Friday, January 31, 2014

Mnadis the sorcerer's slave

She's "Mnadis," the slave of the evil sorcerer, and the question is, will she try to murder the hero or save him? Described by the author (Lin Carter) as golden-skinned with a mane of fiery red hair (remember, in fantasy redheads rule), she obeys her evil sorcerer until it's time to betray him. The hero puts the moves on her but doesn't get his way because just at that moment, a disaster happens which diverts everyone's attention. When we think that all is lost for our hero and his (red-haired) burly male companion, they are rescued by a beautiful blonde babe riding a dragon. Stay tuned. 

Ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 3 1/4" x 5 1/2", January 31, 2014.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sign of the Dollop

Here's my latest billboard for Trader Joe's, featuring a slightly horrific 50s-style free-form red blob, pointy display typeface, and floating peppers and tomatoes. A closer view shows my suggestion to add a "dollop" of sour cream to the soup before serving it. This is the first time I've ever used the word "dollop" on a sign. Did I spill the soup? Did I drop the dollop? That's what they pay me the big bucks for. 

Acrylic markers on black-painted Masonite panel, 6 ft. x 2 ft., January 28-29, 2014.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dragon Banner of Shiangkor

I love "sword and sorcery" tales, the trashier the better. I love these fantasy worlds, usually analogous to ancient Rome or Byzantium, ancient and decadent. I want heroic heroes with mighty thews and I want impossibly beautiful babes dressed in nothing but jewelry and a chain mail bikini. Why would I want to make myself feel dreary with post-apocalyptic zombies and vampires? I want my authors to go overtime describing fabulous cities with white arcades and golden towers. I also want characters with unpronounceable names and villains who are honest-to-Gods evil. Damn, they don't write this shit like they used to. I've had to go back through my dust-covered library to pull out my fantasy books from the '60s and '70s, which were often reprints of stuff written in the pulp era from the 1930s to the 1950s. Where can I find more of these entertaining and inspiring cultural treasures? 

I want to practice my digital illustrating skills on traditional fantasy subjects, time and circumstances permitting. I don't want to only do grape presses and wine glasses. The nice thing about digital illustration is that no matter how bad it is, it doesn't take up any physical space. I can throw it into the virtual dust-free vastness of a computer's hard drive.

The banner here, from the mythical kingdom of "Shiangkor," is a detail from a fantasy tale by Lin Carter from the 1960s. There's plenty more where that came from. Lin Carter was endlessly busy writing fantasy and anthologizing collections of stories, easy to find in used bookstores such as my own neighbors, "Hole in the Wall." All I need to do is keep breathing through all the dust. 

Banner image is Photoshop, about 7" x 4", January 29, 2014.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mystical Rainbow Roads of Roses

This bit of Art Nouveau psychedelia is a composite of two miniatures I made in my 1980 and 1981 journals. I am much influenced by the writings of visionary esoteric fantasy authors from the late 1800s, especially Marie Corelli. These authors often described voyages into the Inner Worlds where the seer would see rainbow arcs of light, profusions of flowers and angels, floating planets, and starry oceanic vistas. I've often wondered whether these authors were smoking or drinking something interesting to obtain these visions. Absinthe? Opium? They were legal and easy to get back then. Corelli was known for her fondness for the booze (and she wrote a whole novel about absinthe addiction and its evils). Corelli got many of her esoteric ideas from the Theosophical mythography which flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Books by these visionary authors are hard to find these days and my collection is precious, if only to me. I've had a steady source of artistic inspiration I can always return to, and now in the age of Photoshop who knows what kind of dizzy esoteric rainbow labyrinths I can unleash.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook pages, about 8" x 5" all together, 1980-1981. Is anyone still reading this. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Last of the Cardinal

What, not Cardinal Acquaviva again? Perhaps you're tired of the little churchman and his entourage of Christian oddities and his secret alchemical practices. I know I was tired of him by 1981. Nevertheless I created this very accurate picture of him in the early pages of my 1981 sketchbook journal. It's probably one of the best images of him I did, depicting him dressed in his formal Cardinal's robes complete with the shoulder cape and red sash. The all-red outfits are usually reserved for religious ceremonies.

