Friday, February 28, 2014

Fabulous Stairway

This fabulous and possibly unbuildable stairway is one of the designs I created for a visionary engineer who paid me to illustrate his fantasy world. You can read about the project here. He wanted a lavish art-nouveau look to the buildings as well as an erotic element which would pervade the entire decorative scheme. You can see the male and female bodies as tree trunks at the sides of the upper door. His imaginary people had a lot of leisure time so they had plenty of dalliance but were also menaced by ogre-like invaders who occasionally had to be vanquished. I did a lot of art for this project but none of it was ever published.

Ink on Bristol board, 7" x 10", June 1996.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Elric and Moonglum 1977

The doomed albino sorceror-king Elric is one of my all-time favorite fantasy characters. Michael Moorcock, the author creator, creates a panorama of decadent and beautiful scenarios and places for Elric to explore. At his side for many of these tales is a small warrior squire named "Moonglum," who selflessly stays by Elric when all others desert him. Naturally, Moonglum has red hair (every fantasy has at least one red-headed character) and he is a good fighter. I gave him a Mongol face and attire, I don't remember whether Moorcock specified an ethnic background for him. Here is Elric with "Stormbringer," the demonic magical soul stealing sword, and Moonglum by his side.

Ink on sketchbook page, about 6" x 3 1/2", March 1977.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bunny Basketball

And here's the March Hare colored in and made into a sign blank for Trader Joe's basketball tournament themed promotion. Get yer basketball madness munchies here. Yes, the March Hare's green shorts might have been inspired by the Boston Celtics but remember I can't put any team logos anywhere on this ad. Meanwhile, more snow is predicted for my area. 

Original ad is 7" x 5", ink colored in Photoshop, February 26, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

March Hare Madness

The next marketing theme for the upcoming month is the "March Madness" college basketball tournament. This is alongside the pervasive green faux-Irishness of Saint Patrick's Day. I decided that the mascot for "March Madness" is the March Hare of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." I designed this basketball version of the March Hare for a Trader Joe's graphic. It's done in the style of the famous Sir John Tenniel, illustrator for the classic first editions of Alice. I've added a basketball shirt and shorts to the outfit. He wears the traditional bunch of straw on his head. The straw on the head signified being crazy, according to Victorian symbolism.

It turns out that "March Madness" long pre-dates basketball, at least when it comes to rabbits. The reason that the March Hare is crazy is that breeding season for bunnies starts in March, when they leap about and mill and fight with each other and make love like, uh, rabbits. 

This graphic will advertise March munchies and will soon be colored in. Marker ink on Bristol board, about  3 1/2" x 5", February 24, 2014.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bram of Iridar

Back in the familiar world of Iridar, Bram the northern barbarian brandishes his sword. This character appears in a lot of epic fantasies; he's "Barak" in David Eddings' "Belgariad" series. Bram saves the hero's life and acts as a devoted mentor and protector, even to the point of losing his life (but he is resurrected from the dead by the good sorcerers). He's huge, fierce, and has a big red beard. He likes to drink and fight, and is more intelligent than he looks. He is the one who dispatches the evil sorceress and eventually is sent off to restore the Kingdom of Orm with his princely hero and the hero's bride, who of course is the Queen of Iophar. 

This is another in my series of character concepts from "The Flame of Iridar." There are plenty of other sketching possibilities and I would like to do some action scenes as well. Ultimately I will create a sample finished cover which I will add to my digital portfolio.

Bram of Iridar is ink and markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 6", February 24, 2014.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Digital Pin-up Girl

I finished another digital pin-up girl and here she is. I've worked on her for days trying to solve problems and learn more ways to depict flesh and faces. There are still plenty of things wrong with this digital painting but I think it's better than the previous ones I've tried. The face especially needs work and I'll be trying again on faces soon. Meanwhile her face kinda ended up looking like a co-worker of mine which is not unusual because I often use my co-workers as models.

I'm trying to do that trendy development thing where you work at something and give yourself a new challenge each time, which is called "deliberate practice," until you've worked 10,000 hours and get to be an expert, but I don't know whether that 10,000 hours counts for "time served during your lifetime" as an artist rather than starting over right now. Am I "passionate?" Am I driven? Am I dedicated? Do I work hard all the time? Hard work. Hard work. Hard work. For the sake of digital pin-up girls.

