Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Donato Giancola - Traveler

¤ "Traveler"¹ is an illustration done by Donato Giancola in 2005 and included on his site, "Donato Arts" It is 20" x 30" and in Oil on Paper on Panel and part of a private collection.

¤ Within the "Traveler" each segment lends itself to the other so you can't look at one portion in isolation to the rest. If you did so it would loose its collective meaning.

When I first became enchanted with this piece I mistakenly thought she was staring out into the limitless realms of space, but on further inspection I find myself let down by the potential of this piece. If she was staring into space we would wonder, does she want to leave this world behind in search of a lost love or uncharted territory. But as she is not glancing into space, one might assume that she is not all there.

Is she just allowing herself to be a possession 'til the artist is ready to discard her? At first inspection I found her gown quite exquisite and low cut but now I find it quite distasteful and it makes her look vulnerable. What kind of message is the artist trying to portray in this piece? Is he trying to convince us that there is only one perception of beauty and one way of looking at things. Over all I would not be rushing back to look at this artist's work again as it does not make my heart sing.

~ Mags

¤ This is a crisp piece of science fiction artwork which I might call science fiction fantasy work. I'm not using any sort of technical term, but referring to the combination of the beautiful painting of the spiral galaxy and the glowing nebula in the background with the organic shapes of the foreground. I am not sure whether the title "Traveler" refers to the person being a traveler or if, perhaps, it refers to the Science Fiction Role Playing Game "Traveler". I have no real reason to suspect the later, but it is a suspicion.

I wonder if the composition is balanced for a title or text to be placed over the galaxy on that section of the image because while the galaxy is nicely framed, so too would be any text or title placed there. If a book cover, it would place the woman on the back cover however, and likely be covered by text. The figure seems to be formally posed rather than caught in thought. Perhaps I get this impression because she is facing away from the view and not toward the viewer or toward anything in the composition. She also has her eyes closed and so doesn't seem to be looking at something off the set. She seems to merely be there to be seen and somewhat pleased at that.

I like the way the colours work in the space art in it and the contrast of that with the "interior" and with the reflection of the lighting playing off the parts of the foreground-interior.

Donato does do interesting artwork and I am sure that you will find at least some of his illustrations familiar if you read fantasy, science fiction, graphic novels, or play role playing games or collectible cards games. His art graces many covers and cards and illustrates many books. His work and bio speak for themself.

~ Darrell

¹ The American spelling "Traveler" is the spelling used on the website as opposed to "Traveller".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Andy Everson - Watchmen

¤ This is Andy Everson's "Watchmen". His online gallery can be found on his site "Artwork by Andy Everson". We decided to do a second Andy Everson print right away because they tied together well. His piece "Farewell" (image to right) also features a figure looking across the water at the Full Moon. You can find our other review on our "Andy Everson - Farewell" page. Additionally we are including an additional image of one of his Full Moon pieces called "Full Moon".

¤ "Watchmen" captures a bright moonlit night and shows the village watchmen watching for attackers who might come to prey on their village while the villagers lay sleeping, sure in the security of the watchmen's watchful eyes. Everson's people -- the K'omoks -- lived in a coveted location -- the "Land of Plenty" -- which was coveted by two other major groups that might send raiding parties in the night. The watchmen would upon seeing the telltale sign of enemy war canoes, send runners to the village so the people could leave their long houses and head to the defensive palisade on the overlooking hill. You can read more on his page "Watchmen".

This image captures a modern stylistic image of the watchmen with the traditional styled K'omoks full moon. I think that there are a number of ways that this stylized full moon might be done, though I imagine there are some base rules to it. I do like the composition. I think it compliments nicely with his other print "Farewell" and would love to have the two of them hanging from my wall.

~ Darrell

¤ The "Watchmen" by Andy Everson

The seasoned warriors are crouched like tigers, ready to strike for war. The gold coloured moon in the "Watchmen" makes the composition more visually complex for those of us who don't have perfect eyesight. Sometimes artwork can be difficult for the visually impaired.

~ Mags

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Andy Everson - Farewell

¤ Andy Everson has gone to his roots to create very interesting artwork like "Farewell" which he highlights on his website "Artwork by Andy Everson".

¤ The most striking part of Andey Everson's piece entitled "Farewell" is the indigenous style engraved on the Moon. It has very similar characteristics as some other cultures I have learnt about. In saying that however, the materials used to both draw or carve the image could be vastly different. I am facinated by the way this artist has caused the Moon to fade ever so slightly into the background of the painting.

From first glance I wasn't going to comment on the rest of the painting, but after having a closer look I have revised my decision. On first assessment I thought it was rather dull and plain, but after close inspection I find the hat and wig to be quite exquisite, because it adds a bit of colour to what otherwise might be seen as a two toned painting.

~ Mags

¤ The artist gives some reference to this piece on his page on "Farewell". The figure is that of Captain George Vancouver who explored the West Coast of North America. He was  looking for a western entrance to a northwest passage for British Imperial trade between Asia and Europe. He didn't find the Northwest Passage, but did explore a large part of the coast of what is now known as "The Pacific Northwest". He left his mark in ink, naming many features and places after members of his crew, which replaced the names already given them by the native population.

The image shows the Captain on his last voyage leaving the area and realizing he would likely never see these lands again. It tries to capture the sense of loss that might accompany this sort of moment and shows the full moon in a traditional Kwakwaka’wakw style.

I find the muted tones of the image to make a powerful emotional statement -- melding the formal British Naval uniform with the formal Native styled moon -- all set on a dead calm sea. Remember to click on the image on Andy Everson's site to get the larger view so that you can truly appreciate the image.

~ Darrell

Thursday, September 11, 2008

John McColgan - Bitterroot Fire

¤ You can see this incredible photograph by John McColgan many places on the Internet but I think that the E.M.S. Gallery is one of the best places probably to view it at for information on the picture. Note that there are direct links to a 406 KB-1756x1084 sized version of this image and an 84 KB-720x444 sized version of this picture on the gallery page.