With this tiny portrait I moved to another painting technique for the sketchbook. I drew the original in ink and then colored it with acrylic, often used in a watercolor form which stuck well to the page, didn't flake off, and was bright-colored. I couldn't get a smooth solid area with it, but that texture didn't bother me. I used opaque acrylic paint to get really solid areas like the black of the Cardinal's garb.

The Cardinal must have been tired of me, too. I don't think I did any more pictures of him after this one, and by early 1983 he disappeared from my creative mind, never to re-appear except in retrospective.

Acquaviva's portrait is about 3" x 7", January 1981. Click on image for larger view.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Noantri Navy

I don't think I've ever depicted a warship, other than perhaps a miniature Viking ship on an old name tag. This little sketch came about because I was speculating on what kind of naval capabilities my imaginary Noantri would have. Which of their countries had the resources to maintain a sea-going fleet? These two are from Khemi, home of the Khemaru, whose national symbol is the gold circle that you see on the bows.

These are not big battleships, but medium-size cruisers built for fast response and interception of smugglers and pirates. They are well-armed and equipped but not with big cannons. They are loaded with electronics and sensors and spying gear, as well. 

The two ships look like they might be on a collision course but they will straighten out and sail parallel very soon. They are on the Middle Sea (Mediterranean) hence the brilliant blue of the water. They don't look very "futuristic" as Noantri design is more functional than aesthetic.

The ship in the background is named the "Orphamuthis," and the one in front is named the "Nesdepseron."

Black ink and color markers, about 7 1/2" x 3", January 26, 2014.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Descent of the Ascended Masters

In 1987-1988 I worked in a New Age bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Sky Light Books" carried a wide selection of volumes on esoteric subjects such as Kabbalah, faith healing, crystals, astrology, ritual magic, and, rather paradoxically, Eastern Orthodox Christianity. (The management were fans of this "mystical" church.) 

Among the visionary books were the narratives of the Ballard family of prophets, who believed they were in touch with Secret Masters who lived in caverns and tunnels under Mount Shasta in California. These Secret Masters, rather like the Masters of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy, had cosmic powers and could direct earthly history and work miracles. They dressed in Byzantine operatic garb of gold and gems, and most of them were blonde, tall Northern European-looking folk.

The Ballards' visionary cult later morphed into the "Church Universal and Triumphant," a much more sinister variation that believed in stocking up guns and supplies for the End Times, which seemed close in 1988. I guess the End Times always seem close. "Objects in  magic mirror are closer than they appear." 

I collected a series of the Ballard recitations, which were printed in purple ink. They were full of fantasy ideas that I could re-create as illustrations. In this one, a male and female Ascended Master float down on clouds, bearing mystic scepters. An orange and white cat resembling my old friends' pet cat "Fred," leads the way. This was the frontispiece to my 1988 sketchbook journal. Later that year I would move to the Washington, DC area, with or without Secret Masters.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 8 1/2" x 11", January 1988. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Digital Desert

Time to get digital again. There is a practice technique done among professional digital illustrators called a "speed-paint," where you produce a small painting of an environment or a character or whatever, in about a half hour. That is, on your work break or some other slice of time in your busy life. Another name for one of these, made up by some clever or bored artists here on this Tumblr blog, is a "spitpaint." This is a good way to get some work done in digital medium and figure out problems outside of formal art assignments. I want to add a line of speed (or spit) paints to my By-Product so I can keep learning digital art. Because despite the cranking of watercolor traditionalists and oil masters, I can get more fantasy art done with digital works, especially if they're on my iPad. And I don't have to draw pictures of a wastebasket or a Starbucks Coffee drinker. 

Here's a speedpaint (well, about an hour's worth) of some desert ruins, or what Dubai might look like after a few thousand years.

