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The End of the Series

Think of a visual representation of a statements or concept, as a series or a single image.

Consider a style or media that would be striking, and imagine it taken to a level beyond your ability.

Research said media if it is new, and think on the concept or image for a while – but not so long that something new takes its place – because the longer this thought process, the more ambitious it should become.

Once the thought of even trying begins to fill you with an equal level of dread and excitement, begin.. even if it is after your bed time.

Don’t stop until it is looking as good you had hoped, because this is the *true* starting point. Now work to take it even further, as far as the piece demands, beyond whatever level of ability you  thought you were limited by.

Walk away regularly with the image in your head, process it, think of the parts you like, the things you don’t, and things you would like to add.

Remove and go over anything you have doubts about without mercy.

Add in only what won’t crowd the piece

When you reach the point where any change will only make it “different”, but not “better”, you are done.

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things by breakfast”, is a good phrase to remember.

Most *Everyone* draws at some point in their life. Those who are intrigued by failure, inspired by the seemingly impossible, continue beyond the point of jagged teeth and crayoned stick fingers.

An artist should never seek to do what they already know they *can* do – and perhaps such is the evil in commissions, which are most often specified according to past works, and limited by scope. Not that all commissions are bad – an artist must accept only those that allow the artist a fair share of creative freedom, as well as room, opportunity, or even obligation to try something new.

An artist who finds himself or herself with extra money, tends to spend it exploring a new mode of art, a new mode of printing, or trying to break into some bigger and more time-involved media or project. It isn’t that we are without wisdom, we know what is wise, and choose to ignore it out of a strong and passionate love for art. Buy canvas, sell paintings, buy scanner, sell reproductions, buy printer, sell giclees, buy lithography press, sell lithographs, buy bigger canvas and better paints, sell paintings, fret over a choice between crowns or a big chunk of marble, sell sculpture, buy clove oil … some ramen noodles …and a better chisel.

When I first started the “Airships and Tentacles” series, in wow… 2006… I don’t even think that “Air Kraken” was a word yet, though I could very well be wrong. I can’t remember specifically, but given Final Fantasy’s tendency to make *some* version of every base creature for each and every environment, it would be insane if they never had some sort of airborne cephalopod in all those years.

Yes, It is foolish of anyone to believe they invented anything… logs and stones rolled down hills long before the wheel, and there is sure to be a comic book from the 60s or illustration from the 1800s with flying cephalopods *somewhere* – and a hundred movies and books in-between. I am only saying I hadn’t yet seen them in paintings, especially luminist and/or American arts-movement-styled paintings, and I thought it would be fun to add hints of in the first painting – and loved that touch enough to continue it through the series.

The Rescue -Steampunk Airship painting featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia

My airships, started with a commission for Robert of Abney Park, based on the existing designs by Eliza Gauger, which may or may not have been based somewhat on an equal interest in things such as Final Fantasy. The fun of imagination, came more in execution and styling, and moreso in the landscapes themselves. Over time, as the result of much research on bag sizes, gas content, altitude, temperature, etc… balloon sizes grew, ship sizes and engines shrank – I also started to lean more towards the stylings of DaVinci for wings and other parts – and mixed a bit of the aesthetic stylings from my favorites like Derek Riggs, Michael Whelan, Brom, Bethalynne Bajema, Gustave Dore, Pieter Breughel (E&Y), Zdzislaw Beksinski, and others wherever characters, creatures, scenery, or technology allowed.

Anyway, I wanted to do a series of what is essentially landscape art, explored by this fascinating mode of travel – as a means of adding a human element for the viewer to view through, without focusing on figures so much as to make it “character art”.

I sought to combine Lovecraftian elements and mythos with Vernian machines and aptly romanticized visions of exploration; in this, I also wanted to hide every bit of my usual dark and spooky art in such a way that it goes mostly to completely unnoticed.

The latter is most likely why this series was the first series I ever did that people *both* liked, *and* would hang on their walls (Criteria: Does not scare children, much; Does not creep in-laws and future in-laws out; Does not give the potential future girlfriend reason for pause; Does not get a cubicle-dweller fired).

Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series (crop)
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: crop 2
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view. This, the last of these images is finally available as a giclee on fine art paper, a giclee on canvas, and a metallic print at our Etsy store: http://ettadiem.etsy.com

I *thought* I was going to explore this into many, many other types of media – and planned to have a sculpture in wood and a sculpture in metal in the series of nothing else. But, I’ve done more paintings in this series than I intended to, and many, many engravings. The very last painting ships out tomorrow… technically that is not true, because there will be *some* of that in the Infernal device – but I am counting that as my sculpture piece to complete the series.

