Wednesday, April 9, 2014

White as Snow

No one knew what the Queen whispered in her ear before she fled into the woods with the Huntsman; but as the Princess disappeared into the trees, her hair turned from inky black to white as snow...

White as Snow
Oil on Panel
16 x 24

 This is a painting that has been on and off the easel for a few months now, getting attention between other projects. I'm happy to finally share it with some process! I started with a digital rough for this one- just playing around with shapes, value and a bit of color. I did a lot of studies of my photo reference and tried to use the photographs a lot less than usual to keep a little more movement in the piece.














Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ascend I - Small portrait

Ascend 1
Oil on Panel
6" x 6"
Here's another one of my quick, small portrait studies. I love taking a break to do these in between larger projects. It gives me a chance to experiment and relax the mind a bit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Minotaur


The Minotaur
Oil on board
16 x 20

A while ago I was invited to contribute a piece to the first volume of the Fantasy Illustration Library by Michael Publishing.This high end art book will explore mythology from all over the globe with hundreds of new works of art. Not only was I thrilled to join the ranks of over 100 terrific artists (such as Donato Giancola and Michael C. Hayes) and but it gave me the opportunity to explore a character that I've been wanting to paint for a long time: The Minotaur.

Excerpt from the book:

I’ve always been drawn to stories involving labyrinths so naturally I love the Minotaur myth. I feel empathy toward the Minotaur. I see him as an innocent suffering for the sins of his parents and the whims of the gods. His story is usually overshadowed by the hero tale of Theseus where he is the lowly monster at the center of the maze to be defeated. However, the Minotaur is half human and was raised briefly with his human family so couldn’t have been all beast when he was imprisoned in Daedalus’ Labyrinth.  I imagined him as a king over a lonely domain. His human half craved beauty and so he taught himself to carve to pass the time. Many hours were counted in spirals carved into the stone and the walls became covered in years as he made his prison beautiful.

I spent some extra time getting reference for this piece since I knew I wanted the lighting to be very atmospheric and was dealing with some uncharted territory in the anatomy and some of the architecture ideas. Getting a good model (the amazing Dennis!) and taking a quick hour to build a small maquette and light it made all the difference.


One of many pages of thumbnails
One of many photos of Dennis from the photoshoot

Clay model approx 6 inches high



Some preliminary studies to prep for drawing
Preliminary Charcoal drawing
16 x 20
Digital color study

Final

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Man with Green Eyes for Creepythread

The Man with Green Eyes


Last month I got an email from Jensine Eckwall and Peter Schmidt about a book they are putting together revolving around the internet scary story phenomenon called Creepypasta. I love scary stories and the internet-so how could I say no? The /CREEPYTHREAD book will debut at MoCCAfest 2014 along with Brooklyn Zine FestTCAF, and SPX.

After reading tons of these scary shorts, I came upon The Man with Green Eyes and knew it was the one I wanted to do. It's got elements of myth and the supernatural and the character intrigued me Most importantly,  I saw an image in my head that felt like fun to paint.  Here is my version of the story:

The Man with the Green Eyes

There is a road near the Everglades in Florida which you will only end up on when lost. There is no cell service, your radio will turn to static and your map will have mysteriously vanished.

Driving forward, you will find that you can't turn around and everything behind you is dark. You will come upon a crossroads with no signposts. In the middle there will be a man, covered in various pieces of cloth. Only his eyes are visible, which are bright green.

There are a very specific set of rules you must follow in order to survive an encounter with the Green-eyed man. In the end, you must kneel before him and offer him your loyalty. If you do this, he will close his eyes and bow in return, extending a hand to whichever path will lead you back to safety.

You can read the original story and many others here.

Check out some of the other awesome art for the book at http://creepythreadbook.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fear, Love and Art Order


Inspire
 1. Fill with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative:
2. To cause (something) to happen or be created
 from the Latin inspirare 'breathe into',

In October I hosted another month-long art challenge blog called Month of Fear with over 20 artists contributing. There was a ton of tremendous new work from everyone and I created some of my favorite work of the year as a result.

