Fantasy Art

Friday, November 17, 2017

Desert Scene

There's been some delay in finishing my set of monster paintings that I showed you earlier.  So rather than suspend the blog until they're done I thought we'd go back to the"Maux Faux" series.

A friend of mine had just moved into a big house and wanted a big desert scene painting with bright colors.  He sent me a couple very different looking examples that he'd found on the web just to get a range of ideas and styles.  So I painted this on a small sheet of cardboard to make sure we were both thinking on the same track.  Sometimes you can think you know what a client wants and you're way off, but this time he loved it and gave the go ahead.
18" X 24" house-paint on cardboard.

Friday, November 3, 2017

How to Paint a Werewolf

I'm not currently on any sort of timeline or schedule.  I'm not working for anyone, don't have any assignments or deadlines which means I get a lot more work done.  For many people it would have the opposite effect, they get serious about production when the pressure is on.  For some reason I've turned into a guy who pushes back against pressure.  I work at my greatest efficiency when there's nothing to do.
So as Halloween was approaching I was struck by the mood to do some more classic movie monster art like those in the previous post.  This idea occurred far to late to capitalize on the season.  I couldn't finish them and sell them for Halloween, but I didn't care because that really isn't the idea.  Halloween simply put me in the mood.
So the project I'm working on currently (There's more faux finish stories to tell later) is my "How to Paint a Werewolf" video series which I'm showing on Facebook Live.
Here's Video #1
Here's Video #2
Bear in mind that these are currently terrible videos because I have no equipment or skills in that area, but I'm learning fairly quickly.

Here are a few sketches in charcoal on some old boards which were pre-painted with house-paint.

Next make a sloppy mess with brown house-paint over the whole drawing.

Before that gets much of a chance to dry wipe it off with a paper towel.

Now paint the background black including the edges of the wood. 

I use a lot of black on these to give the effect of the creature emerging out of the darkness, so most of him wants to be in total shadow. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween I thought I'd share some monster art I did last year or the year before...or 3 years ago?  It's all a blur.
Acrylics on recycled wooden planks.  All sold.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 8

Somewhere in between the previous two sketches and the previous three paintings was Phoenix Comic Con.  While we were there I had my big sketchpad and a wonderful lady named Dee Astell asked me to draw a picture of an octopus and a penguin wearing fez's and having a beer.  Dee and her husband Hal Astell are very active, hard working, selfless contributors to the local science fiction and fantasy scene so I was happy to make this for them.  I think they intended to pay me for it, but there's no way I could let them do that.

Here's me talking to Hal at the end of Comic Con.  I don't know if I was saying something amusing, but I look amusing saying it.  That's Paul Tanton in the back and my wife Stellar to the right.

Years ago I painted in-house advertising for the grocery store business.  We called it POS which stands for Point of Sale, except when it stood for the other thing.  I started as a sign painter for Albertson's but soon became the go to guy for point of sale advertising art for all the grocery chains in the Southwest division which was mostly Arizona and adjacent parts of New Mexico, California and Nevada.  It was an odd sort of business, but it was kind of fun.
Every year in March I painted hundreds of penguins for National Frozen Food Month.  They had an annual awards ceremony where they awarded the Golden Penguin Awards for the best Frozen food displays.  My artwork was in more winning displays than anyone else in history. 
Sound silly?  It was.  It was also a very big deal.  The grocery store business could buy Hollywood and the global gaming market out of petty cash.  Multi-million dollar agreements happened largely on the strength of a company's commitment to projects like these displays.   I got paid diddly, but it was fun.

Anyways I told you all of that to tell you this: Painting penguins has been a major element of my life, painting octopuses has also been a major element of my life, and painting signs on windows, particularly pizza shop windows, has been a major element of my life.  So I decided to put them all together in one painting of a penguin and an octopus having pizza inside a shop with one of my signs painted on the window. 
The painting was done on an old white-board.  I sanded it down to the raw Masonite, primered it and painted the frame and background black.  The rest of it was very much like painting a window splash.