Photoshop, 7" x 10", February 2014. Click for larger view, if you must.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Naked Bottles

There, just under the wire for February 22. I wouldn't want to miss a day, even if feasting and wine drinking is involved. These are details from the tasting room at Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards, including a cleverly put together chandelier made with wine bottles. This drawing was done while I was consuming their famous lasagna and sharing a bottle of their "Red Light" red blend with my wine buddies. There are a few good things about February, and this is one of them.

Pitt technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 9", February 22, 2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Aleytys by Jo Clayton

Since I'm concerned with Beautiful Fantasy Women these days I might as well post a near-Miss mini portrait dredged up from my 1981 sketchbook journal. Aleytys is a character created by the late Jo Clayton from a fantasy series that appeared in the late 1970s and into the '80s. I already posted about the magic diadem which gives Aleytys extra skills augmenting her own magical powers. You can read a very good review of the first Diadem book here. Naturally, Aleytys has flame-red hair and gets naked a lot, not always by her consent. This pin-up style portrait is not bad, even though it's no bigger than a postcard.

Aleytys is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, about 4 1/3 x  5 1/2", July 1981.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More Queen of Iophar

I tried again to portray the youthful Queen of Iophar from Lin Carter's "Flame of Iridar." I used a very thin technical pen point to re-create my 1977 drawings done in 4-0 Rapidograph. The pen's ink was a reddish brown which became too red when scanned, so I rendered my scan into simpler black and white. This is a tiny picture which I hoped would look better than my previous rendering of this graceful character, but I am not satisfied with it. Instead, she looks a bit like Paris Hilton. But since depicting beautiful women is essential to making sell-able fantasy art, I must continue trying. I can't do pictures of wine barrels and Victorian porches all the time. It's interesting, I can do portraits of real people fairly well but I fail when I try to depict these ideal women who are the mainstay of fantasy art. But like those Olympic advertisements I have been seeing again and again, I just need to have a Dream, keep trying, come back from my failures, make myself a new learning challenge every time, work, work, and more work, and all that neo-Protestant shit America believes in.

Queen of Iophar is ink on sketchbook page, 3" x 5", February 20, 2014.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Renaissance Elric

It's a bit disappointing to find some of my art from 1977, 37 years ago, that is as good as anything I could create today. Haven't I improved at all? I don't know what to say. I drew this engraving-like portrait of fantasy character Elric, the albino sorcerer exiled king, in my 1977 journal book. Michael Moorcock's doomed anti-hero has always been a big favorite of mine and I drew quite a lot of pictures from his stories while I was a graduate student, instead of studying. This drawing, done in the style of Renaissance wood engravings, shows Elric with his great magical sword "Stormbringer," which eats souls. It's as big as a Scottish claymore and I've always wondered how Elric drew the blade when it was time to use it. I suppose, much like the immense weapons now carried by video game characters, its magic supersedes its mass and allows it to defy any laws of physics it needs to.

Black ink with dip pen on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 7", March 1977.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The trouble with an ideal city

I drew pictures in my 1977 journal while I was a miserable graduate student at Harvard. My memories of Rome, where I had lived from 1975-76, were still vivid. Using my classical learning and Indo-European linguistics, I created or re-created imaginary worlds and cities in my notebook instead of doing my graduate studies. Among these imaginings was a re-start of my Noantri world, which dated back to my high school days. I drew architecture and made lists of words and grammar. This drawing above is not necessarily from the Noantri world (and I only began calling them "Noantri" much later). But the sentiment of the utopians standing in the tower would fit the early days of Noantri New Earth. "The trouble with an ideal city is that you have to live there." Of course it isn't really true, you can't build or run an ideal city. It's more about living in your imagination, which is how I've coped with my life all along.

I drew my 1977 pictures mostly with a 4-0 Rapidograph technical pen, using Pelikan red-brown ink. This pen point was as tiny as a needle so I could put lots of detail into a very small space. But the drawing faded even without exposure to light and I have scanned and saved the drawings with a lot of Photoshop enhancement. Rapidographs are old-school drawing tools now. I loved drawing with them but they were leaky and high-maintenance so I eventually abandoned them for the Pitt sepia disposable tech pen, which I use constantly.

"Ideal City" is technical pen brown ink on sketchbook page, about 5" x 3", February 1977. Click on the image for a closer look. Thank you Mary, Jim and Rachel, and Tristan for reassuring me that I am not posting into the void.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Riders of Faerie

This little sketch is done in an experimental fantasy style which I abandoned. It's probably an illustration for some text by Tanith Lee. The costumes were inspired by Renaissance parade garb, which I borrowed from my facsimile of the "Triumph of Emperor Maximilian," a 16th-century imperial treasure available in wicked awesome detail here. In 1981 when I did this piece there was no such resource online and I used my black and white version which I still have. 