Photoshop, about 6 1/2" x 3", January 23, 2014.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Summer 1970 notebook cover

In my younger days I created fanciful covers for my sketchbook/writing journal. This one from the summer of 1970 was the most elaborate one I ever did. I was heavily influenced by the "psychedelic" art style which was at its height back then. I also included many motifs from the Classical Roman world including the black figure in the center which was inspired by an ancient Roman household god statue. All the characters in the image are composites of animal, human, and plant and follow the theme of "metamorphosis." "Aestate" means "summer." The pages of the notebook are filled with my writing projects as well as my daily journal, doodles, and Red Sox baseball scores.

The next journal dates from the fall of 1970 and is less elaborate. It also chronicles my trip to Europe with my family, which would profoundly change my life and imagination.

I decorated this cover in black and colored ink, on a separate piece of paper which I then glued to the conventional card stock notebook cover. Colored inks are very fadeable and the only reason this has survived is that it has been stored for decades inside a cabinet.

1970 cover is black and colored inks on paper, 8 1/2" x 11", summer 1970. Click on image for larger view.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stick wielding model

Here I am trying yet again to depict a nearly naked barbarian warrior girl. I used a vintage Playboy model pose for the figure reference. Life class art models in my experience won't take "adventure" or action poses. Therefore I collect pin-up and photo model poses in books and from internet sources. The costume, or bits of costume, can be as absurd as I want as it's all fantasy anyway. Those top straps stick on with magic glue. Cosplayers and costumers use it all the time. This is a tiny picture but I need to work small drawing halfway decent fantasy pin-ups before I make them larger. I didn't need to delete this, it doesn't suck too badly. And I have lots more model pics to work from. 

Pitt pen sepia ink and markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/4" x 5", January 21, 2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ireland views 1980

In 1980 I won an art contest based on Anne McCaffrey's "Dragons of Pern" series. I wrote about it on this Blog years ago. I went to Ireland, with a friend who was delighted to come along on this paid trip for two, in the fall of 1980. We drove around the Emerald Isle visiting historic places and drinking in pubs. I had some colored pencils with me (or perhaps I bought a little set in a shop there) and did some landscape studies from memory in my journal. Through the marvels of Photoshop I can retrieve and restore those faded drawings and share them with you. I would go to Ireland again but it wouldn't be my first choice because it is so wet and cold there. 

Drawings of Irish countryside from memory; colored pencil on sketchbook page. Top drawing, about 7 1/2" x 2 1/2". Lower drawing, about 8" x 3 1/2". October 1980.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Little Dragon Spacefiller

When in doubt, draw a dragon. If you've already drawn a dragon, then add a floating or rolling eyeball. If I had more room, then I'd add the requisite naked woman as well. I stopped with the eyeball this time. This is a tiny drawing meant to fit into a tiny space not big enough to write a journal entry in. 

I deleted a digital piece that I was working on. Not just filed for further use, but outright deleted. It was yet another attempt at a bikini-wearing warrior girl. I had a fairly good reference model photo, but just couldn't get the art results I wanted. Everyone else in the fantasy art world depicts beautiful scantily-clad women in all sorts of roles, not just warriors but the whole lot of stock lady characters. I am constantly frustrated that I have not succeeded in making digital character portraits. When I look for online or podcast tutorials on doing digital art, what I get is a tremendously speeded-up sequence of how the artists proceed, with no explanation. I must go look at my how-to-do-digital-art books and see if I can learn something from paper pages. By the way, my deficiency in depicting people isn't just digital, my acrylics weren't so hot either. It's a mystery to me why I'm so good at drawing and painting buildings, but not people. I'm OK, but not great, at drawing dragons. 

Little dragon is ink and markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 2", January 20, 2014.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tanith Lee Villainess

Tanith Lee's fantasy tales are like opera or old-fashioned silent movies: over-the-top drama with stock characters who act on revenge or jealousy or greed. "Val Mala" is obviously an Evil character since her name is "Mala," like "Maleficent" or "Malware." She is dressed in "Hollywood Babylon" attire with white makeup on her face. I think I borrowed her image from an old film player from the silents era. The author writes in many of the details, including the nasty white cat. 

