I’m going off in a bit of a new direction with this one in that I’m focusing less on surface, more on imagery, and more on realistic rendering. This was a struggle, partly because in the midst of it I decided to do a new series using a different approach, and temporarily abandoned this piece, then took it up again when I convinced myself it would work well as part of the series. The series in question is “Aliens and Spaceships”, and this image seemed like a good one to begin with because it’s unconventional, as in the alien isn’t derivative, in which case the viewer might suspect that what would come next couldn’t be predicted. I can’t predict it. Changing approaches midstream adds complications. For the series I intend to start from thumbnail sketches, line drawings, then establish the values in B&W, and then go nto color. But this one I started as a “speed painting” working directly in color. Yeah, it’s anything but a speed painting now.
And a little further on it looked like this:
In fact, it’s one of my more typical ways of working, which is just to make marks, look at them, and wait for imagery to emerge, then embellish it, and so on. It’s rather Surrealistic, and a good way to get away from preconceived ideas. I think it works very well when the execution is not intended to be particularly realistic, as in my “Eyeing the Ironess” below.
“Separation” tested my ability at lighting, shading, perspective, modeling, and all the traditional drawing/painting skills. Part of my reason for doing the “Aliens and Spaceship” series is to hone those essential skills. The other big reason is to do work that might reach a broader audience. There’s much more, but I’ll save that for another time.
There are some things I’d want people to notice about the image, and I find when I point them out people really do appreciate the image in question more. First off the eye.
The eye is set off from the head a little, and has two rows of protuberances somewhere between eyelashes and arms of starfish. And then the head is split in half.
That was a difficult effect to achieve, and make it at all believable. How to do the back-side of that weird eye? This splitting of the head, and half drifting off is a direct reference to a much earlier digital painting, “Death, Dissolution, & the Void”, below. More accurately, it refers to what the earlier image refers to.
The alien is awestruck, in a psychedelic/spiritual way. Just thought I’d point that out.
There are a lot of other little details to immerse oneself in, but I’ll let you discover them on your own. Perhaps my primary artistic goal is to create new images for the collective imagination, and I think I’ve done that here, though others may beg to differ.
Up close you can see it wasn’t done with 3D software, but roughly drawn. Only when you zoom out does it become much more realistic.
What’s next in the series?
I may work with this sketch I did a few years ago. The aliens have tubes coming out of the tops of their heads, which I rather like. And I like the curious expression of the alien in front. Yes, I think I can work with this. Stay tuned.
Yup, aliens and spaceships are nothing new for me. One of my favorite themes since I was a kid.
Oh, and, I suppose a more important factor here is not so much trying to appeal to the fine art audience, where I haven’t made any inroads. Think I’ll just make some bad-ass, eerie aliens according to my own sensibility. I have an idea of going outside of the “fine art” or “contemporary art” paradigm(s). I’ll come back to those later.
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