Earth Magic and Forest Dreams

This week I finished a new painting for my Earth Rituals series, Forest Dreams. It’s actually the second painting I’ve finished for this series, but the first can’t be shown due to an NDA (Non-disclosure Act). It’s been a strange experience not being able to share that painting. I feel it shows a progression of where I’m going with my art, leaving this new painting without an anchor. Alas, it is, what it is. After a rough month and a half in my every day life, it felt good to truly dive into this painting. I hope it touches you, as it has me.

Forest Dreams by Amanda Makepeace

Earth and magic,
Roots and stones,
Azure circles sown.
Whispers and wings,
Tendrils and leaves,
Forest dreams weave.

This painting, like Signs and Symbols, is set in the dream forest. But unlike the young man’s journey, which only brought him to the space between the two worlds, here we are fully immersed. The young woman is a fae, dreaming her magic into the earth. Her magic gives rise to a blue fairy circle.

If you’re going to Dragon Con this summer, you can see her in the Art Show. I’ll also have limited edition prints available to order starting next week in my shop.

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www.amandamakepeace.com

Support my Art on Patreon!

Two Years Later

Dragon Con 2016Two years ago, around this same time, I was preparing for my first convention as an artist. I’m doing the same now, for the same convention–Dragon Con. Genre art (fantasy, science fiction, horror) for me at the time was still a relatively new venture. I grew up on late 70’s and 80’s genre films. As a teenager I was consumed by Stephen King and other speculative fiction authors. You’d think this would be reflected in my art, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I began letting myself explore. A wall in my psyche came down and my art evolved. Two years later I was at Dragon Con and now another two years later I’m returning. In that time, I’ve continued to explore, evolve and learn.

I began thinking about what I truly wanted. What did I want to create with my art? What did I want to say? Did I need to say anything? That introspection gave birth to Renascentia. She is the first painting I felt connected to on a deeper level and I realized I need that connection. It reminds me of this quote I heard recently:

If you don’t feel anything for the painting your working on, your viewers won’t either.

When I brought Renascentia to Jordan Con in 2015, I realized the truth of these words. However, I still hadn’t figured out what I wanted. The vision in my head was still veiled in mist. It took nearly another year for me to begin piecing together what I now call Earth Rituals. I’m creating a body of work around this idea of connecting with the earth, but it’s not the only art I plan to make. I will continue to make purely nature art, delve into Sci-Fi, and whatever else catches my fancy.

Dusk OwlBut what have I done and learned over the last two years?

  1. I learned how to create art from direction.
  2. I ran a successful kickstarter and printed a book.
  3. I won Judge’s Choice from Todd Lockwood. O_O
  4. I signed my first contract with a small games publisher.
  5. I knew this already, but it was reaffirmed–true friends are invaluable.
  6. I will break my no dancing rule if you give me mixed drinks.
  7. I learned I don’t really enjoy game illustration.
  8. I learned you can be a part of a large community and still feel utterly alone.
  9. I learned there’s an art to using Instagram.
  10. I enjoy licensing art for book covers more than custom commissions.
  11. I learned I just want to create my own art, on my own terms.
  12. I guided my daughter through her last year of high school and into her first year of college.
  13. I was invited to be a member of Changeling Artist Collective.
  14. I launched a Patreon campaign that’s still going.
  15. I rediscovered my love of graphite and drawing.
  16. I’ve had a taste of being an art director (large project in progress now).

Ultimately, I’ve realized I’m not an illustrator, nor do I really want to be. Sure, there may be some overlap occasionally. If a project fits my vision and my style I might jump on board. But at the end of the day, I’m an artist. I think my art will always hover between fine art and the fantastic. In some cases it will sway back and forth between the two. That’s okay.

Forest Dreams WIP

From my current work in progress, Forest Dreams.

Art of the Fantastic

We all have favorites. Favorite movies, books, authors, etc. But does everyone have favorite artists? If they don’t, they should. The worlds of the imaginary and mythic are sometimes the most inspiring of all. They are dreams brought to life. Here’s a few of my favorites from living artists you can support now–today.

Artists: Marcela Bolivar, Brom, John Picacio, Stephanie Law, Reiko Murakami, John Jude Palencar, Charles Urbach, Michael Parkes, Omar Rayyan, and Lauren K Cannon.

Who are your favorite artists?

The Changeling Artist Collective

Changeling Artist Collective

change·ling

ˈCHānjliNG/

noun

  1. a child believed to have been secretly substituted by fairies for the parents’ real child in infancy.

Changeling. The word itself conjures fantastical visions and now it’s also the name of a new Artist Collective founded by Rachel Quinlan. I’m honored to be a part of an extraordinary group of fantasy artists. Each month we’ll be hosting themed auctions on our Facebook Page. The first auction, Bugs and Beasties, launches July 13th! You can also follow updates on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

And now for what matters most–the Artists behind the Changeling Artist Collective! If you’re following our Facebook Page you’ll be introduced to these artists, one by one, in the coming weeks.