I suggest going to this page, the bio page with information on the image and photographer and clicking on the links for the larger images rather than using the Gallery's page and using the links there. I found them a bit difficult for getting to the interesting information.

¤ I saw this picture first many years ago, when BC was having a lot of severe forest fires -- including some that were threatening cities of the interior of the province. At that time the photo was attributed -- in the posting I received -- to a fire in BC that Summer. However the actual photo was taken by John McColgan " the late afternoon of Sunday, August 6, from a bridge over the East Fork of the Bitterroot River just north of Sula, Montana."¹ The year, not given on the Public Safety Art Gallery quoted most on the net, is 2000. I do want to mention that the copyright date on the Public Safety Art Gallery page is 1996 -- however I suspect that is the copyright date for the whole site and not the content.

This image is a departure from what we have done for a couple of reasons. It is a photographic image and we do not do many of those, though we do consider photography to be a visual art. It also is not one image of a collection by an artist -- where we normally try to give one image in a collection so that our readers might go on to explore further the works of that artist. This image because it is posted so many places and is so powerful seemed to be one that fits in with our reviews. I want to mention that in smaller versions of the image and perhaps if the colour is not so good, what appears to be the shadow of a thumb on the right is merely darker vegetation. It only seems like a thumb shadow on some of the images online that I have seen.

I feel the picture is impressive for a number of reasons. One alone is the impressive shot of a wildfire from such an intimate point of view. The colours are like gold in some impossible gem of crystallized metallic gold. It also shows how entirely the fire can consume with it eating all that is within -- perhaps a bit at a time -- but nearly completely if given the chance. Considering the photo was taken late afternoon, it shows how the fire can turn day into night and provide its own illumination in place of the Sun's. All of this contrasts with the green vegetation still there by the river, and the elk seeking shelter in its waters. There is a contrast of power and peace. I find this image very powerful.

~ Darrell

¤  Words that come to mind when I look at the Bitterroot Fire are "beautiful destruction" "beautiful but deadly" and "psychopathic". It is hard to believe that fire can be both stunning and responsible for total annihilation at the same time, but this is exactly what this picture or photograph encapsulates. Is one supposed to be in awe of such a destructive force or does one find that totally abhorrent. I am in two minds -- my eyes are torn to two elk, stranded in this fiery path -- how did two delicate creatures find the fire's Achilles heal and survive. If they could talk they could have such a powerful story to tell about conquering over adversity.

~ Mags.

¹ "E.M.S. Gallerie: John McCogan" John McColgan BLM Alaska Fire Service

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lydrae - The Transponder

¤ Lyridae created "The Transponder" and includes it in his Gallery on deviantART. Lyridae is a young man from German who creates computer graphic images.

¤ A new wave of information technology -- space communicating with the Earth via a bluey-green plasma -- a one way portal. This communication device has one drawback however, it has to be careful not to singe the Earth's surface. The way it communicates with the planet is by etching small codes into our fingertips. Unfortunately none of us has been able to decipher these messages from space -- but that is okay, because it just adds to the mystery.

~ Mags

Everything mentioned in the above review is not factual, it is purely fiction.


¤ There is a lot going on in this interesting cosmic image by Lydrae. Taken in quickly it reminded me a lot of images of a sword in front of a shield -- a blazing blade pointed up toward the sky. Looked at closely you can see... well I don't want to describe too much of the detail -- leaving it to the gallery to see for themselves.

It is another beautiful use of a limited pallet. I know that some would look at this as an advantage for decorating, or for a choice of gift for someone when you know their favourite colours -- but I also know it can add power to a composition. This one has interesting flow -- your eye is drawn to the cosmic bodies and then upwards with the plasma-like torch. It reaches up to the dark void where the eye rests a moment in the dark and then flows down the sides to pick up the image of the spheres once more for another ride up the image. That is the flow for the image as a whole before looking at the details that abound in it. Looking at the details is like taking side trips on a vacation.

I wonder... "transponder" refers to a device that receives a signal and then rebroadcasts it immediately. Is this what the artist intends -- is this a signal being rebroadcast? What was the source of the signal and to who is it being broadcast too. Questions to ponder, I guess... though you might want to look at the details in the piece and perhaps find your own answers.

~ Darrell

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Andrew Annenberg - Portal of Hunab Ku

¤ Andrew Annenberg's "Portal of Hunab Ku" is shown on his site: Annenberg Masterworks visionary fine art & posters. It is part of his "Lost Words Suite".

¤ "Portal of Hunab Ku" is an interesting painting in Andrew Annenberg's series of lost worlds. This one shows a sunken Aztec or Mayan temple complex now visited only by sealife like sea turtles, dolphins and whales. There is a peacefulness that the water brings along with the streamlined grace of the sea life.

I like the crisp style of Annenberg's work -- an illustrative style. It brings the right touch where you want to highlight the detail of the archaeological structures in the piece. He uses shades of violet to draw the eye to the entrance of the foreground pyramid. The emitted light might make you wonder just what lies within.

Dolphins and Whales are creatures of intelligence so it is fitting that they are explorers in this painting.

This is another image where you can look and find new details on further inspection -- some that might be obvious once you find them, might not have been noticed at first.

~ Darrell

¤ When one looks at "Portal of Hunab Ku" one automatically starts to look for similarities between the human race and the underwater world. The only similarity I could come up with is that these historical structures of the deep are the dolphins equivalent to children's building blocks. The shape and size of structure remains the same and one wonders whether they are content to use these cement blocks of the deep as their dwelling place or whether they would much rather be exploring the larger landscape of the ocean. One can only speculate as mankind have not been able to fully converse with these playful creatures of the deep. I look forward to the day when we can converse as one because they have a lot to teach us about living in harmony.

~ Mags

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Robert S Connett - Night Trawler

¤ Robert S Connett's "Night Trawler" can be found on his "flickr" page on "flickr". You can also find R.S. Connett's work on deviantART as "vmaximus" -- "vomit maximus" in his gallery there. Do not forget to click on the "All Sizes" link at the top of the image to see the large size version to take in the impressive detailwork of this artist.