"The Best Things In Life"
36" X 24"
Oil paint on board

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 7

So when the convention was over and all of my paintings were sold a gentleman approached me and asked if I could paint him one just like the last one I showed you.  I was not very keen to do that since I don't like repeating a painting nor do I want commissions at the moment, but there are some exceptions I'm willing to make.  Sometimes it's nice to stand back and look at a painting, decide what you wish you'd done different and then have another go at it.  I really do like this one a lot better.  For one thing the Steampunk aspect was a little less important to this guy, he just likes octopuses and being British he's very fond of tea so those were the requirements.    It's a small thing but I like that the teapot is lifted up and that the cup sits at an angle, it gives so much more motion and life to the story.  I also had a great time with the random swirls of color on his skin, that made the whole project for me.
I don't know what it says about this Fantasy Artist that I enjoyed painting the teapot possibly more than all the rest of it.

"A Spot of Tea"
24" X 24"
Oil paint on a recycled cabinet door.

Here are some close-ups of the random colors.  What I'd done is painted the purple and blue nicely blended a few days before so it was completely dry.  Then I laid it flat on a table and in certain spots around the painting ( such as along the length of a tentacle) I made a little puddle of paint thinner and linseed oil.  Then I got some teal and white onto a brush and just kind of let it fall into the puddle.  I did nothing to control where it went or what shape it took just stood back and let it ooze and flow.  Left it lying flat until it was dry.
 Wonderful weird unpredictable stuff, I absolutely love it and will do it a lot more in the future.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 6

Later that same weekend that I'd drawn the other sketch I went to a Tea Duel.  Tea Dueling is a viciously competitive steampunk sport where duelists dunk a cookie into a cup of tea and then hold it upright trying to avoid the cookie turning to mush and falling over.  It takes skill, wit, and cunning.  While there I was looking over the rule book by Kurt Kave.  When I asked how much it cost he started to answer but his lady friend jumped in and said "A sketch, it costs a sketch!"  So I happily sketched this one in exchange for the book.
Incidentally the designer of the book is Johnna Buttrick who won the sketch in the previous post.  It's like it's all tied together in some twisted, tangled, tentacled mass of destiny and suction cups.

Here we are manfully engaging in a tea duel where I was dreadfully out of my element.  That's Kurt leaning across the table.

And here I am in my element, gleefully sketching away.

There are many element of the sketch that I like better than the painting.  In the sketch the frame shape is drawn in and therefore easy to draw over.  There's a lot that is compositionally satisfying about the teapot and cup being outside the frame and also the tentacle on the left and pressure gauge on the right extending outside the frame creates a balance.  In the painting I was bound by the physical three dimensional properties of an actual frame.  I felt that the tentacles could wrap around the frame fairly nicely, but for a hard object like the teapot to bend over the frame's edge would break the illusion too much.

"Tea Dueling"
24" X 24" Oil paint on a recycled cabinet door.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 5

Let's take a short break from the Maux Faux series of posts and follow the steampunk octopus concept for a while. 

 A couple years ago I was at a convention where there was an action to raise money for some charity or other.
One of the items up for auction was "Gilead will make you a sketch of whatever."  Someone bid for that and asked me to draw a Steampunk Octopus so this is what I did.

Last spring our local science fiction convention called LepreCon was coming up.  I hadn't been invited to be a participant so I wasn't planning to go.  I love them, but money was tight as usual and if we had to pay full price as attendees instead of being comped as participants well I just couldn't afford it.  Then with about a month to go they contacted me in something of a panic and said that not inviting me was an oversight and it wouldn't be the same without me, could I please come?  I was very flattered and am easily swayed with appeals to my vanity so of course I went.  But I had no artwork ready to put in the art show.  So I put my head down and made ten pieces of art in one month to take to the show.  Among them were the next three pieces that I'll share here.  Sadly I had no time to take any step by step photos so all we have is the finished product.

Painted on an old cabinet door like much of my art, I used metallic gold paint on the frame which I rarely do, but in this case I think it made for a very cool look.  In person it really pops, which is a statement you never make to an art director who's looking at your portfolio.  Whatever impression your art is supposed to make it had better do it in your portfolio otherwise it's not worth mentioning.  But this is different.  This piece was meant to be appreciated in person and not in print so I can make all the self aggrandizing claims I want to.

"In The Gears"
24" square.  Oil paint on a recycled cabinet door.