Technically I was still searching for a good pen to replace my Graphos, and I was using a kind of reddish-brown ink which worked all right for thicker paper but which sank into thin sketchbook paper. I'm having the same problems with the sketchbook drawings with my Pitt pen, the brown line just isn't strong enough to stand up to marker colors. I suppose I could use colored pencils again which was my standard formula for my winery drawings. I won't use watercolor again in a sketchbook though, too messy. 

Brown ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 6 1/4", September 1980.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stock Sorceress

This little figure is an experiment in media and adaptation. The image comes from a delightful book which features nice photos of fully costumed stock fantasy characters doing classic action poses. You get a Barbarian Warrior, an Exotic Princess, an Elven Warrior, a portly Cleric, a Wicked Sorcerer, an Elven Queen, and lots more characters. It's called "The Fantasy Figure Artist's Reference File" by Peter Evans. The costumes are movie-quality, since Evans works in the film world as a costumer and prop maker. The actors are obviously having fun doing this, too, taking dramatic poses and mugging facial expressions. The players are also racially and physically diverse, which is a good thing. 

I adapted the book's "Sorceress" for this sketch. I'm not too pleased with it but that is what sketches are for. The images are helpfully offered on a companion CD so you can work directly from the screen if you want to.

Ms. Sorceress is technical pen brown ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", January 18, 2014.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pencil Urban Mall Sketch

Still hacking from this pernicious cold (or was it flu?) I dragged myself into the local mall for a little shopping. I also stopped at this snack bar for a croissant and a cup of coffee. While sipping and munching I drew this study of the snack bar and some architecture and storefronts. This drawing is an experiment for me because I drew it in good old pencil rather than my sharp pointed technical pens. Pencil has its own advantages and disadvantages. On the good side, it brings in a new feature for me: texture! I don't have to add in cross-hatching or dots or other simulations. I could even smudge it if I wanted. Also, pencil has a more varied point so I can draw thick and thin lines. I sharpen it whenever I want to get more precise. On the down side, pencil is messy, it generates wood shavings and graphite bits. And if I put my hand down on my drawing, it smudges it where I don't want it to be that way. But the best thing about pencil is that you can ERASE it. Yeah! If I miss an important architectural line, I can erase and re-do! Tech pen just doesn't know about that, though the iPad does. So, maybe you'll see more pencil work from me. 

Regular old #2 pencil on sketchbook page,  7" x 5", January 16, 2014.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Procession of Astaris

Here's another mini-scene from Tanith Lee's epic fantasy. Queen Astaris, who can be seen seated in a canopy on the back of the big red creature, is making a royal procession appearance in her kingdom. She is attended by soldiers in black cloaks and a crowd of nude or nearly-nude dancers as well as slaves and servants groveling as she passes by. Tanith Lee, being a British fantasy writer, had that special national memory of a fabulous lost Empire. Maybe I should read these books again.

Ink and colored pencil on sketchbook page, about 8" x 4", September 1981. Clikforalargervu.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Football abstraction

This is a graphic for my Trader Joe's bi-weekly series of ads for at-the-register featured items. It changes as the season and holiday change, and this one is for the de facto January and early February holiday, the Super Bowl. But according to copyright restrictions I cannot put the words "Super Bowl" or the names or logos of any team. So I created an abstraction with the elements of an American football, complete with white lacing at the top. The green box in the lower right is for prices, and is meant to suggest a scoreboard. The items the signs will advertise are generally munchies for "Super Bowl Sunday," which is sometimes the highest single selling day in the entire year. 

Ink drawing colored in Photoshop, 7" x 5", January 15, 2014.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tanith Lee's Storm Lord

In 1980 and 1981 I was intensely into the fantasy writing of Tanith Lee, a British author who wrote blood 'n' thunder 'n' romance set in fabulous imaginary ancient worlds. It's a tradition that goes back well before Tolkien, the evocation of a wide and magical savage world full of different cultures and Roman-era warfare. This character, Raldnor, appears in Lee's book "The Storm Lord," where she loads her book with juicy illustratable content. At least back in 1980 I couldn't get enough of it. I wonder what I'd think of it now. The books are still on my shelves, but captive behind dusty clutter. Time to remove the stuff and do a little re-reading perhaps? 

