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Fantasy art

Reading and writing science fiction and fantasy has led me since I was a kid to draw and sketch along the lines of these genres.  Only recently, I began doing oil paintings based on those themes.  Here one will find paintings I've completed that readers of bizarre tales might find interesting. 


These aren't all I do, however.  Having become fascinated with the hobby through the influence of Bob Ross and Bill Alexander to name two, I also do landscapes.  I find it an extremely rewarding hobby.  To see examples of these, check them out on Deviant Art.

<Please note, these paintings, including the digital work that might take place to present them here, are my own work, and may not be reproduced without permission.>

Savage Waste

This project came to me very spontaneously.  I have had this canvas lying around for several years.  When I needed to experiment with a hill, or mountain or just a color, I would grab this canvas. Finally, it was practically covered in various landscape objects.  I was between projects, and thought I would put a coat or two of white gesso on this and use it, when I took a different tack.  I decided to salvage it, and repaint over the objects, attempting to tie them together into a homogenous landscape.  It's still a bit haphazard, but it was a fun exercise, and I enjoyed the spontaneity of the project.  The title idea came from my idea to salvage an otherwise wasted canvas.

Savage Waste
Practice canvas

Based on  Beyond the Farthet Star by Edgar Rice Burroughs

On Poloda, where war has ravaged the planet for over a hundred years, bomb raids occur frequently, so much so that the cities are designed to descend into the ground at sight of enemy squadrons.  I painted this for my ERB pal Bob McGeeney--former OE for the ERB-APA.  

Sky Fighters over Poloda!

Based on  Crimson Tide by Bob Ross

In trying to get back into painting after about a year-long hiatus, I decided why not start back where I originally began . . . painting along with Bob Ross.  I actually painted this back in 2019, and messed it up right at the zero yard line. Literally, it was done, and I said to myself, one more "boss" cloud will be awesome.  And then I proceeded to mess it up!

Fast forward to March 2023 and I decide I'm going to fix it.  I had always liked the shape of the cloud that ruined the piece, just not the colors.  So I decided to just paint over it with something similar in shape, and came up with this steampunk ship.

I was in need of a cover for The Savage from Atlantis, and it was Gilbert M. Stack who suggested I use this piece.  I thought about it. The story does indeed have Atlantean fliers, and figured what the heck.  This was done, just needed some graphics umph to make it into a cover.  

Here's the painting as-finished.


Based on  Deep Wilderness Home by Bob Ross

Okay, I agree, this really isn't fantasy.  Or is it?  Bob whisked us away to the fantasy lands of his mind, and after a year where I painted nothing at all (for real, not a single painting in 2022) I was happy to get back at it with this one.


From the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs . . . Pellucidar

ERB fan Gary Buckingham asked me to paint a scene for his new, ERB Inc authorized novel, Tarzan and the Lion of Judah, which saw a limited release in November 2021 at the Dum Dum in Alberquerque. 


The commission was for an image of the dirigible O-220 leaving Pellucidar via the Polar Opening and was to have the Pellucidarian "thag"--or aurochs as it is known on the surface, in the picture.  I tossed in a pair of thipdars, too.

Although the initial release was only a handful of books for the Dum Dum attendees, there is to be a follow-up release later of perhaps three different variants of hardcover editions.  Painting by Chris L Adams, Photos (C) Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

From William L. Hahn's Tales of the Lands . . . The North Mark

Author William L Hahn is a man of many talents.  In addition to being one of the smoothest, most literate authors I've read, he is also, as it turns out, an extremely talented narrator and editor.

Will has aided yours truly tremendously with his detailed editing and pinpointed questioning while editing my yarns, and in return I offered to paint a fantasy map for him.  Will had created digital maps using Campaign Cartographer but suffered some file losses, leaving him with only very low-resolution exports which, with his permission, I'll add for perspective.  The resolution on North Mark was so low that I had to rely on Will to translate the fuzzy words for me.  The labels were created using GIMP.

Comparison of original maps to the new North Mark map
A comparison of Will Hahn's original North Mark map to the newly painted map

Based on  Christopher Rush's - The Black Lotus from Magic: The Gathering

This is the second one of these I've painted.  The fella I painted the first one for liked it and wanted to hang it in his store.  My wife wanted the first one, so I agreed to paint him another.  I didn't wish them to be identical, so I changed this one just a bit.  The first attempt will be found below.  This was done in oils on an 11x14 canvas board.

