Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Message from Cloudworld

This is one of the best space pictures I've ever painted, even though it was tiny. It's called "A Message from Cloudworld," and I did it in February of 1984 as part of my annual art display at the group show at Boskone, the Boston science fiction convention. It's done with my airbrush, and I'm still using gouache. That difficult medium was once much more popular among space artists and science fiction illustrators, but is now almost completely out of use. Some artists still use acrylic and oil in actual paint media, but most science fiction and fantasy illustration is now done digitally. "Cloudworld" depicts just what the title suggests, a flash of light in a message pattern coming off the surface of a mysterious little planet near a nebula. It's not illustrating any specific story.

Not only was this picture a nice one, it also was unusually successful at Boskone. Paintings in the show are all at auction, where people bid up the value from a basic "minimum bid." My minimum for this picture was only $10, but it ended up going for more than $100 as two or more collectors fought over it. This is unusual for my art, and it has hardly ever happened again at any of my shows. I have no idea where this piece is now, though I do have the name and an old address of the buyer.

"A Message from Cloudworld" is 9" x 7", gouache on illustration board, February 1984.


Mike said...

This is indeed a beautiful piece. The texture and luminescence of the clouds good great!

Tristan Alexander said...

Very nice! But I have to say, when I saw it on thumbnail, it looked like a close up of a fish or some other aquatic craetures head.