So, the piece was born as a quick sketch I knocked out last October. I wanted to do something that was different from my usual work and I was leaning toward Stephen King's Dark Tower series as inspiration. I kept thinking of the young Roland, burdened with more knowledge about the workings of his world than a boy his age should have to bear. I also thought about what he was doomed to become: a bringer of death. I chose to tie these two ideas together using a halo. But not the variety of halos that we're used to today — that ring of gold floating atop a person's head like a crown. No, I was thinking more along the lines of how halos were often depicted in medieval altarpieces and paintings — the more graphic, less dimensional circle of gold lief behind a person's head.
But gold lief seemed all wrong to me. If Roland had such a halo, I think it would certainly be black. And so, with his head tilted back, his preacher's hat became that halo. The sketches of that image looked like this:
The smaller version was the initial one. I saw the composition as I wanted to present it pretty immediately. The larger version was an attempt to flesh out a few things, but it became pretty clear that the smaller one was really all I needed. Anyway, I projected the smaller sketch onto a stretched canvas that I had laying around, shot my reference, and started to paint.
Just a quick note before moving on. While I did project the sketch, I didn't duplicate it lovingly or accurately. Anytime I transfer a sketch or drawing, I do so primarily for placement only. It's an attempt to keep consistent the composition of the piece from sketch to finish. Details are going to change — they always do — but the placement of the larger shapes is always important to me. Other folks have different feelings on the matter, with some finding the projection or transferring of a sketch to be either extremely necessary or wholly evil. Given that I generally am using paint to rewrite the wrongs of a given sketch to begin with, I tend not to worry about such things.
Anyway, I painted furiously and finished the piece in time to show it at IlluxCon. But, after the show, I saw a photograph of my booth and immediately I began to see a ton of problems. The curious thing about this is that I'd used a lot of tricks when putting the piece together. I did the mirror trick and looked at it backwards. I'd turned it upside-down. I'd even taken photos of it in process (which I can't find now and suspect were erased accidentally). These various things somehow didn't clue me into the issues, which were mostly proportion related. It's possible, however, that I saw them all along, but a portion of my brain kept them compartmentalized in order to get the piece done in time for IlluxCon. I honestly don't know.
Long story short, I didn't ever get a good image of the piece in that state. After IlluxCon, I packed the piece up and we moved. In preparation for Spectrum Live, however, I dragged it back out and made an attempt to knock it back into shape. Last week, I finally got a decent scan, put the piece on my website, and put it up at the show. And here it is now: