Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This was the first of eight covers done in 2002-3 for a series of books by L.M.Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. The series was called The Story Girl Of Avonela, published by Zondervan. In the story, the main character always wears red clothing and is prone to odd hats. She also tends to be a leader to the gaggle of kids that are her pals, often reading to them, so, to introduce her in this first book I had her sit close to the viewer, apart from the other kids, book in hand. My interest was mainly on the lovely face of Amber, a fresh young model, who has a beautiful, exotic look. She appears on all of the books in the series. I posed her in a position reminiscent of Renaissance figures, this appearence further enhanced by the abundant drapery of her dress. To help give her a plane that was distinct from the background I used a device I've employed before, a flattened plane of overhanging leaves. In this case the sun, shining through them making them glow and gave me an excuse to hit her with areas of intense sunlight. It also alowed me to minimize the detail of the background scene, which is a good thing, because it would have been incredibly hard to paint all that small stuff and would have competed with the main figure. But my favorite reason for using the overhanging leaves is for the graphic effect of forcing the eye back and forth between the flat composition and the spacial illusion of depth. Between a flat pattern and an image you look into. It's a theme I return to constantly!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


This image is the cover illustration for PC Cast's latest book in her 'Divine' series, DIVINE BY BLOOD, which is not yet released. This image is meant to show the daughter of the woman in the previous books, who has inherited the divine powers from her mother. I have to give credit where it's due and the design for this image was devised by the art director, Kathleen Oudit, at Luna. She came up with a powerful concept that was exciting to work with. This is really a pleasurable symbiosis, whene the artist and director are so much in sync that ideas flow back and forth freely. Thanks, Kathleen! And thanks, PC, for coming up with a story of such imagery!
Anyone who notices a resemblance in these covers to work by Maxfield Parrish is correct. He was a major influence and we set out to emulate his paintings, but, of course, do it in our own way. One of the ways I keep my art fresh is to continually look to the past for inspiriation. What I love is how an idea becomes transformed as it gets reinterpreted. Cross-cultural and across time, ideas get filtered through the culture we are living in. That's how we end up with crazy and wonderful things like the movie, MOULIN ROUGE. I'm sure Max did the same!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


This is an unpublished painting that is actually a predecessor to my Forces Of Nature series. I painted this to try and push the illustration market in a direction I wanted to go. I've tried this many times over the years and it almost never works! Well, not right away. Sometimes it take years for the publishers to decide it's a look they're after. This one never got me any work, and I don't know why.Maybe you all have some thoughts? It was intended to be a woman feeling the pleasure of awakening in this beautiful, somewhat fantastic setting. The comment it received most often was, " she looks lonely! ", not good for selling books, I guess. The publishers of romance interprted the image as if the girl awakened alone, maybe she spent the night alone, maybe nobody loves her!
For inspirationI took my cue from perfume and fashion ads where the woman is often shown alone, just looking beautiful. But I guess I broke one one of the unwritten rules of romance covers at that time.
I learned a lot doing this, just seeing how I could play with light and with the theme of a single girl. I think I was struggling with the realism of the scene, really wanting it to go into the magical realm, but it just teeters on the edge of fantasy. I guess I wasn't readu to push it over!