Commission: Adventuring Party at Leisure

Completed version of this commissioned painting of a D&D party: first the quick A4 sketch:

And then the final painted version: I’m told the adventurers are  pleased with it. The Innkeeper on the right is based on the GM (Game Master), who commissioned the painting and was lovely to work with. As you may have guessed, the lighting and composition was inspired by Caravaggio’s wonderful painting, The Calling of St Matthew: I thought I might as well aim high.   But this little painting is just A3 in size, whereas Caravaggio’s original is about three meters square!

With commissioned paintings, I would usually discuss ideas with you, then email you a photo of a rough sketch, then later, email a small first-draft incomplete painted version for discussion, and then finally a completed high resolution image.

I am open to making paintings that are only supplied digitally, if you want art to print out yourself and don’t want a physical copy.  However, in this case, the person who commissioned the painting did want the original as well as the photo, so it was sent out to them by post.

Demilich, Beholder : Fun with D&D Monsters!

Upcycled Demilich! This round board came to The Shop on the Borderlands as the base for a rather tired bunch of very old miniature figures.

The figures were removed & stripped of their old paint, and I have made this painting on the base. I kept the bumpy texture, which has interacted interestingly with my palette knife, and I’ve used a semitransparent gold paint to pick out details and add the ghosts of adventurers trapped by dark enchantments. The ghosts change in visibility as the light moves. Quite pleased with the flame-ruby eyes.

And here’s another famous D&D monster: a Beholder, with dagger-teeth and many eyes. I painted this because I wanted to practice painting flamelit flesh tones, and was tired of painting human figures. I’m particularly pleased with the ring on the adventurer’s finger.

Three mini originals…

These tiny canvases are just 15cm square, and were inspired by the thought of spring approaching, and by the Tolkien quotation: “Light from the shadows shall spring” which always seems particularly appropriate at this time of year when I walk along in the shadow of the woods, turn a corner and see daffodils, a blackthorn in flower, or a little stream bubbling along in a sudden sun-beam.   

A few pets…

I need to put a featured image on this post,  and I think  this is the  best of the three, BUT please bear in mind that it’s absolutely tiny: small-postcard size, so it may look a bit iffy if you are seeing it emblazoned across a screen much wider than the original 4 x 6 inches. But of course they all look the same size once they are photographed!

This one is an A4 painting, so a bit larger, and drawn from life: Theo harehound having an evening nap.
Theo Harehound watercolour
Finally! Here is another tiny postcard, this time a picture of our white cat, Nenya. White Cat Watercolour

A4 acrylic portrait of an Elven Lady

I think this is another Silmarillion character: one of Mahtan’s sisters, Nerdanel’s aunts.  She has a number of names, but most people call her Sarezelle, for her love of green stones.   She is one of the elves who sometime takes the things made by the friends of Aule to market in Tirion, but she’s more of a thinker than a maker herself.

Three illustrations for a poem

My poet friend Pete Clark sent me his tragic fantasy poem The Well, wondering if I might feel inspired to make some art for it.  Did I ever!  It’s got some fabulous vivid imagery and so I dived into making these three watercolours with enthusiasm.  I think the one above is probably my favorite, but all three were a lot of fun to make.

We had some discussion about what the setting should be like.  I felt that the  setting seemed Eastern Mediterranean, but the contrast of shining blue streams in a valley with red rock mountains reminded me of photos I’d seen of the Little Colorado River.  This was what I ended up with:

And then this painting of the two protagonists of the poem is of course inspired partially by the ancient Roman statue known as the Dying Gaul (a copy of a lost Greek original).

Do go to Pete’s site to read the entire poem to see the context.  The Well.

Good Omens & Queen’s Thief portraits.

I wanted to practice some portraits, so here is an A4 portrait of Crowley, played by David Tennant, in Good Omens.  I’ve loved the book of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for many years, and it was a delight to see it brought so faithfully to life on the screen.  Below, Michael Sheen as Aziraphale.   These two are both acrylic paintings.

Another much-beloved book – well, series of books, really, is Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series (I’m eagerly looking forward to the last book!)  So here we have Helen, Queen of Eddis, with her short curly hair, dark skin and broken nose, set against the mountains of Eddis.  Irene, Queen of Attolia, with her pale sad beauty, and her land rich with grapes and grain, and in the middle, the Queen’s Thief himself, Gen (Eugenides) who will marry Irene and become Attolis, the King of Attolia.

These are inktense pencil watercolours, apart from Helen’s face, which I made a horrible mess of on the first attempt and had to re-paint over the top using acrylic paint.

Finrod in Nargothrond

Finrod from the Silmarillion is one of my favorite Tolkien characters, and I like the idea that his home in the cave-city of Nargothrond was filled with complex patterns and beautiful things.  This is an A4 painting, and I based it loosely on a photo of the young David Bowie.

Tamar Valley Mine in the Snow

I painted this from a photo that I took in January 2019 – the Tamar Valley in Cornwall where I live doesn’t get a huge amount of snow, so when it does, everything stops because the roads are icy!   So I walked with my dog up to the top of Hingston Down to take photos of the mine in the snow.

It was a rather gloomy day, so I’ve adjusted the lighting here to make the brick warmer and more interesting, and added an old shovel.

Lurcher in Frost, Harehound in the Woods

My saluki x Rosie Roo on a frosty Christmas day morning.  Above is version 2, where I have adjusted her face a little, made some small lighting amends, and taken a new photograph.  It’s surprising the difference that makes.

My original idea of a dog glowing with the winter light behind her, which I think looks perhaps a little flat by comparison (and definitely has the wrong eyes!)

And here is a smaller A4 painting of my Greek Harehound pup, Theo.  He’s seven months old and surprisingly chill: he likes to watch the world going past as well as haring around like a loon.   I didn’t like the background of the photo this was taken from, so I’ve added a woodland scene.

Cirdan Facing the Storm

Here is Tolkien’s Cirdan the Shipwright, looking out across a wild sea into the uttermost West. Cirdan was eager to travel to Valinor; when the Teleri went without him, he wanted to sail after them, but was told to wait. He built ships for other people till the last ship sailed from Mithlond.

I made this acrylic painting after watching a demonstration by Emma Carter Bromfield at a Tavistock Group of Artists meeting this week.