I’ve got one hell of a collection together in this – plenty enough for the book I committed myself to making works for. I’ll be releasing it in a time when dirigibles and flying Cephalopods have over these years become an odd sort of ‘norm’ (a subcultural standard that to most, comes out of *nowhere* for no apparent reason). The journey has been in interesting one, and I feel that alone merits the book’s release if nothing else… pending until all this Infernal Device stuff is under control.

Thank you everyone who supported the making of this series by buying prints, sharing links and such – and of course thank you  everyone who continues to do so.

I really have no idea what I am going to do from here, because I have *many* ideas and will have to choose one, or combine a few – but whatever I am thinking, I am sure going to look forward to it the moment I allow myself to look forward to other things.

Right now I am looking forward to getting the first build of the Infernal Device done, and looking to make it better than anything I could ever possibly do.

In celebration of the closing of the series (okay… I really need money to get my butt to Maker Faire Detroit), I am making large giclees of the very first image from this series available online. They are 30 inches by 24 (printed area is slightly less), and they are printed on fine art rag paper. I will also sign and date these. These are not limited editions – the reason is that the metallics and canvas prints I sold as limited editions, must always remain more special than any version I put out afterward. These are prints I make available in small quantities at conventions, with no set number to be made – but they beautiful, high quality, and they are the biggest prints of this  image you can get without buying one of the 4 remaining giclees on canvas.

If you would like one, these few prints are available HERE – and are only $100 until they  are gone.

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Airships and Tentacles Coloring Book

In thinking of something really good, but inexpensive that I could put together as an added incentive to be a part of our kickstarter, and in staying up all night making a new engraving – it came to me…

This coloring book.

When I was a kid, Advanced Dungeons and Dragon’s Monster manual, and their Dieties and Demigods, had some rather awesome illustrations in them: All black and white. I loved those illustrations, but I loved them even more when I caught a Glimpse of my friend Brian’s book… which he had taken colored pencils to for each and every illustration. I thought it pretty amazing how with some simple color over the black and white of the pages, those illustrations really came to life. They were simple to color, because the shading was already there – which made for a basic coloring level, with lots of room for improvisation, and advanced looking results.

I thought to myself this AM, “Hey… all these engravings I’ve been doing would be perfect for this”,and so I set to gathering up pages for a coloring book… and with all the engraving that I do, I have a *lot* of them.

Here are the images that will be in this coloring book… which will for the time being, only be available through our kickstarter for an $11 donation (which includes Shipping and Handling). The coloring book is over 30 pages, and ready to color.

You’ll notice that some of the images below are colored, because I copied really quick from my gallery. These images will be uncolored in the coloring book version (see above).

If you would like to see a PDF of the actual book, CLICK HERE

If you would like to buy a copy of the book for $12, CLICK HERE

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Rescue Sale

Long story short: The Rescue 11×14 Metallic prints are on sale for only $24 through Mid-December [here]

The Rescue (featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia) can be found in my store (click the Store link at the top of any page)

I am at month 7 of trying to get an issue resolved with the printing company who used to be my favorite. 7 months of getting no response back here or there, or a simple “cut and paste” via phone or email.

Their customer service has recently upgraded to an email here or there, and actually trying to sort the problem out, but mostly a lot of “I’ll be in touch tomorrow”, followed by a 2 day wait and me trying again.

Fortunately, I found another company to order through… though this did not help me much for SteamconII, the World Steam Expo, or the 7 months of added expense/time ordering elsewhere, printing locally, and/or looking for other elsewheres to order from…. the prints are every bit as beautiful as the sort of quality I once expected from my former printing company (though they cost me about double if I don’t order in bulk).

Of course all this chaos had to be happening during Holiday rush, and I neglected to put up any sales…

I am at the point where, in a few days (December 15th), it will be too late to order from me and expect your gift orders to arrive in time for gift-wrapping and giving.

… Except…

I plan to order a huge re-stock on 11×14 Metallics of “The Rescue”… that pesky best-seller I wasn’t able to send to Steamcon this year.

So, if you already have this print but would like to give one to someone else, or if you haven’t yet gotten one for yourself, I am selling these for only $24 through December 16th, maybe till December 20th if supplies on-hand hold out.

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Colour from Space

Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend
Dead Sea Painting by Myke Amend

An experiment in color, recently completed as a commission for Mike Skoog, wherein he asked if I could do something small enough for his music room, and more colorful than my standard muted palettes.

I went the more impressionistic route with this one, and instead of starting with the colors as I wanted them, I started with the nearest primary colors in their place, and worked downward in saturation and sideways in hue, until I reached this point.

