Andrea K Lawson Artist
I create colorful visual stories of humanity, nature, joy, rebirth, mystery and memory

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Super Hero Fairy Tale, acrylic and charcoal on paper,

 43" x 67" by Andrea K. Lawson

Who do you think these characters are? Please comment with your ideas! Who are your super heroes?What are your New Year dreams?

My dear artist friend Yael Zahavy-Mittelman wrote a poem about this piece as a gift. I love seeing what viewers find in my imagery/and see for themselves. A reminder that the writing is a fun connection to the art but is not the same as the art, as everyone has their own ideas about who these super heroes might be. 

Here is Yael's poem: 

The powers of motherhood in full spring

It's mother owl
gliding our motherly skies
Spreading wise hoots in her red riding boots

She guides, she scoops, she comfort and support
a sister, a mother, as wise - ninefold
Her heart made of love
and powers shine like gold
The light in her eyes never gets old

She inspires us all as we all look up above
With babies in arms, diapers and feed,
who can get up to such a speed?

When we have time to listen
she reminds us all
of our magical motherly super powers,
wisdom and all.

We smile for a minute when our babies asleep
put our heads in her lap
our sleep is our feed.
See whisper of dreams that are sweet
as honey,
of worlds far away, fun, free and shiny.

Let them sleep, says she
They need all the rest,
They feed the worlds life strait from their

breast
With arms of embrace
And hands cupping their babies face
They are my superheroes crest ribbon 

and lace.

Below is a story written by awesome collage artist, Melanie Reed inspired by my  Superhero Fairy Tale acrylic drawing painted for the new year.

"Something was wrong with the rabbits. Bear had heard about this, but never actually seen it until the day he decided to go to the inlet. Bored with his usual routes, he impulsively did a random K-turn in Jenny’s Leaf (named after his wife who’d been shot) and headed for the reeds. In a meadow just offshore, he encountered a strange and depressing sight. A bunch of rabbits were simply standing around as if they’d been de-animated. Hard to imagine a rabbit hopping slowly, but apparently it was possible. It was almost like seeing a painting of some rabbits. In fact, if he’d wanted to paint such a thing, this would have been a good time. And a lot of them weren’t even dressed. Even in the heat of summer, the rabbits, like the attendees of an ongoing key party or glam rock club that they basically were, made a practice of being creatively and attractively well turned-out. That day, they made even Bear, whose daily “outfit” was just his old sailor suit, seem like a dandy.

Most of the rabbits were standing in pairs -- close enough to have a conversation, but too far away for real conviviality, let alone intimacy. One or the other of these pairs would occasionally nibble on a grass blade, then resume staring off into space. It was like were under a spell. Shuddering at this disconcerting sight, Bear quickly paddled away. 

That night he was so disturbed, he couldn’t sleep. Although he had many skills, research, deductive logic and reasoning were not his strengths, and he felt out of his depth. Yet he felt compelled to try to address the problem. If the rabbits were this listless, they couldn’t breed, and then would eventually vanish. And if that happened, the whole food chain would be thrown off, and many of the forest citizens would be forced to take to the road. Bear couldn’t help picturing them all in a sad procession: coyote with his satchel of gimcracks, badger dragging his father’s suit of armor, and raven with his sack of sharpening tools -- everyone exhausted, muttering, and sniping at each other. Appalled at this apocalyptic vision, he began leafing through the phone book looking for some kind of expert. 

Halfway through the S’s, he found an intriguing listing: “SUPERSLEUTHS FOR HIRE.” Scam or legit? He shrugged. He had nothing to lose. If they asked for a retainer, he could always try to mortgage his honey tree. He dialed the number and a bright female voice replied with a chipper professional greeting. P.A. or just somebody’s wife? he wondered cynically. “I need someone to look into this rabbits thing,” he growled. “Hold on -- I’ll find someone for you,” came the reply. Seconds later, an echo-y voice was in his ear. “We’ve heard about this,” it said. “And we already have a few leads.” “Uh, that’s great!” said Bear, surprised. “Would you like to be part of the team?” the voice inquired. “Um, sure!” said Bear. “But I’m not sure what help I could be.” “We need someone to watch a den,” the voice said after a pause. “We’ve traced some circumstantial evidence to one suspect, but we don’t have any hard proof. We need to catch them in the act. I’m Oren Owl, by the way.” 

