Fantasy Art

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.

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.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 4

And here it is the Steampunk Octopus final painting.
4 foot by 4 foot, oil paint on a recycled sheet-metal real-estate sign.
Our original faux finish shows through a little bit in the skin of the octopus, but for the most part it's gone entirely.  This painting sold on the first night of the show.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 3

More browns and yellows blended to make the brass.  It looks very dull here, but that's the key to making things look shiny, make most of it dull so that the bright spots look bright by contrast.  The background is painted blue, the square frame is straight out of my sign painting playbook.   Create a margin and then exceed the margin.  It creates the illusion that the octopus is even bigger than he really is and there's a layer of depth.  The blue is far distance, the frame is middle distance and the Steampunk Octopus is close up.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 2

Using opaque white paint I block out confusing lines from the previous painting and keep them from showing through.  Then using yellow ocher and burnt sienna I start to create the look of brass on some objects.  You may be starting to think that the original faux finish is completely lost in this painting and you'd be right it's all gone, but it served it's purpose  and now the board can serve another purpose so nothing is lost.
I've painted more than a hundred octopuses in my time and there's no doubt that I'll paint more.  Why is that a thing for me?  I really don't know.  It has more to do with design than oceanography.  I like all those graceful curves and curlicues.

So the burning question is this: "What is the plural form of octopus?  Is it octopuses or octopai?"
Allow me to clarify. 
1.  "Octopus" is a Greek word and so the correct plural in Greek would be "Octopode."
2.  "Octopai" is pseudo-Latin, 'look at me I'm edjurcated', fake-science speak.  It means nothing at all.
3.   Since the word "Octopus" has been adopted into English the proper usage is the English usage which would be "Octopuses." 
 And now you know.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Steampunk Octopus part 1

After the party when we no longer needed this big castle wall painting, what do you do then?  Well there's really only one logical place you can go with this and that is to paint a steampunk octopus drinking a beer so obviously that's what we're gonna do!
I'd been invited to show my work and sell coloring books at an art event in an ale brewery in downtown Phoenix which was called...wait for it...Phoenix Ale Brewery.  Their one requirement was that the art that we were leaving on display for a month had to feature beer.  Otherwise it could be absolutely anything so obviously I drew an octopus.

About the only thing I know on the topic of breweries is that they really look kind of steampunk.  There's copper tanks with rivets, pressure gauges and valves, it's perfect.  So I draw the design in charcoal right over the last design.  The last painting was all thin glazes and never used any thick layers of paint so there's no worry of anything showing through. 
If there was I'd have had to sand it down.
Then with a very thin wash of black and burnt umber I block in the shadow areas of the new painting and it's practically done already.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Gilead's Goblins Part Two

Or Maux Faux Part Nine.

Yesterday we talked about the launch party for Gilead's Goblins coloring books.  One of the cool things at the party was a photography set up by my friend Stephen Cullum.  We had a green screen for taking photos of the folks at the party.  Incidentally we also had a costume contest which is not to say that my friends don't dress like this all of the time because they pretty much do, but here we are in front of the green screen.

Which finally brings us back around to the faux finish panels.  This is one of the panels you saw me painting in This Post.  I had two panels like this, (we'll track the eventual fate of the other one later) they were 4-foot square real-estate signs made of sheet metal wrapped around a wooden frame.
Here I'm drawing on it with a piece of vine charcoal just like I did in the others.

Light wash for the highlights and dark wash for the shadows and we've pretty well done a whole painting.  Just a little color wash to suggest the ground and the wooden door.  I knew I didn't need much detail because most of it would be covered up.
 And here's the green screen image photoshopped onto my painting.

That's me with my wife Stellar on the left and Stephen with his wife Nikka on the right.