The Well III – A Lovecraft-inspired oil painting

Tentacles emerge from a subterranean well as sickly broiling vapors swirl around the misty oozing swamp. Luminous fungi cast an eerie radiance on crumbling stone as the slithering, ropy tentacles writhe in the moonlight.

Update 11-02-08: The Well III is done, go here to see the finished painting.

The Well III, oil on panel, 9x9 inches, work in progress 09-28-08

The Well III, oil on panel, 9x9 inches, work in progress 09-28-08

This painting is inspired partly by H.P. Lovecraft’s writings and his Cthulhu Mythos. It’s a kind of sequel to a couple watercolor illustrations I did and also a companion piece to my dark and creepy Lovecraftian song The Well.

I finished my Jovial Jack O’ Lantern painting directly before this and picked up some new techniques for painting grim grass, forbidding flora, slimy stone, and other such goodness. This is a rather small painting so I wasn’t able to cram in any tombstones or anything but I’m excited about the overall look and feel of the painting, there’s something super creepy and cool about steaming swamps and weird glowing mushrooms. I’m starting to figure out what I like painting the most: creepy night scenes with fog and smoke and lots of glowing stuff (like Dream City #1 and Jovial Jack O’ Lantern :B).

Cracky Chan update 7

OK OK I know 7 updates is a bit much but I want a better pic here so this is taken outside in better lighting and I fixed some stuff, Cracky Chan painting almost done booya zooomy zoom:

Cracky Chan work in progress 09-24-08

Cracky Chan work in progress 09-24-08

This painting has come a long way, if you saw my Cracky painting when I first started you might throw up and I would be embarrassed cuz it looked like garbage but I didn’t know it at the tyme. It still is pretty jacked up in some ways but when you see it in real life it looks rather sick with all the shiny reflections and gold and such so I still know that it is basically awesome and I’m bummed if I can’t get a better pic of it…will look better varnished though and in a fatty gilded gold frame. I say again…boo-ya, and I hope to post the final version in a week or so unless I freak out and change something again.

Jovial Jack O’Lantern (completed)

Jovial Jack O’ Lantern is done. It was really tough to get a good picture of this one, the retouching varnish made it quite glossy and the sky kept looking too light in the photo which it is not. I messed with the levels and such to get it as close as possible, but still it’s really a bit darker if you see it in person…I wanted this to have that old dark oil painting feel and I’m happy with the result. I like the mixture of kinda weird and creepy tombs with eyes and stuff vs. the happy-lookin pumpkin :)

Jovial Jack O' Lantern, oil on panel 11x14 inches, 2008

Jovial Jack O Lantern by Airn LeBus, oil on panel 11x14 inches, 2008

This is the fastest I have finished a painting, only a few weeks total (no idea how much actual time, maybe like 20 to 40 hours including the drawing and planning?), it was nice to have a deadline since it meant I couldn’t futz around too much when I should just say it’s done and had to plan it right and not paint over stuff completely…it’s INSANE as I look back at the Dream City #1 and Cracky Chan and other paintings, I have painted over them so many times! When those paintings are done I will post all the major versions just fer fun.

Jovial Jack O’Lantern (update 2)

I’m excited about my Jovial Jack O’Lantern painting (work in progress):

Jovial Jack O Lantern work in progress 09-13-08

Jovial Jack O Lantern work in progress 09-13-08

It’s cool too to know people will see it in real life…most of my stuff, for instance the Priestess of Dagon painting, looks a lot better in real life, even though I am not glazing or anything which creates light effects that are impossible to witness except in real life. That makes me happy…digital art can never reproduce the sort of feeling you get looking at something like a Rembrandt painting in real life. The first time I saw one of his paintings I totally connected with it in a way that left me astounded and literally feeling like there was a living person peering at me from within the frame. I’m rather far from that point but my stuff still looks better in real life than the crappy snapshot photos I’m posting on here :)

OK, anyway I like doing the embossed/engraved stuff with stone, I hadn’t tried it until now but I’m all into it. Doing the grass and stuff and the lichen and moss on the stone has also been a lot of fun! This painting has taught me a lot so far and I will use some of the knowledge on two other paintings I have in progress that have stone and outdoor night scenes. Hurray for creepy moonlit night scenes!

Priestess of Dagon completed

This painting is done.

Priestess of Dagon, (after Bouguereau, kinda), oil on panel, 9x12 inches

Priestess of Dagon, (after Bouguereau, kinda), oil on panel, 9x12 inches

Another Lovecraft-inspired painting, it started out as a study of a Bouguereau painting (see initial post) but I deviated pretty completely from it except for some shading and the pose. This was another painting that I didn’t plan out at all but kept painting over stuff and learning as I went along. This is the most complete portrait-thing I’ve done so far, the first one outdoors with a landscape background.

Dream-City #1 (update 5)

Here’s the latest update to my Dream-City oil painting…actually about a week old but I got a good pic of it in outside lighting with dry paint today so I’m able to post a picture where you can actually see the sky and such :) This is still a work in progress.

Dream-City work in progress 09-10-08

Dream-City work in progress 09-10-08

Look at the Dream City category to see all posts on this topic where I talk more about the painting and such.

Jovial Jack O’Lantern with Extra Jocundity

This is still a work in progress, but here’s what I have so far. Not sure of the name yet, probably something like Jovial Jack O’ Lantern in Happy Graveyard…this is oil on panel, 11×14 inches (work in progress):

Jovial Jack O Lantern WIP 09-09-08

Jovial Jack O Lantern WIP 09-09-08

I’m submitting this painting to a local Santa Barbara show, Noches De Los Muertos, which is at the Muddy Waters coffee house starting October 1st. It’s all Day of the Dead and Halloween art. My painting is a happy pumpkiny jack-o’-lantern that dwells in a spooky graveyard…

I planned this painting out much better than I ever have before, partly since I have a deadline this time: about 1 month from starting, and I need to factor in 4 days at least to let it dry before putting on retouching varnish. I spent several days planning this out with pencil and paper and in Photoshop where I did a semi-final drawing and did some color-study type stuff. I then drew it in pencil on the panel, at first I used a grid drawn on the panel to help transfer the drawing but ending up drawing in my vanishing points and perspective lines (it’s 2-point perspective) and mostly using that instead. Although the drawing is pretty simple it still took a long time for me to plan it out and get it right…the vanishing points were off the side of the panel too so i did this hokey thing where I taped strips of paper that contained the horizon and vanishing points in order to get the perspective on all the tombs and gravestones and such correct.

I then did a rough painting in acrylic which reminded me how much I suck at using that medium :) After a couple sessions when everything was blocked in I started the official oil painting which progressed much more to my liking than the acrylic did…I can’t believe how crazy fast acrylic dries after getting used to oils for many months!