I'm not even sure what kind of pen I was using to get the brown lines. I think it was a dip pen with sepia ink. I abandoned the style because I didn't think it was commercially useful, that is, I didn't think I could sell it to clients or publishers. It was too stylized and colored in watercolor which publishers would not touch. (They still reject watercolor as a cover illustration medium.) The reason the publishers don't like watercolor is that it is too delicate, hard to reproduce, and it doesn't "pop," that is, it isn't contrasty to be seen from a distance and attract viewers. It's OK for interior illustrations though.

If I did a picture like this nowadays I'd draw it in pen and then scan it to the computer and color it in Photoshop. Or I'd give it a go from the beginning with digital inking and then proceed with color. Right now I'm working with digital inking and coloring trying to build up a really sharp, contrasty, easy-to-see and more opaque painting-like style for fantasy work. I have a pin-up girl in progress and you'll see her when I am done. 

I hope you don't mind seeing my vintage art here as I am not at this moment doing a lot of fresh By-Product sketches. You deserve the very best so I am not going to draw a picture of a wastebasket or a coffee cup and post it here. I have plenty of resources to continue posting but I wish I knew whether anyone but Tristan is reading this. If no one is reading this I could say whatever I damn pleased (I mean, without insulting anyone) as long as I included a piece of art somewhere. 

"Riders of Faerie" is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5 1/3" x 4", July 1981.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

C.J. Cherryh Morgaine

C.J. Cherryh's science fiction and fantasy work was relatively new in the early 1980s and I read a lot of it. She was also willing to come to conventions, even small ones, to promote her books so I got to meet and talk with her. One of my favorites of her characters was "Morgaine," a female hero in a series of books in which ancient technology resembles magic. Morgaine was an early attempt to create a female character who was not a sexy babe who needed rescuing. Cherryh portrayed Morgaine as a knightly figure and competent warrior whose male companion, who is the story's narrator, both feared and obeyed her. Their relationship is "platonic" until late in the series, when they finally fall for each other. Morgaine, like so many other female characters in science fiction, has unusual coloring (in this case, white hair and silver-gray eyes) which is always a sign that she is at least partly related to an ancient super-race. Also note that I gave Morgaine a nice 1980s "big hair" Farrah Fawcett Majors style job.

This picture is unusual for my sketchbook pieces because it is painted in opaque acrylic, as if I were doing a painting on illustration board. It worked out fairly well in a tiny size. These Morgaine books are still on my dust-covered bookshelf and might be worth another read 30 years later.

Morgaine is acrylic on sketchbook page, 5" x 2 1/4", September 1981.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Homage to Mid-Century Italian Modern

I lived in Rome, Italy from 1961-62 with my parents. We were arty American expats for a year and the influence and memory of Italy (including later stays) remains with me. We watched Italian TV and learned the Italian language. This design comes from Italian TV, known as "RAI", an acronym for "Radiotelevisione Italiana." It's not a direct copy, but it's inspired by the original mid-20th century design. The helical geometric form, against a background of fluffy clouds (all in black and white), appeared as an animation at the beginning and end of the day's transmissions. (In the earlier days of TV and radio, stations would sign off at around midnight and return in the morning.) Nowadays this design would be done in minutes by a computer program but in the mid-20th century it would have been drawn, and animated, by hand.

The sign-off sequence, which only lasted about 40 seconds, was accompanied by a lovely, almost haunting piece of music which I remembered ever since I saw it in Rome. I thought I would never find it again until I remembered that everything is reachable on the universe-spanning Internet by almighty Google and YouTube. Within 5 minutes (helped by my knowledge of the Italian language) I had located the sign off  sequence on YouTube. Not only did I find the video, I also learned that the music was composed by Roberto Lupi, an Italian composer once active in Florence. The sequence was finally retired from RAI TV in the 1980s.

Here's the "Fine delle Trasmissioni" ("End of Transmissions") sequence, preserved digitally. I now use it as a signal to myself to sign off from the Internet.