Nowadays, George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" has tied up the wide and magical savage world department and I am not about to compete with a massive TV series doing illustrations. I like "sword 'n' sorcery" worlds with much more outright colorful fantasy than "Game of Thrones," which from what I've seen seems more like Shakespeare's historical plays with a few dragons thrown in. If I want to do more fantasy art I've got to get a good source of ideas. I've got my dusty old library to revisit, or perhaps some new author I've never heard of is writing old-style high fantasy that is just what I might be looking for. I don't mind an excessively descriptive, elaborate style; that just makes my job easier. Meanwhile there are some professional jobs that await me this year so not so many Storm Lords just yet. So here's our old friend Raldnor riding his non-horsey beast in a triumphal parade.

"Raldnor the Storm Lord" is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/4", September 1980.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Skylight Crystal

I haven't done a digital abstraction in a long, long time. Here's one of my "K-Series" abstract studies, done (no surprise) while listening to electronic ambient music. This is "K13." I'm working with a kind of perspective here which isn't really perspective at all but it gives an illusion of three dimensions in space. The central solid is the Skylight Crystal through which the Azure Universe can be glimpsed. There are more than three dimensions inside the aura of the Skylight Crystal. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough sky blue.

Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, 7" x 5", January 13, 2014.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's 1981 again!

Here we are starting New Year 1981! Congratulations on the new year! 1981! Wait, you don't really…want…to re-live…33 years ago…aaaaggh! Was there anything good about that year? Do you even remember it? I have my journal to remind me. I was living in Cambridge, Mass. being a good Bohemian making fantasy art for pennies. This is the frontispiece of my lavishly illustrated journal-book for that year. You can see things that are, or were, symbolic for me in this stylized architectural drawing. There are stars, planets, the Eye in the Triangle, the Ayn Rand dollar sign, a satellite dish (long before most houses had one to pick up TV), and cats everywhere. The large black and white cat in front is my totem animal, the Tuxedo Cat. Most people have some noble beast as their totem creature, such as a wolf or a Pegasus or a dragon or at least a clever fox, but I have a fat lazy housecat as my spirit animal. Oh well. 

In 1981 no one but the privileged scientific specialists had access to the computer networks that would later become the almighty Internet. I wrote letters and put them in the mail. Some of my friends and colleagues probably were already connected in the 1980s. It would be another 10 years or more before it transformed my life and then, everyone else's.

1981 Frontispiece is ink on sketchbook page, about 8 1/4 x 11 1/2", January 1981. Click on the pic to be transported back 33 years.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Car Dragon

Is it a car turning into a dragon, or a dragon turning into a car? It seems to  be a transitional phase here. There might be car-like dragons crawling around feeding on gasoline, or there could be dragon-like cars driving around waiting to pounce on bad drivers. I've recovered enough to do a fresh drawing at least. The enclosed frame will be written in as a journal entry. The car, by the way, is a 1956 Plymouth Plaza, nowadays a collector's item.

Pitt technical sepia pen and markers on sketchbook page, about 6 1/2" x 5", January 11, 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Archangel Anael

Anael (or Haniel) is one of the Seven Archangels of Western esoteric lore. He isn't as famous or well-known as the first four (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel) and is not always listed as one of the Seven. But Anael has his (or her) own set of correspondences according to the esoteric system. Anael connects with the planet Venus, with green and copper, and the number seven. He/she also is associated with the Kabbalistic sephirah (place in the symbolic Tree of Life) of Netzach, or "Victory."

I chose to portray Anael as a youthful warrior (hence the Japanese sword, which was just getting to be popular in the USA) in semi-"Oriental" garb, clothed in malachite green. A cat, which is one of the animals of the goddess Venus, sits by his side. The star in the background is actually the planet Venus, shining as the "Evening Star." There's a seven-pointed star on his robe.

This little sketch is influenced by 20th century Tarot cards and I might have been planning to do a set of archangel and esoteric Tarot. Later on I did some more of these neo-Kabbalistic symbol portraits but I never did the whole set of archangels or all the 10 sephiroth. Western esotericism gives an artist endless amounts of symbolism to work with, so you never know, I might get inspired again someday.

