Heating up the Old Homestead (from my Patreon page)

 

Been working on the Rodeo rider image and the fires of hell are spreading.  Here is an updated image.  There are several other elements on the canvas, including a story, that I have turned off so you can work on the background.  Yes, you heard me right, there is a story in this painting.  Funny thing, when I first decided to create this picture for a friend, I got the idea to create a short story to go with the image.  At the time, I had painted the image on canvas with acrylic paint, intending to create a print with the story included.  Unfortunately, I was not as happy with the painting as I wanted to be and could not figure out or afford to get a print made the way I wanted.  Now that I am doing the image digitally, pow, I can put the story into the image.  I will be curious as to how well it will print.  For now, the story is on a layer I have turned off.  The story and the painting will both be titled “Rodeo”.

 

Interesting note:  I also intended to create t-shirts with the original image and story on them.  I actually managed to have one made after I got the copyrights back.  Whether I will try with the new version will depend on response to the final painting.

Tinkering with Demons (from my Patreon page)

 

While I continue to prepare the pieces to the Cheetah painting, I am back to working on an older painting called Rodeo.  I put it a side because I could not get comfortable with the background I wanted.  I moved the painting onto a larger canvas and started playing with the background after finding some reference images for caverns because this takes place in Hell and I wanted a dark luridly lit scene.  Here is what I have so far.

Time to Tease (from my Patreon page)

Well, my day job has really been sucking the life out of me again and I missed posting a reward last week.  I will see about adding something this week, but for now it is time to tease next month’s story reward.

Nathan Anders was a man stuck in a job with an arrogant boss that made life miserable.  He always had to clean up the messes the boss made while the man came off looking pretty in the public’s eyes.  Now aliens were attacking the East Coast and everyone’s minds were turned toward the chaos and destruction but all Nathan could do was continue working to support his boss who was in charge of dealing with this crisis.  The mess was going to be big this time.  Worse yet, it was his anniversary.  Sigh.

This Week’s $5 Reward (from my Patreon page)

Here is what I posted about the attached image:

 

This week’s reward is a pencil sketch I did some time ago but I think the idea behind it is more and more important today.  It depicts creators and their creations.  The background is a giant eye representing God.  The foreground is a set of hands reaching out to clasp.  One is human the other is robotic.  Will we treat our creations with love or exploitation?  Will we consider the responsibility attached to the act of creation or will it just be about profit margins?  Heavy things to think about.  What do you think was on God’s mind?

$5 Reward (from my Patreon page)

 

Here is  today’s Patreon post:

As promised, I took all the separate elements of the Carrie Fisher Tribute and made them separate jpeg images.  I copied in the star field from the main painting into each image.  There are three images, Alderaan, Carrie Fisher/Leia Organa, and the Y-Wing.

Riding the High (from my Patreon page)

As I said recently, I am on kinda a high from reaching the conclusion of the Carrie Fisher project.  It has been a while since I have had such a good feeling, my mind is running around in circles thinking about the challenges I overcame with the painting and jumping about with excitement at what I can probably do now.  The feeling is a pleasant mix of past accomplishment and euphoric future possibilities.

I get this feeling from other people’s work as well.  When I see something done that just amazes me, I find new ideas springing up in my head.  Books, films, art, and music can all affect me this way.  Any creative endeavor that opens my mind to new possibilities from changing the way a story is told (Cloud Atlas – the book not the movie) to new ways of depicting science fiction (Star Wars’ game changing special effects) can do it.  Many of the books in my collection have changed what I viewed possible in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, leaving me in an excited state for weeks.  It is almost as if the books are stored kinetic energy released through reading, exciting the engine of my mind.  I hope that some of what I do has the same result on you.  This feeling is what I live for.

Princess for Ever After (from my Patreon page)

 

Well folks here it is the completed tribute to Carrie Fisher.  This one has been a long time coming and I was so happy with the results I could not wait until Sunday to reveal it.  I started this image back at the beginning of January.  This one took longer than many of the other images because I was again attempting something new, namely smooth transitions in color tones necessitated by the skin of Carrie’s face.  The learning process of the skin shading later came in handy with the silkiness of her dress.  When I decided to add Y-Wing fighters to the image, I added another challenge that slowed me up.  I have generally stayed away from vehicles because I am not that good at mechanical representations and the best image I could find was a three-quarters view.  I could not have copied that if I wanted to; however, I was able to make decent enough measurements to come up with a top down view.

Now, let us talk about the painting itself.  First, I chose this image of Carrie Fisher because it was the way I first fell in love with her.  Yeah, the slave girl bikini was hot but the soft silk of this dress plus her feistier nature just can’t be topped.  In addition, this particular photo from the early promos caught my attention because of the intensity of her gaze.  Understanding Carrie Fisher’s history you can almost see the pain buried underneath the future galactic Princess’ determination.  Perhaps a look at the real person under the fantasy.

I paid extra attention to the creation of the background because I wanted the star field to look like it came directly from the movies.  One thing I noticed while re-watching  The Empire Strikes Back was that Lucas did not put nebulae in the films.  We always see just a splash of stars.  However, if you look closely, you will see areas of soft fuzzy light and darker zones creating patterns.  I captured this effect by tapping lightly with the airbrush function in clusters to make the soft glow and an absence of these clusters for darker areas.

The Y-Wings are basically copies, scaled to different sizes, from two versions I created.  On a separate layer I made the softer glow around the engines and extended the trails to the bottom of the image.  The design reminds me of one of the playbill posters I saw at the time.  The reason I chose the Y-wings is that in one of the first novels to come out after Star Wars, The Splinter of the Minds Eye, Leia piloted one.  Also, I always thought they were kinda cool.

The planet in the background is of course Alderaan.  Nothing tying into the real woman behind the character, but I wanted to stay on theme and putting earth their didn’t feel correct for me.  For me, I depicted what I felt was important about Carrie Fisher by picking the particular image above others I could have chosen.  Everything else was for me.  Finally, I chose to make her look like a returned Jedi Knight for obvious reasons, which works just as well for Leia as it does for Carrie.