Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fahrenheit 451: Take 2

"It was a pleasure to burn."

I love this book. Sam Weber, one of many 'holy shit no one can paint that good' illustrators working today, has already done a series of beautiful, stirring works based on Fahrenheit 451. Still, I want to have samples of book cover work, and I cannot ignore this book's potential as an illustration. In any case, this is what I've come up with for a composition.

If the book is about a fire in the soul of Guy Montag, Clarisse is the match that sets him off. She holds a dandelion up to him in one particular scene. Clarisse tells Montag that if he rubs a dandelion under his chin and it leaves yellow behind, he is in love. But when she rubs it under Montag's chin, there is nothing.

I wanted to cover emotional and thematic points with this illustration. Let me show you the illustration finished as I see it. Close your eyes. Wait, no. Read this. Then close your eyes and imagine it. Listen to Massive Attack: Mezzanine. Just Teardrop would do. I digress.

The world is grey. Cloudy sky, broken, twisted tree. The ghost of a city looms in the background. Pages of books, blackened and burning falling like volcanic ash from the sky. Clarisse in a white dress is a splash of color, and it threatens to invade the darkened figure of Montag on the left. Smoke rolls off of him. He is all leather and darkness and he puts one hand out to push away from the influence of the inquisitive girl. He is the Fireman. But soon he will be something more.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Catch: A Journey

Alright, I decided that I like the title "The Catch." This is the celebration post. Here, I review what came before and how I came to the finished image we have now.

The first 'octowoman' I made was for a girl.

I said, 'I want to paint you. You want to be painted as a mermaid?'

'No,' came the reply, 'I want to be like Ursela.'

So I painted this.
Ursela 9x12" Acrylic. She liked it. It was nowhere near my best work, but the concept had potential. If you were a young octowoman who eventually became an evil witch, were you always like that? What caused you to be bad, eventually? Or is the concept of 'good' and 'bad' contextual? Animals kill accidentally sometimes out of curiosity and survival. It is not murder. So no animal can really be considered 'evil.'

Well, Jaws was evil.

So I thought a moody piece that kept the motives of the central character murky would help this concept grow into a better idea. I did this little sketch for fun.
Grette 8x10" Oil. This was a creature that may not be evil but she was certainly scary. There appears to be a deep-sea diving helmet in the darkness beside her. Originally, this was just a design choice. When I put the helmet in, though, I realized it gave her a story. Did she collect that helmet? Did she find it? Was the diver still alive when she took the helmet? Was this an act of animal curiosity or directed animosity? I liked the ambiguity that the painting had.
The Dark Pearl 36x48" Oil. I wanted to relate her even more to the helmet, and give her a pet. She is obviously affectionate with this angler fish, and so she cannot be ALL bad, regardless of your interpretation of her intentions. This painting also grew its own story as I painted it. So many things changed, and I painted it over fully at least three times. She still has many features that could be considered gross or alien, but I made other aspects of her beautiful. Sadly, this painting is much less dynamic than the color study. My intention is that every viewer comes up with his or her own story.

My story goes like this: She encountered the diver when he was still alive. Curious and elated, she approached him. The diver accidentally cut his air hose in his shock at seeing her and realizing what she was. When he crumpled to the ocean floor, she didn't quite understand. In the painting, she is waiting for him to wake up. Sad, right?
The Catch 11x17" Digital. I knew I wanted to revisit the octopus woman. As both a writer and an artist, I have a love for female leads. Especially strong, independent ladies. How many movies have we all seen where the woman is simply the prize to be won or the 'really nice lady that needs saved.' I wanted a woman who was dominant, confident, and in charge. In "The Dark Pearl," she was too passive. Even in my interpretation of the story, she is waiting on the other partner to fulfill her in some way. This time I wanted my woman to be curious, dangerous, but all her own.

She is like a muse here: grabbing the diver and holding him helpless, as she cracks open the helmet to take a peek. Inspiration at its most insistent.  I took this painting and applied one of my old art school assignments to it: Opposites. In this painting, I have at least three conflicting themes. Beauty vs. Beast. Organic vs. Inorganic. Above vs. Below. I wanted the viewer to feel the depth and darkness of the water, and as they scroll up, the sunlight should be a literal breath of fresh air.

Maybe another two years down the road I'll take what I've learned and the stories that I've told, and it will be different enough to make a new painting. Perhaps I will revisit my little cephalo-siren.

P.S. I want to thank the model who helped me with "The Catch." She is absolutely beautiful, a talented model, and a wonderful person to boot. So thank you.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Catch

Here she is: Daydream, Sweet Dreams, Muse, whatever the title, she is close enough to done for me to really show her off. This is the part where I sit on the painting for a few days before coming back and touching off all the little areas that were eluding me before. Until then, enjoy!
If anyone has a good title for this piece, feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Daydream Continues

I continue to work on this little biddy. I was expecting a much faster turn-around, like always. But I am actually very happy with it so far. The deep-sea diver and his body will, of course, be detailed. I am still unsure how nebulous I want the ocean to be. I will probably settle with some state between foggy and clear.
Here is a close-up of the most finished parts.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Work continues on the piece that, for now, I am calling 'Daydream.' I am still trying to get my photoshop skills into the right bracket. One of the things I hear most about my digital work is that it looks like I use traditional methods still. I would like to emphasize that in my work by learning brush and substrate textures. Hope you like her so far!
I am going to ensure that this project is my best yet. I love seeing myself get better on a project by project basis.

Busy, and not.

I have exciting things to post about very soon. Some published pieces, possibly by the end of the month. Wouldn't that be nice? I think they are some of my best work. I also have one personal project, two traditional commissions, a comic and a mock video game project. That isn't including the ten charcoal portraits I will be doing by February. Full-time art is cool, but until I have enough freelance work coming in to really sustain me, I am not busy enough!
Another piece for Soterion, Copyright(c) 2009 ~ 2012 Lamplight Media. All rights reserved.
This piece is a lot like the Cowboys. Same general subject done again. I like to do this from time to time because it is a great apples to apples indicator of where I've grown. Maybe every two years I'll choose a theme and produce two paintings. Who knows, I've done that for the last two years.

Monday, October 15, 2012

More quick sketch tries

Another sketch. Just messing with color. No point. In other news, I have a few B&W pieces that I am all kinds of excited to show. Also, there is a piece concerning a giant effing spider that might be neat to show you. Soon. Until then, here's a stupid spaceship.