Bear had heard of Oren. He’d come up with several significant forest inventions, including a special new kind of security system that unfortunately was too expensive for many forest dwellers to install. But he was famous for abruptly switching careers. Why he was working for Supersleuths was a bit of a mystery. “I’m Bear,” he replied. “We know who you are,” stated Oren. “We were thinking of calling you. If you’re up for the job, you’ll be working with my assistant Redwing, who’ll be doing periodic flyover reconnaissance. Be at the East Meadow stump at noon tomorrow and you’ll get your instructions.” The next sound was a dial tone. Bear was at once flummoxed, scared and excited. He’d never really been a player in the forest. This kind of thing could potentially make his reputation. But it could also break it. The chase was on.

 

Having quickly washed and pressed his sailor suit, Bear was at the stump the next day at three minutes till noon. He waited for almost half an hour and was starting to fall asleep when a large flying beetle or strange hybrid insect zoomed onto the stump in kamikaze fashion. Contrary to its intense movements, the insect’s expression was extremely placid – its features that of a neutral smiley-face button. Two sets of wings protruded from its body, one yellow and one red, and its round orange face clashed startlingly with its two sets of shiny red boots which were no doubt part of the Supersleuth ensemble. “Sorry I’m late,” the insect said in a tiny crackly voice. “Last minute conference with Oren. He’s hard to get up in the daytime.” “No problem,” said Bear. “I take it you’re Redwing?” “Correct,” stated the insect. Even while perched on the stump, its red wings continued to flap, hummingbird-like, in a fast and almost hypnotizing way. “Glad you’re on board. We’ve had to assemble a quick cadre of whoever was willing and able. Things are about to get a lot worse if we can’t take this guy out.” 

“So who’s the suspect?” asked Bear. “Oh, you don’t know him,” said Redwing. He’s a shapeshifter. That’s part of the problem. But even shapeshifters have to sleep sometime, and depending on who they are when they fall asleep, they have to be in a place that suits their form. One of this guy’s forms is a wolf, and we’ve traced him to a small den about two miles from here.” “So what is this guy’s deal?” inquired Bear. “What’s he have to do with the rabbits?” “He’s known as the Avenger,” explained Redwing with a shudder. “Word has it that he used to be a trainee wizard -- accidentally put under a spell by another trainee wizard, who himself then died accidentally before he could lift the spell. So much incompetence! But then wizards are so poorly paid these days that it’s little wonder that standards have lowered so much.” “Go on,” encouraged Bear. “Well, the Avenger is mad as hell for being stuck in this spell with no one to take it off him. Supposedly he and the other wizard used to experiment on rabbits for practice, and something about their DNA got mixed up in the spell. So that’s why he targeted them – to take revenge on the only thing left that’s related to what happened to him.” Bear shook his head. “That’s so common with trauma victims,” he said. “I almost feel sorry for him.” “Well, don’t!” warned Redwing. “Angry, incompetent folks who perceive themselves as victims are the most dangerous of all.” Bear nodded. “I’m in,” he said. “Good, 'cuz we already signed your contract for you,” said Redwing. “Might be a little irregular, but desperate times, you know.” He handed Bear a map with directions to the den and a walkie-talkie. Your job is to watch the den, and then call us to report anytime you see him.” “And what happens then?” asked Bear. But Redwing, with a slightly louder buzz, was already flying off.

