Maybe more than all my previous Painting with Darkness articles, this one has special meaning.
It’s the only piece I’ve done in the last three years that I didn’t work on in my epic painting studio.
And it’s the first I finished in my little shoebox apartment.
Presenting my walkthrough of ‘Ghostscape.’
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I hope you’ve got your reading glasses on. This is the soft pencil work I put on the canvas before a single drop of paint ever touched it. I’m not gonna lie; the geometry was challenging. See that circle in the center? It’s dead-on in the middle down to the millimeter. What’s special about it? To trace the circle I used the 60-year old mixer bowl my grandmother many times used to make my pancakes.
Begin the darkness: First I swirled watercolor blacks and sepia tones in the background. Then I used a hard straight-edge to paint in the black ‘towers’ jutting out of the sphere. And then…I added even more sepia and filled in the center sphere to give it depth.
More towers were needed. I realized I hadn’t added enough. Also, I darkened the center sphere. Also also also…I used pale watercolor blacks to slice in distant towers behind the hard, sharp foreground towers.
What can I say? I wanted even MORE towers. In this shot, although it’s hard to see, I used whites to give the towers a reflective quality. Like they’re made out of polished obsidian or some hard, dark otherworldly metal.
Now began the hard part. And by hard I mean TEDIOUS. Using a tiny brush and some titanium white paint, I started adding windows and doors to the towers. I imagined a ghost behind each window…and NOT a friendly one. At the time this picture was taken, I’d spent two hours just dotting in windows and adding texture to the towers.
Ghostscape – the final image. I like how the ring of lower tower lights frames the center of the sphere. It’s kind of a never ending city swirling around a tiny, terrifying planet. So…anyone up for a vacation?
Now…the only question is:
Which way to hang it?
In other words, which towers should point up, and which should point down?
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The original canvas of Ghostscape – Approx 24″ x 24″ – is available for sale for $300.00. Reach out to me at JEdwardNeill@DownTheDarkPath.com if you’re an interested buyer.
J Edward Neill
Author of novels A Door Never Dreamed Of and The Hecatomb