My version of the Magic the Gathering Black Lotus

Mutant of Gamma World

A buddy wanted me to come up with an original painting referencing the "unplayable character" from Gamma World, with which I'm admittedly not familiar.  He sent me a front-on B&W image of this weird thing with this enormous snout, hands and feet switched, etc.  I rotated the critter and came up with a blasted city background and tossed in some Lovecraftian tentacles for good measure.

Gamma World mutant

The Lair

I started painting this about Aug 2019 where it became one of those projects where you are forced to stop and start on.  I hit quite a few impasses where I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go next. 


As I painted (oil on 11x14 canvas board), I also began working out a story in my head about a savage, Pleistocene-era hunter who is captured by a man from another world.  Gradually, the painting began working its way into the story which I began writing, and conversely, the story began influencing the painting. 


This painting eventually became the cover for The Hunter and the Sorcerer, Volume I in a series I'm titling Prehistoric Tales.  

The Lair
The Hunter and the Sorcerer Paperback

For author Gilbert M. Stack -- an oil painting of a monster...

When Gilbert M. Stack asked me to come up with a monster for a book cover in his new horror series, I went to work--beginning with sketches on notebook paper, naturally.

Gil's regular cover artist then blended the monster (which I provided with a transparent surrounding) onto a background to be used for Gil's latest novel, Blood, Volume 2 in his new Preternatural series. 


Check it out on Amazon!

Here are some progress images, beginning with the sketching phase and continuing through to the completed (and now framed) oil painting, which is on an 11x14 canvas board. 

Initial sketch of the monster
After tweaking the sketch quite a bit, I finally now have it on canvas.
Started painting!
The monster in a frame.

Based on  Edgar Rice Burroughs' first published book -- Tarzan of the Apes

Sometimes I get crazy ideas when I'm looking for something to paint next.   Somehow, I got the idea to paint my own version of the first hardback edition of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Consider this my homage to the 1914 1st Ed. A. C. McClurg Tarzan of the Apes, cover by artist Fred J Arting. The original dust jacket was limited to 3 or so colors, so I went a little crazy here. The Tarzan is my own design as I felt Fred's ape man to frankly be a bit anemic (sorry Fred!)  Below is a side by side comparison of the 1914 version by Arting, and the 2019 version by me. 

Tarzan of the Apes 1914
Tarzan Of The Apes
Tarzan of the Apes Framed

Based on  Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom - Tars Tarkas comes to Helium!

The idea for this painting came from my first Barsoom novel (not yet published).  In an early scene Tars Tarkas visits Helium, the city of his good friend, John Carter.

I plan to expand this piece in the future, but decided to share this small 6x9 test piece I produced. The expanded version will be on a larger canvas, and will include more of the city, the piers, roads in the valley, a rifle and bed roll for Tars.  I intend for it to be just a much deeper immersion.

Aside from the finished piece are some concepts, test canvases and early captures of the painting in-process which some might find of interest.

Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium
Tars Tarkas comes to Helium

Based on   Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jungle Tales of Tarzan - Tarzan Rescues the Moon

I was asked to do a piece for a small-batch fanzine based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jungle Tales of Tarzan, which turned 100 in 2019. In Tarzan Rescues the Moon, the apes fear that Goro the Moon is being devoured by Numa of the sky -- Numa being the ape word for lion. The story then details how Tarzan is fetched to save Goro from his fate--which is a lunar eclipse.


This is an oil piece, done on an 11x14 gesso board. I find it vivid, and hope some will enjoy seeing it. I paint in a Bob Ross style (watching Bob is what inspired me to paint in the first place) and some may recognize in this piece some of the techniques Bob employed.

The black and white image was created playing with Snapseed and GIMP.  It looked retro so I couldn't resist fabricating a faux edition of Jungle Tales of Tarzan.

The B&W image of this painting was never used in the fanzine, but it was used in Gary Buckingham's new Tarzan tale, Untamed Frontiers, authorized by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc.  Copies of this paperback (limited to 350 copies) may be obtained by emailing Gary at gbucking2@yahoo.comPrice is $25 shipped for US domestic mail.

<Note: Untamed Frontiers is now available from Bud Art Books!  Click the link to visit the site.>

TarzanRescuestheMoonFantasy Cover.png

Based on  Christopher Rush's - The Black Lotus from Magic: The Gathering

Sometimes pure serendipity leads me to my next painting.  In this case, I met a fella at a flea market who wished to "source" local artists and asked if I could paint this card -- The Black Lotus -- as a test.  Below is my interpretation.  This was done in oils on an 11x14 canvas board.