Rovina CaiKristina CarrollIris CompietCollette J EllisTiffany EnglandSam GuayEmily HareJana HeidersdorfJayde Hilliard-SimpsonMaggie IvyHeather Hitchman LambertEmma LazauskiAmanda MakepeaceSerena MalyonBelinda Jane MorrisFergal O’ConnorRachel QuinlanAngela Rachelle Sasser,
Anna K. SzalasTiffany TurrillAnja UhrenJabari Weathers, Ren Willows

 

Fae and Unicorns and Bugs… Oh My!

June FaeYou were with me till I mentioned bugs, right? Hear me out! These are three fun art challenges happening in June. Like #mermay and #inktober, artists will be sketching/drawing/painting daily based on one or a combination of these themes. You’ll be able to follow these hashtags on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook:

#JuneFae – All things Fae: Fairies, Pixies, Brownies, Hobgoblins, etc.

#Junicorn – That’s right, a month full of unicorns!

#JuneBug – Bugs!!! Bugs aren’t your thing? Are you sure… The insect world is full of beautiful creatures like moths and butterflies.

These daily art challenges are open to everyone and it’s up to you whether you post daily or maybe weekly. Tag your posts with one or all of the challenge hashtags. Invite others to join in! Art challenges are a great way to explore new mediums, improve upon a skill or break out of a creative funk.

I’m going to use the challenge as part meditation and part art experiment. Much of my art tends to be detailed and leans more toward realism. For #JuneFae I’ll be creating spontaneous little tree sprite doodles with Walnut Ink (and occasionally with a little gold pigment added). These mini paint sketches will be a fun departure from my usual work! Below is a test sprite I doodled this week in preparation.

Tree Sprite by Amanda Makepeace

 

Here are some of my artist friends who will be participating too.

On Friday’s throughout June, be sure to also tag your #junefae art with #fairyfriday. Meredith Dillman will be sharing posts to her @FairyFriday Twitter account!

Art Show: Jordan Con 2016 Tomorrow!

JordanCon 2016

It’s time once again for JordanCon! I’ve been consumed lately preparing for the Art Show. Consumed. I got behind earlier in the year when I was working on a painting for a secret project. I still can’t share that painting and it’s slowly killing me inside. Ha! But attendees at JordanCon will get a sneak peek if they buy one of my prints or an original from my bay. A crop of the painting is on the backside of my new business cards! I will be carrying some business cards on me too, if you’re brave enough to come up to me.

This year is a little different than last. I’m officially a Guest of the convention. Just a small guest, but a guest. Yay!! Saturday morning, attendees should head to the Washington room, across from the Art Show. At 11:30 a.m. four artists, including myself, will be playing Win, Lose or Draw. I promise you it will be hilarious.

Win, Lose or Draw at JordanCon

You can see almost all of the art I’m bringing to JordanCon in this public Facebook Gallery – JordanCon Art Show. I’ve pointed out which pieces will have prints in the print shop too. As always, I’m open to talking about my pieces if anyone is curious about my process and inspiration.

I’m heading out today around 5 p.m. for Atlanta. See you soon JordanCon!

Pencils, Paint, and Pain – Tyrants of the Dead Art

It was long and difficult journey to publish my first three fantasy books.

I spent ten years writing them…then another two years in rewrites.

Along the way, I created and commissioned a ton of art for the series. Some of it was inspirational. Other pieces were meant as cover art, and still others for marketing.

Today I’ve brought a ton of it together. Think of this as a unified sketchbook. It includes pieces by the elegant Amanda Makepeace, the gifted Eileen Herron, and the super savvy Damonza.

Please enjoy the art of my Tyrants of the Dead series, which includes the novels Down the Dark Path, Dark Moon Daughter, and Nether Kingdom:

Ur Orig Sketch

Let’s start with a dirty little sketch I did. I sent it to Amanda Makepeace to aid her creation of Nether Kingdom’s cover art. You’ll see in the next pic how she took my humble idea and made it grand.

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Makepeace_DevourerofStars-500x358

Lady Makepeace’s full cover art for Nether Kingdom. This demonic dude is one of the Ur, the primary villains in the series. His skin is shadow, and his insides glow with starlight.

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Sarco

Here’s another bad, bad creature. This full-color piece was Eileen Herron’s vision of a Sarcophage (undead knight) who plagues the pages of book two in the series, Dark Moon Daughter. It’s one of my favorites.

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Dark Moon Daughter Createspace Kindle Front Cover LARGE

What’s this? Why, it’s the original Eileen Herron cover art for Dark Moon Daughter. I commissioned a full-scale painting, which still hangs in my bedroom to this day. Ultimately we went with something edgier and darker for the final cover, but I still love this piece.

 

DMD Warlock Image

This guy (in the lower right of the full painting above) is the only existing image of the malevolent Warlock. Ironically he was modeled after Eileen’s husband, who’s pretty much the opposite of evil.

