Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Work: Ichor Wellspring

©Wizards of the Coast

Ichor Wellspring, oil on illustration board, roughly 9"x7".

This piece depicts the black phyrexian ichor bubbling up on the plains of Mirrodin.  Or something.

Some notes about this piece:

The first thing you may notice is that this is on illustration board.  The reason for this is that I just didn't feel that the image called for a particularly large painting.  As it was going to be smaller, I didn't need the toughness of the hardboard or masonite.  After all, smaller work tends not to warp as severely.  So, I ended up using some of the illustration board that I had left over instead.  Worked out nicely.

This is one of those pieces where I basically painted exactly what was in the description.  Don't get me wrong, I tried to gussy it up some.  I tried to make the ichor a little more interesting.  Maybe give it some personality.  I handed in a sketch with the ichor forming these domes with finger-like projections.  It was rejected.  They really just wanted bubbling ichor.  So, back to the drawing board I went and this is what they approved.

The rippled surface was all mine.  I wanted it to be a little bit more interesting than featureless black bubbles.  Looking at it now, it's clear that the movie Sphere was somewhere in the back of my head, though I don't think I've seen that movie since it first came out.

The choice of the yellow/white and blue suns showing with the red sun indicated in reflection were my decisions, as well.  Given the simple, straightforward subject matter I wanted to challenge myself and I did so with color.  One of the more difficult color shifts for me has always been yellow to blue, and vice versa.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to really go for it and see what I could manage.

At the end of the day, I think the color worked out fine, and the hardest part of the piece turned out to be the hexagonal grid.  In the few areas it was less difficult, it still proved to be obscenely time consuming.  Personally, I wouldn't recommend it.

Finally, this and the other piece I worked up at the same time (which I can't yet show you), were the last two pieces I ever painted using Liquin as my chosen medium.  While it did it's job for the many years I used it, I had become a little irritated with how gummy it gets over the course of a day's painting.  I ran out of the stuff after these two pieces, and decided to try something different altogether.  I mixed my own medium which is based on that of other painters I know.  It consists of one part linseed oil, on part Turpenoid, and a couple drops of cobalt dryer.  Needless to say, I liked it and I continue to use this new medium.

So, there it is.  A tiny Magic painting of goo.


  1. Dang, never would have guessed it was so small. I really like the sense of isolation, like it's happening where no one will know.

  2. Yup! Tiny. I figured that if anyone wanted to buy a painting of black goo, that they likely wouldn't want a really large painting of black goo.

    Also, I was pressed for time and needed to cover a lot of surface area quickly.

    Thanks for the compliment, though. I think isolation is one of my strong suits. It's certainly an element that keeps popping up in my commissions, anyway.


  3. I agree with Chris. It has the feeling of a quiet, empty plain, where all you hear is the gurgling sound of the bubble.

    I think the texture on the bubble was a good choice. It gives it the feeling of immense size that a smooth, glassy surface wouldn't have. I also love the fact that there are three suns in the picture too.


I welcome all comments, questions, and discussion so long as you keep it civil.