Ink and markers on sketchbook page,  2 1/3" x 4 2/3", February 15, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lichtenberg Alien Character

Many years ago I was commissioned to do a series of illustrations for a science fiction book by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. At that time she was known for her "Sime-Gen Universe" series involving a dual form of humanity, in which one form depended on the other form for sustenance by a kind of energy parasitism. In this concept, unrelated to Sime-Gen, a human pairs with an alien to find living crystals that endow the wearer with techno-magical powers. I featured another one of these illustrations in a 2010 posting here, and you can click on it for details if you want to. 

The character here is the alien partner of the human. Throughout most of the book the alien seems to be androgynous or sexless but by the later chapters the alien turns out to be a female who is in love with the male human. She is humanoid but I'm not sure they were physically compatible. 

I did a whole series of these black and white illustrations, which Jacqueline Lichtenberg eventually bought. The book was never published and the whole project disappeared into obscurity, remembered only by the author and myself.

Original is ink on Bristol board, 8 1/2" x 11", September 1994.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jo Clayton Planetscape

Jo Clayton was another of the DAW Books fantasy/sf writers whose work I liked in the 1980s. This small planetscape  was from DIADEM FROM THE STARS, the first book in a trilogy about a female adventurer in an interstellar civilization. She finds a magic diadem headband which contains captive "virtual personalities" whose souls and memories were absorbed by the alien technology. The female adventurer finds that she can take on the skills of these alternate personalities if needed. Naturally, our adventurer has flaming red-gold hair. She is born and raised in a primitive desert tribal culture but escapes after encountering the Diadem. "Jaydugar" is the desert world that she escapes from, which is illuminated by a red giant/white dwarf binary star. Later in the trilogy she discovers that not only does she have healing powers but that her heritage is from a red-haired super-race in another star system. I think that inside every female fan who reads these books is a red-haired beauty with healing and psychic powers whose origin is not from Long Island but from a race of superbeings from another planet.

Brown ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, about 8" x 2 1/2", June 1981.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chandar, Hero of Iridar

Chandar is the hero of "Flame of Iridar." The last surviving member of the royal family of Orm, he leads a seacoast rebellion against the evil empire of Shiangkor. At the beginning of the story he is captured and was about to be executed in the gladiators' arena but is magically rescued by the evil wizard Sarkond, who wants to take advantage of Chandar's magical talisman weapon, the "Axe of Orm." This item can channel titanic magical energies which can break down the defenses of Iophar, city of magic. It also appears to exist in variable sizes: though it can fit in the pocket you see on Chandar's belt, it, uh, grows bigger when it needs to do its magical thing.

This drawing isn't what I was trying for. It's more "storybook" than heroic. And the figure drawing is crap. I want that epic look that you see in game and movie art, but my figures just aren't good enough for it. At work I got a co-worker to model the hand holding the haft of the Axe, but I had to find another reference for the rest of the body. As you know over all the years you've read this Blog (there may be one or two of you) I constantly struggle with human figure drawing, no matter how many bodies I draw.

Pitt brown technical pen colored with markers on sketchbook page, about 4 1/2" x 5 3/4", February 12, 2014.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Deryni Scholar Monk

There are at least two major timelines in Katherine Kurtz' "Deryni" books. They're both Medieval but one is about 300 years earlier than the other. To translate her fantasy time into  our own reckoning, the earlier timeline is in about the 1000's, and the later one is about the early 1300s. This scholarly gentleman is from the earlier timeline. He is not only a scholar and a monk, but a warrior knight as well, with no Crusade to fight. He needs to defend his magical Deryni race against the persecution of the non-magical majority. This task is done less with the sword than with influence, intrigue, and the occasional magical coercion spell. The character's name is Joram and he comes from a major Deryni noble family. He is a member of an order of monastic knights called the "Order of Saint Michael," similar to Knights Templar.

I depicted Joram perusing an ancient manuscript full of arcane lore. He isn't quite focused on the page; I think he is thinking through what he has just read with the hope that it could be a resource to stop the persecutions. The ragged left edge on this little drawing marks the irregular ends of lines of journal text.

Brown ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, around 4" x 6 1/2", May 1981.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Queen of Iophar in color

Here's the 17-year-old Queen Llys of Iophar done up in Photoshop color. She's holding the magic scepter which casts light into the darkness and opens up the great cavern where the "Flame of Iridar" lives. The Flame is a cosmic being which makes its home under the City of Magic. In the book we discover that there is another Flame which is the first one's evil twin, and they ultimately battle it out in an apocalyptic conflict. 