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The Underhollows

Here’s a painting I did in 2015. I named it the Underhollows. It doesn’t appear in the books, but is meant to show what the world would look like if the villains won.

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Dark Moon Nether Kingdom Concept Dark Moon Daughter Interior Cover Art Cropped

Two Eileen Herron sketches of Andelusia, the series’ heroine.

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 IllyocHere’s a huge canvas painting I did called ‘Illyoc.’ It’s a bit abstract, I admit. It’s a view of the dark stronghold Malog, as seen from a balcony.

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NetherKingdomSKetchFUllCover

A conceptual piece Amanda Makepeace did. You can see how it’s the beginning of the Nether Kingdom cover. Pretty ghostly, yeah?

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Ur-Shadow-Sketch-390x500

Kinda looks like the killer from the Scream movies, yeah? It’s actually the first ever sketch of the Ur. Another Eileen Herron piece. Nice and creepy.

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Ande Cover 2 (GIMP)  Ande Full Body

These are shots of Eileen Herron’s original cover art for Down the Dark Path. Once again, she painted a large canvas for me which still hangs on my wall. The redhead is pre-darkness Andelusia. The guy with the flaming sword is Garrett Croft. The big red spiky ball was the concept for the evil Soul Orb. I love this painting. But as it turns out, it didn’t photograph well for the final cover. Check out the lone black lock of Ande’s hair. Hint…hint…

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Dark-Andelusia-Landing

Another Eileen Herron sketch of Andelusia. This is our heroine gliding out of the shadows. It’s a simple little drawing, but I’ve always been in love with it.

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Ande J Sketch Ande sketch DMD Ande11 Ande33

Early sketches of Andelusia by me (top left) Amanda Makepeace (top right) and Eileen Herron (bottom.)

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DepthsofUndergrave1md

A promo digital painting of Andelusia by Amanda Makepeace.

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BizCardBack

Here’s what the Soul Orb ended up becoming. This is just a sliver of Lady Makepeace’s cover work for Book I. And yes…those are bones!

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1 2 3 4

You’ve probably seen these before. I post them all the time. Book I is Amanda’s full cover art. The other three are paintings I did in 2015. The original canvas for Book II (Ghost Tree) ended up being a Christmas gift for a family member. The other two still hang on my wall at home. The painting for Book IV (Ocean of Knives) is epic-level huge, measuring in at 36″ x 48″. It took a month to paint!

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Dark_Moon_Daughter-InitialCover

 

This one was done by online professional, Damonza. He custom-did the entire thing based on a photograph of a woman I was dating at the time. That’s post-darkness Andelusia, and the eyes in the background belong to the Ur. This one is a fan favorite, probably because it’s so damn sexy.

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*furyonhoriz

Eileen Herron’s art for Down the Dark Path…the bookmark. That’s a Furyon knight, fully armored and standing in a storm. It’s a badass piece. I wish I could’ve found a way to make it work for a book cover. Maybe someday…

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 DarkMoonDaughterBackCoverFinalCreatespace

 This was the original back cover for Dark Moon Daughter, which I nixed after Damonza finished his sexy cover. This was my first ever attempt at making a back cover by myself. It’s not horrible (but not good, either.)

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The Emperors Vision

 Here’s The Emperor’s Vision, a painting I did in 2015. You can probably see the similarity to Book IV’s cover art. This is meant to be the dark city of Morellellus, in which the very first passages of Down the Dark Path open. It’s still one of my favorites. It was among the very first things I painted for the series.

Ocean 6

Finally, I did a piece called Ocean of Knives. It’s an expansion of The Emperor’s Vision. Same city, same concept, but four times the canvas space.  This painting would quickly become the cover art for Down the Dark Path – Book IV in the mini-series.

Also, here’s a bunch of sketches I did wayyyyy back in the day.

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse behind the scenes.

Love,

J Edward Neill

Signs and Symbols: the Last Painting of 2015

Through a forest of ash and mist he journeys to seek the truth.

Signs and Symbols by Amanda Makepeace

Ever since I completed Renascentia in January of this year, I’ve been mulling over the next step. For the first time in several years I felt as if I’d tapped into something inside me–something powerful. I knew it was the beginning of a new series of paintings, but my vision was still incomplete. It took most of this year for me to unravel the ideas behind what I’m now calling Earth Rituals. I’m not ready to reveal all, but simply put it’s a series of two types of paintings: 1. People communing with the Earth (like Renascentia) and 2. People communing with animals (like Signs and Symbols above). Later next month, I’ll delve deeper into how the idea for Earth Rituals developed. For now, I’ll say that the symbolism in the paintings is sometimes based in mythology and old religions; while other times, it may be a blending or creation of my own.

Stone EyeIn Signs and Symbols, a young man has entered a dream forest seeking the answer to a question. I leave the question up to you. He seeks a crow in the forest that will give him his answer.

What is a dream forest? – It’s a place where this world and the unseen one coexist.

What is on his hands/arms? – It’s a mixture of charcoal, earth and water. The symbol was drawn on top of the paint with talc.

