Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glistening Oil

I traditionally have gotten a lot of dark work from the fine folks at Magic.  It's not a complaint, just an observation.  I suspect that they like the darker work I've done and consequently give me more of it.  Again, not a complaint.  Despite my not being a fan of the horror genre, it's pretty clear that I've managed to carve out a little corner for myself in Magic's horror section.

In general, I take what I'm given, assignment-wise, and try not to complain (still not complaining), but what I've found is that I rather like working on these darker pieces.  I like the tense mood.  I like the palettes.  I like the opportunities for subtle expression to drive the story.  I like the contrast between large shapes and jagged, pointy small ones.  There's a lot of fun in there.

See, I told you I wasn't complaining.

Despite the joy I have in painting some truly awful imagery, there is a downside.  These are not usually the kind of pieces people want on the walls of their home.  No matter how beautifully painted, no matter how much the palette matches their couch, the subject matter (not surprisingly) just isn't something most folk are into.  Sure, they appreciate it on one level or another — be it the technical facility, or the attachment to a beloved card in their beloved game — but at the end of the day, of the few people who buy original art, the audience for such pieces is relatively miniscule.

Hmmm....that sounds like a complaint right there.  Except that it isn't.  Strangely, I have found one or two of the folks who just so happen to be into such things.  As for the rest of the work that I'm stuck with, I actually don't mind.  Indeed, some of my best work falls under that horror heading and the fact that I've gotten to keep most of it really doesn't keep me up at night (though I do want to mention that it's still for sale).

Anyway, I'm not really sure why I'm mentioning all this except to say that the most recent Magic set, New Phyrexia, resulted in a fairly strong group of pieces in that darker genre that included the previously written about Phyrexian Hulk, Surgical Extraction, and the heretofore unnamed Etched Monstrosity.

At last I can give you the final piece of the lot.  The card is called "Glistening Oil."  The painting is oil on paper on hardboard and measures 12"x9".  I'm not sure if the painting shares the title with the card (I'm not always sure of these things), but I do think the title will contain the word "oil" in it.  And, despite it seeming so, I can assure you that the piece is not some commentary on our dependence upon fossil fuels, unless you think it's a good representation of such a thing... In which case, it is exactly that.

First the sketch followed by the finish.

©Wizards of the Coast

©Wizards of the Coast


  1. That is some awesome handling of that metal and oil. Looks great, man. Thanks for sharing the sketch along with it, always cool to see that kinda stuff.

  2. I think this is my favorite piece from that whole set man. In particular I really love the way you handled the gold spreading out across and growing out of the skull. Really killer.

    And should you ever feel like doing another art trade....

  3. Chris,

    There are countless pieces of yours I'd trade this for, but you're likely to actually sell most of them! On the other hand, should this still be around at the end of the year...


  4. That's a really interesting concept of Phyrexia, they use oil to spread the corruption, they want to consume other races and bring them into the faith, they radically embrace technology...

    Phyrexia could be a subliminal metaphor for a number of different entities on the world stage today :P


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