Rima Staines

is creating Art, Animation & Story

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Holding the Hand

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  • Reach out your hand to me and in return you will gain access to these hidden chronicles of my artistic practice, with a promise to make at least one drawing or painting a month and share with you the process. 
  • I offer you my deepest thanks and appreciation and a hope that my art deeply nourishes you and your kith and kin in return.

Planting the Acorn

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In return you will receive:

  • All of the above, plus
  • One high-resolution downloadable artwork

Growing the Tree

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In return you will receive:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • A monthly discount code offering 25% off any of my prints in the Hedgespoken Press shop.




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About Rima Staines

~ photograph by Paul Farrington ~

I am Rima Staines ~ artist, mother, writer, musician, maker, traveller.
I have paintings in publications and private collections worldwide, and was recently nominated in the Best Artist Category in the World Fantasy Awards. In her book on the importance of reclaiming wildness in childhood - Kith - the writer Jay Griffiths said:
“Rima Staines – the best illustrator of the realm of faërie, oak-smoked, sad-strung but vital that I have ever seen.”
I have been an artist from the very beginning, and this work - creating imagery drawn from the unseen storied otherworlds that lie just alongside this one - is intrinsic to who I am and why I'm here.

Perhaps you encountered my work through the blog I wrote for some years between 2008 and 2015, or by coming across my wayside art stall as I have travelled the towns and villages, fairs and festivals of the UK. Other people being part of my journey, following my travels, buying my artwork, encouraging and supporting me, has made all the difference to how my work has appeared in the world. Though I am fairly shy by nature and protective of unfinished works still skinless in their gestation, I have learned that being an artist is only half of a conversation. I am one half, and you are the other. There is no point in me creating what I do without people to receive it. The magic occurs in the handing-over, and in the response returned.

This alchemy is something I have painted and written about, and which fascinates me deeply. How the work an artist creates can effect real and tangible change within the heart and being of another is a precious and profound phenomenon and a task I take very seriously. But this task changes form throughout the life of an artist and becomes more urgent, or harder to manifest depending on your circumstances...

~ photograph by Ishka Michocka ~

In 2015 I became a mother - possibly the hardest, most beautiful and transformational process I have ever been through. My son is now three and the journey of these past years, undertaken in the midst of building and growing our Hedgespoken Travelling Storytelling Theatre, has been full of both ecstatic delight and profound challenges.

One of the biggest of these challenges has been trying to fathom how to be both an artist and a mother. Both of these tasks take all of you - a complete giving from every soul-deep corner. How can we be both, without sacrificing either? The famous quote by Cyril Connolly suggests we cannot: "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway."
But I would like to offer a counter-argument to this rather dismal view. After all, both children and art are two things which within them hold great hope for our collective future. The truths we pass on through them are fundamental to the creation of our next generations, and what kind of world they will manifest. Perhaps the real problem for an artist with a pram in the hallway is that there is nobody else in the hallway. We are living uniquely isolated lives in our compressed-yet-separated nuclear-global households, tribal community support a distant memory. How hard it is to devote full attention and dedicated energy to your work and to your children without the support of others.

~ photograph by Laura Muresan ~

So far I have found my own small ways to determinedly make art in the quiet moments of my son's sleeping, crouching over a sketchbook whilst breastfeeding, sharing the parenting task with my amazing partner Tom - without whom this would be impossible. But I am struggling, and the amount of painting I've done in the past three years has dwindled significantly (not to mention my blog writing!). As a family we are using all our non-parenting moments trying to make a living running our travelling storytelling theatre truck Hedgespoken and its printed-works sibling - Hedgespoken Press, which publishes works of beauty, power and old magic in the form of the printed word and image.

As a child I grew up with artist-parents, surrounded by the conviction that making beautiful imagery was an important and valid life-path. I got to watch my parents make art as they raised us, which was not always easy, but which has instilled in me a belief in the value of being an artist as a calling far deeper and more important than its common hobby-status suggests. And with this belief came a realisation that this was my work in life - something I couldn't not do - as well as a determination that I would find a way to do it through creativity, perseverance, invention and sheer passionate commitment to the power and importance of art and story to human wholeness.

