Smoke Moon

British Columbia has been on fire for most of the Summer. This season saw the largest area burnt and highest number of evacuations in a fire season in recorded history.

For weeks the air hung hot, still and hazy with smoke, even here on the south coast. The Sun and the Moon both shone through with the red intensity of a brake-light.

Smoke moon

I painted the moon from the back deck of my house, right against the forest. I wanted to capture the particular red of the moon and the wine-coloured sky. I left the trees dark and indistinct in the smoke, but went deeper into the lunar seas to show more of the skull I saw howling out of the gloom.

In other news, I’m working on too many projects and enjoying it.

I’ve been tapped to do some illustration for a tabletop gaming company’s core rule-books coming out, and I’m doing some design work for a jazz festival to be held in Powell River’s Townsite district. It’s nearly the 20s all over again, and I can’t think of a better place to host a roaring jazz fest than the art-deco dance halls and old industrial buildings there on the seaside.

Beyond that, I’m taking a more serious run at the illustrated novellas I’ve always dreamed of writing. I’ll be posting more about that when there’s more to say.

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Art: Fire Walk With Me

Y’know how I said I wanted to paint something else Twin Peaks related in that other article I wrote? Well, this is it.

"When you see me again, it won't be me."

“When you see me again, it won’t be me.”

I’d been working on this piece for the better part of the afternoon before I’d decided to take a break.

I never trust my own judgment about any painting I’m working on if I’ve been staring at it for too long. I can’t. I tend to think things are finished that aren’t, or make huge mistakes in terms of composition, likeness, scale, and colour. I need to take a break once in a while to get some objectivity back. Recalibrate my visual taste-buds, as it were.

It was getting dark, and the storm outside was intensifying, so I decided to cook up some rice for dinner and watch an episode or two of Twin Peaks to switch gears a little without losing the road altogether. One or two shows became four or five (mixed in with a couple episodes of the X Files), and it was just about midnight when BOOM, the whole neighborhood went dark. A complete and instantaneous blackout.

In show terms, this happened just as Agent Cooper was shot in the doorway of his hotel room. For a moment, I thought it was just part of the show since the blackout corresponded so closely with the sound of the gunshot. It was one hell of a dramatic effect, let me tell you.

Slightly spooked, I grabbed my phone and used it to light my way to my bedroom. I was eager to call it a night before UFOs started landing outside, or Bob showed up in his Canadian tuxedo to snarl at me from behind the furniture.

The next morning the power was back on, but my computer wasn’t. I realized I’d left this painting half-finished on my screen, and wondered if I’d actually saved it or not. I was damn sure I had, but I’d lost hours of work to blackouts before, if not whole pieces.

According to photoshop, it wasn’t there.

I knew I’d saved it. I remember consciously doing so at the beginning of my break, but I couldn’t find any trace of it. It wasn’t just a set-back, my computer was telling me I’d lost it completely. After some frustrated animal noises and a string of expletives, I dug around a bit and found a copy that was about 20 minutes older than my last save and got back to work – finishing it all off in about an hour.

That’s an appropriately weird way for a painting like this to come into being, I thought. It was a hell of a lot longer break than I intended to take, too.

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