¤ Taken aback -- obscure, fanciful, or just plain crazy -- I'm not quite sure. One thing I do know however, is that this artist isn't afraid to push the boundaries of what we consider to be artistic. But that's what I think gives this artist his appeal. The dark hulking colosus in the middle of the work looks like its an invention from a Sci Fi movie set being sent to its final resting place. The other inhabitants of the water look like they've just stumblied upon modern man gone wrong.

~ Mags

¤ I prefer this artist's later works and his works with places and things, to those of people, beings, and animals -- but that is my bias. People need not like all of an artist's works to like the work of an artist. I recommend looking at what the artist has to say about his own work under the images on flickr. He has a talent for writing as well as painting.

Connett puts great detail in his work -- working with magnifying glasses and jeweller's glasses to accompany the hair fine brushes he uses. In "Night Trawler" there is nowhere you can look and not see something of interest, something to make you wonder about what it is doing there. There are themes from other paintings repeated here: I see the people with telescopes that I recognize from the "Spying on the Dark City" painting; I see the city of glass from "Spying on the Dark City" and "Dreaming by the City of Glass" as well as other pieces; and themes from other paintings.

There are many stories being told in "Night Trawler" and though many are put their by the artist, many more are set to be created by the viewer.

~ Darrell.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Arnau Alemany - The old Factory

¤ "The old Factory" is an "oil on wood" painting by Arnau Alemany. You can find it on his website: "the magic realism of Arnau ALEMANY". You can find his biography on there as well.

¤ This is another one of those paintings that plays with creating a reality that goes beyond reality. I am not sure how other to describe this form of creation of alternate realism... Of course you can describe this painting as surreal.

The old 19th century style factory is sitting in the open countryside with its surrounding wall and it's apparent product: spheres.

It makes one wonder perhaps if these are simply polished rock spheres with no purpose other than aesthetic or if they are planets in the making. I note that the painting is labeled as being "New" -- I was looking for when it was painted -- to give a reference point to the work.

Perhaps the factory doesn't make the spheres at all... perhaps the spheres have invaded the landscape or are explorers or tourists from another world. Or, perhaps they are not stone spheres at all, but people each in their own world: Adult spheres, some going to work in the factory; others watching children; and toddlers all on a work-day morning or afternoon.

I think that this sort of painting is intended to get the mind wandering -- considering possibilities and wandering in directions a landscape might not take you in.

~ Darrell

¤ Egg-tastic! This painting by Arnau Alemany is a fantasy artist's heaven. My initial thought when looking at this stoke house was -- that one egg dropped out of the sky inspiring cloning and mass production. What is inside these monstrosities -- a new life form determined to take over the world as we know it -- teaching us to live as one?

~ Mags

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jonathan Earl Bowser - Cathedral of Illusion

¤ "Cathedral of Illusion" is one of Jonathan Earl Bowser's fine paintings that he is offering for sale as a Giclee print on his site, "The Goddess Art of Jonathan Earl Bowser". Details from "Cathedral of Illusion"¹ may be found on this page¹.

¤ "Cathedral of Illusion" is a tapestry of glorious parts which make up the whole. Let me explain: The unseen cathedral has a golden pinkish glow under a simple but elegant archway that could be mistaken for heaven. The "water of life"¹ (Mentioned in the detail page on the painting.¹) has had a lot depth added to it to make the rocks seem incredibly life-like. The moss covering on the rocks gives it a delightful touch. The "red king"¹ looks like he is the king of all he surveys -- very focused but determined at the same time.

My absolute favourite portion of the painting is the "Maiden of the Rose Window"¹ -- her hair looks like it is caught up in the winds of hope -- her complexion looks like pure silk -- her armbands look like they contain eye piercing jade -- her cuffs are cut in a diamond shape which would reminder her of her royal status..

~ Mags

¤ Jonathan Earl Bowser is one of my favourite "fantasy" artists. I put "fantasy" in brackets because he doesn't quite fit in with a lot of the artists I was following for fantasy cover art and gaming art. That was the genre of art I was following for quite a while after I discovered being able to look up the artists on the Internet many years ago.

I love the feeling Bowser puts into his work and the detail he puts into it as well. In some ways it is very realistic, but in others it is a step beyond reality. He does some really incredible landscapes and he also does very excellent studies of the female form. The two come together in grand harmony in his "Goddess Art". He also has that desire and talent to blend one subject or item into another to create something greater than the two separately. In this image he blends the cathedral-like forest with cascading brook rolling down an aisle in the trees into an actual aisle descending from the interior of a cathedral with the stained glass cathedral windows illuminating all in a magical light.

The lady in early medieval garb stroking a white dove, while a red bird -- I see in a detailed image it is a small red raptor, perhaps a hawk? -- appears about to alight on her shoulder adds a centre point and the greater meaning to the piece. There is a page with details of the image¹ including the artist with the original painting on the site. The titles to the individual detail images on the "Details¹" page make you wonder about the story behind the image. They make you think there "must" be some story inspiring the details.

But then it is the detail that make this artists works stand out.

~ Darrell

¹ Detail page for Cathedral of Illusion.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gallery - 2 (August 8 - August 22)

A gallery of 10 images reviewed between August 8 and 22, 2008.

(click image for review)

Michal Karcz (Karezoid) - World of Sleepers.

Katherine Dinger - My Loyalty (Stark Knight)

wangli (feimo) - Dynasty Declining

Rob Gonsalves - Spring Skiing

M.C. Escher - Double Planetoid

dinyctis - Space Lane

Jacek Yerka - Amonit

Blake Flynn - Ruins

Chelsey Bonestell - Saturn As Seen From Titan (1944)

Lynette Cook - HD16141 b and Moon

Lynette Cook -- HD16141 b and Moon

¤ Lynette Cook's "HD16141 b and Moon" can be found on her site, "The Many Facets of Lynette Cook", along with other examples of her work including books, products, prints and other information.

¤ I found Lynette Cook's work while looking for depictions of what they thought a "Hot Jupiter" might look like. It is in a collection of space art depicting "exo-planets" -- planets which have been discovered which orbit stars other than the Sun. Of course for such things we depend on the work of Space artists. I enjoyed looking at her work and wanted to review it here. I chose this piece out of all the works she has on her site because of its similarity with the work by Chelsey Bonestell, "Saturn as seen from Titan"¹ which we recently reviewed.

