December 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

“Through the Fire”

Last Monday, July the 11th, my sister Lisa passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was an amazing person and the courage and determination she showed in the face of this struggle, right up ’til the very end, is something I will always remember and admire.

Not long after she was first diagnosed, I knew I wanted to do something special to encourage and inspire her. I decided I was going to paint a picture for her that would symbolize the battle ahead of her and what I hoped the ultimate outcome would be. I thought about it for quite a while, waiting for inspiration to strike, and eventually it did. I had a very clear mental image of single, luminous rose in a field of ash and embers, having not only survived the fire but actually burning with its own inner light. I’ve been down this creative path before and I’ve learned not to ignore that kind of inspiration. There are times when an image is simply the right one and it practically paints itself. As I set to work on what I simply called “Lisa’s Painting,” I felt certain my vision for it would be realized… but that certainty began to fade all too quickly.

Sometimes when an image paints itself, it doesn’t always do so in the way the artist intended. The further I went, the more this one took on a life of its own and seemed determined to go in a direction I didn’t want. I wanted it to be inspiring and uplifting but, as one of the few people I showed it to early on commented, it seemed more “beautiful but haunting.” I had wanted this to be a picture Lisa could hang on her wall and look at every day to raise her spirits, but it simply wasn’t turning out that way. I tried composition and color changes, flailing about for that original image in my mind that had felt so right, but it just wouldn’t come.

Eventually, I decided I had to abandon it and start over with something completely different, but inspiration was no longer cooperating. I made several false starts on concepts that were just too trite or unoriginal and refused to come together beyond the rough sketch stage. Weeks turned into months and Lisa battled on. Despite some rough patches, her treatment seemed to be going well and I foolishly allowed myself to think I had the luxury of time. Just over a week ago, I learned abruptly that time was short and all I could do was travel with my parents to visit her in her final few days. She never really regained consciousness and I never got to tell her what she meant to me or how proud I was of her. I trust that she now knows those things and I am comforted by that, but I will always regret that I never finished what I started.

Still, as I’ve thought about it over the intervening days, I’ve begun to wonder about that first painting and whether it might have been the right one after all, just not for her. I had long since titled it “Through the Fire,” and I realized its symbolism could also apply to those she left behind, as well as the mark she left upon this world and the light that still burns through her family and everyone else who loved her. I look at it now and the word “haunting” still lingers, but it also feels uplifting in a way it didn’t a week ago. I don’t know if others will see it the same way but I hope so. Even if no one ever hangs it on their wall, it was made for a reason, if only as a reminder that time is precious and should never be taken for granted.

Farewell, Lisa, until we meet again.

“Through the Fire”

 

Star Wars Episode VII – Han Solo Concept – UPDATED

With Star Wars Episode VII coming out next year, I’ve recently been contemplating what some of the familiar characters from the original trilogy might look like 30 years on from when we last saw them. It usually doesn’t take long for such musings to find their way out through my drawing hand and onto digital canvas. I scrounged up some reference photos of Harrison Ford that were taken during filming on Episode VII along with a couple of leaked concept art pieces and painted this illustration of how Han Solo might appear in the new movie. It should be interesting to compare with the first trailer which, according to rumor, should be attached to the final Hobbit film next month.

Star Wars Episode VII - Han Solo Character Concept

Star Wars Episode VII – Han Solo Character Concept

UPDATE
And, on the off chance that Ford shaved his beard off during filming, here’s a clean-shaven version of the same concept:

Star Wars Episode VII - Han Solo Character Concept B

Star Wars Episode VII – Han Solo Character Concept B

ImagineFX Monthly Art Challenge – “Fairytale”

My entry for the April art contest at ImagineFX.com.

The theme for this contest was simply “Fairytale.” I chose to do a sci-fi interpretation of “Sleeping Beauty.”

“Cryosleeping Beauty”

“Patriots and Tyrants” Book Cover

My friend David Bagwell has just published his first novel titled, “Grandchildren of Liberty: Patriots and Tyrants.” This is the first in a series of at least three books and I will painting the covers for all of them. Here is the full front cover:

And here is the complete image for the front and back with text and other markings removed:

And the synopsis from the back cover:

When genius JP Cain saw the nation he loved crumbling, he did the only thing he could. He founded a new one. He and 117 like-minded souls founded the Republic of Secundus, a nation on an alternate Earth that was anything but Eden. Filled with animals out of prehistory, Secundus forced the colonists to fight for their very existence. If they could win, a new dream would be born: A republic based on the ideas of personal freedom, liberty, and responsibility.

Two decades later, the citizens are embarking on a new mission: to help free the world they escaped. The United States has broken under the yoke of tyranny, and Secundus’ best hope rests with political prisoner, former historian, and radio personality Lukas Faber.

But even with JP’s technology and their drive, can the people of Secundus overcome the forces of the UN, the mass media propaganda machine, and the shadowy figure pulling all their strings? They are all that stand between Earth’s greatest tyranny and true personal freedom.

Let the battle begin…

The book is available for pre-order on the Freedom Forge Press website by clicking on this link.

Guardian Angel

I started this digital painting almost two years ago, intending to give it to my mother for Christmas in 2012, but it just wasn’t coming together at the time and got set aside indefinitely. Last November, I finally had an epiphany about where I wanted to go with it and decided to tackle it for Christmas 2013. I had another couple of false starts working out the pose and various details, not to mention the challenge of learning how to paint lots and lots of feathers, but I finally had a version I was happy with in about three weeks. The end result was printed on canvas and mounted on a 16″x20″ stretcher board, which Mom plans to put in a nice frame later this week. She loves anything and everything to do with angels so I think it worked out to be a pretty successful gift.

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

Book Cover Preview

Here’s a small preview of a professional book cover I just completed for a friend’s first published novel, due out the beginning of next year. I’ll post more info about it when the time comes.

Book Cover Preview

Book Cover Preview

ImagineFX Monthly Art Challenge – “Big Red”

My entry for the March art contest at ImagineFX.com:

Big Red

Big Red

ImagineFX Monthly Art Challenge – “Steampunk Super Hero/Villain” – UPDATED

My latest digital art entry for the monthly challenge at ImagineFX.com, a Steampunk rendition of Batman:

Steampunk Batman

Steampunk Batman

UPDATE: This entry won the art challenge for the month of February.

ImagineFX Weekly Art Challenge – “Wanted Dead or Alive”

I just completed another contest entry, this time for the ImagineFX.com weekly challenge. The theme was “Wanted Dead or Alive,” depicting a wanted poster for an intergalactic criminal. I rather belatedly decided to start this one on Sunday night so I’ve got a little over two days into it.

Wanted Dead or Alive

Wanted Dead or Alive

ImagineFX Monthly Art Challenge – “Art Gladiators” – UPDATED

I decided to take another run at the ImagineFX.com Monthly Art Challenge for December. The theme was “Art Gladiators,” to be interpreted as the artist chose. I uploaded my entry yesterday afternoon:

Art Gladiators

Art Gladiators

UPDATE: This entry won the art challenge for the month of December 2012 and will be appearing in the April issue #094 of ImagineFX Magazine.