Anael is ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 7", November 1980. Click for somewhat larger view.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lemon Yellow

Struggling with one of the worst colds I've had in years, I am told that lemon juice mixed with honey can soothe my sore throat. So I bought these lemons to provide me with remedy. Of course, they are draw-able still life objects before being juiced. This study is in my new sketchbook journal and I hope the bright color will help my recovery.

Pitt sepia technical pen and markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 2", January 9, 2014. Some extra stuff in Photoshop.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eugene Grasset comes to Darkover 1980

In 1980 I was already very involved with Darkover and its fan community, and I would also publish my first Darkover book cover that year. I drew sketches and studies for Darkover art in my journal, illustrating the world of the Red Sun. This one was based on the style of Eugene Grasset, a Swiss-French artist of the 19th century, whose art nouveau styling rivaled that of the much better known Alphonse Mucha. I'm linking to a blog which presents large versions of Grasset's "Belle Jardiniere" or gardening ladies throughout the seasons, one for each of the 12 months. I hope the art blog I linked to does not explode or disappear as it features a treasure-trove of lesser known art to look at. I love the Grasset style and not only was it popular and commercially successful in its day, it also formed the basis for the European "clear line" graphic novel style which flourished in the 20th century.

Darkovan garden maiden is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 4" x 6 1/2", fall 1980.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

His Eminence

The Roman Catholic clergy, especially the upper ranks, have always inspired artistic types, whether in writing, music, or visual arts. For the visual artist, their colorful garb and vestments, and their rituals, are glorious subjects for drawings and paintings. Roman Catholic Christianity has been the most friendly to the visual arts over the millennia. Therefore to have a Cardinal as a character in a fantasy story is just fine. This imaginary Cardinal of mine was probably the most influential character in my life, since he brought me into Christianity and the Roman church. "His Eminence" is the title given to a Roman Catholic Cardinal.

Looking back through the years in my illustrated journals, Cardinal Acquaviva (that is a real historical Italian name) appears often, usually in his bright scarlet garb. I wrote scads of texts about him and his associates and friends. There was also a fantasy element to him as I wrote in the later years of my connection with him. He might have been the reincarnation of a famous Florentine occultist, Marsilio Ficino, and he might also have been an occult adept and alchemist himself. 

In 1983, after 12 years of association with me, he disappeared. Either he died in his own world, or he finally found the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher's Stone, became immortal, and went on to another plane of existence.

The top image is pencil and watercolor, drawn in 1976.

Here is a front face pencil portrait of him I drew in 1975. The texture partially obscuring the face comes from deteriorated adhesive tape. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ceremonial Magi

It is Epiphany, the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and the holiday of the Three Magi who in the Bible story visit the baby Jesus in his rustic crib. Much has been written about these figures, especially concerning their ethnicity. Supposedly they were Persian Zoroastrian priests and astrologers, who had interpreted the Star as a sign that the Messiah was born in the West. Occultists and esotericists then and now have speculated on the identity of these Magi in all sorts of ways, from astral wanderers to Theosophical Masters.

I collect occult books, especially works of otherworldly fiction. One of my treasures (bought for $2) is "In the Sanctuary," by Albert Van der Naillen, published in 1895. Van der Naillen wrote about a secret group of high adepts who survey the world with their far-ranging powers and recruit holy and powerful people for their Order. It's much like the "Hidden Masters" of Blavatsky's Theosophy, which had a major influence on esotericism in the last decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries. "Sanctuary" is the second book in a trilogy about these Magi and the people they are involved with. It contains a wealth of descriptions of ceremonial magic as well as Theosophical pseudo-science. The book spends many chapters depicting the investiture of a Western Archbishop as a Magi. Interestingly, there is also a long proposal for a schismatic and more liberal "American Catholic Church," some of which might be written even today. It's a mix of occultism and Catholic politics…you gotta love it.