The coloring here is the style sometimes used for graphic novels or comic books, with mostly flat areas not built up to resemble paintings or photographs. This is the "young adult" version of Llys. If I made a book cover depicting her, she'd be a buxom babe in a very low-cut dress with lots of pushed-up boob cleavage, as is the rule for these things. 

Digital inking colored in Photoshop, about 4 1/2" x 8", February 9, 2014.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Goddess at "Za"

Another one from my Tanith Lee series in my 1981 sketchbook journal. The main character, still wearing her mask to hide her alien face, marches in a procession of ladies in waiting, also wearing masks. The name of the kingdom is "Za." The breast-baring halter tops and black velvet skirts were described by the author. The main character has some special powers which result in her being considered a goddess. But she's really an alien who is ultimately rescued by her people who  visit her barbaric world in a spaceship and carry her back to her own people. At least I think that's how the story goes, it's been a while since I read it.

"The Goddess at Za" is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", January 1981. I seem to be currently picking up my habit from 1981 of making tiny pictures.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Teen Queen of Iophar

The hero of "Iridar" is rescued from a shipwreck by a squadron of flying dragons, led by a beautiful young blonde girl. That same girl nurses the hero back to health. All of this is standard operating procedure. It turns out, of course, that the girl is really "Llys," the Queen of Iophar, City of Magic. She is no older than 18, which makes me wonder how she got to be Queen of Iophar. Then again, Queen Amidala in "Star Wars" is also a teenaged ruler, though Lucasfilms does explain it in some sort of historical way. I assume that Llys lost her parents through some disaster and must rely on the wisdom of courtiers. The story does have a sympathetic royal adviser male figure for her to learn from. Of course in the story Llys and the hero fall in love but their relationship is complicated by the red-haired hussy who appeared earlier in the story and also has designs on the hero.

Llys and the hero go through lots more adventures, though to my dismay the author forgets that this girl is a dragon-rider and an active Queen and keeps her cringing behind the brawny arms of her hero-man for the rest of the story. I guess that's part of the standard story too, especially one written before the rise of feminism in fantasy. 

This drawing of lovely Llys started out as a pencil sketch. I then scanned it in and drew over it in Photoshop using my Wacom tablet and stylus and digital inking technique. Yes, this drawing could have been made by a steel dip pen point and sepia ink. Would you have known if I didn't tell you? I am finally getting better at drawing digitally. And I don't get ink all over my fingers. I will color Llys in shortly.

Llys drawing is digital inking in Photoshop over pencil, 4" x 8", February 8, 2014.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Iophar, City of Magic

It's a standard requirement for a sword 'n' sorcery tale that it describes fantastic cities or other forms of architecture in the hero's journey. This one, in Lin Carter's "Iridar," is "Iophar," the city of magic, where our hero is brought after he is shipwrecked. I've done a full-sized series of these magical cities, but this one, which resembles some of the ones in the series, is a miniature. The architecture as described by the author is traditional for magical cities, involving tall crystal spires, gleaming domes, gardens, and fabulously shaped ceremonial buildings. My designs here fit the bill but in my opinion are a bit too Disney-fied and if I were to re-do it, I'd put more "Alexandria" in it. 

Colored ink and markers on sketchbook page, sky and horizon added in Photoshop to replace text block. About 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", February 6, 2014.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Azul and the Visionary Victorian

One of my favorite fantasy books of all time is ROMANCE OF TWO WORLDS by Marie Corelli. This esoteric novel, published in 1887, was a bestseller and made Corelli's reputation as a writer. The story is told in the first person and the narrator character closely resembles Corelli herself although the characters and the story are fictional and fantastic. The book is filled with fascinating detail not only about contemporary Theosophical doctrines but about late 19th century high society, attire, and mores.

In a major passage of the book, the narrator is given a cup of a magic elixir by a Magus character. She drinks it and is brought into a visionary state where she is guided through multiple worlds by an angel named "Azul." Since "Azul" means "blue" in Spanish, I assume that this is a blue angel. In her psychedelic trance, the narrator, instructed by Azul, sees an elaborate interlocking spiritual mechanism of spirit beings, evolution, light, energy, and color, probably inspired by "The Secret Doctrine" of Madame Blavatsky.

I did this small piece in my 1981 journal, experimenting with a more stylized image with some Art Nouveau elements. I've left a little thought-balloon to the left which I added later, which says, uh, "god I'm so stoned." The stoned one is not me the artist (I don't partake of the herb) but the fictional/memoiristic character.

