Friday, November 14, 2014

Newish Portfolio Pieces and Portfolio Editing

Flying Kites on the Dunes

I've been working on updating my portfolio - taking out what doesn't mesh with my more recent work and adding some more black and white pieces.  Above are three new pieces I've added.  They're from my drawings from the prayer room; my friend Jen Betton suggested that some of them might work well enough for black and white portfolio pieces with some editing.

My portfolio looks much thinner, now, but I think overall it flows better.  Working on adding some more color pieces, soon! So stay tuned!

I'd love to know what people think!

Friday, October 24, 2014

October the Twenty-Fourth

"'Where am I, and what is the time?' he said aloud to the ceiling. 
'In the house of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning,' said a voice. 'It is the morning of October the twenty-fourth if you want to know.'"

-J.R.R. Tolkien, 
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 1

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 12

So this is the piece for this week.  I've decided to try and color it digitally, as you can see below.  I'm using Wylie Beckert's process that I head about in ImagineFX.  



We'll see how it goes.  I'm a little discouraged at this point, but, I'm gonna try and push through.

From the Prayer Room Week 10

From the Prayer Room Week 6

I'm catching up, slowly but surely.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tomie dePaola Award Submission

It's done.  Now I am going to sleep before tackling Heart of Worship Camp prep tomorrow.  Oi.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sea Gypsy Value Sketch

Here's the value comp for the Sea Gypsy piece I'm doing for the SCBWI scholarship contest.  Any thoughts?  Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An Update

Hello everyone!  Sorry I've been so bad about updating - I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, I promise!

For starters, I don't think I'm going to be able to post the sketch from the prayer room today (shocker, I know), and for the next two or three weeks thinks might be kind of quiet.  Heart of Worship camp starts the 17th and I have lots of stuff to prepare. So, if you want to find out what's going on, you can check out my Instagram.  

For those interested, prints of the Heart of worship artwork will be going on sale next Monday (hopefully)!  If you're interested and you're in Houston, shoot me an email and we can work out a delivery so you won't have to pay shipping.  If you're out of state, you can order in the store and your print will ship out to you in 1-3 days.  

Also, be sure to keep checking back in to see the progress on my first ever sequential piece!  I'm entering the SCBWI Tomie DePaola contest to try and get a trip to the January conference in New York - we'll see!  Either way, I'm excited to try this new format and maybe even a new medium!

If you're on Instagram, you know that this is my sea gypsy character that I wasn't going to feature for a while.  But when this contest came to my attention on Monday (thanks, Jen Betton! :p) I said i already have a full plate, what the heck? I already had an idea for the story - just took some tweaking to fit the parameters of the prompt, so there you go.  It's due June 15th (eesh) so that's why things will be a little hectic around here. 

Coming Storm is on hold until after HoW, so check back in a couple of weeks to see where that is.  

ALSO, I still need to post on Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 3!  I've been sitting on the post - but with everything being so busy, I haven't had time to really edit everything and make it coherent.  

Anyway, lots of stuff in the works, I'll try and post something to let you see a little of what's going on, but no promises!  


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Truth for Today

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
                   John Keats, Endymion

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 5

I know, I know, six weeks and I've only gotten one week finished the way I initially proposed.  Sigh.

Things are a little busy here on my end.  I've decided that For the next few weeks, I'm only going to worry about the sketch portion of this project.  I'll finish "Here be Dragons", "Surrender Unto Hope", and week 3 (which I'm going to call "Ruah"), but after those I'm going to pick and choose the ones I end up painting until my schedule settles a bit.  So . . .

For weeks my mind had been turning over the character of Tulkas - one of the Valar from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion.  Nienna, Tulkas and Orome are have always been my favorite of the Valar, but the explanation of that would take to long.  Anyway, here's some excerpts from The Silmarillion about Tulkas:

