BIOGRAPHY - THE "PROFESSIONAL" VERSION
Ravynne Phelan, a.k.a. Michele-lee Phelan, has been painting since the year 2000. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an artist, but fell into a state of despair and confusion in her teenage years when many told her a career in art was an unattainable dream. Made vulnerable by mental illness, she believed this to be truth and laid down her brushes. For the next fourteen years she lived in a world of grey, empty of colour, dreams, and goals until she was officially diagnosed with depression and introduced to art as a form of emotional release and therapy.
This unconventional form of treatment rekindled the dreams of the child, and at 33 years of age, Ravynne took upon herself the mantle of professional artist and illustrator. She knew, with every fibre of her being, that some dreams are more than just dreams; they are destiny, and it was her destiny to become an artist and to share her journey and her message of magic, healing, and self-empowerment with others.
But this truth did not manifest as her reality until, after several years as a commercial artist and illustrator, Ravynne began to feel an emptiness once more. After much soul-searching, she came to understand that her creativity was meant to have more of a spiritual meaning and message. She dedicated herself to Great Spirit and Gaia and turned her back upon a growing career as a fantasy book-cover artist and children's book illustrator in order to first illustrate, and then to write and illustrate, oracle and tarot cards. From that moment, her life was transformed. Every artwork is now a collaborative endeavour between Ravynne, Great Spirit, and Gaia, and Ravynne has found herself on a path of healing and happiness Why? Because she has dared to live her dream.
As a professional illustrator, Ravynne - under the name of Michele-lee Phelan - has completed the cover artwork and internal illustrations for many publications, inlcluding the 'Oracle Of The Dragonfae' by Lucy Cavendish and 'Mythic Oracle' with Carisa Mellado (both from Blue Angel Publishing). Her book, the stunning 'Dreams of Magic' was her first solo publication and an expression of her blossoming creativity and love for the Divine.
In 2011, Michele-lee became Ravynne to celebrate and honour the magical path she has walked in service to Gaia and Great Spirit, and to mark the end of her battle with depression. At the time she believed her hurts to have been healed as she moved forward with lighter step and joy in her heart.
The Messenger Oracle was the second manifestation of her dreams of magic, and was released in 2012. It was not long after its release, that Ravynne fell victim to exhaustion, and was unofficially diagnosed with Bipolar II. The hypomanic episodes were few and far between, but after lengthy discussions with her doctor it was agreed that a history of manic episodes could be both established and traced back to her mid teens. The original diagnosis of depression was changed to Bipolar II and suddenly, periods upheavel and chaos in a normally routine and ordered life, made a lot more sense.
Ravynne has embraced a very integral form of treatment - a regimen of supplements to combat nutritional deficits, cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness, meditation, structured routine, healthy work ethic, diet, and sleep patterns - but, life can throw curveballs on occassion and when she split from her long-time partner in 2015, the stress of the split, finishing the Dreams of Gaia Tarot and several other projects resulted in another minor episode in early 2016, confirming the diagnosis of Bipolar. At this time, Ravynne is looking after herself and recovering well.
In July, 2016, the long awaited Dreams of Gaia Tarot was released, and Ravynne now works on several new projects - a dragon oracle and several colouring in books.
BIOGRAPHY - THE "PERSONAL" VERSION
Who is Ravynne? (pronounced RAY-VEN). If you have read the words above, you will have been given a glimpse, but just a glimpse, and so I offer the words below to give further insight.
I am me.
If I were to write an ‘About the Author’ chapter, I would love to just write the words above and leave it at that. However, I am not sure if my sense of humour would be appreciated or understood by everyone. I balk at writing more because, all too often, I find myself looking back at old biographies and ‘about me’ chapters I have written in the past, and find myself feeling disconnected, as if I am reading the words of a stranger. They are a reflection of the person I was at the time of writing, but in the present, they are no longer an accurate reflection of who I am.
I find myself looking back at my beliefs, my thoughts, and my feelings and seeing how much I have changed. My paintings have changed. How I paint has changed. Even the language I use when I write is subject to change. Over the years, I have watched as what I write has become less rigid and dogmatic, more flowing and expansive, but still revealing, to me, the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that were influencing me at the time.
