Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

GRANT HER CONSOLATION: Tara artwork (alts/extras Round 3)

But first a word from our sponsor: voting in Round 4 of btvsats20in20 closes tomorrow October 9th so vote now if you haven't and tell your friends - bang the drum for gorgeous icons at a great, fun community. They deserve to be seen and appreciated.

Two recent Buffy/Tara fics by kwritten reminded me that I'd yet to post the alts and extras from my Tara claim for Round 3 of btvsats20in20.

"Her Bark is Worse Than Her Bite" : AU S6/S7 (Buffy/Tara, Dawn) to fill my prompt "thunder/courage" and request for a flawed, human Tara. The monotonous weight as well as the comforts of "domesticity" and "women's work", of school, slaying, housework, of incomes and emotions stretched thin. Buffy tries to be there for Tara and Dawn and hold her family together in a fragile moment. "You hung the moon in the sky just for her."

"Finding a Balance" : AU S4, (Buffy/Tara, mentions of ensemble) Buffy tries to hold herself together in college, alone, when her friends go off to far-flung corners, and meets the person who can give her what she needs. And a girl with large brown eyes and soft blonde hair sits down next to her with a crooked smile and a latte, “I think you’re freaking everyone out.” This isn't intended as a prologue to Kelsey's "blurring the lines" series, but it fits that series beautifully but for one small change in previous BtL canon. Just the "rewrite" of Hush is achingly gorgeous, as is this entire story.

This is the fic that finally pushed me from "Buffy & Tara are my One True Friendship I don't really ship them but I'll take what I can get all the way into "Buffy and Tara are my OTP I want to live in this world right now". And also, fix-it fics?  I think I get it now, really get it; even if the things you and I want to fix are entirely different to one another. A 'verse where Buffy has a reliable source of support and love instead of fragile male egos to shore up even as her own self-esteem slowly crumbles? Riley who? Total fantasy. Of course it's seductive - and I want to live in it, if it's as beautiful, poetic, gossamer and densely layered as Kelsey's fics. Who doesn't want that for themselves?

Kelsey posted this around the time the marvelous velvetwhip wrote "The Things You Find in Vending Machines" for me (S4 Buffy, Tara, gen); very different stories to Finding a Balance but both wonderfully true to the complexities of Buffy and Tara's personalities, and to Season 4's particular blend of humor and darkness. But I promised some artwork, and artwork you shall have:

01-02 Click for full-sized

Teasers for more posters and icons under the cut:     
[It's always sudden...]
03-04 Click for full-sized

This isn't the full set of alts but it's most of the posters/banners. But these images were the focus of my category set: Tara as the One Who Gives Comfort, specifically to other women: Buffy, Anya and Willow.  However I worried when I was done with my entries that I was falling into the trap I deplore, turning Tara into a stereotypical, all-knowing all-giving saint, the epitome of our cultural ideas about "femininity". Which is why I often ask for fic that depict Tara in a different light - flawed and fully human; the girl as capable of putting the lives at others at risk to protect herself (Family) as sacrificing her own life for the sake of a loved one (Tough Love). It's not that she doesn't have her failings on the show but they're downplayed; and in terms of receiving comfort from others, I have to turn to fan authors because the imagery is decidedly lacking. In kwritten's stories, I get to have it both ways: Tara as one who gives and receives; and Buffy/Tara + Dawn OTF is pure comfort food for me right now.
    9a00a376-5c03-45c5-bfb3-c3028bd8b0d2_zps2b7d1ef7 05-06 Click for full size
  rd31edff291-5acb-4f9e-abd4-2a5490d75c69_zps9660c877 07-09
 These OTOH are already full-size, pretty much.


When I made these for Round 3 I was so thrilled because prior to, the best icons I'd been able to get from that scene in Dead Things were these (2013):  
That scene and that image in particular is so dark, in ways that aren't apparent watching the show; and not deeply, intensely dark in the way that some early seasons episodes are, ("Amends") where you can bump up the exposure and still get a nice image; but muted and flat. The only way I could figure out how to get something workable at that point, with my beginner knowledge of ipiccy, was to mask the image around the girls out (something else I was trying to teach myself that round.) Then add grunge effects to in effect go with the images flaws rather than try to fight against them.

Now? I am still marveling at the journey taken and not just seeing all the flaws and how much further to go ooh look, pretties!


When I look at these the phrase "it's always sudden" takes on another layer of meaning: suddenly and unexpectedly finding a friend, a source of comfort and experience. Then I remember the sound of gunshots and breaking glass a year down the road. It's always sudden.