Of course the two artists use a different style and probably media, and Cook's piece if of a moon close to its star and thus very hot and backed. But still there are great similarities in the compositions. I wonder if the crispness of Bonestell's work intentionally highlights the crisp coldness of Titan while the rounded bluffs of Cook's piece give a baked and rounded feeling of heat to hers.

I note that while Bonestell includes a dusting of ice on ridge and cliff tops, Cook includes a baked "river" bed on hers. I suspect that it wasn't water that flowed in that bed... perhaps sulphur?

I think the choice of including the system's star in the image ads to the feeling of heat in the composition. On the other hand, I find that space art of exo-planets traditionally include the star to indicate how similar that star is to the Sun and how close it is to the planet.

It is very interesting to see how space art has evolved.

~ Darrell

¤ This space art by Lynette Cook is in some ways very similar to the recent piece reviewed entitled "Saturn as seen from Titan"¹. Although we tend to concentrate on common elements there is one striking difference -- the planet's surface looks serene as well as being on it's death bed. Including the yolk yellow sun in the image adds a gentle finishing point.

~ Mags

¹ "Saturn as seen from Titan" reviewed August 18, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gallery - 1 (July 28 - August 8)

A gallery of 10 images reviewed between July 28 and August 8, 2008.

(click image for review)

Frank Melech - Elements IV

Frank Melech - Die Besucher (The Visitors)

Ida M W Larsen - Airship Captain

Chris Becker - The Hanging City

Ravi Vora - The Adventurer

Michael Komarck - King Arthur (2005)

Pauline Jones - With a Soft Thud

Jan Oliehoek (oilcorner) - Baby Dragon

Jason Chan - Waterfall

James C Christensen - The Listener

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chelsey Bonestell -- Saturn As Seen From Titan (1944)

¤ "Saturn As Seen From Titan (1944)" By Chelsey Bonestell from a gallery on the artist: "Bonestell Space Art". There is a page called "titan" on how this masterpiece was created.

¤ Rings anyone? Not a star gazer by nature -- but when Darrell suggested I look at this space art, I could see the attraction straight away. Chelsey Bonestell has a unique gift in bringing the unfamiliar to your attention so that you feel like you have been there before and that you are returning home. The bit that impresses me the most is the shadow-like phase of Saturn floating between two rocky crags. The crags remind me of a Cadbury Flake confectionery bar. (Oops, must be hungry.)

~ Mags

¤ When you are a child and going through school many images "just are" and you don't think about how they were created and by whom. The images are something that always have been in the books that you know and perhaps loved. I loved books about space and films and film strips about space. (I wonder how many remember film strips in school? Basically a slide show on a roll.) This picture is one that I remember. I cannot even tell you what books I saw the image in.

Space Art was extremely important in the days before we had the fantastic imaging equipment and far flung exploring satellites we have today. Today we actually have seen images from Titan's Surface! In 1944... it was up to imagination and science to provide any inspiration to people as to what wonders might be out there. Some like this Bonestell work, nearly seem photographic and perhaps better than photographic. Perhaps some details are wrong... it wouldn't be from cloud shrouded Titan's surface but perhaps another larger moon of Saturn?

We still actually rely a lot on artist's interpretations of objects and vistas in space beyond what we can actually observe with remote sensing and satellite. But the artist's have better resources to draw on. They also now have computers to draw on. I shall have to in future review some of the current space art of new planets discovered around stars far away.

This one has incredible towering cliffs with perhaps methane ice on the ledges and tops. Saturn is seen from towards the back in a difficult angle to see from the Earth with the top surface of the rings illuminated. There is a link to how he created models to paint the rock faces from and experiment with different lighting. That was interesting. It was also interesting to learn that the media is thin layers of oil paint on "illustration board" which had a large black and white print of the model mounted on it.

I am thinking that in a way, an artist can be a space explorer just as an astronomer or other scientist can.

~ Darrell

Blake Flynn - Ruins

¤ "Ruins" by Blake Flynn from Blake Flynn's site: "Blake Flynn - Artist".

¤ "An impossible collection of archaeological artifacts to make an
impressive composition... and is the woman trapped in contemplation?" -- is how I wrote my review on "StumbleUpon" eight weeks ago when I reviewed the image there.

Often when I review something on StumbleUpon I am pressed for time. I often review it when I am the first to have found a page or when I want to "photo blog" an image, and for some reason find I am on my way somewhere else. When I photo blog something it is often because I find an image or artist I very much like and want to be able to come back to in future. Blake Flynn is one such artist and "Ruins" is one of his works that I wanted to photo blog so I could come back to.

I have studied some archaeology and anthropology and recognize some of the artifacts used in "ruins" which intrigued me -- though a person doesn't need to have studied archaeology or anthropology to recognize those prominent pieces.

I still wonder like I did in my original review about the woman in the image -- is this woman, who has been staring at this scene so long that she is becoming a part of it; watching as it crumbles, or as it is being born? Is she a part of the scene and one of the collected artifacts -- a goddess of a time past -- or is she simply enraptured by what is going on. Is the ivy holding her down or her natural garb.

I do love the natural delicate lace-like detail the greenery adds, to the image -- but looking toward the top are the structures being torn down by time or being created in a Tetris-like fashion?

I like Flynn's surreal paintings and the styles he uses in them. I would love to have some of his paintings or prints of them, on my walls... or even to paint something like those paintings... Now if only I can clear out that corner of my office I use as a studio.

~ Darrell

¤ I have a thing for climbing ivy. If I had my way we wouldn't be taken over by aliens or electronics gone wrong, but delicate invading luscious green ivy. I like the way in which green ivy encroaches upon the landscape without caring about what us mere humans think. Blake Flynn has managed to successfully combine a life study of the natural human form with the archaeologist's playground. It seems to me like the life study of the natural human form has come to a mutual understanding with the climbing ivy.

