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21 July 2014 @ 01:24 pm
Seven Years Ago Today.  

Seven years ago today, I was volunteering as a face painter at my favorite Borders bookstore - the one that had given me a spot in their cafe to draw every weekend and rewarded my attempts at artistic legitimacy by hosting my very first (and only) art show featuring my Harry Potter artwork. It was the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I joyfully spent four straight hours dressed up as Hermione drawing owls, Hogwarts crests, dark marks, basilisks, and anything else kids and grown-ups alike could concoct to wear on their faces, arms, and hands.

Of course, face painting all night prevented me from queuing up with the rest of the fans to get my copy of the book. By the time midnight had arrived, I emerged from the children's book section with a sore wrist and realized I would be at least 200th in line to get my book. At this point, I was tired and daunted at the idea of driving myself home later than it already was, so I resolved to get myself back to the bookstore early the next day to pick up and pay for my reserved copy. I made sure to greet the manager on my way out to thank him for another opportunity to participate in a Potter event at his store.

He gave me a big hug and asked why I was leaving. "It's pretty late and the line is a little too long. But it's fine. I'll be back tomorrow," I had said.

"Wait here," he replied, and disappeared into the throng. Moments later, he emerged with a shiny new Harry Potter 7. "For you."

Elated, I dove into my purse to take out my wallet, and was promptly interrupted.

"Nope. It's yours free of charge. For all you've done for these kids and our store. Take it home."

My eyes filled with tears as I accepted my copy, and I stumbled over words in an attempt to convey just how grateful I was. I raced home and, despite my exhaustion, jumped into pajamas and read the first chapter to my roommate. Ultimately, she went to bed, and I stayed awake all night reading the rest until the last page had been turned.

A lot happens in seven years. The Borders bookstore that had welcomed me so warmly as one of their own is now closed. And I now have a little Harry of my own. But the memory of being among so many enthusiastic fans, doing what I love to do, being on the receiving end of such generosity, and devouring an entire book in the same night as so many other die-hard Potterheads stays with me to this day.

So here is the first Harry Potter artwork I've completed in many years. It was commissioned by a dad for his 14 year-old girl who is nearly as big a fan of the books as her old man. I'm thrilled to share it with the only group of people on the planet who know just how much I love this scene. It represents the beginning of amazing things - in the books, and in my life.

Title: "Fluffy"
Medium: digital
Characters: Ron, Harry, Hermione, Neville

 
 
Current Mood: nostalgic
 
 
 
Why be normal?: obhwf - double weddinglunalovepotter on July 21st, 2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
Well you have succeeded in bringing tears to my eyes - well, at least a little mist. Words can't adequately express how much Harry Potter has brought to our lives, and yet somehow you manage to sum it all up in one lovely post.

I'm so glad we became friends. :D
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way. HP opened the door to new friendships, new opportunities, and a new life for me. JKR, I am forever in your debt.
rickey_arickey_a on July 21st, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
wonderful artwork :)
the Harry Potter books spawned more than movies and amusement parks - it formed a fandom empire and culture that has some pretty amazing aspects :)
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! And well said!
The Elephant in the Room: Trevor Talespennswoods on July 21st, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
You have no idea how perfect this is today. I was just revisiting my own post from 7 years ago. I cannot believe it's been 7 years. And how wonderful and amazing to see new art from you.
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I can't believe it either, but when I really stop to think about all that has happened since and how much life has changed, it seems to make sense. I keep looking for the DeLorean that brought me this far in the blink of an eye!

PS: it is truly wonderful to see you on here. I miss you lots - and most especially whenever I rewatch an episode of Sherlock.
(no subject) - pennswoods on July 21st, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
LewlinX: WeasleyLXlewlinx on July 21st, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Beautiful post! Made go back and see if I'd posted on this day seven years ago too...I did! :D (seven years later I still have issues with parts of Deathly Hallows, but that aside, what a wonderful ride it was!)

The story aside, one thing I have to thank Harry Potter for is the amazing group of people that it allowed me to meet and call friends.

BTW I like how the third head seems a bit calculating...as if to say "do I bother barking now or do I let these two get on with it first?"

Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Lol - LOADS of people had issues. I gotta say, I got over mine pretty quick once I started drawing scenes from my less favorite moments, but it's fun to remember how much of the fandom exploded after DH!

And I agree. I'm still in touch with so many fandom friends, yourself included. It grew my world in so many ways that I will be forever grateful for.

