The painting was originally to be a part of “Featured Creatures”, a movie monsters art show at the Ice Cream Gallery, but at 24×36 inches, in acrylic, and with little time to work on it – I knew I could not give this piece the love and attention I wanted to, and ended up submitting a smaller and more free-formed painting of Henrietta from “Evil Dead”.
Over the past months, this is mostly what I have been working on when I sit down to paint, and I have very much been looking forward to finally being able to show it…
Over the past months I have been tapping away at keys, collecting scans of artworks old and new and even a lot of forgotten works, in order to make a very intensive book of my works to date.
At first, it was only going to be the Airships and Tentacles series, but I began to use “lost” artworks for section endings, and decided I should include old paintings from before the series, as well as all of those pieces I have worked on during the series as album covers, book covers, commissions, illustrations, or things I did during the series just to clear my head and work on something different. It even includes a few samplings from my-yet-to-be-published literary works, and some pieces I’ve done relating to the works of others (Voltaire, Clive Barker, Dexter Palmer, Bethalynne Bajema, and others), and collections of doodles and sketches to decorate text pages (such as the Table of Contents, Words from the Artist and other sections)
The book has a cover specially designed by Bethalynne Bajema from my existing artwork, and I *love* what she did with it. Click the image or link below to view as a PDF online, or right click (recommended) to download and view in 2-page side by side book format.
I did this as a drawing a while back for my free coloring pages I offered here, which is a coloring page not in my for-sale coloring book, and decided that I really wanted to do a color version myself… even though its fitting well into the series would even further-delay the release of my Airships and Tentacles art book, still in the works until the last two commissions are done.
The image is one of a little girl drawing out her surroundings with a magickal piece of chalk… floating fish, airships, men riding sharks, and geometric stars like snowflakes are some of the major scene elements, but like always: there are lots of things hidden within ice formations and other elements.
Though it is incredibly cartoony (from a cartoony sketch that is no surprise), and way more colorful than I tend to do things, I rather like it… enough so that I wish I could better communicate the look online, but you know how web graphics go: never nearly as much can be seen or felt as looking at the original painting, or at least the prints which look dead-on the original painting thanks to giclee printing technology.
This is one of my three final commissions for this year, meaning I have two more to go before this series is done and I can finally start lay-out for the “Airships and Tentacles” book.
These have been rather slow-coming – I’ve been chomping off bits of my work list, and well, between home repair, prepping for coming conventions, keeping food on the table (web/programming work), shipping, and *still* catching up on kickstarter stuff… it all feels like ‘nibbling’, though I haven’t slowed down or stopped in nearly a year.
Anyway, I painted this one at 18×12 inches on Oak panel… you can see a few details below, but certainly not all of them. As per usual… tiny, tiny brush strokes and figures about the size of a grain of rice…
I have it imaged at 600DPI, to ensure that these details show as well as the original in printed form, and those prints are now available HERE.
There are only 10 available, they are printed on canvas at the exact same size as the original painting. As an early buyer incentive, the first two to sell are available for only $190; They’ll go back up after those two have sold.
I started this, thinking I was going to take an 8×10 pencil sketch and make a neat water-colory looking piece of it, or maybe just smooth it out and make some edits.
I began by making it 16×20 at 400 DPI, and then took to smoothing out all of my pencil grainy-ness. I chose this size, because I like my works to be high resolution, and my prints to be perfect – I also always consider that I might finish a piece, and then wish I had made it available much bigger.
The downside to working digital for me, is that can I zoom in to where I can see the individual pixels when it comes to detail… I begin just doing this for one part, then realize that the entirety of the work now needs to be in this ultra-high resolution – and set off on a journey of exploring a miles-square map of pixels for.. as long as it takes… in this case, over 300 hours I really did not have to spare. I think I spent nearly two weeks planning on being done “tomorrow”.
It was certainly a way to indulge though – as an artist these days, I don’t always get the chance to put so much work into one piece – though I do put a tremendous amount of work into every one comparatively.