~ Mags

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jacek Yerka - Amonit

¤ "Amonit" by Jacek Yerka can be found on his own site Jacek Yerka painter of the fantasy worlds. You can find galleries of his work in a few places on his site. I suggest "How do I make my paintings..." and "My Worlds".

¤ I experienced a strange feeling when I looked at this artist's piece. My heart went giddy with excitement as it brought me to my childhood. This work has so many tremendous qualities its hard to know where to begin. The houses that are carved into the rock appear both fragile and robust at the same time. The spiral at the top of the image looks like a shell you would pick up off the beach and a pastry treat good enough to eat.

I do find it extraordinary how the water is able to just stay delicately placed on top of the cliff and refrain from dribbling down the sides. Every time you look at this image you will find something new to marvel over.

~ Mags

¤ I like the impossibility of the sea level being both at the top of the cliff and the bottom at the same time. I look at the buildings which meld into the cliff and wonder whether they are intended to be cliff dwellings or just to point out how stone buildings are so like cliffs. That reminds me somewhat of some of Rob Gonsalves works where cliffs meld into cityscapes and cityscapes into cliffs.

Of course my mind loves to move into paintings to feel what they are like and to explore and I wonder what travelling up that river would lead to. Would there be waterfalls from the top of the cliff in places? Is the sea salt or fresh water? Are there tides?I wonder if there might be a safe harbour in the shell? Do people dwell there still? Was the city carved into rock or grown like the shell the feature looks like?

Jacek Yerka has many fascinating pieces on his site and can be found in other places on the Web if you do a search for his name. His is a name I would like to keep track of.

~ Darrell

dinyctis - Space Lane

¤ You can find dinyctis' piece "Space Lane" on deviantART as well as a few other places on the Web. He has an interesting gallery, though some might find it a bit opinionated.

¤ dinyctis' "Space Lane" takes us on a fascinating journey across space -- and perhaps further afield -- in this work -- that is huge in size -- to take in the incredibly detailed story of that journey. You really must see it at full size to fully appreciate it. If you have dial-up you might have to be satisfied with the default view on his page. (On deviantART you click on the image to get the full sized view.)

I am not sure that it is intended to be viewed all at once, but rather a bit at a time either starting at the top and working down, or from the bottom and working your way up. There is a seeming story-journey on this vertical mural image. I won't give away the ending and spoil it here.

dinyctis uses intense colour on black to good effect in his chosen media, computer graphic image. I think you will appreciate the details as well as the story-journey and will enjoy looking at other images in his gallery.

~ Darrell

¤ One would find it slightly odd that this artist would begin his piece and end his piece with the exact same frame and style. I find that quite perplexing -- and to be honest one has to find a reason to be captured by this image. The depiction of the galaxy is strategically placed in the best spot for eyes to be drawn into its very core. Other works that you might want to chew over are: "Nebular Playtime" and one entitled "Vessel". We all have a desire to reach for the stars -- this artist just takes it to whole new level.

~ Mags

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

M.C. Escher - Double Planetoid

¤ M.C. Escher's "Double Planetoid" is an illustration of this well known artist that can be found in a number of galleries and collections. We are highlighting it on "The Oldest Escher Collection the Web - Since 1993" "World of Escher" and "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery". "World of Escher" has information on the artist. "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery" has the best and clearest images. "The Oldest Escher Collection the Web - Since 1993" has a good collection as well as links to works inspired by Escher. Please note that we chose to use a larger image for a thumbnail because smaller ones simply do not work for this illustration. (Link to "The Official M.C.Escher Website".)

¤ I'd like to credit my best friend, Darrell Penner, for introducing me to the work of M.C. Escher. After looking at his work for a little while, I realized that all of his shapes on one side of the planetoid are exactly the same as on the other. He takes tremendous care and pride in the fact that everything is symmetrical and drawn like a mathematician.

He is well respected by scientists and mathematicians and I just wonder if it is because of his exactness and attention to detail. I have glanced at some of his other pieces and he manages to put ordinary objects in places where they ought not to be, and somehow yet this still seems to work just fine. So if you are someone that likes symmetrical works of art, then Escher is the man for you.

~ Mags

¤ M.C. Escher's masterpiece, "Double Planetoid" might not seem so impressive to many people today, until they realize it was not done using computer aide. Escher was born in 1898 and died in 1972* and computers were not being routinely used for artwork until well after 1972.

Escher's work was done using techniques of woodcutting and lithography. These processes involve creating a master printing plate or block by hand and printing the piece from that. Each line on Escher's works were originally guided by hand!

Escher's work, like "Double Planetoid" contrasts geometry and nature along with -- in some cases -- optical illusion. He does in this case use optical illusion to create a feeling of depth, but that is something we are very used to. "Double Planetoid" takes two interlocked tetrahedron where one is a fantasy planetoid -- rough and covered with tropical plants; lizard and saurian-like creatures living on the cliff-like structures -- while the second is a fortress a Templer Knight might be proud of -- all tied to an internal point of gravity. The primitive tropical tetrahedron does not connect at all with the fortress tetrahedron but rather the fortress bridges it with arches which emerge from holes on the landscape of the primitive land.

You can see the lithographic lines used to create shading and shape for the print when you look at the full sized work. There is a very different feel between the sort of line used on each of the two tetrahedron.

You really have to view the full sized image from the "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery". At least it is the same size as the prints in the book of prints I bought in my youth, perhaps only a few years after Escher's passing. I have bought few art books in my life, but the book of Escher prints was the first I bought and one of my favourites! This is one of my favourite works as well. ...though I do love the "Curl Up" creature with the "baby feet" that rolls up into the wheel to travel by rolling as much or more...

~ Darrell


* "World of Escher"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rob Gonsalves - Spring Skiing

¤ "Spring Skiing" is an illustration by Rob Gonsalves whose artwork is featured in a number of places on the net though the best actual gallery of his work I have found is at Discovery Galleries. Another location with some good images of his illustrations is on "Seamless pictures | -- a lifestyle blogzine".