The Tough Love icons in chronological order as they were made. I used a photograph my sweetie took this past year for the background layer on #33 and my final Fear entry; I wanted to emphasize the strength and nobility, the sculptural timelessness and monumental quality of Amber's face.



I'd orignally planned the Dead Things icon for my Category set, so I decided to use grunge effects in the other four icons for continuity and the meta reasoning that I was creating "artifacts" of lesbians and lesbian life, of the sort I'd never seen in decades of watching old movies, combing through dusty libraries, and collecting vintage photosgraphs in antique stores. (#42)   Except that idea sort of fell apart with these Willow/Tara images from the Body where I wanted to indulge in the soft glowing light between them, the way their skin looked like silk or carved of ivory. I fell a little in love with them all over again making these. I even considered making this scene the entire focus of my Category set and that might have worked better than what I settled on; there are certainly enough screencaps of Amber in that scene that I could have made it work. But I was too attached to the Buffy & Tara icons I'd already made.

Then I moved the Dead Things icon to Full Body theme instead of Category. My ways are inscrutable.


I really wanted to include that lovely image of Tara comforting Anya in my Category set; she is beyond lovely in it. But that icon was really so much darker than the other ones I used from The Body, so it works on its own but as part of the set not so much I think. Yes, that is the photograph of the trees in my backyard in #46 - again.

This is the last time I will ever attempt to use that photo of my landlord's rose as a layer in anything. Probably. (Maybe.) These don't quite work as I'd hoped but I do like the resemblance to the incised metal printing plates that you still might find in antique stores now and again.

You do know the drill, don't you? All snaggable, feedback is lovely, don't plagarize, hotlink or put on fanpop or other sites without my permission; want to change, edit, improve or play with any of these just check with me and show me what you've done.

Thank you! And WHOA are you fast I JUST hit the post button! (And I have to hit edit to downsize the banners above the cut :P)

Is that Angel as Henry the 8th? Oh that's too damn funny.

Edited at 2014-10-08 02:10 pm (UTC)
- (Anonymous)
Thank you sweetie! *hugs back*

I wish I'd thought of that quote before I entered my icons for Round 3 but oh well. That song is just perfect for the women of the Buffyverse. (and a favorite of mine, yeah.)

I always think of you know when I add text to anything (like last night and this morning) - but I like the negative space in some of these and don't want to add text.

How are you doing btw? It's been a while it feels like.
- (Anonymous)
I read it and left a comment thank you for the link! I'd been wondering where things stood on the glasses front.

Ok, you can schedule posts? I - need to make this a thing, I really do. And I hear your about tired. I'm bored with my own posts, wish I were more eloquent and have been really mehish but HEY! I've got a job interview in about an hour so wish me luck!
- (Anonymous)
Oh my gosh I can schedule stuff to automatically post later? I could have saved myself so much bother and heartache (and nights up way too late) THANK YOU MEGAN!

And I just got back from the interview - it was brief, the gal was nice, it's for a per diem gig. I should know something by the end of the eek either way. I really went in with no attachment per se so I was kind of relaxed.(Not like I can bullshit about having done the work before.) if I got it it would't be the first job I got via my sweetie.

Also, gorgeous day to ride the bike there, very helpful for mood.
- (Anonymous)
Oh thank you sweetie so much! The good wishes are so much appreciated.

It was pretty here today as well.

Right? the sky this morning - I wished I'd had my camera, the sun coming through the clouds was jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
You did a marvelous job here! I am so impressed with your work. The textures, the colouring... it's all very evocative.

Thank you Gabrielle! "Evocative" is just a wonderful compliment because that's what I'm hoping to do, evoke feelings beyond "looks nice, what's for lunch?"

And I was having "fun" (as in, not always) learning new-to-me tools.
Also, I am ashamed that I forgot to thank you for the lovely things you said about my story! Thank you!!!!

I especially like the Buffy kneeling and Tara variants for their texture and color, especially the first one.
I especially like the Buffy kneeling and Tara variants for their texture and color, especially the first one.

Me too. :) I don't like #4 and it's color variants (I think I showed them to you one time) as much as when I made them. It feels "too much"; #1 is just right because the power is in the image.

This is seriously the nicest... I can't believe the kind words you have to say about my fic! thank you so much! I'm blushing and ecstatic and just without words.

ilu thank you
You're just amazing, you know that? And these fics - I NEEDED THEM SO MUCH. THANK YOU, Kelsey.

