With all the emphasis on our new book (Airship of Fools), I thought it would be nice to show the cover art for the first book. This will also give most of you a chance to see the entire painting as well; by the time the text lines and graphic devices were added, 15%-20% of the image was lost.
I loved doing this painting because it was created with my old process (airbrush/paint/pencil) that actually a lot more fun to do with the wide variation in tools and activity. I think that this process also makes a painting with a bit more “pop” to it.
My signature piece during the late 1980s. Airbrush, acrylic and colored pencil on hot-press watercolor board. I don’t have the dimensions handy but I am thinking it’s about 24″H X 20″V.
Looking at this painting conjures up some very conflicting memories. I did it in the late summer of 1986: I was suffering through the initial onset flare of ankylosing spondylitis which brought with it chronic severe back pain interspersed with spasms in my chest and an elevated sedimentation level in my blood that had the doctors considering rheumatic fever at first. We were living in Orem, Utah so it was very hot – but I did have a second story studio over the garage which provided me with a nice cross breeze. I was listening to John LeCarre novels on books-on-tape and I was extremely homesick. I had been able to fly north for my sister Robin’s graduation the previous spring but the visit just wasn’t long enough for my taste
So, I look at this and think of homesick spies with back-aches sweating in 90 degree weather with 0% humidity….
16″ X 24″ Acrylic on Masonite. This got very little exposure. I did it in late 1993/early 1994 right as I was going into my “Trap-jaw” palette phase.
I had read Dune several times since discovering the book in 1969 but had yet to find an ornithopter that I liked… so I came up with my own. Using chartreuse as the Atreides green house color might be pushing things a bit, but not nearly so much what I did with one of the moons. According to the book there was a “mouse in the moon” instead of a “man in the moon”; if you check carefully you can find a Mickey silhouette in one of them.
I only had the painting for a year–a good friend took it as down payment on the metallic blue “waterboxer” VW Vanagon that we drove the wheels off in the late 1990s….
Even though this was the sixth game cover I produced, it was one of the first to see print. I did a number of covers for Howard Thompson at Metagaming in early 1980 but for various reasons they were either delayed or never saw print…which is disappointing. Howard assigned art as “work-for-hire” and kept all the originals–and I was not consistent at first about documenting my work.
This shows that “movie poster” influence that I came out of undergraduate studies with. It was no accident that the M60 was part of the composition–I was a platoon leader at the time; during the week I was painting this at night but I was with my machine gunners qualifying at the range during day… and I wasn’t going to waste good reference!