The 12 Paintings I’m Showing at DragonCon

I’m headed to DragonCon this year.

It’s my first time appearing in their annual art show.

The show will be loaded with great artists, including all of these talented folks here.

As for me?

I’m bringing twelve canvas paintings.

Here they are, each with a little story included:

‘Serpents of Sorrow’ – A collaborative piece created with sculptor Tahina Morrison. I’d never really painted snakes before this. We tried to capture a tragic Greek pose. Did we succeed? You be the judge.

‘The Spider God’ – Detailing the gears, pipes, and machines took days…and days. Some people have said the mess behind the Spider God is too much, but I loved creating it. This giant piece currently dominates my basement.

‘Pierced’ – I wanted to create something sensual without being overtly sexual. Along came this girl. I poured the watercolors on with reckless abandon…and then inked the girl in with soft, serene colors.

‘Summoning Tree’ – Most of my paintings contain metallic, muted colors. I wanted to bring one LOUD piece to DragonCon just to offset the softer stuff. Along came Summoning Tree, whose reds and yellows burn with the intensity of many suns. This one was pure chaos to create.

‘The Nemesis’ – I’m not really a fan of most video game art. But the Dark Souls series inspires me. I can’t stand the game – it’s too hard. The art…on the other hand. This giant piece, I painted atop another, much older painting. His armor turned out really well, I think.

‘Be Silent’ – My favorite collaborative piece of all time. The girl, her crown, the swirling colors in the background…it all just came together. This one is on prime display in my living room. If she sells, I’ll miss her badly.

‘Underworld King’ – Right back to the dark stuff. I wanted to mix a furious range of colors to complement Tahina’s skull work. Somehow, my violent splash of reds, blacks, and golds came together. This painting is big…and intense. (My kid is terrified of it.)

‘Season of Shadows’ – It’s no secret I like to paint trees. Usually split-color, leafless, tormented branches. This one is among my most favorite. The reds and blacks pretty much exploded onto the canvas.

‘Beauty and the Blade’ – The concept here is an (almost) immortal goddess. In a fit of extreme vanity, she wants to prove nothing can harm her. But her blade strikes home, and she learns even goddesses can die.

‘Charon’ – The Boatman. The Ferryman of the River Styx. I love painting bones and bone textures. This one is based off an actual deer skull I keep on my bookshelf. Zoom in to see the dark sigils on his face.

‘Lucifera’ – She’s loosely based on a Danzig album cover. She’s also one of my oldest paintings, marking the first time I really got into using metallics. I hang her over my stairs, which she watches without ever sleeping. I suppose her scream will never end.

‘Rapture’ – A lone girl, connected to machines which ensure she’ll never die, awakens in a tangle of shadows and snaking tubes. She’s something other than human now. Long after we’re gone, she will remain…

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Hopefully you enjoyed this sneak peek.  Come see the originals at DragonCon 2018.  They’re much more impressive than these little thumbnails.  They’re also for sale at very reasonable prices.

…mostly because I’m not yet famous. 🙂

For more of my dark (usually) art, try this.

Dark New Cover Art – Let the Bodies

In the old world city of Ellerae, one person goes missing every day.

Poor little Mia doesn’t stand a chance.

Or does she?

Let the Bodies

One dead. Every night. Forever…

With new cover art by Tahina Morrison…

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Let the Bodies also appears in the short novel – The Hecatomb.

The cover art (The Shroud) is available as an original painting here.

J Edward Neill

It’s Etsy’s Birthday, and We’re Discounting ALL Our Art!

June 18 – June 22

Lustrous prints

Original 3D sculpted art

Fantastical & dark paintings

Everything 15% off ALL WEEK LONG!

Visit our shop – ShadowArtFinds – right here.

View a few samples of our latest art right here:

Every Sketch I’ve Done in the last 12 Months

For about half of the paintings I create, I begin by drawing a detailed pencil sketch.

And…

My favorite subject to draw is beautiful women. And demons…let’s not forget demons.

During the painting process, often many of the subtle pencil textures are lost. Paint flows atop soft pencil strokes, hiding much of what once existed.

For this reason, I like to photograph my sketches before I begin painting atop them. The original sketches are almost separate pieces, and I cherish them as much as I do the finished product.

So here we go…

Every pencil sketch I’ve photographed in the last 12 months…

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To keep up with my latest art, follow me on Facebook.

Get into our art here.

J Edward Neill

Why Must I Art?

 


It’s 11:30 PM on a Monday night. The wind howls against my glass-paneled door. The branches of an old oak scrape against the roof. A little black cat named Bacon makes figure-eights around my ankles.

My concentration never breaks.

I’m in a zone, and nothing in the world can touch me.

It’s on nights like these, with a glass of scotch in hand and a Hans Zimmer soundtrack thrumming, I’m happiest. My rickety wooden easel stands before me, and my paintbrush flies. I can’t quite remember the exact moment I decided to start making art again. As a kid and a teenager, I’d done the same, but many years have passed since then. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like to shut the world out and make pictures.

What am I doing here?

Recapturing my youth?

Striving to be the next Van Gogh or modern-day Michelangelo?

Gunning for likes on Facebook?

Nope. None of these.

The music drops off into a somber violin piece. It’s something by Olafur Arnalds. I’ve just messed up while drawing the curve of a woman’s lower lip, and my eraser is on the move. Lower lips are hard sometimes, especially when drawing them from a side-view perspective. But I’ll get it right. Another sip of Balvenie, and I’ve fixed it. Instead of pouty, she looks deadly serious. Just wait til I add her horns:

Princess Oblivia

I don’t have to do art. I want to. I do it because I love it, I think. But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like an imposter. I’m not classically trained. I don’t have a specific job in the field. No one will ever ask me to illustrate their comic book, draw their company logo, or paint a portrait of their dog. It’s a good thing, too. Commissions can mean big money for some artists, but I just can’t do it. I can’t. I paint what I want to paint. If that’s not good enough, so be it.

