Monday, May 19, 2014

MicroVisions Part 3

With the first and second MicroVisions pieces under my belt, I finally got to concentrate on the third and final painting. Like the second, I began it with some sort of idea. This idea, however, was a bit larger than the piece I would be painting. Still, I figured that this was a chance to put together a study or proof of concept.

Once again, I returned to the well of small birds. But rather than pair a small bird with a fantasy trope, I decided to set this little bird on fire. Not a horrifying, consumptive fire, mind you, but a fire emanating from within. So, kind of a miniature phoenix...but not really.

Anyway, I started with a palette of burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, titanium white, and payne's gray. I worked the piece up to a certain point and suddenly began to question whether or not I was happy with the color scheme. It was feeling a little monochromatic. So, I took a quick photo of it, brought it into Photoshop and created two alternatives for myself. I then showed the two options to my wife for her input.

Amy chose the more colorful option, and I'm happy she did. Though the piece didn't end up nearly as saturated, I think adding the cooler colors was the right way to go.

Since being asked in February to participate in MicroVisions, my plan was always to paint multiple pieces and let the organizers decide which one they'd like. Once I'd completed this one, however, I knew full well it would be the one they chose. Still, I emailed the options and awaited their decision. Not surprisingly, this was the piece I ended up shipping out to the Society of Illustrators for the show.

The really great part about this piece is that it confirmed for me that a larger, more involved painting involving a similar subject was absolutely worthwhile. Whether it will cause me to kick to the side the large work that I seem to have stalled on has yet to be seen, but I feel like this one's got momentum and may be the next thing I set to once I've completed my current slate of commissions. Either way, it's something I'll be keeping everyone posted on. I suspect that it will be a fun and challenging painting.

That I was invited to participate in MicroVisions this year is a little mind-blowing to me. Given the caliber of artists in previous years and the quality of work produced, I honestly didn't feel worthy. But I'm very grateful to have been included, and I'm happy with the work that I got out of it.

But really, that's not the important part.

After all, this show is actually about raising money for a student scholarship fund. This piece and the others in the show are to be auctioned off and that auction went live today (May 19, 2014). Hopefully, it goes well.

If you're still interested in seeing the works in person, they are still on display at the Society of Illustrators in New York City and will remain so through May the 24th. If you're interested in seeing all of the works online, they can be found here: link. And, of course, if you're interested in bidding on the pieces, the ebay auction can be found here: link.


  1. That's pretty awesome. I'd love to see the concept translate into a larger work.

  2. Striking proof that it's possible to paint fire well. I feel too often the way it's treated in illustration is an odd caricature that falls short of capturing the nature and experience of real fire.


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