As it happened, Month of Fear coincided with an exciting contest hosted by Art Order called "Inspiration". Ok, so the truth is, it was not really a coincidence. The Art Order Inspiration challenge was actually a huge  incentive for following through with MoF. October was always my first choice for another art challenge BUT it was shaping up to be a very busy couple of  months. MoF very nearly didn't happen because I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, wanting to push myself not only to  create something for Art Order but ready for another creative work-out like Month of Love , I found myself lying awake one night thinking things over. Suddenly a bunch of challenge ideas sprung into my head.  I turned on the light, wrote them all down and got really excited. The next morning, before I could talk myself out of it, I sent out an email to my trusty Month of Love family and a few more and we were off! There is nothing like the pressure of hosting an art challenge to silence excuses.

I've combined all my challenges with their original text below. I love charcoal and have been looking for an excuse to do more with it. Each piece was done in only a day or two (mostly weekends between teaching classes all week, other art and visiting family) so beyond all else, I am very proud of myself just for pushing my finishing speed/output. I'm particularly happy with challenge 2 (Passage) which was an image I've had in my head for a while but never got right until now and number 5, (Equinophobia) which was so much fun to play with in regards to texture. But it was number 3 (House of Leaves) that pushed me through a little conceptual wall and out the other side and a very satisfying way. It was the challenge I really wanted to do the best with, because the I have such a love for the subject matter. Often as an artist, the more you are attached to a subject, the harder it is to visually do it justice. This time,  however, things seemed to line up. The resulting image is not only one of my favorites of the year but it won a place in the ArtOrder Inspiration book!  Have a look at the other winners- what an amazing line-up. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Now on to the present for a moment. I am excited to announce that due to popular demand,  Month of Love is going to run again! We now have even more amazing artists joining the line-up and this year is going to be even bigger. We liked the MoF format with the longer challenges and staggered posting system, so we're going to be adopting that for MoL.

On top of that, we have some  ideas brewing for our  art from these challenges.

So get ready- February is going to be a ride!  Follow us on twitter for updates and stay tuned! https://twitter.com/MonthofLove

Without further Ado- The Month of Fear:

Challenge 1: What Lives Under Your Bed?


Sub/Conscious
18 x 24 Charcoal
It's funny how many artists have trouble sleeping. I have rarely had that problem. I do however have a very vivid dream-life and a lot of anxiety so my sleep is too often full of activity. All the things that might keep others awake at night follow me into sleep and transform into every manner of nightmare.

Sometimes I wish I had insomnia.


Challenge 2: What is Your Recurring Nightmare?
Passage
18 x 24 Charcoal
I used to dream of flying all the time. I still do occasionally...but it's different now.When I was younger, it would be free and controlled. I would zip around, land on rooftops to watch people or sometimes even become a hero with magical powers. However, as I grew older, the dreams started to change. I had to concentrate a lot harder to fly or I wouldn't be able to control my speed and go up way too high then start falling or get stuck somewhere, having forgotten how to get started again. Then there were the wires. It would start fine- I would be flying great, ready to soar above the city and go wherever I wanted but suddenly there was a set of telephone wires in my way. I would try to go around but there were more. They were everywhere. At last, I try to go between them but I quickly get tangled up.

The worst part is when they start to electrocute me.


Challenge 3: Do an illustration for your favorite horror story.

House of Leaves
18 x 24 Charcoal
 I read House of Leaves by  Mark Z. Danielewski a few years ago and it is not only one of the best "horror" stories I have ever read, it is one of the best books I have ever read. I have always been drawn to labyrinths and everything about this book is a labyrinth.

It's very difficult book to describe. There are multiple narrators, each with individual stories, who peel back layers of a core story: a family moves into a house where things immediately start going strange. Its clear this more than just a house. A black closet appears out of nowhere and it is discovered that the house measures larger from inside than out.  Then a hallway appears that eventually leads to a massive underground labyrinth. Characters attempt to explore and then things get really interesting for not only the family, but each narrator that in turn attempts to uncover the truth.

 But all this isn't really just a book... It's more like a three dimensional work of interactive art. The way the book is written is very unconventional. The words on the page are often rearranged to reflect something happening in the story. Sometimes it's the madness of a character. Sometimes it's the speed in which you follow someone down miles of stairs. Sometimes it's the passage of time. It's often hard to follow but when you finally solve the puzzle of how to read a passage, it is that much more intimate and rewarding a story.



 
Challenge 4: What Terrified You as a Child


Run
18 x 24 Charcoal
Growing up, nearly every place I lived in had multiple floors and several of them required me to climb or descend stairs in order to get to and from my room either on a second floor or a basement. Even my ancient grade school had several floors with trembling creaking wooden stairs that I had to use to get to the bathrooms next to the creepy boiler room. While the worst stairs were always any basement stairs (obviously), pretty much any stairs seemed to trigger every scary story I had ever heard up to that point. Going down them was like a slow decent into inevitable horror- I knew something was going to be waiting down at the bottom.  (Especially when my bedroom was in the basement and I would go to bed after watching Unsolved Mysteries. ) Going up stairs, I was always being chased. Even now I occasionally have to feed the compulsion to run up stairs instead of walking.

Challenge 5: Pick a Phobia and Illustrate it:


Equinophobia
 There are so many interesting phobias out there. Fear of Gravity (Barophobia), Fear of Beautiful Women (Caligynephobia.)... More obscure and one could argue more interesting than the Fear of Horses. But the more I thought about it, the more I just couldn't get the  image of horses out of my head. Between Henri Fuseli's Nightmare horse and the familiar Carousel Horse (why do they always look like they're terrified and screaming?), this one needed to get exorcised. A bit rushed due to a very busy week but I think it does the job nonetheless.

Challenge 6: Illustrate a Halloween memory or write your own scary story to illustrate.



The Face in the Window
18 x 24 Charcoal
The Face in The Window
(A quick Halloween Story and Illustration by Kristina Carroll)


 "Three in the morn. The soul’s midnight. The tide goes out, the soul ebbs. "
-Ray Bradbury from Something Wicked This Way Comes

She lay in bed staring at the ceiling. She could probably move if she wanted to.  She tried to tell herself it was only that she was afraid to wake her husband, not that there was a larger dread lurking at the edge of her vision.  A growing certainty should she turn her head toward the window, there would be something there and the moment she saw it,  acknowledged its existence,  was the moment it would be free to attack.

She turned her head toward the window next to the bed.

A face stared back at her from outside.

She woke up with a start. It was 3am. Again. 

The woman stared at the ceiling for a few minutes but knowing she wouldn’t get anymore sleep that night, rolled out of bed and walked to the living room. She sat on the couch, glanced at her desk in the corner, with its piles of hand-written outline notes and a few chapters stacked around it on the floor. She turned on the TV and sighed. 

The dream had started a few months ago. It was always the same: paralysis, fear, look, face in the window, wake, 3am. It didn’t matter how many times it happened, it was always new in the dream. It was always the same fresh terror. 

The worst part is that it was happening with more and more frequency.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Holiday Card

I decided to do a little experimenting with my holiday card this year. I've been seeing so many artists I love doing neat things with adding metallic leaf to their work that I had to give it a try. I also wanted to see what would happen if I started with a watercolor under-painting and then do a little work with oil on top. (partly for speed and partly to play with texture/translucence) There was a lot about this experiment that I really liked and I can't wait to do it a little more. It's a difficult effect to reproduce (I tried to replicate it somewhat with an animation at the bottom) but I love the quality of the original.

pencil drawing

watercolor layer

Bouquet 1
watercolor, oil and silver-leaf on paper.







Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blue Assassin

Blue Assassin
6 x 6
oil on panel 
Playing with paint! Another quick character study I liked.