Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Quasiwatercolor!

After a year of almost continuous professional work, as both an artist and screenwriter, it's nice to have a few days to just kick back and do some artwork for myself. Today I broke out the watercolors and dove into yet another Lon Chaney Sr. piece. As I've said before, watercolor is probably the most challenging of mediums, as there is little room for error. But today I was relaxed, and the colors flowed peacefully. I know that after the New Year I'll be back in full work mode, so I really appreciated the opportunity to just do what I love to do.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keep Watching The Skies!

Bill Warren's newly revised, 2009 edition of his highly respected guide to 1950's sci-fi movies has a new face and some nifty Sketchy Things within!

Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi plan a

Now available from McFarland is Bill's third redux of KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES, and it is seven pounds of sci-fi geek heaven. Filled with in-depth analysis' of hundreds of fantastic films, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Thankfully, Bill asked me to contribute some sublimely ridiculous sketches to this terrific volume, and even allowed me to pick the films I wanted to illustrate. The results are some of my favorite Sketchy Things caricatures ever.

Michael Gough contemplates the

KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES! is available through Barnes and Noble, Overstock.com and many other book outlets. It also has a Rondo-worthy dust jacket cover by my friend, the super-talented Kerry Gammill. See how many of the cover beasties you can recognize!

Kudos to Bill for a fantastic and necessary reference for all students of classic sci-fi and horror films. Klaatu Barrada Nikto!

The Almost Last Painting Of The Decade

As the decade draws (yes, pun intended) to a close, I want to thank all my friends and fans for continuing to support my work. Without you folks, all this artwork would be for my eyes only, and that would be not nearly as fun.

I still have a few days before the ball drops (uncomfortable expression, isn't it?), so I may have time to finish one more oil painting...but in the meantime, here's one that I finished yesterday. I wanted to capture that moment, just after Mary Philbin snatches Lon Chaney's mask from his twisted face, and he turns and glares at her in accusational rage. The shot in the film is slightly out of focus, which somehow makes it more nightmarish.

The "soft focus" effect here is easily accomplished. While the oils are still wet on the canvas, I take a fan brush and very lightly drag the brush over the paint. I dry-wipe the brush clean after each stroke. I work in one diagonal direction, and then the other. The key is not to put any pressure on the brush as it sweeps over the paint, just let gravity do it's thing. The result is an eerie, soft glow, which is a pretty cool effect.

I use this technique on almost all my oil paintings, usually after the tones have been laid down. It helps me see that the general shapes of the tones are correct. In most paintings, however, I continue to refine after that. This PHANTOM OF THE OPERA didn't need much else, except a little tweaking in the eyes.

Happy Holidays!