I am always honest, but in offering honesty, I have to say that sometimes even the truths I once held dear, are no longer my truth, or my reality, in the present.
I am ever evolving and changing. Like a tree from one season to the next, my branches have lengthened, new smaller branches have formed where others have withered and fallen away, my trunk is a little thicker (too thick for my liking) and my roots have buried themselves even deeper into the earth.
I am changed. I am no longer the person I was. That person has been undone. She is no longer. My words and my paintings are but an echo of what was.
The words I write now are a reflection of the person I am in the present, and I write them knowing that I will have grown to become someone different by the time you are reading these words.
That is why, when I set to writing, I now dod my best to keep my personal spiritual beliefs out of the mix as much as possible. My beliefs change, so to bind my creations - both art and words - to the beliefs that I hold at one point in time, prevents them from being free to evolve as I do. I have no real philosophy or message other than to seek, feel, grow, and heal. This is how I live my life.
In the present, I do not desire to influence others in any other manner except to help people to open their minds and explore the realms they find within. I am not here to tell you how you should live, or how or what you should believe. I am a toolmaker. It is my place and purpose to create tools that enable you to best determine how you live, and what you will believe, all by yourself.
Working on the tarot has changed me. It has made me a stronger, happier, kinder, and more peaceful person. It has helped me to love me a little more than I did. It has unmade me and recreated me. It has helped me to peel away the layers, and come to a place, and moment, when I can answer the question, “Who is Ravynne?”
The only answer that comes is ...I am me. I am creative. I am fulfilled. I am at peace.
In this moment, I am who I am meant to be, and I would not make a single choice differently.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How old are you?
I was born in 1969. So, at the time of updating my website - July, 2016 - I am 47 years old.
How long have you been a professional artist?
2016 will see me entering into my thirteenth year as a professional artist, during that time I have worked on the projects listed below and a number of character illustrations and personal commissions.
- 2006 - Cover artwork and internal illustrations - The Dragon Queen by Jayel Gibson, published by Synergy Books
- 2006 - Cover artwork and internal illustrations - The Wrekening by Jayel Gibson, published by Synergy Books
- 2006 - Cover artwork and internal illustrations - Damselflies by Jayel Gibson, published by Synergy Books
- 2006 - Cover artwork and internal illustrations - Quondam by Jayel Gibson, published by Synergy Books
- 2007 - Children's Book Illustration - Temptleton Turtle Goes Exploring by Ron Pridmore, published by Synergy Books
- Selection of artworks used for 'Oracle of the Dragonfae' written by Lucy Cavendish, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 2009 - Oracle Deck Illustration - Mythic Oracle of the Ancient Greek Pantheon, written by Carisa Mellado, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 'Of Earth and of Air' artwork selected as cover artwork for meditational cd 'As Above So Below' by Lucy Cavendish
- Selection of dragon artworks used in 'Dragon Art' published by Flame Tree Publishing
- 'Return to Avalon' artwork selected as cover artwork for meditational cd 'Return to Avalon' by Lucy Cavendish
- 2010 - Dreams of Magic - written and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 2012 - The Messenger Oracle written and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan under the name of Ravynne Phelan, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 2014 - Messengers - a book adaptation of the Messenger Oracle written and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan under the name of Ravynne Phelan, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 2016 - 'Dreams of Gaia Tarot' written and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan under the name of Ravynne Phelan, published by Blue Angel Publishing
- 2016 - 'Dreams of Dragons and Dragon Kin' - colouring in book, written and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan under the name of Ravynne Phelan, published by Blue Angel Publishing
What level of training have you attained?
I am very honest about the fact that I have had no formal training except at the school of 'Life' and thousands of hours spent painting. Everything I have learned over the last eleven years when I began to walk a creative path, and during the last nine years since I began to paint again, has come from reading countless books on technique, from the dissection and scrutiny of other artist's work, and finally, by painting and experimenting on a daily basis. Practice is the key to improvement and refinement, and I, being a perfectionist, hone my skills with a devout dedication. Over the last decade I have painted over five hundred artworks; those paintings have been my training ground.
What media do you work with?
I am proficient with a number of different mediums - digital, acrylics, watercolours, coloured pencil, pen and ink.
Why do you paint fantasy?
