What gives you your sense of wonder, when your momentum is stolen by your surroundings?
Momentum | digital painting, December 3, 2014
Prints available here
Wednesday was my 31st birthday, and I also finished and released this new personal painting.
The development of the piece was a bit fuzzy and half-baked (like most of my personal paintings), and started with an emotion and a vague composition and color scheme. A feeling of hope as a jewel set into a wall of stagnation. This is a page from someone else's story, as interpreted through my eyes, but one that I closely relate to, having experienced similar feelings. Like my environment was slowly killing me, and if I didn't have my creativity I would die, or at least go mad.
Subject vs. environment has been a running theme in my work for years, and something I haven't gotten as much of an opportunity to explore in my commercial work. In older personal pieces like East End of the Water Chamber (2009), Escapism (2009), and Beautiful Grim (2010), there's a character featured in some kind of hostile or dilapidated setting, either remaining strong despite it, or succumbing to it, depending on what I was going through at the time.
My original idea was a figure placed among large stone monuments of some kind, frozen in time. I didn't know they were going to be horses, but horses were the first thing I tried, and it worked, mostly. I started with several more horses, going in different directions, because I thought that would make a good representation of arrested movement, but instead I got a composition that spiraled directly into a giant horse butt. Not exactly what I was going for. So I kept the top three horses which were galloping in the same direction, and surrounded them with rocks and rubble, and that felt much more like the arrested movement I was going for. The metaphoric steeds were headed swiftly in a direction and halted. Perfect.
A quick note for the groups of students I've talked to recently: When I said don't be afraid to edit something that's not working, that's exactly what I meant!
"Momentum" figure detail.
The finish on this piece is one of the tightest I've done recently, and to date. You can still see the digital brushstrokes when you get up close, but there are more of them per sq inch. I used some textures over the whole image to add sharp grit to the rocks and debris. The figure was painted in a separate file first at 2x resolution. High detail has been coming up a ton recently while discussing art with other people, so the thought of doing something where more forms are realized and fewer things are suggested by fat brush strokes felt natural. I was transported back to my teenage years when I enjoyed doing detailed drawings of ruins in which you could see every leaf and crack in the stone... and apparently busted stones in the foreground, I swear that wasn't even intentional.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this image. It's been very well received so far, and I think it's a nice send-off to a big year. For the first time ever, I'm proud to show off my work this year and say "this is who I am as an artist," and this new piece has got me more excited for next year.