But in the midst of the war a spirit of great strength and hardihood came to the aid of the Valar, hearing in the far heaven that there was a battle in the Little Kingdom; and Arda was filled with the sound of his laughter. So came Tulkas the Strong, whose anger passes like a mighty wind, scattering cloud and darkness before it; and Melkor fled before his wrath and his laughter, and forsook Arda, and there was peace for a long age.  And Tulkas remained and became on of the Valar of the Kindom of Arda; but Melkor brooded in the outer darkness, and his hate was given to Tulkas for ever after." 
"Greatest in strength and deeds of prowess is Tulkas, who is surnamed Astaldo, the Valiant.  He came last to Arda, to aid the Valar in the first battles with Melkor.  He delights in wrestling and in contests of strength; and he rides no steed, for he can outrun all things that go on feet, and he is tireless.  His hair and beard are golden, and his flesh ruddy; his weapons are his hands.  He has little heed for either past or the future, and is of no avail as a counsellor, but is a hardy friend . . . Tulkas laughs ever, in sport or in war, and even in the face of Melkor he laughed in battles before the Elves were born." 

So I went into the prayer room and this image of a laughing warrior God had been humming in my head for a few weeks.  At some point, someone read Isaiah 64 (specifically verses 1-4), and I couldn't get the idea of Tulkas out of my head for the rest of the night.  So I went with it.  Psalm 2:1 & 4-6 (thanks Rene!), Psalm 3:3-4 and Psalm 18:28-36 were also read over the course of the evening . . .

So I started trying to draw Tulkas - or the aspect of God that Tulkas embodies: a storm of righteous anger that casts down evil to make way for joy.  So I'm calling this week's sketch "Tulkas Astaldo".

I had this epic idea of what Tulkas would look like - helmet, armor, the works.  A mighty, big picture with a man like figure clothed in everything strong and imposing!

And it wouldn't work.

I nearly shredded the page drawing and redrawing the sketch.

So I went back to Tolkien to reread everything and found myself caught on this concept of Tulkas as a wrestler.  My two brothers wrestled in high school, so I know a few paltry facts about the sport, and I knew that helmet I kept trying to draw would get in the way of any wrestling.  The armor, too. So I went back to the drawing board (so to speak) and tried to put my human imagining aside in favor of the work.  And then, as if by magic, I found the sketch.  Go figure.  Goes to show that simpler is better sometimes.

Initially, I wasn't sure that I liked the final product - there was a lot of struggle even after I found the sketch.  But I think it's growing on me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some Truth for Today

Playing it safe in fantasy art means macabre, violent and, at times, terribly sexist imagery. To me, it's just lazy and uncreative. The struggle between good and evil never ceases to be exciting. But when the grotesque is glorified and beauty is seen as childish or weak, then we've taken a serious misstep.

- Cory Godbey

Thursday, May 15, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 3

Woohoo!  All four weeks' sketches are done! I am caught up - now to finish the paintings . . .

This piece is going to be a full painting once I finish "Coming Storm" and a couple others.  It's kinda cheating to not do a painting in a week for this one, but I think the idea is strong enough that it deserves a full scale effort.  So.  No title as of yet.  But I have a model in mind, hopefully she says yes; I hear she's a bit camera shy . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shop is Open!

My shop is open again!  I've got five different pieces up for sale in various sizes.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 4

Wait, what happened to week 2 and 3, you say?  Have no fear, they're in the works, too.  I got a bit behind with the whole Spectrum thing.

As you can see, my brain seems to be stuck on the ideas of water and light.  But that's the point of all this: an immediate creative response to whatever was impressed on my heart at that time.  The sketches don't typically illustrate whatever I wrote down, but they try and capture a feeling, an idea, an emotion that I had.  For instance, last week's (which you haven't seen, yet) is directly related to several things that were prayed about and sung, but is a more declarative reaction on my part.  This one is more about where I am right now.  The truth is that for most of these, They feel significant, but I don't necessarily know exactly what they're about every time.  The interpretation doesn't come all at once.  Anyway...

This one's going to take a bit longer, I'm going to experiment with technique and have no intention of finishing by the end of the week. Week 2 should be done by then, though.

Also, check back later on this week to see my overview of SFAL 3!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spectrum! And an Update

Final painting for this week's From the Prayer Room series is gonna be late.  Sorry if you were looking forward to that, but c'est la vie.  I'm still running around like a headless chicken, trying to get what ducks I have in some semblance of order before Spectrum next weekend . . . 