From pencil sketch, to over 2 gigs of file size, hundreds of layers of painted elements, plus all the modification layers for overlay, lightening, darkening, color, multiplication, saturation, etcetera…
About a day or two in, I decided it would be a great idea to actually log the process for this one… and I saved a lot of progress pics. Below, you can actually see the details of the finished piece. One thing with all of my paintings and other images: Web resolution will never let you see how packed with detail every inch is, or all of the interesting scenes, items, and mini-artworks semi-hidden throughout the painting.
Below that, I’ve added my progress pics – for people who are interested by such things.
A rather rough sketch… these were quickies done for $25 a pop for bus fare a year or so back. The paper type really did not allow for erasing, so they were one-shot deals. I liked the concept and base layout enough, I thought I would do some digital work on it to make it print-ready.
A lot of steps went by before I realized it was going to be a much bigger project than I planned. It was the point where I was fleshing out this airship where I decided some screen caps would be good. I had started on the girl, switched to the airship, cut my pencil work out to its own layer, and placed other airships where I wanted them, as placeholders for the sake of layout.
I blacked out the girl for this stage, I didn’t want its pencily quality drawing my focus from the background I was working on.
head/face. This part took all of my night – so not much else has changed.
boots and leggy things… I put a lot of base work into this, then decided I would need to enlarge the feet, and widen and lengthen the lower legs. I write notes to myself whenever there is something important I want to hit first thing the next day… you’ll see these notes in other screen caps below.
The very beginnings of the holster and belt… I would later go in further, and further, sharpening up these details, then making details within these details… and sharpening those up. Oh, you can also see the base/beginning brushings of her stripey-pants.
Yeah, I know, people have gotten pretty used to me making with the fantastical steampunk stuff – but there are a lot of times when the things in my head aren’t exactly in the genres I’m known for, often times these things aren’t exactly things people would want hanging on their walls, or even like.
That, is perfectly okay.
I took a 6-month break from showing anything new here – not that I stopped creating, but I was building big things, painting big murals upon them, working large scale in everything from the art itself to the undertaking as a whole… I managed 7 new paintings – each 3 foot by 7 foot, and can’t show them right now as I have no budget for imaging them.
I’d like to say I am working on something even bigger than that, but I am working smaller for a bit – less over the top, less fantastical, less with the huge.
… Some of this, is because the project, and all that time, really tapped me out emotionally, physically, and otherwise – I may have shot my life completely down the tube, I don’t know – I’ve lost my faith in humanity save for a small handful of people I met and worked with during the process, and have lost all hold on any illusion that there is any hope for a real arts scene or art happenings in the town I am currently living in and my thoughts in general on art as a living: expletive filled and feeling rather final.
Until I find a job, hopefully something good and hands-on, blood and sweat and not having to deal with people variety… landscaping, construction, etc…
I guess I still have to do whatever I can do, manage whatever I can manage, every day, regardless – so I do what I can do, which is painting, on what I have available to paint on.
I’m finding bits of board and unused canvas around the house big enough to do paintings on, and painting away for no one and no reason in particular.
I think some might call this “freedom”.
If you liked the sorts of things I spent the last few years painting – well, there were ways to express that – Just downloading images, wasn’t it.
But, for those who missed all the oddness and ugliness… well, it seems that I am back in that regard, and will paint new things, whenever I feel like it, whenever I have stuff to paint on.
I’m not done being an artist – I was born that way, I’ll die that way – I am just feeling rather done with *this*.
I am going to go back to breaking my back for a living, because I’d enjoy that a lot more than watching the internet for a non-living. I am going to wrap all my works up as I make them, store them up, list a few here now and then, and show them if and when a chance to show them someplace good comes up.
My latest two pieces are painted on 8×10 inch scraps of birch. They are filled with tiny details. They are the product of free-painting, with no particular image, story, or anything in mind short of the current element leading into the next and tying in with the previous. I suppose this is leading a lot more toward the style of my older, more surreal works, and I am exploring that for a while… contemplating how I will break that formula on the next, reflecting on missed chances in the previous…. building toward something, though I have no idea what, nor do I care.
I’d say more, but I still feel that people who like to talk a lot about their work, should be spending that time working.