What is that symbol? What does it mean? – The symbol comes from a stone I have in my personal collection. It’s one of my favorites and reminds me of an eye. In the painting, it allow’s the young man to see the spirit crow in the dream forest and to communicate with her.

What do you think he’s asking her?

If you’re going to JordanCon 2016 you’ll be able to see a framed, one of a kind embellished print in the art show! I should also have limited edition prints available in my shop in a few weeks.

amandamakepeace.com

Inspired by Tolkien

“Some of my kin look just like trees now, and need something great to rouse them; and they speak only in whispers. But some of my trees are limb-lithe, and many can talk to me.”

— J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers

Shepherd of the Forest

Tolkien’s Ents have always been a favorite of mine. I suppose that’s not too surprising if you know me well enough. If given the opportunity I’d spend an entire day roaming the woods. I only wish our forests were protected by such magnificent beings.

I created this shepherd specifically for the EBSQ Inspired by Tolkien exhibit. If you like him, click the LIKE button here: http://www.ebsqart.com/Art-Shows/Exhibits/Tolkien/429/1/

What Lies Beneath

Beneath the skin, beneath the ground, beneath the ______

October is full of art challenges. I’ve been having a blast with my Inktober adventure, but there was one other challenge I hoped I might tackle. Month of Fear is a weekly challenge in October. Each week has a different theme/prompt. The event has official artists participating, but anyone is free to participate. I knew I had no hope of creating a painting each week, so I decided on one.

The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.
– William Shakespeare

Second Skin by Amanda Makepeace

Supporters of my Patreon campaign has access to a Resource Pack that includes a GIF image of the painting’s progression, the Photoshop brushes I used, textures and reference. Now I better go catch up on my Inktober drawings!

2015 Chesley Award Winners

The 2015 Chesley Awards were held last night at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention,  in Spokane, Washington, USA. Congratulations to all the winners!!

The winners are:

Beneath the Surface by Jullie Dillon

Best Cover Illustration / Hardcover

Julie Dillon, Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology edited by Brandon Sanderson; Dragonsteel Entertainment, June 2014

Wildlife by Raoul Vitale

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback

Raoul Vitale, Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson; Prometheus/Pyr

Diver's Haul by Julie Dillon

Best Cover Illustration – Magazine
Julie Dillon, Analog, April 2014

Ekaterina and the Firebird by Anna Balbusso and Elena Balbusso

Best Interior Illustration
Anna Balbusso and Elena Balbusso, “Ekaterina and the Firebird” by Abra Staffin-Wiebe; Tor.com, January 2014

Alegretto by Michael C. Hayes

Best Color Work – Unpublished

Michael C. Hayes, Alegretto, Oils

Sphynx by Allen Williams

Best Monochrome Work – Unpublished
Allen Williams, “Sphynx” graphite

Mudpuppy by Dan Chudzinski

Best Three-Dimensional Art

Dan Chudzinski, The Mudpuppy, resin & mixed media

Pharika by Peter Mohrbacher

Best Gaming Related Illustration
Peter Mohrbacher, Pharika, God of Affliction Magic card, Journey into Nyx; WotC, May 2014

Song of Fire and Ice Calendar by Donato Giancola

Best Product Illustration
Donato Giancola, George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire 2015 calendar Bantam, 2014

Irene Gallo

Best Art Director

Irene Gallo, Tor & Tor.com

John Harris

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

John Harris

Are you a Daydreamer?

Summer Art Sale!

See what I did there? Admit it. I tricked you just a little. This isn’t a post about daydreaming, but if you use my coupon DAYDREAMER at checkout you can take 30% off your order! I haven’t had a big sale in my new shop yet and with the end of summer on the horizon I thought it was about time.

Art Show Prints you Missed

ArtShowPrints

Original Drawings

Drawings

Limited Edition Prints

LEPrints

Mandalas

MandalaPrints

And of course, I have signed copies of my volume one sketchbook Daydreams and Wanderings. My Summer Art Sale ends September 15th. Don’t miss out!

5 Random Reasons to Buy (my) Art

5 Reasons to Buy Art

1. Happiness 2x – Your happiness, owning something that inspires you and the happiness you impart to the artist for loving what they create.

2. Original paintings (and prints too!) make good conversation starters at parties.

3. You can show off to all your friends and they’ll think your rich and cultured.

4. It’s an investment you can pass on to your children and their children.

5. You’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve helped support a living artist, not a dead one.

*****

http://makepeaceart.storenvy.com

Looking for an original you don’t see in my shop? I don’t always list my large framed paintings online. Get in touch, let me know what you’re interested in buying (payment plans available!).

Magical May Art and Print Sale

Magical May Sale

I thought it was about time I had a sale to celebrate my new shop. I’ve been slowly moving away from Etsy in favor of a shop through Storenvy. Etsy has been great over the years, but my needs have changed. Here are a few things I love about Storenvy:

  1. I have a theme I edited to mimic the look of my website.
  2. There are no upfront fees. I only pay a small fee when something sells and my listings never expire.
  3. I can have ‘Coming Soon’ and ‘Pre-order’ items in my shop.

