Friday, November 6, 2015

The Art of Storytelling!

Much of my work has a spiritual, mythological or psychological relevance where metaphors, symbolism and allegory are used to stimulate curiosity, provoke thought and encourage further inspection. Throughout my pictorial idiom, I employ a concept-based, message-driven approach, evoking the imagination and the senses. I want the onlooker to be intellectually engaged with an instinctual desire to look deeper into the work to discover hidden messages that lie within the layers of symbolic meaning.

The mixed-media painting entitled Masquerade of Wits, featured in Incite 3: The Art of Storytelling, is a highly conceptual portrait about the inner struggle to find clarity in a world that is often full of uncertainty, distractions and temptation. In the piece, a contemplative female figure is presented as a symbolic warrior who metaphorically fights against the forces that create despair, anxiety and fear in her life. The meditative subject looks inward through a symbolic mask. A physical manifestation of her internal psyche, the mask dissolves into the flesh to become one with the myriad levels of consciousness present in the mind’s eye. Like a protective shield, the apparitional, mask-like form displays imagery from ancient armor and military attire, reminiscing back to a time when the righteous always triumphed over the malevolent forces of evil. Olive branches, historically emblematic of peace, are introduced in the brass assemblage accent as well as intertwined throughout the war-inspired iconography to create an interesting dichotomy.

Considered windows to the soul, the eyes project a serene and crystal clear blue expanding from a flaming orange center. The complimentary color scheme alludes to the setting of the sun, when the light fades and darkness takes reign, creating a dynamic interplay between life’s often paradoxical forces. Although the eyes are astute sensory filters, they are not perfect interpreters of reality, as perception can often be misleading. In times of doubt and fear, the malicious Tempter intervenes, presenting a false reality that uses trickery to set one off balance. A masquerade of wits ensues where virtue and truth battle deception and deceit.

The overall design and the jewel-accented assemblage add-on above the eyes are both based upon the sixth chakra. Known spiritually as the third eye, the Anja chakra represents a mystical gateway to the inner realms of higher consciousness. For insight and enlightenment from the heavens above, the figure is presented as gazing, looking inward to evoke the third eye. Through meditation and prayer, teleportation from the limitations and boundaries of the external, earth-bound existence to the all-seeing world of nirvana that exists within is possible. In times of distress, the divine spirit that is forever omnipresent helps to guide the troubled soul on a path of hope and lucidity of mind and purpose. The indigo color, deep violet blue to a dark grayish blue, that is known in the all-seeing sixth chakra symbol is ever-present throughout the perimeters of the mixed media piece. The perfect symmetrical balance of the facial features and mask juxtaposed against the more cacophonic environment is highly significant, as it conveys the importance of maintaining one’s balance amidst the often surmounting chaos of life.



Inside us all there is a story just waiting to be told. It begins at childhood and develops gradually over time. With every encounter, observation and experience, the tale becomes richer with a more expansive intellect from which to draw. In the heart, an amazing adventure lays dormant, waiting for the right time, when all the pieces are in place, for the dream to come to fruition.

I have recently begun my own visual storytelling quest. I am in the midst of writing, designing and illustrating a fantasy-based visual novel. I have created a blog called FIGURE OF THE IMAGINATION to share with others my progress through this journey.

In the blog, I write about my content-driven, journal-based approach to fantasy art and visual storytelling. I also reveal details about my process, showing my latest fantasy works and other interesting insights. Be sure to check it out and subscribe to get up-to-date emails on all my new posts!

I also have an online workshop coming up in January 2016 that is offered online.

EXPERIMENTAL FIGURE PAINTING IN MIXED MEDIA: The Mythical Realm


Start Date: January 4 to February 12, 2016
Course Length: 6 weeks
Cost: $300

The mythical figure has inspired artists for centuries. Let it inspire you too! This highly informative online workshop will explore experimental approaches to painting the mythical figure in thematic fantastical settings, using both two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed-media techniques. Topics will include drawing and painting the fantastical figure, altering and restructure facial features and body proportions to create believable characters as well as painting magical landscapes and environments using mixed-media techniques.

All assignments will encourage in-depth research and exploration into a multitude of mythological, cultural and historical sources. Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Celtic, Norse, East Asian, African and Native American mythology, legends, fairytales and folklore are just some of the areas of prospective interest. Artists are also encouraged to develop their own mythological stories to illustrate. We will focus on the creation of message-driven art through the use of symbolism, metaphor and allegory as well as anagrams, visual puzzles and hidden messages. The use of storyboarding for narrative works in series whether for a gallery wall, book layout, video presentation or online experience will also be discussed. Other topics will include the use of costuming, decorative motifs and ornamentation, cultural iconography and architectural detail in works of the mythical realm.

With visually inspiring imagery, insightful readings, thought-provoking videos, creative exercises and step-by-step demonstrations, artists will discover a plethora of exciting two-dimensional and three-dimensional techniques to employ in their own fantastical works. This online workshop is for intermediate and advanced figurative artists who are interested in using mixed-media techniques to add that magical, transforming element to their work!

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