Friday, September 19, 2008

Linda Miller, R.I.P.

Linda Miller passed away yesterday at the young age of 48. Linda was an active member of the Universal Monster Army and the Lugosiphile Group. Her death was unexpected, leaving all of us shocked and depply saddened.

The artwork she created, based on the classic Universal horror films, was stunning and unique. Her medium of choice was primarily watercolor, though you wouldn't immediately recognize it as such. She never felt the need to incorporate color, and her paintings fully captured the atmosphere of the vintage films she paid tribute to.

Linda was humble regarding her own talent, yet generous in her praise of others. A real class act. Rest In Peace, Dear Linda...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not JUST Monsters...

Believe it or not, occasionally I paint something that is NOT a monster or an actor who played a monster! Below are two examples of what's known as "Fine Art."

This is a simple still life done in oils. The challenge here was creating the illusion of the bottle being clear glass.

This was a Monet duplication. The idea is not to "copy" what you see, but to "imagine" what is was the artist was looking at when he painted it. There's a lot to be learned from the Great Masters...and the Great Monsters!

The Terror Of The Tones

In oil painting, getting your tones locked in early, and then maintaining them as you proceed is a good idea. It keeps you from getting lost, and gives you an better idea of what your final painting will eventually look like.

Here's a look at the initial tones puts down for my painting of the incredibly sexy Andree Melly from THE BRIDES OF DRACULA.

And the final painting, with the oil paint loaded up nice and thick, but the tones still holding.

Love that Andree...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Count Charcoalula

Charcoal can be a tricky medium. It takes practice to master the gentle touch required to create delicate middle tones. These are the tones that create the most depth, which is what you want if your piece is going to have the illusion of three dimensions. The lightest and darkest tones create the "punch" - the eye-catching drama - but without those vital variations of middle tone, the piece can end up looking flat.

This charcoal sketch of Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula from ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (my favorite Lugosi performance) has strong lights and darks, but it is those middle values that really give it life.

"I have other ways of securing your cooperation...Look into my eyes..."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Re-Wrapping The Mummy

A little lesson on why it is sometimes worth the effort to go back and re-examine a piece that just didn't work out the way you envisioned.

This oil of Boris Karloff as Ardath Bey, a.k.a. THE MUMMY, was my very first classic monster painting. It seemed fine while I was working on it, but I was still learning the process at the time, and so I rushed it. I didn't listen to my inner Gogos, and was too much of a hurry to see the final result. It wasn't until is was "finished" that I noticed the problems with the sketch itself - the proportions were way off, so the likeness suffered.

For almost a year that painting sat on my studio floor, and every time I passed by it I would grimace. Finally, while in the middle of another painting, I had had enough. I put the new piece aside and put this one back on the easel. Within an hour, I had captured the image I had always imagined it would be. Suddenly I loved the painting I had shunned for so long. In fact, I now liked it so much I decided to take it a step further, and glazed color onto it's Burnt Umber and Titanium White tones. The result was so worth the effort, I was only sorry I hadn't resolved to fix it sooner. See for yourself...

The original painting...

The revised version...

And the final, glazed painting.

Lesson learned.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Not-Nearly-As-Dark Knight

I really enjoyed THE DARK KNIGHT, but nothing will ever replace the loving memories of Adam West (my ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE co-star) as the Caped Crusader. Utterly goofy but inescapably charming, the 60's BATMAN series provided this eight-year-old viewer with hours of two-part action-packed imagination.
This tribute is actually a composition of four individual drawings - Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, Cesar Romero as The Joker, Adam as Batman and Burgess Meredith as The Penguin. And each had their own theme music. Can you sing them all?