Archive for August, 2014

Man’s Road

A couple months back I started to realize that many of my favorite contemporary illustrations have light back grounds and dark foregrounds while many of my favorite old time paintings are the opposite. Since I was doing master studies at the time a great deal of my own compositions were always light to dark. So the basis of this painting, Man’s Road, was to challenge myself to make a composition that had a light background and a dark foreground. Add in other things that I have a love hate relationship with such as horses/ hands and I was set! 

The concept behind the painting was to show a more gritty scene from the middle ages that most movies or paintings don’t show. Knights are too often recounted as gleaming heroes of the past, when in reality, more often than not, they were a bunch of rowdy higher class men who were kept on out of necessity for protection. They would cause all sorts of trouble when there was no one to fight and boredom threatened. Though, admittedly, they probably wouldn’t go around burning villages because property damage would be unacceptable to their overlord but peasants were usually fair game and bastards were common. Better the evil you know and all that

This is also the first painting that I’ve done where I’ve worked with such thin layers of paint, something that I’m continuing to explore. 

 The title of this piece was taken from one of my favorite songs from the animation The Last Unicorn.


I am quite a fan of Norse mythology; this and the fact that I have been watching the History Channel’s Viking series inspired the subject of my recent painting. Valkyries are woman warriors in Norse mythology who choose which souls of the fallen are brought to Odin’s hall, Valhalla. Really who can resist painting winged women when the opportunity rises?

So when I set out to paint a Valkyrie I really wanted to portray a woman who looked and felt strong, looked like a warrior. From time to time I tend to slip into only drawing certain kinds of beauty, the soft feminine features that get used over and over again. I knew from the start that I wanted to go in a different direction with this painting.

My goal was to use strong/ powerful features, really just to represent a different kind of beauty. So I finished the drawing and was so excited to work on this painting I dove right in. I had my reference, value drawing, and a general color scheme (note: not a color comp) what more did I need…

Turns out that when you don’t have a strong color comp to work from you can waste a lot of time. What a headache (and days!) I would have saved myself from if I took the extra time to do a comp beforehand. Let it be noted that I have learned my lesson.

Other than that earlier struggle I really enjoy how this painting has turned out. It looks different from previous work and it feels like I’m moving into another step of progress.