Fortunately for those who might be interested in this trilogy, it is available as an e-text in various formats at the "Internet Archive." Here's the link for "On the Heights of Himalay," the first book in the series. And here's "In the Sanctuary," and here's the last one, "Balthazar the Magus," written in 1904. I love the Occult Web of Light.

This illustration from the Sanctuary of the Magi was done at the close of 1980, a year of turmoil for me, and little did I know that years later I would be spending many years among real Zoroastrian Magi, attending the Sacred Fire.

Ink, watercolor, and acrylic on sketchbook page, about 8 1/2" x 7", December 31, 1980. Click on the image for an astrally larger view.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My first Warhammer 40K for 2014

There ain't nothin' like a Space Marine in full armor get-up. This guy has his bolt-gun in his left hand (to our right) and his "chain-sword" (fighting-adapted chainsaw) in his right. His armor is covered with superstitious symbols and is a self-enclosed walking environment, like a hardened space suit. The aesthetic of the Warhammer 40K universe is a weird combination of Roman imperial, Baroque, and New Orleans Voodoo, all of it drenched in blood and gore. The perpetual war of Warhammer 40K is played out on dingy tables all over the English-speaking world as well as among soldiers posted to awful places where real warfare is only too common. 

Pitt sepia pen ink and markers on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", January 4, 2014.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Codex Angel 1974

The Angel of the Codex holds the miraculous book. On the left page, "Codex Mirabilis." (Which means "miraculous book.") On the right, in Greek, "Arete' kai Sophia," which means "Virtue and Wisdom." The angel's curved lines shows how calligraphic and stylized you could get with that flexible Graphos point. I miss the sepia ink, too. I'll be trying ink stuff in my new sketchbook journal. I'm still trying to restore some order to my dwelling, filled with holiday clutter. Despite the snow and ice it is very dry and dusty. Keep flying, bookish angel.

Sepia ink in Graphos point, 3 3/4" x 9", August 1974.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Post-Holiday Clutter

It's cold and snowy and it will be a while before I can go outside to draw. So that means drawing whatever is around if I want to do the "Drawing of the Day." This section of my living room is full of post-holiday clutter, as well as my miniature artificial christmas tree on its makeshift pedestal. You can see black openwork plastic crates, a tote bag or two, and part of my non-functioning espresso coffee machine at lower center. You can also see some oriental rug patterns from my beautiful Persian collection. Other than that, a "roomscape" is kind of awkward but that is what you get for now.

Pitt technical pen on sketchbook page, about 5" x 8", January 3, 2014.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cambridge Winter Twilight January 1, 1981

This was the opening page of my 1981 illustrated journal. It depicts the houses and bare trees of my Cambridge, Mass. neighborhood at twilight on January 1. The white rectangle in the center is where the writing goes. At that time I was much influenced by Art Nouveau and late 19th century graphics, which placed text frames among illustration frames. I am planning to use the frame-and-illustration graphic theme for my new 2014 illustrated journal. But I won't use watercolor as I did here. The watercolor didn't give me a nice solid color, it crinkled the paper, and it made some of the ink blurred, too. I have markers to do the coloring this time around. 

Opening the long-blocked box to my earlier journals has brought me a rich collection of small art done by me over the decades. I'll be scanning and presenting the best of them as this new year goes on. The subject matter goes from super-realism to fantasy to abstraction. I'm still working on new art too of course. Stay tuned to this Blog for your quality art and art by-products. Thanks for your support.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 8 1/2" x 11", January 1981.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Dragon for 2014

My journal for 2014 will be illuminated in full color with ink drawing and markers. I don't have the Graphos any more but the Pitt technical pens will do well enough. I will be doing fantasy and other subjects as well as some "reality" drawings. The better ones will be seen on this Blog. My "year color" this year is Aqua, a kind of bluish green, so this is an Aqua Dragon. This drawing isn't perfect, the position of the right front leg is awkward, but I hope I'll have plenty of chances to perfect my dragon drawings. The text of my journal entry goes within a frame, another new feature I plan to experiment with. I am currently reviewing art projects and priorities for the new year.

Technical pens and Copic markers on sketchbook page, about 8 inches wide, January 1, 2014. Happy new year, everyone!