Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Krampus!

I work in a bookstore and it's usually around this time of the year when I can't help wanting Krampus to make a visit at the store, if only to shake things up a bit and remind people of good behavior. (Including me!)

In certain parts of Europe, it's traditional for Santa and Krampus to work as sort of a Good Cop/ Bad Cop team before Christmas. (Just by looking at Krampus, you can guess which one he is.) Infact, December 5th is devoted to Krampusnacht, which is now beginning to be celebrated in this part of the world. For those of you who wish Halloween came more than once a year, say hello to the big guy with horns!

He knows when you've been bad or good.

Grace Nuth of the wonderful blog Domythic Bliss originally introduced me to Krampus last year and I was honestly surprised I had never heard of him, considering that some of my family came from the part of Europe where he's most popular.
Grace has written an excellent blog post about our horned buddy: http://domythicbliss.blogspot.com/2012/12/gru-vom-krampus.html

So, for fun, I did a few cartoons of Krampus in my sketchbook that I hope to turn into color Christmas cards next year. My idea was to give him a Victorian look, even make him a bit dapper. I really just wanted to see him in a top hat.

Krampus dressed and ready for a night out on the town.
Note the pocket watch for keeping those
important appointments...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Horns and Wings and Hooves

It's been quite awhile since my last blog-post here on The Watcher Tree. I've been drawing and painting new pages for my ongoing graphic novel, Heaven and the Dead City, as well as updating and drawing new cartoons for my other blog Pre-Raphernalia. All this on top of a 40-hour a week day-job at a bookstore. (Rent, food and kitty litter are very important...)

I mostly wanted to use The Watcher Tree to show some of my other work, but there hasn't been a lot of time to do some full-color paintings. There will be some new ones coming (currently in progress) but in the meantime, here are some more older paintings of mine.

Centaur, 1997. Gouache on tinted blue watercolor paper.

This guy has gotten a lot of attention over the years and I suspect he likes it. This was one of the fastest paintings I ever did, done on one dull Christmas Day at my apartment in New Jersey. I had bought a pack of tinted watercolor paper that was fun to use--pages colored pastel shades of blue, yellow, pink, green and gray-- and this one was done on a blue sheet. The company that put out the tinted pads of paper has since discontinued them (I guess they weren't a big seller) but I loved them because they were ideal for gouache. I still have a pad I saved over the years, waiting for just the right subjects.

These paintings below were also done on the tinted paper:

Unicorn , 1997, gouache.
Done on green paper.

Kirins, 1997, gouache.
Done on yellow paper.

Fire Angel, 2005. Gouache.
This guy above was done on a few hot summer days in Arizona, not on tinted paper, but since this photo was taken, I painted the background in metallic gold to sort of make it look like gold leaf. Notice his conveniently placed drapery and feathers.
                                Remind me I need to do more handsome angels.

I mean... I need to do a LOT of handsome angels. And handsome devils, too. (Let's not forget them.)

Another angel, this time based on a pen and ink drawing I did a long, long time ago (in the prehistoric 1980's) of a six-winged seraph. I like to take early pictures I've done and do "remakes" years later. I have a few more college pictures that I still (sort of) like that I would like to retry and hopefully do a better job on. This was one of those.

Seraph, 2009. Gouache and colored pencils.

I had been looking at an art book on angels from the Pratt college library and trying to figure out how to arrange the six wings a seraph is described as having. I imagined them sort of displayed like the petals of a large flower. There's also some Asian influence in the seraph's armor and it's definitely my most unintentionally "Burne-Jonesian" looking picture.
Another angel painting I've done is this old watercolor one that I  made for my grandmother one Christmas. I'd like to do a remake of this one as well, with goauche this time and correcting several things about it. (The "editing process" of an old picture is also sometimes a fun thing to do. You get to bring in any new techniques or knowledge that you've acquired since you did the picture the first time around.  I talked a little about that in this post.) It's based on a Polish folktale and is now currently hanging on a wall in my parents' house.
The Lady and the Angel, 1995, watercolor.
Wings of a different kind:
Tooth Fairy, 2000, goache and colored pencils.


Over the years, I've done a few commissioned portraits of people in fantasy settings based on their own photographs or ones that I took of them myself. This one above is of the latter: a co-worker at one of the bookstores I worked at came up with the concept of being the Tooth Fairy and I took several photos of her posed on top of the bookstore counter as reference. (Um, not during store hours, of course.) She told me what kind of wings, outfit, etc., she would like but the scepter/ toothbrush was my own idea.

Toaster Dragon, 2010. Gouache, colored pencils.
My sister's boyfriend Rob Lanning commissioned me to do a few "Kitchen Dragons" which are currently (of course) hanging on the wall of his kitchen. The Toaster Dragon (above) is preparing one of Rob's favorites, peanut butter on toast. He's handy to have during a power outtage.

Sink Serpent, 2010. Gouache and colored pencils.
A handy creature who actually enjoys doing your dishes. (And this is the actual sink from my old apartment.) The soap bubbles took the longest to do in this picture.
So now I will set tasks for myself to try to do some more new color paintings to show you over the next year. And also look for more silly fun (with historical notes) on The Watcher Tree's  sister blog, Pre-Raphernalia.
And as I've mentioned in previous posts, I will also begin to present the first pages of my  graphic novel Heaven and the Dead City here very soon as well. (And you can read the first three chapters here: http://www.co2comics.com/pages/co2_heaven_and_the_dead_city.html )
Happy holidays all!