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.

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.

Flexibility for the Heretic Mind (from my Patreon page)

I am truly beginning to love digital painting because it suits my style.  I like to experiment with layouts but I am not fond of redoing images set to paper.  Yes, trained artists are used to creating several planning sketches for layout and/or color choices but I never acquired that skill.  Although, on occasion, I have created a few quick sketches to flesh out an idea, for the most part I dive right in and work straight through.  If I later decide that I should have done things different, I tell myself that is for the next image since, to me, the image is now set in stone.  Doing massive changes in a physical painting, while not impossible, is difficult and the results, in my case, leave something to be desired.

On the other hand, since I am doing each element as a separate digital painting and placing them into a background image, I can easily play with placement, size, and additional effects until I achieve the desired image.  I don’t have to redo the whole design to try these things without damage to the canvas or other parts of the image.  For instance, in my Carrie Fisher tribute, I had originally copied Carrie’s image into the background as is, no size change.  After adding a few elements, I decided she needed to be bigger.  In a physical work I would have had to live with the incorrect size or redo the entire image to that point.  I am not big on that.  In the digital realm, I just resized her layer and boom, there it was.  Same with the size of Y-wings and Alderaan.  Plus, since the Y-Wings are copied from only two images, I can add or delete the number I place in the final painting.  Currently I have five fighters in the painting.  I may add more.

Basically, when I get an idea in my head, I like to pin it down on paper.  However, once on paper, I tend to stick with that design whether it works or not.  I do have enough of a sense of layout and format that they aren’t too bad, but in many cases, they could be better.  Digital painting, which in my mind might be a little bit of a cheat, allows me to make the changes I would otherwise not do.  For me, digital painting does for my artwork what a word processor does for my writing.  I am a hunt and peck typist at best, if I had to constantly retype entire pages of text because I rethought a sentence, there would be no stories from me.  Word processing allowed me to explore another side of my imagination.  Now I can do the same with my art.

 

Tiring Day ( from Patreon page)

It has been a tiring day.  Work is stepping up the demands exponentially, leaving me wiped out when I get home.  I played hooky today because of how tired I am given I still have not corrected the sinus problem that keeps me from using my sleep Apnea machine, since I have a mountain of medical debt from last year.  I am hoping to turn my full attention onto the debt after I deal with taxes because I need the sleep.

Anyway, I am still managing to put some time into the Carrie Fisher project but at this point it is a lot of tweaking to improve areas.  Tonight I worked on the right arm trying to ease some overly harsh edges and merge tones better.  Also, yesterday I experimented with giving her an Obi-Wan Kenobi light halo and liked the results but want to play with it more as well as her size and placement in the final painting.  So for now, I hope you are enjoying Trinity.  Looking forward to hearing your guesses.

New $1 Reward Added (from my Patreon page)

I have added a new story for my $1 a month patrons at my Patreon page.  The story can be downloaded from there and was introduced below.

Today I give you the story of two lovers with a tragic ending; however, the story goes much deeper than the surface suggests so be prepared to be challenged.  The story is much more than an ordinary tale since it depicts an important historical event.  The challenge is whether or not you can read beyond the woven tale to see the history it represents.  As I mentioned earlier this month, this story is not about religion as the title might suggest, but the title is important.  Without further pomp or circumstance, I give you “Trinity”.

Writing Imitates Art (from my Patreon page)

 

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been interested in illustrating my stories for some time.  In this case; however, I am thinking about ways to write a story based upon the ideas I have for a future painting.

The idea for the painting, tentatively title “Persistence of History”, comes from my love of NASA and the American space program.  A picture I encountered on one of my forays into space related materials was of the final resting place of the Apollo 16 capsule in a museum.  What caught my eye immediately was its color under the museum’s lighting.  I love the untarnished color of copper and the color of the plasma burnished capsule is very much like that color, which made me want to capture it.  I felt there was also a strong need to acknowledge the historical history that the spaceship represented so I wanted to do more than just paint it where it currently resides.

Then I was struck with an image of a ghostly space suited hand stretching forth to touch the rediscovered surface of an ancient NASA space craft that had gone through re-entry leaving the ship copper in color.  The hand would be tantalizingly close yet not touching in a scene reminiscent of the obelisk on the moon in 2001.  Sometime in the future, this will be one of my projects.

For now; however, my mind wants to create an entire story with this scene as part of it.  A scene where future man or man from the past is confronted with the ancient remains of a historically significant object.  An object that heralded a change in mankind’s views so completely that they were never the same again.  So, instead of my stories generating images in my head, I now have an image trying to express a story instead.  We shall see.

More than the sum of its Parts (from my Patreon page)

Mystics and Misfits, what is it?  Well, beyond a dream, it is a collection of short stories spanning the gamut of science fiction to fantasy, satire to philosophy, and past to future.  All of the stories are fiction but rooted deep within the bones of reality and humanity.  But my true desire was to create a book that I would have devoured in my youth when my ideas of what made a book great were still being shaped.

Back then I was just being introduced to all the amazing possibilities that the genre could engender.  The worlds contained within presented through maps made in detail or stylistically, appendices of characters or short historical stories, and prologues foreshadowing events or showing their results.  One of the things I enjoyed the most were drawing slipped into the story at unexpected places.

Michael Whelan’s inner illustration to Melanie Rawn’s “Dragon Prince was one such lucky find.  When I first started thinking about putting Mystics and Misfits together one of the ideas I had been to create an image for each story and place them at the beginning or end of each story.  Because some of the stories seemed hard to create an image for, I kind of shelved the idea, especially when I thought I would not even be able to create a cover.  Well, I did manage to create a cover and some other artwork I would not have thought it possible for me to do since then.  All I can say is that the itch to illustrate this book is starting to come back.  Given what you have seen of my work and what you have seen as readers of science fiction and fantasy, what do you think about a book that is illustrated?