Unless he was chasing food or catching a speedy current on the river, Bear was normally a slow mover, but he realized he might have to change his ways for this case. Lumbering off as fast as he could while also reading the map, he hoped he could trust the team to let him know what he needed to do. If not, he’d have to simply trust himself. The den, though well-hidden, was easy enough to find for someone like Bear, who knew a lot about dens. This one was old and poorly maintained – too poorly for most families, which made it a likely hideout. He hunkered down behind some bushes and waited, trying not to fall asleep in the sun. He was drifting into a dream when he heard a noise, and initially thought that he was still in the dream. A wolf had emerged from the den on its hind legs, wearing a pink-checked apron and fuzzy pink slippers. Was The Avenger female? Bear’s whole body tensed while he fumbled with the walkie-talkie. But there was no instruction manual, and Bear wasn’t especially good with technology. Moreover, he was leery of making too much noise. He decided to wait to report till the wolf had gone out of sight. At the moment it seemed alternately disoriented and agitated, periodically biting its tail in a kind of compulsive tic. Though Bear had a powerful sense of smell, he couldn’t smell the wolf, and also wondered if he himself could be smelled. Though it was hard to know what qualities such a hybridized animal might be capable of, it was probably safer not to assume anything. However, the wolf seemed to be in its own world, and so far, mercifully unaware of Bear.  

After forty-five minutes of shuffling around his stoop and half-heartedly sweeping some leaves, the wolf returned to its den, and Bear was able to activate the walkie-talkie enough to make his report. A few minutes later, he spotted Redwing flying through the trees, accompanied by a slower-flying owl, whose red Supersleuth boots identified him as likely being Oren. The pair alit, stealthily positioned themselves near the den entrance and started pouring clear liquid on the ground from a couple of bottles. “What’s going on?” hissed Bear. Redwing flew over to him. “We just got this stuff last night. There’s a chance it will remove the rabbits’ spell, but an even better chance that if the spell keeps needing to be renewed, it will at least redirect The Avenger’s focus to a point where he won’t renew it. The problem is that we don’t know what he’ll decide to focus on. So once he comes out and gets into this, I want you to run away as fast as you can. Or maybe climb a tree.” After leaving him with this pronouncement, the insect flew back and helped continue the pouring. Then both red-booted team members flew quickly away. 

Bear could feel his heart pounding. He waited and waited, rooted to the spot, and at some point fell asleep in a kind of shock. When he awoke, it was dusk. A stirring noise came from the den. The Avenger came out, still in its slippers and apron. Its same shuffling movements commenced, punctuated by sweeps of the broom. Though it was clearly walking over the ground where the liquid had poured, there was no kind of visible change. Finally it simply pulled up a nearby log, sat down, and looked out into the trees contemplatively. If the Avenger’s focus was now to be somehow redirected, Bear should get out of the way. But who else might it then be redirected to? And what would be the safest option for this redirection? If the rabbit spell did stay on and the rabbits died out, the whole system would be thrown off to the point where eventually everyone would die. And if the Avenger’s focus turned elsewhere, another animal population might then become at risk too. But Bear was just one animal. Perhaps he should be willing to sacrifice himself for a noble cause. After all, what did he really have to live for? After Jenny died, his life was mostly just a sad daily grind – monotonous food chasing, monotonous river rowing, and monotonous socializing with his fellow forest dwellers. The best part of his life now was probably sleeping, where he could at least find Jenny alive again in his dreams. If he didn’t do anything, who knew how long this situation would go on? 

Bear asked himself to imagine what Jenny would do. And then he knew the answer. He walked brazenly out from behind his bush and planted himself in plain sight. The Avenger’s head swiveled around. And then the animal howled. Bear had heard plenty of wolf howls in his life, but this uncanny cry made his blood run cold, and he had to force himself to stand there and listen to it. Finally the Avenger cut itself off in mid-howl, seeming surprised to find that Bear was still there. “That usually does the trick,” it barked. “Who are you, anyway?” “Er, I’m Bear,” said Bear. “Well, obviously,” retorted the Avenger. “But who are you? Like, what’s your role, and why the hell are you here?” 

