If you are not familiar with the works of Melody Pena, I beg of you to go take a look at the website Windstone Editions. But before you do that, let me tell you a story.
When I was much younger (I imagine I was 9 or 10 at the time) my mother would sometimes bring me shopping with her to a very special shopping center in my home town of Keene, New Hampshire. It wasn’t your average run of the mill shopping center because it was housed in a large brick building that was once an old textile mill. It was the best place to shop for books, unique gifts and handmade candies. Best of all, there was a store on the top level near the antique shop that was half toystore, half artisan gift shop.
To my mom, that meant that half of the store was OK for me to walk around mostly unsupervised in, and half was a “do not touch” zone. It was in this forbidden area that I saw my first Windstone dragon. It was a family of dragons actually, sitting in the window of the shop and staring out at me with beautiful glass eyes and a pearl-like finish on their delicate scales. Although I didn’t touch them, I did take home a pamphlet of the other things that the mysterious”M Pena” had sculpted. I can’t recall if the pamphlet had prices in it, but I do remember sitting at home with it and staring at the dragons and kirins inside and hoping that one day I could afford one.
Cut to about 20 years later, and I was having a moment of memory, thinking about those statues that I saw in my youth, and surprising myself that I actually could recall the name of the artist. I typed in “M Pena” on my browser, found Windstone Editions, and the rest is history.
My first Windstone was a dragon, but not the type I saw in the window when I was a child. It was a Paint Your Own dragon.
I called it “Gilded Sky” and it is fairly well loaded with paint, to the point that I can see the lots of the brushstrokes on it in the image above. Still, it came out pretty good for my first try and stoked my loved for painting the sculptures.
For the next few years I would end up painting dozens of these, most often dragons, but sometimes griffins or kirins or unicorns. To this day, I am still not caught up on commissions and more inquiries continue to roll in. It’s a wonderful thing and I am blessed to have found that community.