Based on  the map sketch by Gilbert M. Stack - my rendition of his Winterhaven

As with the Jeweled Hills map I painted for Gil Stack awhile back, during the course of this 3+ month-long project, I converted Gil's hand-sketched map to an oil painting, and then to a digital rendering. 


Once it was in the digital world, I split this huge beast into an East and West; it was far too wide to display well in eReaders at its finished width.  I split the map at 60% from each direction, leaving an overlap to thereby give Gil's readers recognizable, common points to orient themselves when flipping from east to west (swipe left, swipe right!).

These new maps will be inserted in Gil's forthcoming series, Winterhaven, which has a February 7th release date on Amazon.

Winterhaven Fantasy Map
Winterhaven Fantasy Map
Winterhaven Fantasy Map

Gil's original sketch.  I know -- I need to work on my homie's digital skills.  I'll get him there.  But for a truly effective comparison, I felt it incumbent I begin with the same point at which I began - Gil's untouched sketch.

Continuing -- I give you Gil's sketch after I quickly colorized it, and redefined his labels for clarity.  On the original scan, these didn't show well.  One immediately notices a huge concentration of cities.  I already know I'm in for a challenge...

And finally, the 16x20 canvas after it was completed.  It's one crazy landscape.  I was tempted to ask Gil if I could toss in a glacier and a volcano for good measure.

Based on  H. P. Lovecraft's - The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

After giving a good friend my Night-Gaunts over Kadath painting, I decided to do another one, hopefully to keep this time.  This is Night-Gaunts over Kadath II.  I didn't want it to look identical to the first version, so I changed it up a bit - but is otherwise the same theme I originally conceived - a horde of night-gaunts flashing downward out of a crazy, black sky over a baren, jagged, icy mountain.   I'm particularly happy with the glacier  in this one!  The mountains have improved a bit in my estimation, but still bear lots of practice.

Night-Gaunts over Kadath II by Chris L Adams

Based on  the map sketch by Gilbert M. Stack - Map of the Jeweled Cities

For this project, I converted Gil's hand-sketched map to an oil painting, and finally to a digital rendering where all those cool little details are added (using GIMP) that make a map look like a map, complete with the obligatory ship, sea monsters and compass - they're all there.

Gil had asked how he might improve his sketch whereat I said I'd do the topography as an oil painting if it were me.  It was quite a learning experience, but we are both pleased with the final results.  This map will be inserted in Gil's subsequent volumes in his excellent Legionnaire Series.

One interesting note: I was in my Bob Ross painting class the other night and showed Bobby, my instructor, a photo of the painted map.  Bobby said: "That's good."  Then he paused and stared a moment and added: "How'd you do that?"

The Jeweled Hills by Chris L Adams

Based on  H. P. Lovecraft's - The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

This piece depicts a scene from one of HPL's awesome dream novels.  I called this one Night-Gaunts over Kadath.  I'm still learning how to do snow and ice on mountains, so it's far from perfect  Still, I like it.  But then, so did a friend of mine.  In fact, he liked it so much I gave it to him.  Like the Face, this  painting now hangs in the home of a friend.

Night-Gaunts over Kadath by Chris L Adams

PS.  I really enjoy Dream-Quest--so much so that I am planning yet another visit to Kadath with a painting I intend calling The God on Ngranek.  Ngranek is the volcano on the Isle of Oriab that lies two days ride by zebra from the coast.  If I pull it off successfully, expect a bright compilation of sunset reflecting from off  the distant sea and the carved features of a god, while streams of lava flow from vertiginous heights into the rivers of liquid stone below.  It should be striking.

Based on  A. Merritt's - The Face in the Abyss

This rendition of A. Merritt's The Face in the Abyss references Ned Dameron's excellent Donald M. Grant cover for the face. The abyss part was fun - I just let my imagination run wild, creating chasms and cavern walls, replete with layers of stony ceiling and stalactites. The medium used was oils on an 11x14 canvas board.  This piece was actually 'commissioned' by a good friend of mine -- it hangs in his home.  He's a Merritt fanatic, and Face is his favorite novel by the famous fantasist.

Face in the Abyss by Chris L Adams
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