I'll reply to your other comments tomorrow because I have SO MANY THINGS TO SAY about the taxes follow up. (accompanied with screams of joy)
THANK YOU! I'm wallowing in this Tara/Buffy space and really just never want to leave.

I'm wallowing in this Tara/Buffy space and really just never want to leave.

Me too, so much so. (Are you reading my mind?)

There are certain (canon) ships that i love but right now I just cannot do because they ping my own sense of self-loathing in a big way. (or the fandom reaction to them I can't tell.) And I have NO energy for those fights on behalf of male characters to prove their "worthiness" *Gack*

But Buffy/Tara? I have ONLY love - all the love in the world.


The lack of socio-economic consciousness on the part of Joss and Co is - I think it's utterly shattering but I've been working class or poor my entire life so how can I NOT be aware of it?
Men are so useless. Let's put them in underground pods and only use them for breeding purposes.

I never thought I'd ship Buffy/Tara - but I *never* shipped Tara/Willow (I don't like Willow tbh) (and I hate Xander) (and Giles can gtfo) (I have Scooby angst) and this is so pleasant and such a nice change.

(I commented regarding to class warfare on another thread somewhere so I won't repeat except to say: AMEN.)
I never thought I'd ship Buffy/Tara

Over a year ago I was firmly in the Buffy is 100% het camp. Last week I crossed out the "I don't ship Buffy & Tara" line in my Welcome post. When it's this nice? Oh yes please pass that pint of ice cream back.

I *never* shipped Tara/Willow

I'm really torn about those two. There are aspects of them I do appreciate, I honestly do but the bottom line is, I didn't appreciate Tara for herself until I got to Season 6. Until she yelled "My god what is wrong with you!" Until she left. Then she became magnificent. (Fuck you, Joss.)

I don't hate Willow; a part of me is very much like her. And a part of me is Buffy, and another Tara, I identify in some way with all of them. I remember that they are all children with horrid or nonexistent role models, Willow no less so than the others.

But I don't LOVE Willow. I don't hang out at the Willow/Tara boards because I love Tara for herself, not as "half" of a ship; and I'm pretty sure that being in those spaces would require me to shut my eyes to the negative aspects of that relationship, pretending that certain things didn't happen. And I just can't do that. I actually respect the fact that they portrayed a lesbian relationship with abusive aspects because that's real, not the Lilith Faire hetero married women's fantasy (that OMWF actually mocks IMO and that gets missed.)

Then again I don't (can't) (won't) ship Buffy/Willow either and I know a lot of people who do.

I commented regarding to class warfare on another thread somewhere so I won't repeat except to say: AMEN.

To be fair to myself, I can pretty much ship anything if it's done right and is fair to both characters. I'm an equal-opportunity shipper.

unless Xander is involved. no Xander. unless it's Xander/Dracula. because everyone has a line.

It's not that I hate Willow. or dislike all of Willow/Tara. It's more that the Scooby dynamic is so toxic to me, that I don't really have strong emotional ties to the big three. Tara, Anya, Faith, Cassie, Anne, Dawn, Cordy - the girls on the sidelines, that's where my loyalties generally lie.

I can pretty much ship anything if it's done right and is fair to both characters. I'm an equal-opportunity shipper.

two years ago I never would have predicted I'd be reading leni_ba's Courting Sinverse (Buffy/Angelus) or il_mio_capitano's Buffy/Giles tics. But they are amazing, flawless writers. I can even dig the Xander/Dawn (a pairing I loathe) in eurydice 72's "A stones throw from yesterday" because her Dawn is mature and super fantastic and doesn't let Xander get away with his shit.

I'm not primarily a "shipper" so you can throw a ship at me and for the most part I'm good but I have some DNW places. No bashing Buffy, Dawn, etc (of course); Xander/ Dawn, Xander/Buffy, Xnader/Willow, Dawn/Andrew, Andrew/anybody, or Dawn/Tara; tara any male character. Buffy/Giles unless it's written by the aforesaid author.

It's not that I hate Willow. or dislike all of Willow/Tara. It's more that the Scooby dynamic is so toxic to me, that I don't really have strong emotional ties to the big three.

I hear you. Somewhere along the line I fell in love with Buffy, with the Summers women; but I would have given anything to have Tara, Anne, Cassie, Olivia alive in S7 to the end; Anya got shit on in unforgivable ways; and I would have paid hard earned money to see more Faith in S7. Those few moments we got were not enough by a long shot. TYG/WAY are on my top five episodes.

And I would have paid money I don't have to actually see the Coven.
Oh thank you m'lady!

Someday I do want to rework this to add other images of women in the buffyverse comforting one another.