I don't paint fantasy. I paint the spirit realms and alternate realities. I once used the word fantasy to label and categorise what I paint in order to make it acceptable to mainstream audiences, but now I choose not to cater to the mainstream. I paint what comes to me in visions and in dreams. Our perception and understanding of the world and the universe is limited. We cannot say that something is fantasy or imaginary, simply because it does not exist within our physical plane or beyond our scope of understanding. What I paint is what the majority do not see. I peer into the Void where they wait and bring them to life within the hearts and minds of others. This I believe to be a very important key to healthy emotional and psychological development. To take the intangible and make it real is to create, and to create is why we exist. For me personally, it is my reason for being.
What is your religion?
I do not ascribe to or follow any religion. I am not 'New Age' nor am I 'Pagan'. I am no 'Lightworker', nor 'Shaman' although I do sometimes embrace the label of Lightworker in order to annoy and provoke those who have little respect or understanding of what it means to embrace Light and share light with others. I have had those same others tell me what I am for a very long time, but I am simply me, and happy to remain undefined and therefore free to be whatever I choose to be from one moment to the next. I am spiritual and my faith is ever-evolving just as I am.
What is your marital status?
I am separated and happily single. I am devoutly committed to my creative endeavours, and they leave no time or interest spent in thoughts of romantic relationships. *grins* After almost 25 years in a relationship, I have been given a taste of freedom, and I am not willing to give it up for anyone.
Why an artist?
Because it is the only thing I ever really wanted to be. I paint because I must. As a child, when I was not dreaming of wandering distant shores, I was painting pictures in my mind, in my books and on my walls. All available pieces of paper were covered in drawings. Drawing and painting has always been second nature. The only other passion that I had as a child was reading, and if the book had beautiful illustrations then I was doubly blessed.
During my teen years, I allowed myself to believe that I had no potential, simply because my skill at that time was not equal to my desire, so my pens and papers were put away in the drawer. My dreams of becoming an artist were forgotten. I moved out into the '9 to 5' world and took on several different roles - secretary, accounts clerk, personal assistant, receptionist. I even studied hairdressing for several years.
I was not happy. In fact, I became very ill. The lack of creative outlet worsened my mental health and it was only when I was reintroduced to art and writing as a form of therapeutic release nearly seventeen years ago, that I began to understand one of the main causes for my illness. I had denied the creative essence of me. I had allowed my fear of failure to cage me. My Bipolar is cyclic, and both extremes - the (mild) hypomania and the depression - can and will manifest if I neglect myself, sleep less, or fail to make enough time to be out in nature, or paint. When I paint, I look within and learn more about myself, and with increased awareness and understanding of myself, the more at peace I am with who I am. By reawakening my dreams, and placing my feet upon this path of colour and words I have found healing and now walk to meet my destiny.
What are your future goals?
I have been painting professionally since mid 2003. During this time, my style has evolved and changed in many ways. With every new artwork I grow in confidence, and with the growing confidence I come to see that my potential is limitless. The future is unwritten ... a mystery ... for now, here in the present, my only goal is to continue on the path that I walk, to paint and create and see where that takes me. I will say, however, that I have many oracle decks in my future.
What or who inspires you?
Everything and nothing - life, nature, dreams, my family, my pets, my faith. My favourite artists are Thomas Canty, Stephanie Law, Linda Bergkvist, Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, Keith Parkinson, and Michael Whelan. They sustained me through my teenage years, and inspired me to chase my dreams.
Do you have any pets?
*laughs* My house is a zoo! I have two kids, who are beautiful pets. I love them dearly. Pets of the non-human variety are in abundance also. I have two cats, one blue-tongue lizard, and a galah who thinks he's human.
What are your hobbies?
I wish. I have little time for "hobbies". I collect crystals, take photos, listen to music, write and paint, and when I need to turn off and shut the world out and let the spirit world in, I sleep.
What turns you on?
I love looking at the moon, and sitting in the sun. I love walking around in bare feet, and jumping in puddles. I love nature, animals, and the smell of the ocean. I admire loyalty, and respect those who are wiser when their knowledge and wisdom comes from experience and practise as opposed to theory alone.
What turns you off?
