The Art of Beth Corben Reed
Photo Credit: Dona Corben
About the Artist
I came from a creative and inspiring family;
my Dad is an artist and my Mom is a photographer.
I've enjoyed drawing since childhood, and I gravitated towards fantasy art and mythological subjects.
I started college and took art classes, but I wasn't sure of my direction, so I left after a couple of years.
Then I took a watercolor workshop and fell completely in love with the medium and effects of watercolor painting.
I returned to college, focused on watercolor and illustration, and graduated from University of Central Missouri with a BFA in Studio Art - Illustration.
Now I create watercolor paintings, focusing on faeries and fantasy art, but also nature and landscapes.
I live in Kansas City, Missouri, with my husband and two bossy cats.
I create paintings of faery, fantasy, and nature-based subjects. It is a process of world-building and storytelling with an image, and my goal is to capture a sense of life and activity in these scenes.
I mostly work in watercolor, which I think of as "special effects" painting. While I tend towards a controlled approach, I'm becoming more inclined to let the paint lead while I follow.
I also sometimes enjoy mixing media and applying gouache, acrylic, or pastel.
Influences on my art are:
Victorian fairy paintings of the 1800s, by artists such as Sir Joseph Noel Paton and John Atkinson Grimshaw,
contemporary fantasy artists such as Brian Froud and Omar Rayyan,
and favorite watercolor painters such as Mary Whyte, Nita Engle, and Ann Blockley.
For me, faeries are a symbol for many things -
a sense of relationship between humanity and nature;
a wish to connect with animals, plants, and the natural world;
and a wish to live and thrive in a healthy balance with other living things and with the earth, without abusing them.
I paint faeries because they capture my imagination and hold so many possibilities, both artistically and expressively.
I get to portray human figure, landscape, and both natural and imaginative elements in every single painting.
I strive to portray both the physical world and the emotional or spiritual world; a blurring between what is seen, what is imagined, and what is sensed or felt.
Why "Nocturnal Kingdoms"?
Artist and faerie expert Brian Froud has said that the faeries resist categorization. I agree; but I'm only human and I like to sort things.
I like to think that the faeries tend to group by their most-frequented habitats:
the Atmospheric faeries of the skies and weather;
the Terrestrial faeries of the woods, meadows, mountains, deserts, and tundra;
the Subterranean faeries of barrows and caves;
the Aquatic faeries of fresh and salt waters;
and the Domestic faeries that live in human homes and buildings.
All of these faeries are said to be active from dusk until dawn; emerging from their diverse hidden homes to dance and make mischief through the night.
These are the Nocturnal Kingdoms.