Is it Science Fiction or Fantasy (from my Patreon page)

As I have noted before, I don’t have a problem mixing non traditional/traditional fantasy ideas with science or science fiction.  My previous examples were of mixing religious views with scientific theories; now I want to mention the trilogy of short stories with the group title of “Dragon Dreams”.

These stories combined many traditional fantasy elements; dragons, magic, and monsters, along with Star Wars level science fiction tropes such as; space ships, aliens, and technology.  However, that is not all.  There is a strong underlying nod to a real scientific theory of parallel universes and extra dimensions.

I know there are many purists out there that do not like their fantasy mixed with their science fiction.  Believe me, I used to be one, but I have over time changed my mind after reading several good examples.  Yeah, I have seen some bad examples; unfortunately, that is part of any genre.  So, later this year when I start uploading the “Dragon Dreams” stories to my Patreon page, I hope you will consider reading my science fiction fantasy series.

P.S.  Anne McCaffery’s “Dragon Riders of Pern” series and Tracy Hickman’s and Margaret Weis’s “Death Gate” series are good examples of genre mixes.

Y Wing Update (from my Patreon page)



Here is where I am with the Y Wing part of my Carrie Fisher tribute.  I have had to back track a few times and undo parts I was not happy with.  I finally decided to work from the cockpit backwards, which seems to be working better for me; however, this will never be an honest reproduction.  My goal is to create a strong enough image that at a smaller size will not be off so far that it is jarring.  I am glad I was able to finally add the R2 unit and I think the cockpit module looks good although I have to place the forward guns yet.

Speaking of Star Wars vehicles, I tried to make my own Imperial Walker out of cardboard from a picture in my vinyl soundtrack slip cover.  I never got further than the head but it wasn’t too bad for the time, given I was in junior high.  They are the coolest vehicles in the series.

Well Shame on Me (from my Patreon page)

I just realized that I had not posted anything for my $5 a month patrons.  I ask for forgiveness since I have been fighting a sinus infection, which is making me queasy a lot.  To make amends, I will post last weeks and this weeks pictures together.

The first image is a photo I did for art class back in the eighties.  The title is “Healing the Dark Crystal”, which means it is a painting of the Gelfling Jen preparing to make the Dark Crystal whole again.  This is one of the few acrylic paintings still around from that time frame.  I loved working with the colors and contrast of light to dark.  Also, trying to capture the translucency of the crystal was fun.  Obviously, the image comes from the movie “The Dark Crystal” directed by Jim Henson after the success of Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

The second image is a collection of random drawings and sketches I have done over the years.  There are a lot of skulls and a dragon.  Also, an early study for the painting “Rodeo” that you can find on my Deviantart page.  I started reworking “Rodeo” as a digital painting, but put it aside when the Tiger kept begging me to work on it and the fact that I could not come to terms with the background for “Rodeo”. Hopefully, as I work on other images, something will come along.  Anyway, enjoy these scribbled ideas and painting from my past.

Project Update (from my Patreon page)



Here is the progress of the pieces that will become my Carrie Fisher tribute.  Both are on temporary backgrounds so that I can see the painting better, while Leia is further along, the Y-Wing is still very basic (mostly undercoat).  Once i get the y-Wing finished, I can add as many as I like but I am only planning on two right now.  I will add exhaust trails when I place them on the space background.

Gold Wing Ready (from my Patreon page)


Here is the drawing of the Y-Wing I want to put into my Carrie Fisher tribute.  It is only a fair approximation taken from an image at a different angle and I am not a patient draftsman, which is why I generally stay away from mechanical drawings.  I am hoping when I get it into gimp that I can soften it to washout some of the poor draftsmanship.  I also plan to rotate and make a pair for the painting.  Basically, I have to do post production on my canned film.  Hopefully you won’t critique too hard on this one.  LOL.

Simple Things (from my Patreon Page)

Sorry for not posting the other day but I caught the bug going around and my drive is about at zero.  Heads up to anyone who gets regular allergy shots, when they say don’t get your shot when you are sick, don’t get you shot.  The shot knocks down your immune system.  Anyway, lets talk about simple things.

Some artwork can be full of details and ideas, while others are busy with a riot of colors.  However, sometimes it is the simplest aspects that can really make an image.  I have moved away from working on Carrie Fisher’s face to work on her dress a bit.  I have always enjoyed working on folds in clothing because there isn’t much to them, but when done correctly they look really great.  The use of contrast makes all the difference.  Dark tone below light tone then a medium tone above that, where the dark represents the shadow under the fold and the light is the area directly above the fold that blends into the medium tone (semi-shadow).  Simple.  The hardest part is trying not to over think it.

When simple aspects of any painting are done well, most people won’t even notice them because they add to the overall painting.  But when they are done wrong, they stand out glaringly.  For me as an artist, little things like a well done fold in a piece of fabric can be more interesting than all the detail work in a complex painting.  Take a look at the clothes on the figures in the next painting you see.  Do the folds look good or slapped on?  Have fun.


How much is enough? (from my Patreon page)

Well, I am working away at my Carrie Fisher tribute and wondering whether I can do it to my satisfaction or not.  I still find tone transitions hard in digital formats or in fact, actual physical paintings too.  In pencil work, the task is much easier because all you need is to smear the tone out from the darker regions with a blending stump.  If you wish to add some back lighted reflections you just erase some tone away with a kneaded eraser.

With paintings, you have to gradually adjust the darker tone to the lighter tone through a combination of correct color half tone mixtures and on canvas blending to smoothly take a color through the tones of shading.  With digital painting in Gimp 2.8 the idea is somewhat the same except that on canvas blending is not really available as far as I can tell.  With the smudge tool you can mix colors; however, there is one difference from physical painting.  With physical painting, you can vary the amount of paint on the canvas, which helps the blending.  In Gimp, on the other hand, you can go over a section of the painting as many times as you want, but the depth of color will always be the same.  In addition, when you start blending the colors together, you start thinning them out.  In other words, they become transparent.  The more you blend, the thinner the mixed color.  While I have found times when this is useful, blending shadow tones to light tones is not one of them.

For now, I have to decide if I am okay with the tones I have achieved on Carrie Fisher.  At a distance, they look fine but closer up they do not look as good as the tiger in my last painting.  Time will tell.