And now, this winter of 2018, I stand on another threshold - about to give birth to our second child in a matter of days. Our family life is a jewel of a blessing, which I treasure endlessly. As this year turns into next, we will be four. Who knows what new delights and challenges and learnings this will bring!

My artist self stands here considering the gifts and complexities of the coming months and years, wondering how I will continue to birth art in this deep mothering time. I know that in order for me to hold my children in one hand and my paintings in the other, sacrificing attention to neither, I will need more support. Since my son's birth I have thought often about the community living that we have lost and which could change so much. My proposal is this: perhaps you, dear comrade in art and story, could be part of my community support? Perhaps you could stand in the hallway, cheering me on as I paint, providing financial support that will mean our family is not stretched so thin, and the hours gained can be used to create art instead of running to stand still.

How will I spend the money?

First of all I would rent a studio. A monthly income from Patreon would cover the basic rent for a space which I could dedicate to making art with no distractions, a place I could go to paint, and leave the windows to the otherworlds standing open, and the oil paints lying about. In the past when I've had a dedicated studio space away from home, it has been a revelation to me and the art I've created in those places has undoubtedly been more abundant and focused. This would be the foundation of all the following dream-works, and the thing from which they would spring.

Secondly I could begin to think about work which isn't immediately money-earning, ideas for paintings and projects which have simmered on my mind's stove for ages, waiting for that elusive moment when there's enough spare time and money to be able to focus on them. With small children in my life these projects feel even further away.

Some of these ideas are as follows:

  • To finish a long-ago-begun book, written and illustrated by me, and set in the folkloric, and umber-stained worlds of my imagination, and then to publish it and offer it for sale!
  • To create a tarot deck. Some years ago I signed a contract with a large tarot publisher to create a deck, but since then the right moment for the delicious task of creating 78 unique and potent pieces of magical art has not materialized.
  • To make more animations. I have really loved the small amount of stop-motion animation I have done in the past, bringing my artwork to life at 24 frames per second, accompanied by music. This is painstakingly slow work of course, so always gets moved to the back burner in favour of earnings.
  • To create a graphic novel. I am very drawn to the storytelling possibilities of this form of artbook, and how I could make my style of work fit the small filmic image format.
  • To just keep drawing and painting! Without the pressure of earning money each time I put pen to paper, I could indulge much more readily in the imagery that just wants to come through.

There are many more art-dreams inside me, but these ones are knocking loudest right now. I have sincere hope that by reaching out my hand to you, these creations might manifest before I am an old woman. The internet is a strange place - we are at once far apart yet inside each other's days, and this can be both wonderful and uncomfortable. I think that this Patreon model of building a community of support around artists could be one of the wonderful things to come out of our online world. Even in our always-on, 24/7, electronic, blue-lit, attention-death internet world, we can somehow still sense the value of real soul-work and can use the tools at our fingertips to make sure that continues to live and thrive and grow roots and feed people. I am also hopeful that taking this leap can go some way to proving that motherhood and artisthood are not incompatible if we have a strong tribe at our shoulders.

Those of you who sign up to support me here will be able to share in my artistic progress as I grow these new wings. I have heard from many many people how they miss my blogging and my regular sharing of artworks and writing. With the support offered by you here - be it small or large, whatever you can offer is received with gratitude beyond words - I hope that this can be the place where I can keep chronicling my work and all that feeds it. I want to make a commitment to producing at least one artwork a month to begin with, and then as my little ones grow, this work can too.

As I navigate the seasonal, seen and unseen, mythic landscapes of my life, I'm still learning: determined, reeling, clambering and impassioned to be the artist I have no choice but to be, in the world and for the world.
Will you join me on this road?

~ photograph by Ishka Michocka ~

~ photo above by Tom Hirons of a very pregnant me and our son
standing inside a Bronze Age hut circle on Dartmoor ~

By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 13 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 13 exclusive posts

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