Brown ink drawing and watercolor on sketchbook page, 3" x 5 1/3", April 1981.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sarkond in color

Here is our friend Sarkond, colored in with Photoshop. He's ready for Evil Sorcerer Action in his elegant robes of green. I think all these stock fantasy characters from Lin Carter's book come alive again when someone illustrates them. In Sarkond's case I think he knows he's just an actor so his evil deeds are restricted to the imaginary world-stage he lives in. Otherwise I'd have to do the impersonation job myself and you wouldn't like it if I unleashed evil magic and a monster or two here in Common Reality. 

I think I'm doing a bit better at these small illustrations. The purpose of doing them is not only to have a smidgen of fun but to work up to doing comic book continuity again.

Sarkond is ink and Photoshop, about 3" x 5 1/2", February 5, 2014.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sarkond the Enchanter line drawing

"Sarkond the Enchanter" is the evil wizard in "The Flame of Iridar." He is another of the stock characters who populate the story. A wizened elder with "Oriental" features, he's dressed in elaborate green robes (Green is a traditional villain color, symbolizing envy and treachery). His belt is equipped with magical tools and devices, suggesting technology as well as sorcery. He helps the hero at the beginning but only so that the hero can serve Sarkond's nefarious schemes. Ultimately, of course, Sarkond meets a bad end. I rather liked the guy notwithstanding, and wondered what made him an Evil character; you never know any of his personal history in the story. But perhaps that level of complexity is too much to ask of this simplistic fantasy.

This is the line drawing base for Sarkond's character portrait. I'll be coloring him in with both Photoshop and markers to see how the style differs. I love drawing these little character portraits, it's just what I want to do, given that I am not producing exhibit-gallery-style painting right now.

Sarkond is black and brown Pitt technical pen ink on sketchbook page, about 3" x 5 1/2", February 4, 2014.

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Tanith Lee Birthgrave

A while back I posted some of my illustrations from Tanith Lee's "The Birthgrave." In this lurid  Orientalist fantasy, the main character is an alien who has to hide her non-human face with a mask. She is of course scantily clad with lots of boob exposure. It's been a while since I read it, but I think there's plenty of blades and blood as well. I did tiny character portraits in my journal from this and other Tanith books. The books are still in my dusty library along with other vintage fantasy and science fiction. I just finished re-reading the Lin Carter tale that I was going on about a few days ago. Mnadis the sorcerer's slave turned out to be quite the bad girl, concealing one of the Three Talismans of Power and making a big mess with it until the hero's courageous companion sneaks up behind her and puts her to the sword. Heh, who said that heroic fantasy was morally edifying? 

Tanith Lee fantasy character is ink and acrylic watercolor on sketchbook page, about 8" x 3 1/2", January 1981.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Otium Cellars wine lodge interior

I revisited Otium Cellars for "Wine Saturday." Otium is one of my favorite wineries in all of Northern Virginia. Not only do they have very nice wine and beautiful views and buildings, they have a menagerie of charming critters such as a rescued (and tame, according to the owners) wild boar, chickens, two cats, an Irish Wolfhound, and a set of glorious horses. While sipping I saw a rider taking lessons as well as other equines moving between stables. I hope I can draw these creatures outdoors when the weather gets warmer. I wanted to make a detailed drawing of their tasting lodge since I am still restricted by cold to interior scenes. I love the brick furnace which houses a wood fire, great for winter wining. Some of my wine-themed watercolors are on their walls.

Pitt sepia technical pen, some touch-up in the studio, 7 1/2" x 8 3/4", February 1, 2014.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rosy Cross

The late 19th century in art was famous for Art Nouveau, a style which swept through design all over the world. What is less known about that period is that it was a high point for esotericism, especially Christian esotericism. The Theosophical movement, with its elaborate system of imaginative theology and multiple worlds, inspired artists everywhere, from Britain to Europe to the colonies in India and Asia.

The modern revival of "Rosicrucianism" is one of these late 19th-early 20th century movements. The visual imagery of the Rosy Cross could be found wherever Western esotericism flourished. You have seen my "Roads of Roses" a few postings ago and here is a Rose-Cross along the lines of Art Nouveau Catholic esotericism. The roses are also here to mark February, the month of flowers and valentines and stylized pop eroticism. This rose logo is a bit of nostalgia for the "fin-de-siecle" (end of 19th century) style.

Rose Logo is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 4", March 1981.