Bear had to think fast. “I wanted to talk to you,” he said. “I heard that you’d been mightily mistreated.” The Avenger’s eyes widened. “That’s absolutely right!” it barked. “Our boss pitted us against each other to try to get more work out of us. My coworker used to be my friend; then he was my enemy! We were going nuts trying to take each other out, 'cuz our boss said he’d could either pay one of us or both of us at half-time. And my boyfriend had just abandoned me after he got me pregnant! What was I supposed to do?” Bear’s eyes bugged out. “Wait – you’re a girl?” he said. The Avenger gestured to the apron and twirled around. “And that’s another thing!” she said, “Do you think young girl wizard trainees get treated the same as young guy wizard trainees? Think again!” Bear shook his head and tried to look sympathetic. And he actually felt sympathetic. It seemed like The Avenger had never had a chance to tell her story before. But he still needed more information. “So what’s up with the rabbits?” he asked. “We used their DNA as part of some of the spells,” The Avenger explained. “So now I’ve been trying to do what I can to reverse things. At least so far I haven’t killed any of them the way we used to do.”

Bear paused, choosing his words. “They may not be dead, but they’re listless now,” he said. “So they’re not breeding anymore. That means that they could die out. And that means the whole food chain could be thrown off, and everyone will die.” The Avenger hung her head. Bear paused again. This was possibly the most quick thinking he’d ever had to do in his life. “Listen,” he said finally, “You’re in big danger right now. In fact, I’ve been deputized to spy on you, and even now you’re walking across some kind of secret potion that they hope will take off the rabbits’ spell and/or redirect your focus. And people don’t know your story, so they don’t sympathize with you. Because people think you’re trying to avenge yourself with the rabbits versus trying to take your own spell off, you’re just perceived as an angry, incompetent victim who’s trying to take revenge. They call you ‘The Avenger’.” The she-wolf flinched.

“Two things,” Bear said. “First, how does your shape-shifting work?” “It’s not that complicated,” sighed The Avenger. “I just have my choice of three different animal forms. Of course they all come with most of the typical qualities of each animal, but none of them comes with any extra powers. I usually just stay in wolf form because I like traveling fast across the ground. It gives me the feeling that I’m going somewhere.” “But wolves are pack animals,” Bear said. “Guess you’re more of a lone wolf.” The Avenger shook her head. “My other choices are bear or eagle,” she said. “No offense.” Bear waved a paw dismissively. “Second thing,” he said, “Could you take the current spell off the rabbits if you wanted to?” “Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I’m skilled enough,” the she-wolf said. Bear thought some more. “Well, if you have any interest in staying alive yourself in the long term, I urge you to give it a try. But in the short term, I have a proposition for you: change into a bear and simply stay with me. I just lost my wife and I’m horribly lonely. I’d give you a home and train you up in all the best kinds of bear ways. And it’s an easy job! You get to take a big chunk of time off for hibernation.” 

The she-wolf’s eyes lit up with surprise and cautious hope. “I’ll do it,” she said. “This has to be some kind of sign.”

***

It took several months, but for reasons that Bear couldn’t definitively explain – nor did he even care to -- the rabbit’s spell gradually lifted. Rabbits once again resumed dressing themselves in their finery, dancing, having daily parties and get-togethers, and coupling in their usual enthusiastic ways. The population of new rabbit babies swelled so much that many nannies and wet-nurses had to be hired to feed and diaper the newborn rabbit kits. And Bear and his new wife did their share of enthusiastic coupling too. Even in their sleep, they often dreamed of each other.  

A couple of things, however: First, Bear had somehow never gotten paid for his Supersleuth job. Although he called the office numerous times, there was no response, nor did he ever see Oren or Redwing again. Second, he sometimes noticed one of the rabbits off by itself in a meadow, reading a book. And he wondered: did that rabbit somehow get left out of the spell?" by Melanie Reed.