, O'Neill chose to be childless.  She supported her large family and paid to educate her brothers and sisters.  O'Neill is best remembered for inventing the Kewpie character and the merchandising boom that followed. 

The income from her illustrations and Kewpie merchandise allowed her the freedom to study art in Paris and create what she named her "Sweet Monsters".  These were shown in Paris in 1921 and again in New York in 1922.

This is how she described her creative process:
"When the guests were gone I used to draw at night.  Now that I had plenty of money I did not illustrate as much but let my hand have free play.  I would pull up the big rocking chair under the light and let myself go.  I am ashamed to be seen when I suffer or when I toil.  In the latter case my consciousness has gone away.  I leave my cadaver behind and I am embarrassed like a suicide.  Often I would have no plan before beginning.  The plan seemed hidden in the hand itself.  Then satyr-like heads and half-beastly shapes would appear on the paper and the Idea would loom.  Marvelous nights!  With the sound of passers in the Square growing few -- perhaps a moon crossing the sky beyond my large high windows and the rustling images of ancestral things surging through my head and projecting themselves upon my paper all wrapped in mesh of endless convolutions.  Late in the night I would get out of the "Drunken Sailor" (her rocking chair) and, half drunk myself with visions, lay my drawing or drawings (sometimes there would be several) in the portfolio and stagger off to bed.  Another monster had been born.

I seemed to be entranced by the idea of the rise of man from animal origins and was always drawing low slant-browed beings that pointed the road behind us.  These beings charmed me.  They seemed to have the freshness of leaves, the rugged well-being of the rocks themselves.  I made them with great necks curved like a stallion's.  We called these drawings "the monsters".  Meemie (mother) complained of them.  She had a literal eye.  I made these drawings in an intricate network of lines with a small brush and India ink.  Meemie said she did not like to see the figures "all tied up in a web."  I said, "Why make it with a few lines when you can make it with many?"  The web of lines took time.  And that was the fun of it.  Not to conclude -- to go on deliriously sculpturing the form, prolonging the delight.  While I drew them, I had ecstatic images of the up-surge of life from the "ancestral slime".  This progression seemed to me the epic of epics.  People used to wonder how the hand that made the Kewpies could bring forth those monstrous shapes with their mysterious whisperings of natural forces and eons of developing time."

O'Neill studying art in Paris circa 1906


The Red Fauness

Capri 1933

Fugitive Drawing

Man and His Ancestor

The Lost Cherub

The Lost Cherub Detail

The Lost Cherub Detail

Paris Exhibition Catalog 1921

New York Exhibition Catalog 1922

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Advertising Commissions

O'Neill was a highly sought-after illustrator and had many high profile advertising accounts such as Oxydol, Kelloggs, Rock Island Railroad, Brownie Camera, Edison Phonograph, and Jell-O.  Here are some of her advertisements:

In Jocund Vein

O'Neill was commissioned to illustrate comics for many early publications such as Harpers, Truth, Life, and many others.  Here are some samples of her work from Harpers Magazine "In Jocund Vein".  These are from the very early 20th Century.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who is Rose O'Neill?

Rose O'Neill was one of the most prolific artists of the 19th and 20th Centuries.  She was the first woman cartoonist in America and the first woman staff artist at Puck Magazine.  O'Neill illustrated for magazines during the Golden Age of Illustration.  She worked alongside such notables as Charles Dana Gibson, J.C. Leyendecker, and James Montgomery Flagg.  Some of the other publications she worked for include The Great Divide, Truth, Life, Harpers, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Home Companion, and Good Housekeeping.

O'Neill was born in 1874 in Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania.  She lived until 1944 and is laid to rest at her beloved home, Bonniebrook.  There is an art gallery and museum there devoted solely to her works.

Rose O'Neill was first and foremost an artist.  She made her living as an illustrator.  She was a published author, a sculptor, an activist, and a marketing genius.  The purpose of this blog is to reintroduce this amazing woman to a new generation of admirers.  I hope you will enjoy learning about the incredible Rose O'Neill!

Below is a small sample of some of her early illustrations.