Duck Soup

I enjoy fantasy and science fiction. I strive to create art that is appropriate for all age groups. I also really like painting modest women in these genres. -

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Acrylic on Illustration board. 2006

Brunhilde is from Norwegian mythology. She is an Icelandic Princess and amazing warrior. While she is often depicted in art as a waif, I thought she should look as formidable as she is written.
I had no model for this painting. I painted her strictly from my head—which I’ve never done before and I’m reasonably certain will never do again.
This was the first illustration I did for my show. I worked it to a high level of detail, so much so that I felt discouraged about doing all the subsequent paintings. Then I remembered something my intern provider Daniel Horne told me: “you can do a painting and let it stand alone.”
Note: On March 13th I was notified that Brunhilde was selected for the Society of Illustrators show in New York. I am honored to be included with the Society’s show. The original painting was sent to New York on March 15th. On March 26th I was notified that I won a $1,500 award from the Society!!!

Acrylic paint is made of polymer plastic, and it dries very quickly. This property makes it nice to work with on tight deadlines (your painting will be dry literally within ten minutes of finishing the final brushstroke). However, it also carries with it the huge disadvantage of drying before it can be blended which, for me, makes it much more time-consuming to work with than oils. This property also contributes to the tendency of “drawing” with the paint as opposed to pushing the paint medium around the surface.
I used a lot of browns in this painting as homage to Arthur Rackham, a genius illustrator who illustrated Wagner’s The Ring (a story in which Brunhilde is a main character).

Subversive Cult of the Vampire Squid

Oil on masonite. 2005. Revised 2007.

This is the first fantasy-themed painting I ever completed.
When my wife and I lived in California I occasionally heard of Latter-day Saints referred to as a “cult.” I wondered what people had in their heads when they said this, and this image is what popped into my mind…a magic-user who has enchanted a bunch of fish that could fly through the air.
The model for this was our cashier at Macey’s grocery store in Provo. So, the logical deduction is: if you need a model for a painting then go to Macey’s.
The fish, well, I’ll probably just have to blame James Christensen for those…
The first version of this painting was published as the cover to the BYU fantasy/science fiction magazine Leading Edge in October of 2005. At the time I painted it I didn’t yet know technically how to accomplish the appearance I was going for. I was using brushes that were way too big for this kind of detail, and the magic-user looked all wrong. So I did what any artist would do—I faked it, and finished it anyway.
Working for the Leading Edge has been a great experience. If you’re a BYU student and like sci-fi fantasy writing and/or art I highly recommend working for them. You won’t get rich, but the experience is like gold in your hands.
Oh, and last year I learned in one of my religion classes that the L.D.S. religion does in fact match the definition of a “cult.” Go figure.

During my internship with fantasy artist Daniel R. Horne in New Jersey I learned to use watercolor brushes when working with oil paints. The internship was a wonderful experience, and was in part funded by the Oscarson Discovery Grant.
The painting is mostly design driven. I was lucky enough to run into Gregory Manchess in San Diego when I had done the preliminary study, and he advised me on how to approach the final. Mostly, I really had to watch the relationships of my values. Rather than looking to nature I decided to try “emotional” coloring, where I painted the way I felt about the design rather than try to ground it in reality.

The Porcelain Samurai

Oil on canvas panel. 2007

This character was created using a fellow student in visual arts (animation) as a model. She came to school dressed up like this. I can’t remember if it was Thanksgiving or Halloween… Anyway, I liked the graphic nature of the elements of value and limited color. I think her mask gives a creepy element to her character—not being able to see any emotion except the painted tear running down her mask.
After I finished this painting I realized how heavily inspired it was by the cartoon “Samurai Jack.” I seriously love that cartoon. There was this one episode that was so intense and action-packed, and Samurai Jack’s friend gets killed! I can scarcely believe they showed it on Cartoon Network, but it was so amazingly storyboarded and animated.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I know the costume is not 100% accurate, and that the katana is “upside-down.”

I worked very quickly on this painting. It’s a direct approach where the desired effect is achieved with the first application of paint, as opposed to layering the canvas with paint and the final painting being achieved at the end. I did the entire painting in two sittings over the course of fourteen hours.
After I hung my show my wife, Christy, commented on how all of my models were Caucasian. So, in the future I'll have more diversity.

Detail of "Summoning Kaia"

Summoning Kaia

Oil on masonite. 2007

With the topic of my show featuring “lack of restraint in depiction of strength,” I decided to create a monumental female figure (at 22"x30" this is the largest painting I've ever done). In the process this painting emerged, and became the thesis for my show.
In Brad Holland’s class I chose to repaint the cover for the novel Destroyer Goddess by Laura Resnick. In the book a sorceress had the ability to open the earth and summon forth lava. There was also an evil white dragon that was killed, chopped up into six pieces and thrown into the ocean. Later six dragons emerged out of the ocean. Great ideas, but in the end I just wanted to paint a priestess summoning a dragon. Since I like green dragons best and am my own Art Director, I made a departure from the original idea in order to have some fun!
The model was a fellow patron at Provo Art & Frame. She’s a professional model and is great to work with. She has since modeled for an upcoming painting of an Egyptian queen. Also, two of her daughters appear in the mermaid painting "Low Tide."

I didn’t do a preliminary study or even an under drawing…I wanted to convey energy in this painting, so I applied the paint thickly (impasto) and decisively, building the image as I painted. It’s kind of scary to work this way because it feels like at any moment the painting may spiral out of control and plummet into oblivion, and unfortunately that happens a lot.

Joan of Arc, 1434

Oil on canvas panel. 2007

A justice figure, this is Joan a couple years after entering the Pearly White Gates. She’s no longer Saint Joan, but instead a dark-robed angel. She holds a book of law and knows it well. She treasures the permanency of it. Her sword represents justice and the fate awaiting those who falsely tried and burned her at the stake.
Joan of Arc is a character I’ve painted three times now, and I’m sure I’m not done yet. This is the first time I have painted her without armor.
The model who posed for this is a very talented portrait artist, Molly Williams. I must say it is somewhat intimidating to paint a portrait of a portrait artist!

I shot reference using a diffused North (cool) light to eliminate any strong form and cast shadows. I also obtained as many props as pertinent, and was therefore able to see the effects of the same light source on all the objects simultaneously.