Ultimately, I wanted a shop that cost me less money and less time. I’m more focused on selling art offline than online, but for those that can’t buy from me direct my shop is the next best thing. For the entire month of May everything is 20% off when you use the code MagicalMay at checkout.

Did you miss out on my Kickstarter? My first sketchbook is bring printed now. You can pre-order a book in my shop!

Pre-order Daydreams & Wanderings

Didn’t have a chance to buy my art at JordanCon this year? I have a section just for Art Show prints!

Art Show Prints

Next week, prints of Renascentia will be available to order!

Renascentia Prints Coming Soon

http://makepeaceart.storenvy.com/

 

Keeping things in Check

I’m one of those people that believes in Karma–cause and effect. I believe that our Dharma plays a huge role in how we confront life’s challenges. I also believe there is a balance to everything. The world around us is always attempting to balance itself, to keep things in check, and when we live as close to this balance as we can life is good to us. I’m using words associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, but I’m not affiliated with either. This is something I’ve believed and thought about for the last 20+ years. It’s my brand of common sense. Is my life always stress free, full of serenity and enlightenment? Ha! I wish.

But there are moments when I see the dominoes falling into place and I know why. My gut tells me this was meant to be.

Last week I received word that I did not pass the DragonCon Art Show Jury. Was I upset? Not at all. I know that may sound crazy, but I had been giving some thought to not applying this year. What????

I’d just finished a painting called Renascentia (Latin for Rebirth). This painting… THIS painting.

Renascentia by Amanda Makepeace

I began working on this painting in 2014. I sketched her out over the course of a week and then set her aside while I worked on a commission. Then the Christmas holiday season hit, my daughter was home from school, and not a whole lot got done. But even so, each time I returned to the first stages of the painting my heart would beat a little faster. It was clear not everyone was as thrilled by this work in progress as I was, but I couldn’t let her go. Before the painting was even finished I had decided she would be on the cover of my sketchbook, Daydreams and Wanderings.

Daydream and Wanderings Funded!

It was in the weeks just before JordanCon, when my Kickstarter funded, that I knew Renascentia was the start of something new in my creative path. She is the beginning. So when the call came from DragonCon, I was not crushed because I’d already begun thinking that I wanted to focus on painting this summer, to follow this new path and see where it takes me. If I’d passed the jury, preparing for the art show would have consumed everything. It’s a lot of work! Plus, I was already going to JordanCon; where I would have to chance to meet some artists I admire, sell some of my own art and make some new connections.

However, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “You suck. You got into DragonCon last year but not this year because you suck.” LOL

And then, Renascentia was awarded Judges’ Choice for JordanCon 2015.

I wrote a blog post on my website about my JordanCon experiences. If you want the full scoop, click through! But I will share the comment Todd Lockwood wrote in response to that post:

The pleasure was all mine, Amanda! I don’t often get the opportunity to influence the choice of “Best in Show” or “Judges’ Choice,” but when I do, it’s the one painting in the show that I most wish -I- might have painted. That was yours. It was unexpected and compelling. Most worthy.

Dominoes falling into place…

Jordan Con – April 17-19

JordanCon

Tomorrow is the start of JordanCon 7, a fantasy convention founded in honor of Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series. I’m excited to be a part of this year’s Art Show and I hope it’s the start of many more to come. As you might suspect, Jordan Con features many Wheel of Time panels and events, but it’s not solely focused on Jordan’s fantasy world. If you love Fantasy Fiction, Art, Cosplay and Gaming you should come and join the fun!

I have large gallery space in the Art Show, with original art and limited edition matted prints for sale. I’m also going to have a small spot in this year’s first Print Shop! Here’s a taste of what I’m bringing to the Art Show.

I will be attending JordanCon, so if you see me and want to chat come say, hi! Since this is my first year, I decided not to lead a panel or have a dealer table. I’m there to have fun, meet some other artists and make some new friends.

What shapes your creativity?

We’ve all been shaped by our experiences in life, our past and our present. We probably don’t think about it enough, but as creative individuals those experiences play an important role in what we create. Though I’m conscious of this fact, I’m not sure how closely I’ve ever explored the little bits that have shaped me. Artist Meredith Dillman invited me and other artists to create an Influence Map. If you’re a member of deviantART, you’ve probably seen one of these:


Influence Map Template by fox-orian on DeviantArt

The creator mentions in his description that, you might discover some things about yourself doing this, and he’s right! I’ve decided I’m going to make two Influence Maps. This first map (below) contains my pre-2006 (when I turned 30 years old) influences that clearly still play a role.

Influence Map 1Art Inspired by Fantasy, Nature and Myth — that’s what I have printed on my business cards and it’s no lie. If I had to add anything I’d say there’s also a touch of darkness.