And I definitely don’t want to paint someone’s dog.

It’s late now. Late, late. My kid, the G Man, has curled up on the couch and fallen asleep with his favorite book in hand. It’s a Calvin & Hobbes anthology. Everyone’s kid should read it. The art is neat, Calvin is hilarious, and there’s a bit of philosophy paired with every little panel. Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes’ creator) is pretty much a genius. With a few pen strokes and splash of philosophy, he’s made his art come alive. He fills a need we didn’t even know we had.

And maybe that’s why I’m painting. To satisfy some philosophical need. To ponder my existence while I paint. To separate myself from the world so completely that nothing else exists besides my tiny atmosphere of music, liquor, and art.

My phone is silent. I don’t want to hear it ring…or even vibrate. The world can go ahead and end. I’ll be happy if I’m the last to know.

I don’t have cable TV, satellite, or Netflix. I don’t want to consume everyone else’s creativity. I need to embrace my own.

I’m tired. I’m tipsy. The bones in my hands sing with pain from pounding on a punching bag earlier in the day.

But my paintbrush is steady.

…and the table beside me is a mess.

Truth is, when I decided to start creating again, art wasn’t my first choice. Some thousand years ago – or maybe it was only fifteen – I decided the best way to escape was to write books. Long books. Sloppy existential fantasy books no one would actually want to read. If I’m honest, I did it to escape my marriage. My life. My responsibilities. Everything.

But writing didn’t bring me peace. Turns out, while making words is great for the mind, it tends to injure the soul. Long stretches of solitude tucked away in a black room can unsettle even the most steadfast heart. And the time commitment, often several months for even the most pedestrian-length book, is all-consuming. It hurts. Sometimes a lot.

Art, on the other hand…

In a few hours, one can draw something beautiful. And one can be at utter peace while doing so.

Given a full night, an artist can conceive a surreal world and splash it onto a canvas. While sipping wine, listening to music, and carrying on a rich conversation with anyone in the room.

And in a week…well…

Art can be whatever its maker desires. It’s a quick commitment, short and satisfying. It’s a month-long project, with each session bringing a creator visibly closer to the ecstasy of completion. It’s a study of pencil strokes, the movement of watercolor across paper, or the feel of broad lashes of a brush thick with scarlet paint.

I’m no fan of poetry. At least not the kind that uses words. But perhaps art is poetry of another kind. The poetry of motion. The passion of turning shapeless blobs of paint into visible, touchable emotion.

…or sometimes just pretty girls with demon horns surrounded by coins.

Lately I’ve been co-painting. I’ve paired with a fellow artist to create things I’d have never thought of on my own. It’s just another reason making art is sometimes a more powerful elixir for one’s self than writing literature. Writing or painting by oneself can be self-restricting. It can lead one to fall into a creative vacuum.

But art made in the company of other artists…it’s like a conversation in a crowded room. It’s fluid. It allows ideas to flow uninhibited. She sculpts something, and I give it color. I draw a tree, a woman, or a demon, and she makes it real.

If you’ve never tried it, invite your friends over to paint with you. Pour something delicious into a glass, silence your phones, set Spotify to random, and fall into your art together. Doesn’t matter how seriously you take it. Chances are, you’ll feel all your stresses melt away.

Maybe that’s the reason. Maybe…

Melting the world, escaping into a 16″ x 20″ piece of stretched canvas, forgetting about your pain, your job, your mortgage. Maybe it’s not about the actual art, but the catharsis. The quick creation of worlds more appealing than our own. Or the exorcism of our fears by painting something terrifying…and realizing our imaginations are more powerful than reality.

My co-artist, Tahina. Her smile is divine. Her hat is…questionable.

It’s morning now. I’m crawling out of bed, and I’m slow to greet the world. My head hurts, my knuckles are sore, and it’s cold in here.

I don’t really want to wake up.

But I know if I do, there’s a canvas downstairs awaiting me. It’s blank and ready to be filled with shadows.

Once I pick up my favorite brush, I’ll be hooked. The sun will rise, the music will play, and I’ll fall away from this world.

…and into my own.

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J Edward Neill

Selling the Last of my Shadows

This gallery contains 14 photos.

 The ORIGINAL canvas art for J Edward’s most popular paintings are now available. The paintings are here. Interested buyers should reach… Read more

Thursday Art Assault – Wood Panel Warfare

At DragonCon 2017, I wandered the art gallery for what seemed like eons.

I encountered stunning fantasy art of all kinds. I found light, darkness, and everything in-between.

But then I stumbled upon something I’d never really seen before. An artist – I admit I don’t know her name or website – had created a large quantity of long, narrow paintings on slender wooden panels.

For me, a guy who has always focused his work on canvasses, gesso boards, and plain old paper, the idea of painting on peculiar-sized chunks of wood transfixed me.

I knew at once I had to try a few of my own:

I started with these:

Pieces of an old picket fence. About 20″ long – 4″ wide. Cut, dried, and sanded to a smooth finish.

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And I moved on to these:

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Here’s an up close shot of my favorite plank, The Sorcerer:

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After finishing a ton of smaller planks, I tried a giant plank. This one’s 6′ tall and 12″ wide. It was a true pleasure to paint:

Started with this…

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…and finished with this.

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I admit I loved making these so much, I’ve got another six planks drying on my deck right now. Meaning…more are soon to come.

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Want to learn more? Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

And…you might also like these.

J Edward Neill

Painter of shadows