PS: Your read on Head #3 is spot on.
Ely-Babyely_baby on July 21st, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
I remember you. I followed you because of your beautiful art. I still have your email tucked in my mailbox of when I asked you the password for the restricted section of your website. :) I haven't been on LJ in years, but I just want to let you know that your post made me tear up and at the same time put a smile on my face. I loved it. Thank you for sharing it!

PS--Seven years ago, I was in China, trying to get the HP books a day earlier without managing. Nobody believed my friend and I when we said that we were flying home that night.. Urgh, had to wait the morning after because of the different time zone!! >.
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
Dude! The restricted section! Oh my God, it is so amazing to think that, at one point in my fan art career, I was drawing anything even remotely smutty. ROFL.

Anyway, I'm so happy my post stirred up feelings, because I shed quite a few tears writing it. Your experiences trying to get HP in China is such a great example of how much love we all had for the books. Thanks so much for popping in to share your thoughts. :)
Emmaemmacmf on July 21st, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's brilliant!!
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you!!
No Pains, No Gainsreallycorking on July 21st, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
AHHHHHH new HP art from you! Reminiscences of times of old! I can't believe it's been 7 years, wow.

Miss you! ♥
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Tell me about it! I was reorganizing my art materials cabinet and came across all of the envelops you drew on while we were sending collabs back and forth. I was totally overcome with feels and I just felt so blessed for the experience of sharing a canvas with you - none of which would have ever happened if we both had not been creatively inspired by HP. I miss the snot out of you, T. :)
(no subject) - reallycorking on July 29th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nutmeg_44nutmeg_44 on July 21st, 2014 08:37 pm (UTC)
That thing has a name... The feels... Oh the feels. ♥♥♥
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Yes! Exactly!!
(no subject) - nutmeg_44 on July 22nd, 2014 01:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mudblood428 on July 22nd, 2014 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
StarNight Muse: Hogwartsstarnightmuse on July 21st, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
*sniffs*
This made me cry--- but in a good way.

I still can't believe it's been seven years already. It's seem all very surreal.

But it's been a good seven years since, and I'm grateful that Harry's World hasn't closed as we once feared.

I mean we got Pottermore and the two theme parks and we have the Harry's early childhood play and the Fantastic Beasts movie.

and we'll always got the books, of course. To relieve them again and again and again.

It's nice to see you are in a great place seven years in Vanessa, and with a little Harry of your own.
and not only your post made cry and smile, that little trio (+neville) art piece has made me all nostalgic for the good old day of the fandom. (PS- Congrats on the Red Admiral studio project- It looks amazing and I hope it's providing you with fullfilling work)

Here's to the next seven years. :)

Edited at 2014-07-21 08:45 pm (UTC)
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: *sniffs*
A good seven years indeed! And I'm so pleased to see how much of fandom is not only alive and well, but still making the world a warmer, friendlier place. As JKR put so eloquently, whether through the page or the screen, Hogwarts is always there to welcome us home. :)

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and for the well wishes on my new enterprise. I promise - this won't be the last HP art! :)
StarNight Musestarnightmuse on July 21st, 2014 08:39 pm (UTC)


I'm personally heading to the UK on the 31st for position I been offered as a Library assistant. I find the timing of that very amusing.
Venessamudblood428 on July 21st, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the new job! That's wonderful!
wanderhomeagain: film heartswanderhomeagain on July 21st, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
Seven years seems so long ago and yet not long ago at all. It's amazing to me how much and how little has changed for me in that time.

(Hi, by the way!!! I'm glad we found each other through mutual friends after all these years.)
Rod: i am ddgeezer_also on July 21st, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
rhrsoulmates: R/Hr - Close up of Entwinedrhrsoulmates on July 22nd, 2014 01:15 am (UTC)
How did it feel to dive back in? Great artwork for a great dad and his daughter!

It was nice of the manager to give you the book before you left. (Though had that story ended with you saying he allowed you to leave empty-handed, I was going to be so pissed off on your behalf, lol!)
Doctor Greenhorned Gleeky Blur Wizard: shadesemeraldstag on July 22nd, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
What a wonderful piece, between that and the story gosh that takes me back. 7 years. Crazy. and Amazing.
I'm Pro-Unicorn.lepapillon on July 22nd, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
This is amazing. It is just so darn nice seeing artwork from you and hearing your Deathly Hallows story.