From the top (left to right):

Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory by Georgia O’Keeffe

O’Keeffe is the first artist I remember from childhood. My mother kept a book of her art on our coffee table. The cover of the book features one of her skull paintings. Skulls. I don’t think I need elaborate any further.

American Crow

I decided to feature the crow, but let’s just say he represents all birds and nature.

The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse

Again, let’s just assume all the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Magic, Fantasy, Nature…. But also the tone of the paintings, the introspection, the colors.

H.R. Giger

Everyone close to me knows my quiet obsession with his xenomorphs, but all of his art was (and still is) mesmerizing. The darkness!

The Black Unicorn by Michael Parkes

I’ve been a fan of Parkes’ paintings since my early 20’s and I have a few prints rolled up in my closet still. His dream worlds infused with myths and fairy tales are a delight.

The Unicorn Tapestries

I’ve loved these for a long time, longer than I even realized. It wasn’t until last year, when I saw a special screening of  Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn did it become clear. When I traveled to Paris in 2004 seeing the tapestries was on my list, but the museum was closed for maintenance.

Beauty and the Beast (with Laura Hamilton and Ron Perlman)

I’m not embarrassed at all to say I was obsessed with this tv show. There were many teenage tears shed when this show came to an end. I’ve been consumed with many television characters over the years, but only a few brought me a tears when the networks cancelled them. But hysterical fangirling aside, I loved the underground world in this story and the rich costumes. I wanted to live there!

Natural History 

That’s a photo of just a few things in my collection today. I’ve always loved collecting feathers, nests, rocks, bones, shells, etc. I had an impressive collection as a child and it’s still something I do today and incorporate into my art.

Jareth, the Goblin King

There are several movies I identify with from my childhood, movies that I would obsessively watch over and over again. Labyrinth is just one, but out of all of those I feel as if it left the most obvious mark. The movie even has a barn owl! Fantasy with a touch of darkness. I really wanted Sarah to stay with Jareth.

I’d been thinking a lot about where I’m going with my personal work, what makes my heart sing, even before making this influence map. I feel as if much of what I’ve been painting the last two years are just starter paintings. I’ve been exploring and learning a new medium, opening up my creativity–giving myself permission to be myself.

Renascentia by Amanda Makepeace

I think having a style is not something you discover, it’s more about being true to your self when you paint.

Discover More:  Facebook | Twitter | Convention Schedule  | Shop | Quarterly Newsletter

amandamakepeace.com

Whatnot Strikes Again

Whatnot is code for Amanda doesn’t have a blog post today. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whatnot usually means I’m busy in the studio and that’s a good thing! Here’s a run down of everything keeping me busy inside and outside the studio.

1. Preparing for the Jordan Con Art Show probably counts for at least three slots on this list. I’ll be displaying a mix of original works and matted prints. Yesterday I ordered a bunch of prints for their Print Shop. I’m working on three originals that I want to take with me next month. Here’s a peek at one I finished yesterday–Heart of the Forest in a beautiful frame.

Heart of the Forest Framed

2. There are 12 days left in my Kickstarter campaign for Daydreams and Wanderings. I’ve promoted more online this month than I have for my Etsy shop in the last 6 months. At this point I feel like I’m spamming everyone, but my artists friends say keep doing it! I’m so close at this point. There are 12 days left and I’m 91% funded. I’m terrified I won’t reach my goal.

3. Drusilla. She’s nearly 11 months old now and still a handful. Lately she’s become obsessed with carrots. I kid you not. I can’t open the veggie drawer in the fridge without her getting excited. She loves playing with the end of a baby carrot. She carries it all over the house, batting and playing. She also likes to hide them in boots, pockets and plastic bags. Carrot time is usually in the evenings so I can keep her occupied while we eat dinner. The rest of the day is a mixed bag. Earlier this week I caught her gnawing on Loki’s shoulder. She acts out when she wants attention or food. Here she is looking innocent. Don’t be fooled.

Drusilla and (Cardboard) Loki

4. I’m also in the early stages of a new commission for a book cover. That’s all I can say about that. 😉

5. I’ve also been working on various drawings, sketches and ideas for paintings to come. Some are ideas I’m returning to and rethinking. This has led to me really evaluate my art–where I want to go and what I want to paint. Many of the pieces I’ve created in the last two years were part of a learning journey, but though I tried to branch out and create specific types of fantasy art for my portfolio I kept being pulled to what moves me–the face. I’m not certain where I’m going, but I know it’s no use to fight the current.

Peek at a new drawing you'll see in my sketchbook

6. Reciprocal. It’s a funny story. Over the holidays I met a fiber artist at a UGA alumni event. She talked me into joining OCAF, which is less than a mile from my house. OCAF – Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation – is an arts organization located in downtown Watkinsville, GA. Oconee County is a rural county. I was hesitant to join because I didn’t think my art would be a good fit. I still believe that. Soon after joining there was a call for entries for a juried exhibit at UNG (University of North Georgia) only for OCAF members. There was no entry fee, so I said, what the hell. I entered my painting Electryone. Sixty artists entered and only 15 were selected, including me! I was blown away. The exhibit is on display till April 2nd. Check it out if you’re in the area, it’s only 15 minutes from Athens.