Details are painted so incredibly thin, that I practically painted them with the very corner of a single hair, dropping molecules of paint in a line for stitches and ropes and other details. In this, I am reminded that working smaller is actually harder, not easier, because I still feel compelled to add my standard amount of detail…but in a smaller space (which means eye-strain and neck cramps in spades, and a more time-consuming work).

All the same, sometimes I like working small just for the opportunity to test my patience and practice my hand.

That was the second to last of all the commissions that remained on my plate before Artprize… one more to go, then I am my own man until I sell another…

Signed and dated giclees of this are available for only $25 here for a limited time, or $30 through Etsy

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Art! Troglodites Hate It, but You’ll Love It!

Does your summer shelter need windows to elsewhere, but without that annoying heat caused by sunlight? Tired of the warmth radiated by television, computers, and other electronic devices? Would you like the have images to liven up your place, without the annoyance of sound, and without the pesky associated energy costs of batteries and outlets?

You should try “Art”!

Art is 100% energy efficient, requires no outlets, and will continue to work day or night, even during power outages and Zombie Apocalypse (natural light source required for optimal enjoyment). Unlike money, which depends on a reliable system of government, art can be traded for gold, tools, women, men, chickens, or circus bears in post-apocalyptic settings, save for those dominated by troglodites and C.H.U.D.s, and it even serves as highly-prized contraband in every dystopian oligarchal collectivist society.

Concerned about your safety? Well, with the wonder of art, most any dangerous beast or precarious situation can be safely contained within a handy frame (not included)!!! Art has, in many tests, been proven to contain everything from ravenous krakens to the Civil War; Even ancient gods have a significant amount of difficulty escaping the confines of a well-crafted image: Play your records backwards day or night next to art, and if your soul is devoured, or sanity eaten, refunds will be the last of your concerns, guaranteed!

Need a friend? You can talk to art. Art will never interrupt or recommend you get professional help. Art will never, ever eat the snacks that were obviously yours because you wrote your name all over it in red marker; Art will never go to a party without you and then say it was studying all night.

Need a better view? Dread the expense of moving? Is it illegal in your area to asplode that ugly neighboring house or apartment building? Replace that ugly view with an always-pleasant view of another world, no more wondering “What are they doing over there?”; With art you can overwrite their existence safely, and without the fuss of jail time or mental wards. You can even place Art in areas without windows for an easy-to-install added viewing space(“easy-to-install” requires some working understanding of hammer physics and wall technology)!!!

But wait! Art is now available with your choice of discounts!! Read below !!!

Both discounts are valid at https://mykeamend.com/new/products-page/ and are simple to claim (just key in the coupon codes below at checkout).

1) Free Shipping (USA on all standard items. Basically, $5 off – since my flat rate, site-wide price for shipping in the US is $5. For original artworks and overseas shipping, this coupon simply takes $5 off of shipping.

Just enter “freeship” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

2) 10% off. Yep, 10% off your entire order, including original artworks and other one of a kind items. The 10% off even applies to already sale-priced items.

Just enter “10p” (without the quotation marks) at checkout.

Offers are valid now, through whenever, which will likely be a week from now… though you should jump on it now so you don’t forget later, miss out on this incredible deal, and spend eternity in regret as a whino or one of those people who scream threatening words at trash bins. Websites are standing by.

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Some Day I Will Never Grow Up

SomeDay I Will Never Grow Up
SomeDay I Will Never Grow Up - Acrylic on Wood Panel Painting by Myke Amend (click for larger view)

The original was painted on a wood panel cabinet I hand-made for the purpose of doing this painting. I’ll be finishing up the cabinet when I return home.. I can’t tell you what I’ll be filling the cabinet with – but when the construct is done, I will have had a lot of fun making things to fill it with.

Though the cabinet is not done, the painting part of it is, and it was lovingly, carefully scanned for truest color and detail, and printed as a giclee for the best, most highly-detailed and most brilliant reproduction quality.

Someday I will Never Grow Up Detail 1
Detail 1
Some Day I will Never Grow Up Detail 2
Detail 2
Some Day I Will Never Grow Up Detail 3
Detail 3

These are printed 12×18 (the original size of the work) on Canvas (for the optimal standard framing size), in archival pigment inks on 200+ year archival quality heavyweight cotton canvas. Each is coated with a UV, moisture, and scratch-resistant coating for added longevity.

25 total will be printed. All giclees on Canvas are shipped stretched and mounted withing the US, or rolled everywhere else (but you can arrange to receive a stretche copy if you wish to work out additional shipping).

Each is hand-signed, hand-numbered, and dated by Myke Amend. Each also comes with a certificate of authenticity. Both the artwork and the certificate have matching serialized holograms affixed to them (front of certificate, back of canvas) for added assurance and to protect the value of your print.

