Friday, February 26, 2010

Minor Arcana Borders - Pentacles!

Finally finished the Pentacles borders. This set was a bit slower than the other suits because I've started doing commission work again these days, and also PantheaCon disrupted things a little bit! The originals are available for sale: -here-. Had fun with dragons with this batch.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Mermaid Sketch Evolution

The evolution of a sketch for a commission. The Little Mermaid, in her underwater garden with the statue of the Prince.

The initial sketch, with the Mermaid thinking dreamily of the Prince. Had a kind of wistful look to her I thought, which I quite liked, but the client didn't. Might eventually use the figure for another painting of something else one day.

A revised sketch for the Prince's statue.

Tried a few more different poses for the Mermaid. Client wanted the Mermaid to be vainly combing her hair. I liked this pose, but the composition didn't really move me. It felt too bland and safe. As I pointed out in a previous entry, Dulac's composition on his Little Mermaid piece really appealed to me. I wasn't going to be able to accomplish something quite that dramatic for this, within the guidelines that I was working. But I could at least spice it up a bit more than this sketch. I also wanted to work in that large spiral shell I had in the first sketch (I have an affinity for spirals in case you haven't noticed).

So I scribbled another one. I liked the array of objects/seaweed/fish in this, but after staring at it for a while I realized that the pose was far too similar to my Page of Cups painting, and I really hate to repeat myself.

Here's where photoshop comes in oh-so-handy! I snagged the Prince sketch, flipped horizontally, and resized him a bit to fit into the background. Took the mermaid pose from the one I like best and stuck her in the more interesting composition. I then sent this collaged version to the client.

A few more tweaks were made, and then it was transferred to the illustration board for the cleaned up final sketch. Details were added to the surroundings, treasures, adornments.
Now it's ready to be painted:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A few random things...

Realms of Fantasy Magazine is having a reader poll on artwork and stories from the past year. If you're a reader and enjoyed my illustration for the story "Impractical Cats" in the April 2009 issue, please do vote for me!

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Secondly, my artwork is being featured in this month's issue of Blue Canvas Magazine. The entire magazine can be previewed at the site, and I believe it can be purchased at your local bookstores. It's filled with great artwork!

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And lastly, my zodiac original paintings are now released for sale.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little Mermaid Musings

I've been commissioned recently to do a painting of the Little Mermaid. It brought to mind instantly not Disney, but one of my favorite pieces by Edmund Dulac: his painting of the Little Mermaid as she swims through the dark waters on her way to see the Sea Witch.

This piece always captured my attention for its unusual composition. There is a strong diagonal cut as she swims down from the upper right corner, offset by the negative space of the clear water, and the vertical pillar of wreckage. The mermaid's tail isn't even fully visible, yet there is no doubt as to what she is, and her body glows in the gloam.

All of these aspects contribute to a moody piece that draws the viewer in, down into the eerie depths, and into the demesne of the Sea Witch; elements that I would not think to use in my own work usually. Cutting off the body of the central figure so critically? Having such a straight diagonal line in the composition? Pilings of wreckage that are somehow made to look beautiful?

These are things I like to think about when I come across a painting I like. What aspects about it are unique to that artist's mind that just wouldn't occur to me? Or that I would usually discard in my own compositions/color choices as wrong? And why do those choices make a particular piece strong? How can I try to capture some of those elusive qualities that I admire and make it my own? It's a method of looking for ways outside of my own comfort zones.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unity & Dream

Spent the weekend at PantheaCon. It was a local show, only 40 minute drive away, so I was able to test the waters with leaving Claire alone with Dana for a few days while I stayed in San Jose. I did have to rush home one night, but overall we managed to survive.

Got to hang out with my dear friends Sandra & Goldie, the Wolf Sisters. Strangely, they were the ones that had to recommend PantheaCon to me, coming all the way from Colorado, and here I was with the show practically in my backyard.

On one side of my booth, I had Botanical Preservation Corps, with a fascinating collection of herbs and plants from the Andes, books regarding the edible and herbal applications, and some very yummy raw chocolate. And on the other side was The Sacred Well, my actual neighbor in Oakland as well it appears. We casually discussed the possibility of doing signings there for the Shadowscapes Tarot, when it is released.

And speaking of which it was very gratifying to see all the excitement for the impending release of the deck! At this point, I am as eager as everyone else to see it actually in print. I just sent back to the editor corrections on the book's proofs, and so the wheels of production are spinning, and it looks to be on track for the May release.

A couple more new inks I did during the lulls at the show:

Private commission piece: "Unity"
11x14 inches

Private commission piece, for a tattoo: "Dream"
6x8 inches

Also, more pendants have been listed on etsy again! Renewed my stock in preperation for PantheaCon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wolf and Cat

Medium: Watercolors
Size: 5.5x7 inches

A wedding invitation + save the date card set commission.

It's hard to get much painting done these days. Easier to do drawings and sketches one-armed. But on the few occasions when the little one is feeling mellow enough this is how I'm getting any work done:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty
Medium: ink gel pen (hi-tec-C) on bristol board
Size: 11x14 inches

Ink commissioned piece.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I'll be poking my head up out of the Foxhole in a couple of weekends for PantheaCon. It will be over President's Day Weekend, February 12-15. San Jose, CA.

Drop me a note if you plan to attend, and would like me to bring along any particular items. I always hate to disappoint someone when they show up asking for a specific print that I didn't bring. It's impossible to bring my whole collection because there's a LOT!

While I'm on the subject of conventions, here's the (much truncated) list for this year. Many of the shows I've been a regular at for the past decade will be skipped this year, but I'll be back to my normal convention schedule next year.

Feb. 12-15 PantheaCon, San Jose,CA
July 22-25 Comic-Con, San Diego,CA
Sept 3-6 Dragoncon, Atlanta,GA

Meanwhile, a couple of scribble sketches for your viewing pleasure, for projects currently in the works:

wedding invitation commission

ink drawing commission, sleeping-beauty-ish type of theme