Opening Night of Reciprocal at UNG

7. Women in Fantastical Art. I recently joined a secret group on Facebook for Women in Fantasy Illustration. It goes on a short list of the best things I’ve done. I needed this group and I have a feeling the benefits will continue to follow in the months and I hope years to come. I’ve made new friends and I’ve touched base with another artist in the Jordan Con Art Show. Yay! I’ve gained support that I honestly can’t get from anyone else but artists who can relate. I’ve gained knowledge! And I’ve been included in an amazing gallery, the one I linked to at the start–Women in Fantastical Art:

The best contemporary female illustrators & concept artists working in fantasy & science fiction

Wow… Yeah. My art is included in this new website built by Leesha Hannigan. To top things off, 24 hours after we made our debut to the world, the web gallery was featured on Tor.com. Wowsers!!

Women in Fantastical Art

I could probably add a few more things to this Whatnot post, but I think I’ll stop here. March has been an incredible month. INCREDIBLE. I really I hope I haven’t jinxed April…

Equal in Art #womenshistorymonth

Rebecca Guay, an amazing artist and inspiring woman, began a movement on Facebook to highlight to extraordinary talent of women in the arts. Equal > Art is about all women and all genres of art, but I do feel women artists of the fantastic art (fantasy, scifi, horror) are often overlooked. Chances are, one (or more!) of the fantasy or science fiction books on your shelf was painted by woman. Have you ever looked? The point is we should all be equal in art but there is a tendency to only hear about the amazing men in illustration–there are many! Since March is Women’s History Month I thought I’d share art from my Equal > Art posts on Facebook.

Check out this new site on Tumblr too! It’s still a work in progress, but already it features some stellar talent.

http://womeninfantasticalillustration.tumblr.com/

 

Daydreams and Wanderings

After months of tedious, but also fun work, I’m pleased to announce the pages for my first sketchbook volume, Daydreams & Wanderings, are finished and ready for the printer! I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for printing. Supporters of the campaign have the opportunity to purchase the book at a special KS only price of $15. Essentially, you’re pre-ordering the book at a sale price! Outside of Kickstarter the book will be $20, available from my online shop and conventions.

Kickstarter Only Price

This is only one of the KS Reward Levels. There are several, including budget levels of $5 and $10. Levels $25 and up include a sketch on the inside title page. I hope you’ll help me make this dream a reality!

http://kck.st/1AOtpk6

Heart of the Forest

Heart of the Forest by Amanda Makepeace

Art post! Yeah, I couldn’t think up something clever to write this week, so here’s a magical tree I painted for an online art challenge – Colour and Texture ArtOrder Challenge.

The glowing symbol in the middle of the tree comes from the Ogham alphabet. It’s the name for Oak and means Strength. I imagine this to be an old, moss covered tree–the heart of a magical forest. I’ve ordered a cotton rag print that I’ll be embellishing, mounting, and framing. If you’re going to Jordan Con 2015 you’ll see it in the Art Show!

Devourer of Stars

Devourer of Stars Teaser Image

Last week, J Edward Neill shared a History of the Ur, where you had the opportunity to learn about the villain of his fantasy trilogy, Tyrants of the Dead.

They move from star to star, swallowing every planet in darkness, building black towers on every surface, and turning oceans to deathly broth. Once a planet is blanketed in shadow and every living thing smoked out, the Ur eject clouds of star-snuffing darkness from their towers. The darkness consumes the planet’s star, and the Ur move elsewhere.

I had the pleasure of painting one of these diabolical interstellar shadows last year for the cover of the final book in the trilogy. What you see above is only a fraction of the painting Devourer of Stars. You’ll have to wait just a bit longer to experience all of his beautiful darkness. In the meantime, here’s small playlist of some of the songs that inspired me along the way.

Work in Progress: Her Last Breath

Her Last Breath Sketch

Final Sketch

I’ve slowly begun work on a new painting, tentatively titled Her Last Breath. When I begin a new painting project there are often keywords and phrases I’ll keep close by while I work. They help me visualize and focus on the idea behind the painting and the mood of the scene. I don’t usually share these thoughts with anyone, but as I’m moving toward a more defined direction with my art, I thought it might help the viewer to understand the unspoken story.

This is what I have tacked to the cork board above my desk:

Last Breath – Transformation – Becoming

She wears an ouroboros. The earth, roots and soil, are accepting her into the fold. Flowers sprout from her hair. She is leaving her human life to become a guardian. Her last breath drifts from her lips, warm against the cold air. Blood seeps from one nostril. Her skin pales but her eyes are vibrant. She is becoming.

Last Breath First Layers

The first layers of paint. (cropped)

The first layers of paint are in place. Now the fun begins! Follow me on Instagram for more progress shots.