The Giclees on Canvas are available here: 12×18 Giclee on Canvas

***Also Available***

1) a 16×20 OPEN edition SIGNED giclee on fine art rag paper. No guarantee how long they’ll be available, but they are not as limited as the giclees on canvas.

2) a 9×12 metallic print of this same image, also open edition.

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Desert Shadows – Now Available (in my store)

I reached the point where I *wanted* to add “just a little bit more”, but typically, as one learns over thousands of years of banishment to Earth, this is the point where one more brush stroke equals “overworked”. I waited about fifteen minutes just staring at the thing, and was happy with my decision.

Taking photos of paintings in artificial light don’t tend to yield the most spectacular results – there is a slight color shift seen from one edge to another (especially visible on the full shot). I’ll be getting it professionally scanned while I am away, proofing it when I return on the 29th, and since my printers are local – I’ll be able to start shipping these around January 11th.

They are however available now, in large limied edition metallics, limited edition giclees on canvas, and medium-sized open edition metallics (18×12 inches).

A bit about the painting:

I wanted the sphynx to be foreboding forgotten monolith, but I also wanted it to look “alive”, so I decided to put the tentacles emanating from the portal in the sphynx, putting the one winding around the back in the position a cat’s tail would be in were it thinkiing about ‘pouncing’.

In the shadows of this painting, are a night sky – something to dress up the dark spots, and to fulfill the need I had to make a starry sky out of my cloudy lightning-filled sky.

Desert Shadows (photograph of painting)

These weird shell things- I wanted rocks, but did not want them to be boring old rocks, I also wanted the desert to look almost as if it were a dried out ocean… so these fossil-like shell-like patterns in the stone served to fill these needs.

The lightning field – The way I wanted everything to be lit, required that lighting was coming in varying levels from many angles. I also love lightning. The floaty cages are a throwback to back when I did purely surreal artwork… and I thought they would add a nice ‘living’ touch to the landscape without ruining my desolate scene with actual plants.

ert Shadows (photograph of painting)

Lanterns everywhere – this one in the netting and reflecting off the portal window. A view of the coal bin, lightning field, floating cages, and propellers as well.

Oh… the nautilus. The nautilus-like submarine from “the Rescue”, now beached in the middle of the desert. Why??? … umm… Don’t tell me how to run my painting! It was a whim!

ert Shadows (photograph of painting)

Gondola – and lots of netting. More fishnet than a goth club on a Summer night. It serves well as extra cargo space. Ladders and doors for a sense of scale.

ert Shadows (photograph of painting)

The whole painting. Please forgive the obvious color shift from right to left, it is the result of uneven lighting on the painting when I took the shot.

ert Shadows (photograph of painting)

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Cephalopod Attacks in Fiction, and in the News!

You may already know about “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who is rumored to have recently signed a deal to write “Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter”. “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”, written by Jane Austin and Ben Winters continues this soon to be trend of making strange fiction of classic fiction.

The trailer (found via The Daily Kraken) is so brilliantly and perfectly executed that, though I cannot wait to read the book, I must admit have an even greater desire to see the movie.

I am however somewhat pleased to see the news picking up where the trailer has left off…

Today, I found via Cephalopod Tea Party that Humbolt Squid have finally begun to heed my requests, and are now beginning larger and more organized attacks on mankind and cameramen.

Unfortunately, I cannot share the video here because even on youTube, ABC news has it too heavily locked down (they suck), but you can and should view it here.

You can also see the full cover for this book, and read more about this book and books like it at the original article from The Daily Kraken – a great source of interesting things and other stuff.

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The Cephalopods Can Hear You

BBC Image
BBC Image

Octopus and squid can hear.

The discovery resolves a century-long debate over whether cephalopods, the group of sea creatures that includes octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses, can hear sounds underwater.

Compared to fish, octopus and squid do not appear to hear particularly well.

[the rest at BBC Earth News…]

(found via Chad Savage of <a href=”http://savagesinister.com/”>Sinister Visions/Sinister Missives</a>)

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Free WallPaper: Thanks for the Ether (Antarctic Experiment in sepia)

New Steampunk Wallpaper: “The Antarctic Experiment” (Sepia antiqued variant of the original image), 1280 x 1024, from the series “Airships and Tentacles” – a Jules Verne and Hp Lovecraft Inspired series of explorers in dirigibles in precarious situations.

Click image below to download or view:

A color version of this, in 1280×1024 and in 1600×1200 is available at Ettadiem.com

Antarctic Experiment in Sepia (Thanks for the Ether)
Antarctic Experiment in Sepia (Thanks for the Ether)