Rob Gonsalves does interesting artwork in his own particular style. He uses an awareness of architecture that started at a young age taking direction into perspective techniques leading to his first paintings and renderings of imagined buildings. This has directed him into works which are surreal in quality where an image done of one scene blends seamlessly into another. It is reminiscent of Escher to me.

He uses "carefully planned illusionist devices."* to create these images in a seamless fashion that I find are very unique. I do like the term "Magic Realism"* to describe his work as referred to in the Discovery Galleries' Biography of the artist*. Outside of the seamless illusion of the blending of one image into the next, his style is crisp and reminds me of the best illustration work I remember from school books and Reader's Digest. I am not sure what you would call that style, but it works well here and can speak volumes. I think it is the clarity of the style that adds even more to the illusion. It is easier to hide an illusion in mist and fog than in crisp good lighting.

"Spring Skiing"blends that pure white snow of the mountains with that pure white "snow" shower of petals from the flowering fruit trees in Spring. While in places you may have drifts of pink, here you would have the white drifts from these fruit trees. The alpine purity of snow blending seamlessly into the floral purity of the Spring fruit trees.

~ Darrell

For those extreme skiers amongst us, Rob Gonsalves piece entitled "Spring Skiing" is a sports lover's delight. He has managed to turn an extraordinary environment into a seamless slope of powder which only makes you want to be there in person.

My selection on which piece of his artwork to review was made extremely difficult -- not because his gallery does not have much to offer -- but because each piece has elements that are worthy of artistic critique. After much pondering we settled for "Spring Skiing". More works of his will be reviewed in future here at Blended Realms.

~ Mags


* Rob Gonsalves -- Discovery Galleries -- Fine Art

Monday, August 11, 2008

wangli (feimo) - Dynasty Declining

¤ "Dynasty Declining" is a piece done by wangli who is known as "feimo" on deviantART. She also has a blog on -- though that is in Chinese hosted a Taiwan server -- I do not believe the two sites are different.

This composition is made up of bluey-black echoes of darkness. I like the artist's technique and her realism within her art -- however the piece takes the life out of my soul. The only section worth a mention are the gems adorning this stony hearted figure. The arrow on the ring looks like it could do some real damage. The spikes on the brooch attached to the vest chain looks like with ease they could draw blood.

Although this piece of art doesn't make me tingle, if you want to go and check out the rest of this artist's gallery you will find her buffet of artistic cuisine on deviantART..

~ Mags

Is this dark figure dark in soul in an evil way -- or in the melancholy way of an Elven "Hamlet". Of course like author choosing a "dark and stormy night" the artist choses the colours they paint and draw with, and the shapes they use. Still this could be the sharp melancholy of a tragic figure. The name "Dynasty Declining" gives us some idea of what the artist is aiming at. "Dynasty" to me implies a long line of ruling or power of some sort and of course "Decline" means coming down from a height of some sort or down a slope. There is decorative artistry taken to an extreme in the weapon being held and the very delicate hints of lace at throat and cuff. How usable would this weapon really be? I realize looking again, that I hadn't realized how the skull in the corner fits in with the "Hamlet" theme. Has this Elven Prince lost his Father before expected?

~ Darrell

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Katherine Dinger - My Loyalty (Stark Knight)

¤ This is "My Loyalty" by Katherine Dinger. She does warn, before giving link to her gallery of paintings that there is some nudity in her paintings -- Artwork of Katherine Dinger - New Paintings so please be warned. It was a bit hard to find the gallery as on the "Gallery" page which is titled on the page "Digital Paintings" you have to find the link "for more work head over this way" to reach it. The Gallery page also has a slightly confusing "Back Home" link that takes you to another site of hers, "Pocketmole" which doesn't seem to directly link to the site "The Paintings of Katherine Dinger". Perhaps one is the newer incarnation of the older -- whichever is which -- however I am including both and "The Paintings of Katherine Dinger" includes the paining of interest: "My Loyalty". Katherine Dinger is also known as "jezebel" on deviantART and you can find a large gallery of her work there. The name of the file on some of the sites is "Stark Knight" though the title she gives it specifically on deviantART is "My Loyalty".

What device on the surcoat of yon knight is displayed?

There is a peaceful look on the man-at-arms in this image by Dinger of a 13th century warrior. I might say innocent, however often peaceful and innocent can be confused. The man looks at peace with himself, but might well have seen much and done much. (My guess is 13th century based on armour and sword -- the design on the sword blade could be many things though.)

It is an interesting composition -- with the shafts of light coming down as if in blessing; with the subservient posture; sword held point down, though not gripped like a cross -- in that posture it seems like the knight has either taken on or completed a quest. The image is done from an intimate viewpoint which could be that of a sovereign, whether Monarch, Clergy, or of Romance -- for this would be a time of Troubadour's and Courtly Love. I would tend to think it would be Monarch or Clergy given the trappings of light rays and peaceful intent.

The device on the surcoat is very much hidden. I have passing acquaintance with heraldry and can not readily make out the charge displayed on the coat. Perhaps it is just an artistic piece or perhaps a "badge" of sorts and not a heraldic one at all. It looks a bit like it could be a man being swallowed by some beast, arms and head raised above the upper torso with lower torso and legs already engulfed -- or perhaps Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish-like whale? It might even be some odd floral decoration or decorative sword hilt? I guess it is the herald in me pondering that.

For a warlike figure it is a peaceful composition.

Reading the artist's notes on deviantART I see it is a painting done for a card game, "Game of Thrones".

~ Darrell

I fell in love with this piece some time ago by Katherine Dinger. She has taken extreme care in bringing this piece to life. In particular my eyes zeroed in on the exquisite technique used to create authentic looking chain mail fit for an aspiring knight about to go to war. I took great interest in the detail and time she has taken to add more depth to this piece right down to the leather heraldic image upon the knight's chest. The last thing that impressed me was the detail on the sword and the markings which it displays. I can't decide whether the sword's features come from the Viking period because the sword seems part one thing and part another.

If you like an artist that is able to mix up styles and genres -- well then, Katherine Dinger is the artist for you -- because like Forest Gump says "Life is like box of chocolates, you are never sure what you are going to get." One thing is for sure, she will always use an element of surprise.