Vote in the Infected by Art Volume 3 Contest

It’s time to vote in the Infected by Art Volume 3 Contest! I went back and forth on whether or not I should enter this contest, but in the end I decided, what the hell. What could it hurt? I might be a little bummed if I don’t make the cut, but that will last about a minute and then I’ll be back to painting. There’s always next year. But it’s one of those situations where I decided I need to stop putting things off. I need to stop assuming I’m not ready and just take a chance. Below are there simple steps to take to vote for my entry, Her Domain II.

Step 1: Signup to vote at: http://www.infectedbyart.com/signup.asp

Signup to Vote

Step 2: Follow this link to my entry: http://www.infectedbyart.com/contestgallery.asp?cid=21&gid=9354

My Entry

Step 3: Click on my entry and then click on the green Vote button. That’s it! Voting ends Dec 9th. That’s in three days!

Her Domain II by Amanda Makepeace

 

Thank you!!

amandamakepeace.com

Shop Art on Small Business Saturday

Shop SmallThis weekend, through Monday night, you can take advantage of some of the best deals of the season in my Etsy shop. Everything is 30% off, including the new Spirit Cards. Plus, if you’ve made a purchase from my Etsy shop in the past every purchase comes with a coupon code. This special thank you coupon will give you an extra $5 off your order. Sale ends late Monday night!

http://makepeacestudios.etsy.com

One Fantastic Week

One Fantastic Week

 

I’ve been featured this week on One Fantastic Week, a weekly web show run by Sam Flegal and Pete Mohrbacher. Each week, Sam and Pete (and a guest artist) talk about life as a self-employed artist, illustration, game art, conventions and more. Once a month they interview one of their supporters, old school, with a post on their website.

Check out my interview on 1FW!

Ravens and Owls for your Walls

Stone of Knowing II Framed

Love birds? Drawn to mysterious ravens and elusive owls? You’re in luck. I have two framed original mixed media paintings available to purchase. Stone of Knowing II (above) was last seen in the Dragon Con 2014 Art Show. The 16 x 20 inch painting features Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn, discovering a magical relic, a stone of knowing.

Fly Fast II Framed The second painting, also from Dragon Con 2014, is Fly Fast II (11 x 14 inches). Who doesn’t love Barn Owls? These barn owls are messengers, flying fast into the fading light, to warn the next village the dragons are coming.

Both paintings are ready to hang with wire on the back. If you live in the US, make me an offer. I might say, yes!

You can get in touch with me at makepeace.arts@gmail.com. Mention the painting you’re interested in purchasing in the Subject line. Also, be sure to let me know you saw this post.

http://amandamakepeace.com
@amandamakepeace

Art Print Giveaway!

Almost a year ago, a few of my friends from high school and I decided to team up and create the Tessera Guild. To celebrate, I’ve decided to hold a giveaway here on the blog. One winner gets to choose an 8×10 (or similar dimension) matte print from almost anything I’ve painted over the years.

Art by Amanda Makepeace

 

There are multiple ways to enter via the Google form below. You can pick one or all. The total number of entries possible is five. I’ll be taking entries till October 2nd. On the morning of I will randomly pick a winner and make an announcement here. The winner will be contacted by email and given a link that will let them see the art available to choose a print from–yay! Oh, and this giveaway is open worldwide.

Good luck everyone!

Will you be Attending Dragon Con 2014?

Dragon Con 2014 is one week away! Are you going? Are you excited? We are! John McGuire, J Edward Neill and I, along with Robert Jeffrey II, will be attending this year’s event. Here are some official blurbs about where you can find us:

Amanda Makepeace

Amanda is a Dragon Con 2014 Art Show Participant. You can see her Fantasy paintings in the Main Gallery of the Art Show, in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Selected artworks will be available to purchase as prints in the Art Show Print Shop.

Saturday, August 30th Amanda will be leading a panel on the Basics of Digital Painting in the Hyatt, room Hanover G. You can download the full schedule here:

2014 Art Show Programming

 

Like her Facebook Page, or let her know you’re attending via the Event below, for more details leading up to this year’s convention.

 

John McGuire

Author of The Dark that Follows and creator of The Guilded Age comic, John McGuire will be attending Dragon Con this year. John and Tessera guest blogger, Robert Jeffrey II, will be at the Terminus panel at 8 p.m. on Saturday Aug 30th. In addition, they will be around the Terminus Media table (please see the guide for the exact location) at various times throughout the weekend, so if you have a minute or two stop by and say hey.

 

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead series and co-author of the upcoming serial novel Hollow Empire will be pit-stopping at Dragon Con. He’ll have free bookmarks, car magnets, and free books to dish out. He hasn’t been to D-Con since 1995, during which he stepped on Glenn Danzig’s foot, saved his friend from drowning in a bathtub of vomit, and cruised the open streets while searching for bottles of Captain Morgan.

So please be gentle…

Like J Edward’s Facebook page here. Shamble after him on Twitter here.

And to check out his ghoul-tastic website, click the Orb of Souls.

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