Starting February 2014 this blog will be out of action.

But DO NOT DESPAIR. We've just moved, and you can still find the same riveting and informative posts that you have come to expect on our new blog:

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Gryphon Hunters on GalleryGerard.com

The final high-res of The Gryphon Hunters is finished!  
Check it out on our new blog at:

I won't be updating this blog for much longer. In the future all of my posts will be on Gallerygerard.com. I will also continue to contribute posts on Muddycolors as well. 

However, while I won't be posting here, I will be leaving this blog up for as long as Google will let me. We had some good times here and I'd hate to just take it all down. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fantastic Naturalist Paintings, and The Hobbit Part 8: The Desolation of Tolkien! I mean, Smaug

I think a good fantasy story, (and I mean fantasy as distinct from science fiction or any other category of fiction) should make us want to look at our actual world from a new perspective. While a poor fantasy story will make us bored with, and disinterested in, our actual world. 

There are other elements necessary to good fantasy stories of course, but I feel like this is an integral one.  Good fantasy, wether it is writing, film, artwork, a game, or whatever, should make us want to explore and become more curious about the world we live in.

While the second Hobbit film disappointed me as a Tolkien story, I really enjoyed it as a fantasy story. 

The film, with its amazing landscapes and powerful vistas, made me want to get out and explore the world. The treks over mountains made me want to go backpacking. The barrel-riding scenes made me want to go kayaking. Smaug's lair made me want to hop some fences and do some urban exploring in that old abandoned chemical plant down the highway. 
It reminded me that there are still wonders to explore. (Okay, maybe the chemical plant one isn’t the best idea. But you get what I’m saying right?)

This same idea applies to representational art for me as well.  
There is a great deal of naturalist art, which borders on the fantastic. And it has much the same effect on me.  

Thomas Moran and Albert Beirstadt’s work, while being that of naturalists recording the world around them, also has elements of the fantastic in them. The images are transportive, and they capture something beyond that of photography, something sublime, a momentary glimpse into eternity. 

Their paintings are scenes born in the American wilderness, but they are often an amalgamation of different places and times of day, combined together to capture the essence of a place. They give a sense of the wonder and grandeur found outside our own fences. 

Caspar David Friedrich’s gorgeous and haunting chapel scenes stretch even further. They instill a desire to visit ruins and learn about the people who made them and why their works have fallen.  But Friedrich’s visions take it a step further, somehow making us also consider our own life’s eventual twilight. 

Like the Hobbit film, these naturalist painters put in me a desire to escape my safe, suburban life for a while and see what is out there in the wilderness over the hills.  And I think that is pretty great. 


NEWS! : Annie and I have launched a new website, blog and gallery. Check it out at:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gryphon Hunting: The Painting

A Stone Cold 4'x6' Underpainting!  

Since this is a night scene I am starting out with colder colors, but I'm still working monochrome.  Usually I work in monochromatic browns because they are so friendly to work over top of. 
Blues, and colder tones in general, can get tricky for me.  But for certain circumstances I really need to start out with cold or at least grey tones.  Otherwise I am just going to spend too long working backwards to get where I want to go. 

And yes, that is a fireplace behind the painting.  The old studio was too small for this one so we had to take the show to the living room. 

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And if those two lazy freeloading cats of mine want to lay in front of a nice, warm fire then they will just have to go get jobs like the rest of us and maybe then they can buy their own fireplace. 
And maybe then they could contribute to society for once in their miserable lives.  

This is me in front of a nice, warm fire.  CONTRIBUTING.  

The colors I am using here are mostly warms, which by contrast helps to pull the figures out from the background. It is one of my favorite parts of using a colder palette.

The Gryphon. 

Ever see that BBC Natural World documentary on Harpy Eagles? They are crazy looking animals and I love them.

However, much as I love them, I need to push the gryphon's value intensity back some here.  He is a major part of the story, but I kind of want him to be more in the shadows. So that it makes more sense that the dwarves didn't see him when they walked in.

These are the times when I miss all my digital tricks...

It is about 90% finished. I will have a really nice photo of the final version next time!