~ Mags

Friday, August 8, 2008

Michal Karcz (Karezoid) - World of Sleepers

¤ "World of Sleepers" is a Photo Manipulation by Machal Karcz -- known as Karezoid on deviantArt -- who has his own site Michal Karcz Portfolio where the piece is found in his portfolio section under "Artworks" in the 2007 section where you can see it was used for an album cover for Davide Caprelli's "Respiro".

One's first impression of this talented artist's offering of creativity, could be seen as "blah", and somewhat melancholy. But then I lean forward in my seat and I see the analogy between the bleak darkness and the overwhelming paralysing effect that one encounters when they have any form of mental illness.

On the other hand however, one also wonders if the Moon in the middle of the field is carrying some extraterrestrial visitors coming to take this adventurer home.

~ Mags

When I have looked into a piece of artwork -- I had to search a little to find the actual artist having found the piece without credit to the artist given -- and find that it was used for something like an album cover or book cover -- I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg. Did the artist create the piece for the project, or did they have the piece already done and when asked to do the project say, "I have the perfect piece of art to use for that already."

Perhaps it doesn't make much difference other than if the artist was asked to create a piece of artwork for a cover, how much was the project driven by someone else's needs and desires? The talent and skill of course are still the artists.

In either case, I love this interesting composition of photos in a photo manipulation. I read somewhere someone putting a caption to it - "NASA, the Moon has Landed." I think with photo compositions as well as any paintings a limited pallet can provide for a powerful piece. All the colour in this image fall in a certain range, yet it does not seem limited at all and is a powerful composition.

An empty field under a moody sky can provide for a very lone and empty feeling -- almost similar in some ways to empty space and perhaps the Moon might be at home there. It also reminds me of some odd lamp lighting the field. Is the lone figure out standing in his field taking a picture of this moon he has found?

The Moon fallen into a field -- that's going to leave a bit of a mark... a bit of a crop circle especially if it starts rolling around.

~ Darrell

It might be interesting to compare this with Pauline Jones' "With a Soft Thud" (Image to left) reviewed earlier in Blended Realms.

James C Christensen - The Listener

"The Listener" by James Christensen can be found on a number of galleries including, Swoyer's Fine Art & Collectibles, World Wide Art, Inc., and his own James Christensen Prints, Porcelains, Ornaments and Puzzles.

"The Listener" is one of those pictures so full of detail that a small size like 503x500 pixels simply can not do it justice. I do love pictures that one can explore with the eye for hours finding more and more to see. This one also has details of meaning to find -- I mean where one has to maybe dig a bit in their memory of experience to recall what the source is of the figure being alluded to.

In "The Listener" I look and I wonder if one figure is Baron Munchausen and another Othello. I see figures who might be from Lewis Carrol's works and others who might be politicians and film celebrities. I think some are characters from Christensen's own art works.

I get a feeling of a man sitting oblivious to the shouting crowds in the stands at some sporting event that has drawn this strange crowd together... or is this the artist doing a self portrait showing himself sitting within himself and his imaginings? Or is it an "any man" author or other creative person with ideas percolating in their mind? Or a person who might not be entirely sane... or is that the same?

It is a regular Carnival! Very much like in Venice or some other city where things like Mardi Gras is celebrated.

This is one piece where even the large online images do not do the work justice and I think one would have to get a poster size version -- and a good quality edition -- to do it justice.

~ Darrell

James Christensen's work "The Listener" is a single man's quest for serenity of body, mind, and spirit. In amongst this cacophony its like he is to be the solution finder for this fanciful kingdom. He has had to train himself to tune out, otherwise he would go truly insane. "You can't be all things to all men."

~ Mags.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jason Chan - Waterfall

Jason Chan did this image which is a part of the collection in his gallery on You will find this one in the third row, fourth column, under the first heading "Illustrations". He also has a more current blog, Jason Chan Art.

I like "Waterfall", perhaps because I like children, archaeology, the colour green, finding gentleness combined with strength, hidden places... perhaps because of all these things by themselves and in combination in this composition.

I love the gentle stone meso-American giant presenting the delicate flower to the child held in the palm of his hand. The fresh youth of the young girl is contrasted with the robust antiquity of the moss covered stone monolithic form of the giant. I wonder about the Olmec head in the water and the... perhaps Aztec figure by the falls? The figure himself does not seem to be quite Aztec even though made of Aztec materials with Aztec iconography.

I wonder where this is and where the little red headed girl came from? Judging by the signature I suspect this wasn't done on the computer or at least not done 100% on it.

I think I'll have to have a better look at more of Jason Chan's work when I get back onto a broadband connection.

~ Darrell

If you're not careful you could get taken in by the shear magnitude of this cumbersome, gentle giant and not notice the little girl and the importance she plays in bringing this piece of artwork to completion. The mere fact that the cumbersome gentle giant takes extreme care to pass on a gift of simple but profound beauty and meaning says a lot not only about what the artist is trying to get across, but sheds light on the artist himself and his positive outlook on life in general.

~ Mags

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jan Oliehoek (oilcorner) - Baby Dragon

Jan Oliehoek (oilcorner) describes himself as a Photo Manipulator and you can find his work on both deviantArt and

It is such a privilege for us to feature such a well versed photo manipulation artist on our blog. When I first stumbled across this image I thought the creature on my computer screen was real. I sat there for an hour just completely awestruck at this artist's ability to breath life into an image that began its existence as collection of photos. A background as a writer does have a tendency to let your mind create alternative worlds out of thin air. From this image I was able to conceptualize a whole new historical time line and a possible book plot. So if this image can effect me so powerfully, it is my hope that your soul will start to sing as well. I don't often say this about many of the artists that we feature, but I absolutely cannot wait for this artists next spark of creativity as I think he is a creative genious.

Thanks again for allowing us to review your work. I hope we have done it justice.

