Issue 041 is HERE! 15 stories spanning the genre of speculative fiction by women-identifying authors are now among us and you simply must go and read them all — available this instant on our site and in print. Of course as your peruse the wonders of the written word, you’ll also notice the gorgeous cover art, courtesy of Serena Malyon. In fact, we were lucky to chat with Serena about her art. Check out our interview below!
LSQ: Please tell us about the cover image “The Veil of Night.” Is there a story behind this image? What do you know of this character? Where did this idea come from?
Serena: “The Veil of Night” was done as a private commission for fellow artist Jenna Kass. The woman depicted represents the night sky. She roams the world, covering the inky darkness with her cloak of stars. She is an elemental giant of sorts, symbolic of the comfort and security provided by the moon and stars. She is part of a broader story I’m working on, which examines humanity’s complex relationship with nature through fantastical giants and elementals. I’ve worked with these types of themes for a long time, and when given the opportunity to paint a woman in a gauzy dress, as my client wanted, I decided to depict my version of night, glittering like a cosmic queen.
LSQ: What is it that draws you to the media watercolor and gouache?
Serena: I love the textures and colour mixing of watercolour; it’s always come very easily to me. However, when I work, I like to be very precise, which requires a ton of planning in watercolour. So I use acryla gouache to cover mistakes and make instinctual choices on the go. I use the watercolour underpainting to guide my colours, but the acryla gouache allows me to achieve the level of polish that I desire.
LSQ: Please tell us more about the subjects of your art: e.g., fantasy, maps, medieval scenes. What draws you to these subjects? Where does your inspiration come from?
Serena: I’m inspired by fantasy worlds and mythology, and I really enjoy creating whimsical narratives for my work. I started experimenting with medieval and other ancient stylization a few years ago; I was really drawn to the abstract way the world was represented through history. I like being able to tap into a way of communicating narrative and form that transcends time, and mix it with contemporary concepts.
LSQ: Sometimes it’s hard to pick, but do you have a favorite piece of yours, or a favorite subject? If so, can you tell us a bit about it and why?
Serena: My current favourite piece is “Fly Away”. This painting was inspired by the devastation of
the natural world by big corporations, primarily referencing the tailings ponds in my home province of Alberta. These toxic ponds hold residue from the oil industry. Unfortunately, they lie on the migratory paths of birds, and each year hundreds of birds must be destroyed when they land in those polluted waters. For many years I was afraid to paint something so divisive, but I feel that art should contribute something to the world, and this is something I believe in.