Thursday, July 29, 2010

Amphibionicus - Symphony of the Frogs

This is my playful attempts at keeping the digital pixels flowing.  I drew a little inspiration from the artistic genius of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte.  Their work in "Surrealism" opened the door to a whole new realm of fantasy for illustrators and artists alike.  And since I enjoy creating little worlds of imagination and wonder, who better to honor and emulate then these unique masters of imagery.

This piece like the last one I did " Utopian Sunrise", started to take on a life of it's own once I started working on it.  I started out with a general idea of where I was going with the initial imagery and then somewhere along  the line, the spirit of the work revealed  itself.   

The whole process for me in doing one of these, takes days if not weeks, in this case, of experimenting with different images and arrangements, until I start to get a feel for the over all piece in regards to lighting and color, and of course theme. And then there are the dozens of layers, filters, effects and fine tuning. Until I get the image somewhere to a desirable state.

The basic concept for this piece came from some photos I took on visit to Central Park, NYC,  this past Spring. I used a picture of the lake and some low lying trees for the background.  Then I decided to include the infamous Band Shell stage, where many a Shakespeare play was enacted back in the day. Then I added some lovely pink flowering trees.  So the stage was set so to speak, but had to step back to decide what would be unfolding in this scene.

During the whole process of creation, I had stopped over a friends house, who had a small frog pond in his back yard, which I thought was very cool.  And while sitting outside watching them, they started to sing.  The rest as they say was history, I decided that the theme to this piece would be a " Symphony of Frogs".  And that is more or less how I came to this visual conclusion!  That and the help of some cooperative amphibians, that agreed to pose for some pictures!

And not unlike the immortal words of Leonardo Da Vinci, sometimes works of art are not so much completed, as they are abandoned!  You get to a point where you either hit what you were aiming for, or you didn't!   The curious thing is that even when I am done with any work, whether it be a simple drawing, or one of these digital monsters.... I will spend days afterwards studying it.  To see what works, and what doesn't work.    And in some cases, I even end up getting ideas for newer works. Or better ways of achieving certain techniques and effects.

But for good or for bad, here is what I came up with this time around. Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Utopian Sunrise - A Newer Beginning

Greetings my friends, it is long over due, but managed to dig down deep into the recesses of my creative energies and actually produce some work. Sometimes the energies are just not there, and sometimes when you get lucky, things come together in perfect harmony!

I have been struggling to to find something that spoke to me in a creative voice, and this just spoke to me in volumes. I like painting and drawing, but over the last few years, been just amazed at what you can do with some photos, and a little bit of digital magic.

I tend to live in a little fantasy world of my own at times, so it is no wonder that much of my work reflects that! I enjoy putting together these fantasy landscapes, composed of imagery from places I have visited in my travels. Sometimes art is not just about exploring the creative spaces of your mind, but the beautiful and complex places of the world around you.

The photos I have used in this, are from several different places, and composited together using Photoshop in CS3. I like putting things together to magically transform the context in which the images or places actually exist in reality. Creating a whole new world in the process.

Much of my work, and especially this piece is inspired by the creative genius of Roger Dean, and most especially Maxfield Parrish. I like the serene Utopian imagery he produces in his art. And Roger Dean is such a visionary with his use of color and design.

It usually takes me about three or four days to composite the image, once I have the main components. Constantly changing and refining the layers as I go. Usually going blind while staring into my computer screen for hours at a time.

I really wanted this piece to be special as I have not done one like it in a very long while. But I am very happy with the results. I find that each time I step away from doing work of this kind, I return to it with a greater desire and a better understanding of how to best achieve the effects and atmospheric conditions I am trying to attain in my little fantasy worlds!

I hope you all enjoy it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Fairy - Holiday Card 2009

Happy Holidays! Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and prosperous holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

This is the design I went with for my traditional holiday card, that I send to family and friends. It was done in colored pencils. The medium that I am currently having a great bit of fun experimenting with. The original picture is 12 x 16.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Following The Masters - Challenge Seven - Self Portraits

I recently started following another online artist challenge hosted by Michelle Burnett called "Following The Masters". Each challenge is designed to bring focus to the creative styles of past masters. This challenge's focus is the "self portrait".

One artist who has inspired my work greatly, at an early age, was the master illustrator and graphic designer M.C. Escher. His designs in woodcut and pen and ink were always appealing to me in their complex nature and detail. He is probably the reason I became fascinate with illustrating in pen and ink in the first place.

I tried to pattern this piece in a similar style that Escher might have used, while infusing my own unique flair to it in the process.

I like the hauntingly timeless style of cross hatching and pointillism. The style has it's roots in the Renaissance periods, and has developed it's appeal through the centuries, lending itself to the classic depictions in story books. Which is part of the reason why I fell in love with being an illustrator. The joy of telling stories with your art.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Next Generation - And the ABC's of ATC's

A few friends of mine from an online artist community have endeavored to keep the thrill of the trade alive. We want to start a new trade exchange going, and since I am the self-elected coordinator (by default, since no one wanted the job ) I am posting this information here for future reference and leave the door open for future trades, for anyone else that would like to participate.

We are currently finishing up an exchange right now. And as you can see, it is a small grouping, which I wouldn't mind growing into a much larger community. All are welcome.

If all goes well, the next exchange I am planning will go off on December 21st of this year. This will give all new comers the chance to get those creative juices flowing and get some mini masterpieces ready for the event.

Things to know.....

The cards as I mentioned should be 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. ( No more, no less.) The artwork should be original, meaning not photo copied reproductions. They do not have to be exclusively drawings or paintings, you can do collages, if you so choose, of different pictures. So long as the finished product is a unique work of art.

Be creative as you want to , just be careful not to build a 3-D sculpture as it may present problems when it comes time to mail your art.

The card should be of a business card consistency and thickness, though you can use water color paper, bristol, or even thin metals. Obviously you don't want to put your art on anything too brittle or flimsy! So use your own judgement.

You can work with any materials you like, pencils, paint, wax, glue, glitter, string, etc. So long as it fits in the sleeve.

Now if you are interested feel free to e- mail me at, and I will give you my address so you know where to send your cards. And I can answer any other questions you may have. And I can give you some further mailing instructions to make this easy and fun for all!

ATC's Continued.

These are the cards I received in the two exchanges I participated in. Needless to say I was quite thrilled to have taken part in the trades but even more delighted to have this small collection of portable art for my very own.

The appeal is to get as much of your art out there travelling around the world, and to get as much of others work into your own private collection. It is fun and inspiring. And it is fairly inexpensive to do. The only real cost is the card sleeves which you can purchase at any toy store, art shop, or comic book store. And of course the postage.

But I think it is worth the expense and effort, to have such mini masterpieces to keep and cherish. And these exchanges , like these blogs, brings us closer together as an artistic community.

Artist Trading Cards - ATC's

Some of you may be familiar with this concept of ATC's ( Artist Trading Cards). If you are not then let me ellaborate. Basically you take a small card 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. And you can paint, draw, or make little collages. But the basic idea is to produce a little mini masterpiece of your own work.

This has been going on world wide for many years. It has recently increased in popularity. Artists are trading these with other artists, and building rather unique collections of portable art. Very much the same idea as sports trading cards, only contoured to the art enthusiast.

I got interested in this when I was a member of an online artist community. One person volunteered to coordinate the exchange, and set a dead line for each. Then the participants would make there cards and mail them off to the coordinator. They would in turn arrange them fairly into sets, so that each participant got one set with a card from each artist.

The cards at the top were the sets I contributed to the two exchanges I participated in. It was a great deal of fun.