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.
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).
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.
I made this book a while back, out of hardwood, and spent a lot of time sanding, carving, and polishing it. I also put a lot of love into making the securing system – two fat-ended brass pins to give me lots of room to fill it.
– I will fill it with every print from the Airships and Tentacles series
– each printed on a fine rough-edged rag paper
– each page annotated as the coffee table book would be, but in my own handwriting
– each page signed discreetly and numbered “1 of 1”
– each of these prints will be an entirely unique size from any editions made
– The front page will have “to [Your Name]” and my signature.
– To make it even more rare, I will make one unique work or original art to complete the piece. Yes, one page will be an original work of art to complete the series.
The Book size is roughly 13 inches by 15 inches, and will be a hefty and beautiful tome for your tabletop or shelf. You can also remove each print if you wish, to hang them, and secure the book cover away someplace safe.
It isn’t cheap… It’ll cost me about 20 bucks to print each imaged page – which means you’re getting this at no actual profit…maybe even a loss – but I am hoping that this sale would push us over that tipping edge of 50% funding. And I’ll do anything to ensure the success of our project… including this.
Yes, it will be well worth it if it sells – so don’t feel bad about grabbing this great offer and helping us to make something even bigger.
So, if you would like to have this book, it is available for a donation of $1350, as are many other great things, at our Kickstarter: HERE
$20 through our kickstarter gets you a signed and personalized print of any of the below (you’ll need to go to my gallery page to get full views… it was hell just putting this compilation of thumbnails together):
Steampunk Tales 10 (Featuring my cover) is out now – Lots of great reading, on your device of choice, for $2.99.
This piece is another digital work, something I rarely choose to do – one which I actually did have a lot of fun with. Woman, hair pins, Winchester rifle, guards… The story by G.D. Falksen, is a great story, but my particular episode of the serial was less action-packed and more intrigue. So, I went with the less action and more suspenseful story within the art, and am very happy with it.
Normally, I prefer to sell here, but when it comes to originals, I often put them up on Etsy first for added exposure.
We’re running on a deficit this month, so I put these three items up for sale on Etsy, significantly reduced in price until one or the other sells, then the others will go back up, and find their way back here.
If you’ve been wanting an original work from me, this week may be the very best chance to do so, and do so cheaply.
Lost City 14×11 in acrylic on Bristol board $395 $300
The piece is done in acrylic paint on acid-free bristol board, and is 11×14 inches.
It is detailed, as with most of my paintings, down to a single hair or less for countless fine details.
It features two airships moored to the ground amidst an abandoned city which is carved into the surrounding plateaus.
Gadreel over Mackinac Bridge: 44×32 sculpture in wood and light, ready to hang – $550
I based this design on the airship from “Behold the Machine”, it is carved in mahogany, and painted in several types and layers of stain to separate the airship from the sails, clouds, bridge, and water.
It is roughly 44 inches by 36 inches and 2 inches thick. It requires no framing as it has 2-inch thick sides which are also stained and varnished. Hangers are already installed on the back.
I made a network of LEDS inside of the sculpture, and drilled holes for light to come through (along the airship and bridge), and put two red LEDs at the top of the bridge.
It is battery powered, but if the piece sells, I can buy the resistors and wire needed to make it powered by AC, with a 3-volt 500MA power adapter. Unless the new owner would prefer it remain battery powered.
For all the work I put into it, and since it was originally a part of our ArtPrize bid, and since it isn’t something I can make prints/reproductions of (completely beyond OOAK in that regard) I’d typically price this piece at $2,700 and would prefer to sell it for no less than $1,000. But, money is tight this week, and I am throwing it on Etsy at a steep, steep discount for now.
The Ruins: 14×11 acrylic on Bristol board – $375 $275
The city in the mountains is inspired my collaborative work with Bethalynne Bajema on the 30 foot x 10 foot mural we did for Artprize and showed at Destination 1111.
I wanted to see how bits of this city would look in a mountain landscape setting – and like many of my landscapes, the airships or other vehicles serve as a mode by which to explore — adding that human element without making the piece completely about a character or group of characters… maintaining that wondrous and serene landscape feel.
The piece is done in acrylic paint on acid-free bristol board, and is 11×14 inches.
Since it is so cold in here, that paint won’t even properly cure, I’ve decided this week to revisit a number of those things I put on hold over the summer, things which needed some digital treatment to be complete.
This illustration is a scene from Dexter Palmer’s novel “The Dream of Perpetual Motion”, originally done for web resolution, I have had this piece slated for repainting for some time now, and finally I’ve finished it, and on a big scale- since it was my very favorite from the set.
This print is finally available as a *huge* 16×20 inch giclee on fine art rag paper (here), and as an 11×14 metallic print (here).
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
Summary (for those who want just the details without the explanations):
1) There is now an option to buy giclees unstretched and unmounted.
2) Shipping on these items has been greatly reduced as a result.
3) Gallery mounted giclees (no need for frames) are now available.
~~ For people who want them before they are all gone, but do not have the money for a stretched and mounted piece (or the related higher shipping cost), you can now get giclees unstretched.
You can have them stretched and mounted at Hobby Lobby or similar stores for $20 to $30 at a later date, or do it on your own for about $10 in stretcher bars.
~~ For people interested in stretched giclees, but the cost of framing is an issue, I have now also made gallery mounting available (elegantly thick sides for wall hanging without frames).
Note – my standard stretching and mounting is done with stapling in back and tight folds… something loosely defined as “gallery wrapping” (but actually a side wrap or museum wrap), and also something that some might see as “ready to hang”.
My “Gallery Mounting” is done with custom-made stretcher bars, and the supporting box frame can be made 2 inches thick (or more).
For super-custom display, I can also make these deeper and/or hinged with shelves or other storage inside. I can even make them for recessed setting if you have some construction know-how … but to avoid the freakish chance of being backlogged with multiple unexpected orders, those are on a person by person basis.