~ Mags

I was very impressed with this image when Mags introduced it to me. I am a photo manipulator myself and can appreciate the technique and talent that went into this piece. The artist, oilcorner, did a fine job for that contest on and the full sized image doesn't lose anything at all. You would expect to be able to buy these cute little smokers at a really good pet store.

oilcorner mentions in his deviantArt page on the image that the image actually has been stolen by someone pretending that they had created it -- however oilcorner can provide the source pictures that he used to create this "fake". "Source pictures" are often used to prove an image was a fake in the case of celebrity fakes and similar things -- however they can also be used as veracity that someone created a given fake photo.

One of the important steps in creating a good manipulated image is having good source material and I can see that oilcorner has a good eye for that. I also see he has a very good sense of scale. There is a lot of work that went into this besides cutting and pasting and a bit of colour, hue, saturation, brightness, and contrast matching. There are bits that had to be very much modified -- which takes artful painting using the tools provided in Photo Shop and similar programs.

The only thing perhaps that I might add... might be a blister, burn, or singe mark on the fingers. But perhaps that would be "gilding the lily"? I think it is virtually perfect as is.

~ Darrell

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pauline Jones - With a Soft Thud

"With a Soft Thud" is from Pauline Jones' website "Images of Elsewhere". It can be found in the 10th Gallery there. Pauline Jones has another site where she has more recent works at "Pauline Jones: a painter"

A lonely beach, perhaps just after dusk and what do we find on the sands? Perhaps the crescent moon having fallen from the sky?

It makes me wonder if that makes the image even lonelier with the few lone pines a bit separate from the other trees farther back. I can't quite make out if those are the lights of a harbour town across the waves or people with lanterns in boats approaching? If they are people in small boats approaching, are they people who are approaching to help the crescent moon as if it were a beached whale needing rescuing?

The dark rows of thin yet still dark clouds and the flat waves on the water lend to a moodiness that is repeated by the blues of the pallet that the work is done in. It does remind me of some evenings I have spent on beaches with an uncertain breeze on water and in trees.

Pauline Jones puts a lot of feeling into her works and I enjoy what I have seen. There is a lot of variety in her galleries.

~ Darrell

I find this piece of artwork by Pauline Jones to be visually stimulating. My immediate response to this creative inspiration has this luminescent crescent moon fallen from another planet's solar system -- as it looks like it has haphazardly landed upon our shores. Maybe some other planetary creature is missing its home because it has now crashed down here.

~ Mags

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Michael Komarck - King Arthur (2005)

This picture screams fantasy all over. In particular the portions that grip my attention are the shield and sword. While the dragon on the shield appears to be heraldic in nature, the overall design on the shield does not seem to be typical heraldic design -- of course it might be, especially applying rules of heraldry foreign to English or Scottish Heraldry. The sword and shield appear to be a bit of an odd couple with the sword being a two-handed or hand-and-a-half (bastard) sword -- judging by the grip.

Looking at the illustration of King Arthur one clearly sees that he is a reluctant warrior choosing the path of war as a last resort. This could be seen as cowardly or gentlemanly depending on your view of history.

It is my hope that you will go and check out the rest of Michael Komarck's potpourri of surprises as it will be like tasting creativity for the first time.

~ Mags

"King Arthur (2005)" by Michael Komarck is an interesting illustration found by Mags on Michael Komarck's own "Michael Komarck Illustration" site.

The style of this piece is what I am used to seeing in game books and on collectible game cards. I rather enjoy the crisp clean style and am a sucker for winter fantasy/medieval scenes. I find they offer much for the artist and for the viewer's eye with the muting and interesting light-scapes that can be created with snow and mists. The combination of cold and armour is also rather intriguing to me. I must admit to having set a medieval fantasy role playing game campaign in an arctic winter setting and having run a number of scenarios in winter storms.

Of course the image is in the "collectible cards" section of the site which fits the style... perhaps Komarck is the artist who has done a number of the pieces of gaming art that I recall and enjoy? The work is labelled as for the CCG Anachronism. CCG stands for Collectible Card Game. I really do like other pieces from that collection as well. Personally I am more interested in collecting the cards than playing the game -- something I have only done once or twice and I think with a different CCG.

I think that looking through Michael Komarck's work will be refreshing and well worth it especially to those of you who are unfamiliar with pen and paper role playing gaming. For those who are familiar I think you will still enjoy seeing this artists work.

~ Darrell

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ravi Vora - The Adventurer

This creative picture is from the portfolio of Ravi Vora found on the Behance Network.

It is an interesting composition with some photographic elements -- apparently from the "Fields" listed on the image's portfolio page "Fields: Photo Manipulation, Digital Art" -- as well as digital artwork. I like the way it is put together and the media seems secondary to the image which might have been done in other media as well as what actually was used.

There is a lovely whimsical sense to the image with the dolphins investigating the boy floating through space holding onto the circus balloons. They are as out of place in space as the boy. The whole is under a near total Solar Eclipse -- which might also be either a total one about to occur or one that has just occurred. These eclipses are rather magical to any who have experienced one first hand.

There is an interesting balance in the image between warm and cool colours with the warmer colours of the moon and solar crescent above and the cooler blues of the earth below. I wonder if the boy is still rising and if the dolphins will follow?

~ Darrell

On first inspection of this latest artistic find; one wonders whether the dolphins and the boy can understand one another's uniqueness in language or whether they have to take a quick crash course in cohabitation.

~ Mags

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chris Becker - The Hanging City

The second I glanced at Chris Becker's "The Hanging City" I could not take my eyes off the links in the chains. The thought came to me -- What would happen if just one single link snapped? A great analogy as we as humans have forgotten what it means to stick with one another in all kinds of weather. We need to get back to sticking with one another for the long haul. We are all important and often a single link can break a chain.


This image makes me think of the flights of fancy I take when I let my imagination run a bit daydreaming. I'll lay back and look at normal objects and they will cease to be normal objects... in this case I am reminded of a hanging light fixture. I might transform such a light fixture into a hanging city in my imagination. Of course there might be a part of my mind wondering just what the city would be hanging from. Still, the city is beautiful and has an airy oriental feeling to it. The composition is interesting with the highlights of the metal and misty shadows in the distance. I wonder how the composition would work on a dark and stormy night...

~ Darrell.