Beetee dubs, I'm supposed to tell you this:

Spectrum art book comes to LIFE!!! Join me and 200 artists May 9-11 in Kansas City for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 3 ( Spectrum is a three-day celebration of the best in fantasy, science fiction, horror, and comic art. You will interact with Traditional medium artists, Digital artists working in the Film, Animation, and Video Game fields, Sculptors, Comics Artists, Cover Illustrators, and more. Additionally, there will opportunities to attend workshops, live painting and sculpting demos, panels, meet art directors, conduct portfolio reviews and attend the Spectrum 21 awards ceremonies. If you enjoy my work and would like to experience a wide variety of what the field of fantastic art has to offer I hope you will meet me in Kansas City, May 9-11, 2014. 

Facebook: Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 
Twitter @SFantasticAL

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 2: Update

Made it!  Here's a scan of the page.  

So, I was debating between this idea and another for this week. The other could have been really beautiful or really creepy, but in the end it was a little too direct, in a "in your face", "here's the message" kinda way. Haven't tossed the idea out completely - maybe something for another week?  We'll see.

I felt like there was more narrative, more of a question about what was going on with this idea.  And it was underwater.  I have always wanted to do an underwater painting.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

From the Prayer Room Week 2

I'm running behind today, limited access to a scanner and photoshop due to house/dog sitting! But here's a photo of the page. Check back to see a scan later tonight or tomorrow!

Friday, April 25, 2014

From the Prayer Room: Burn Like the Stars

"Burn Like the Stars"
Watercolor,  8.75x9.5"
So here's the final.  I've got to figure out a way to photograph artwork instead of scanning it; all those shadows from the paper that are emphasized by the scanner are driving me nuts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Side Project: From the Prayer Room

So, I know I've been a little . . . absent . . . over the past four months.  Sorry.  I've been busy. Busy in ways that I don't have time or energy to go into detail about right now.  Soon, I promise.

Until then, I thought I'd talk a little about a new personal project I'm going to be working on.  Starting in January I've been a part of the prayer room my church started here in Houston.  Through this whole experience I've been learning more and more about prayer and worship and art . . .

Anyway,  all that's the subject of a later post.  Suffice to say, I'm wanting to find out what my role in this whole experience can look like and what art in worship looks like.  I'm working behind the scenes, and there's not much opportunity for me to enter into worship, but there's nothing that prevents me from taking the thoughts I have during the set and doing something with them later.  So, I've proposed this personal project to take those ideas and words and thoughts and turn them into a painting.  I'll start with phrases, verses, words and pictures that come to me during the set, I write them down in my sketchbook - what you see up there on the left hand page.  Those get turned into thumbnails and I take the one I like the best and do a 5x8 sketch on the righthand page.  I'll work on the sketch till I feel like it's done, post the final here on Tuesday.  Wednesday through Friday, I'll take the sketch edit it a bit in photoshop and print it out on watercolor paper.  Painting will be small, no bigger than 9x12, which I'll post (hopefully) by EOD Friday.   So yeah, I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm just throwing things out there and seeing what happens!

Here's the first piece!

Also, I'll be at Spectrum Live in Kansas City this year . . . at a booth.  Yeah, so that happened.  More on that next time . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


A distant cousin of the jackaloupe, the sophiloupe is an even more rare specimen of American mythological creatures. However, they are carnivorous and should not be approached without extreme caution. They can be won over with offerings of pencils - any kind will do, though they prefer 2B - and the occasional  kneaded eraser.  If caught they will grant three wishes, though the usual caveats apply. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ari's War: The Coming Storm

I've reached one of my deadlines for the first piece in Ari's War and I guess it's time to tell you more of what I am planning for this project.

I posted a rough outline of the story behind this project a while back.  The plan is to refine the story outline a bit and paint four illustrations from the story.  During the whole process of developing the illustrations (which I've already started), I hope to have a bunch of sketches and miscellaneous development work to collect into a sketchbook that I can sell on Etsy.  I'll also sell several different sized prints of the final artwork in the Etsy shop.

Meanwhile, I'll post every week here on the blog, as well as Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.  I'll be share progress on the work as well as talk a little of  the inspiration behind everything. There may or may not be snapshots of progress on Instagram as well.  

I'll also be using the series as promo material to send to publishers (postcards, brochures, booklets, etc.).

The goal's to have all of the art and the sketchbook layer out by the beginning of April.  I want to take some of the promo pieces to Kansas City with me for Spectrum Live.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Some Truth for Today

A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.