Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lord Kelvin's Machine

Written by James P. Blaylock Lord Kelvin's Machine is a delightful piece of fiction steeped in steampunk goodness. At it's core it's a decisive commentary on how man's dependency on technology can have irrevocable affects on the earth and that sometimes, using your brain (and a gun) is the best way to save the world.

No. Really. That's what happens.

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Spectrum annual and this is what I came up with for Lord Kelvin's Machine. You've seen some of the sketches up to this point, now you get to see how they all fit together.

I'd like to thank my wife for her patience with me while I was driving myself crazy during this project and her well-placed critiques.

Oil on canvas. 31 x 19

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More sketches

Two more character sketches for the painting I'm working on. On the left is the unkempt hunchback Hargreaves which would make the gentleman on the right Sir Langdon St. Ives. Naturally.

I always enjoy the referencing portion of a project. It gives me the perfect excuse to do things like go out to buy a bowler hat and shove clothes down the back of my shirt and bound around the living room like a man possessed.

I had a teacher in school who impressed upon us the importance of finding people capable of acting to use as models. Because of that I use myself as a model a lot, as I think I've mentioned before. I have a hard time directing people to get the performance I want out of them, so I find it's simpler to just play dress up myself and snap a lot of pictures. Insisting to someone that they should look like they're having fun, or that they don't look angry enough, or crazy enough, or coy enough gets tedious after a while.

Thank goodness my wife can see into my head and can extract what it is I'm after through my awkwardly given direction. Since I don't know many people comfortable enough in front of a camera to not look stiff, I usually use myself as a male model and my wife for the ladies. It's worked pretty well so far, but I think people are starting to catch on...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Character Sketch

As I'm working through sketches for the next illustration that's on my board a friend of mine commented that I needed to update my blog. I've decided to share at least this sketch because I like the way it came out. Our dear Dr. Narbondo seems to be perturbed by something off in the distance - or maybe he's just deep in diabolic contemplation.

I modeled for myself in my living room and as I have the tendency to do, I tore the living room apart. Now is the time I put it back together before my wife wakes up and kills me. I plan on having this painting done midweek, as it needs to be off by about the week's end.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas is finally over!

With the completion of this painting I think I can finally say goodbye the holiday season.

A few years back I had done a painting for Madam Butterfly for a class assignment. That painting is hanging in my mother's house and I surmise it had been admired by a friend of hers. That friend wanted me to do something similar for her. Actually, that's all the art direction I got. Something with a geisha theme.

After a flurry of sketches and a few false starts I was primed to finish it by Christmas; but another project popped up and this got shuffled to the sideboard. But, it's done now. Though since it'll be near a month or so since it's delivered, I may take another stab at it.

I just can't leave well enough alone.
Oil on canvas. 18x24

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Octopuses! Now, before I get an avalanche of angry letters, octopuses is the correct pluralization for octopus. I know too many people who have taken too many marine biology classes to make the common octopii mistake. I've witnessed said bio-nerds lecturing people on their pluralization faux pas and I don't want to be on the receiving end of that wrath.

With that being said, I got a random request from someone to post more octopuses - and as random as that request may have been, I randomly had a painting of an octopus laying around. This was done as a birthday present for an acquaintance not too long ago. I'm surprised I still have it, honestly. I suppose the temptation for art isn't as strong for everyone as it is for me.

Oil on board. 8x10