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 latter, 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.>
For author Gilbert M. Stack -- an oil painting of a monster...
When fellow author and pen-pal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 turns 100 this year of 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, whom the apes worship, 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 so retro I couldn't resist fabricating a faux edition of Jungle Tales of Tarzan.
Based on Christopher Rush's - The Black Lotus from Magic: The Gathering
Sometimes it's pure serendipity that leads me to my next painting. In this case, I met a fella at a flea market who began telling me about his opening a game design business in my town this Fall. He wishes to "source" local artists if possible , and asked if I could paint this card -- The Black Lotus. I think it's a test. Below is my interpretation. I've yet to show it to him, so that will be interesting. 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.
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.
A side-by-side comparison of the western maps after the digital work had been completed.
A side-by-side comparison of the eastern maps after the digital work had been completed.
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.
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?"
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.
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(braham) 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.