I used to have a dislike for racism, intolerance and ignorance. However, I have since come to understand that these things exist so that we may learn. and they will continue to exist until we stop seeing those things that make us different and fuel a false belief that one person is better than another simply because their beliefs are more altruistic. I have no time for narcissists. I make no space for arrogance, for those who believe they 'know better' and believe themselves superior to others.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes I do. I have regrets. I would have liked to have been able to journey through this life and not have hurt others, but I have, and I have done so out of a desire to hurt others that was equal to my desire to hurt myself. I cannot change the past, and I would not change the past because everything I have experienced has been fundamental to my becoming the more confident, happy, and creative person I am in the present. But with the awareness and understanding of my own self and actions, I have also come to understand just how deeply I have hurt others. From that regret and awareness grows empathy and compassion, and in turn the me who lives in the present is one who chooses to be a little more compassionate and understanding. I strive to be kind.
KIND WORDS FROM OTHERS
"I have had the good fortune to have known Ravynne Phelan for approximately four years. Ravynne is a person of great integrity, and ethics in her profession. She is very dedicated as a writer and artist. The quality of her work is second to none. All her paintings display incredible detail and skill, undertaking meticulous research for all her projects. I cannot recommend or praise her highly enough."
Trudie Ann Moore - Owner-Operator of Soul Surgery shamanic healing, Australia
"I wish to praise Ravynne Phelan's artwork and her ability to transport one to another dimension in time. I am the proud owner of an original artwork and I must say I am still transfixed by it every time I enter the room where it proudly hangs. I felt an instant connection and bond to the painting on a very deep level and still do to this day. Ravynne has a unique ability to channel and tap into a most magical realm where many of us have only had glimpses of in dreams. I love her as a person, an artist, a communicator, and friend."
Karen Wheeler, Australia
"I bought the Dragonfae deck at the Mind Body Spirit, where Ravynne had her stall. I was immediately drawn to the beauty and the energy of the deck and, to date, this deck and the energy of Ravynne's artwork throughout the deck has become a favourite with my clients (and myself as well!) I cannot recommend Ravynne enough. She is amazing, talented and one of the wisest people I have had the pleasure to meet."
Rharnia MacLir, Australia
"I discovered Ravynne Phelan's beautiful artwork when a good friend suggested I check out a sale Ravynne was having on Facebook. Couldn't hurt, I thought. Three paintings later, not only are the images beautiful, the fine detail when they arrived really impressed me. Much better than their scanned images. What I found amazing was that the paintings themselves were energetic and as they were displayed on the net most people reacted to the energy of the paintings. So step into the world of Ravynne Phelan's art and you step into a world of portals etc. Ravynne has an astounding gift."
Karen Williams, Australia
"Your paintings inspire me. They are full of symbology and power ... Every time I look at them they bring me to my center and they keep inspiring me to create my art too. Thanks so much for sharing your sacred gift with all of us .. "
Karen Pizarro, Lunaozi, Australia
"Well, what can I say? I'm a great admirer of Ravynne's work and this admiration has grown with every purchase. The images and colours on the web-pages are good, but they do not do justice to the remarkable quality and intricate detail of the originals which now adorn my walls. Ravynne's service is friendly, and, speaking as an international buyer, I have found it very efficient. After all, it's refreshing to do business with someone who is both personally involved with and proud of the quality of their products."
J. Amos, United Kingdom
"I have much respect for Ravynne as a true magical artist who's work embodies a spirituality that speaks to all in it's many songs. As a Witch and artist myself, I admire the dedication and honesty toward her Craft. I own many wonderful prints and the original of Hermes (from Mythic Oracle) lovingly graces my studio."
Cheralyn Darcey, Australia
"Ravynne's work captures spirituality in a unique and beautiful way. One can feel the energies she pours into each creation - and the result is not only meaningful, but also stunning to look at. The amount of detail is astonishing - the different mediums used - definitely an experience, rather than just art."
Jo Robinson, Australia
"I discovered the rare treasure that is Dreams of Gaia by Ravynne Phelan at an MBS Festival a few year's ago, and every year I find absolutely awe-inspiring paintings and prints to add to my walls. The magnificent colours and characters that emanate from each painting is truly unique. Every painting offers a different message for everyone whose eyes fall on them."
Dana Saidi, Australia