Saturday, March 4, 2017

Drift Bound

I've painted for many years. For a while I was even painting as a business -- not a lucrative one, but I did sell my work. I don't bother with selling anymore. I just paint for fun -- just like I write. I'm primarily a landscape painter, and after switching from watercolors to oil and then acrylic, I became an impressionist landscape painter. You can see my work here:

While I took a year or so off from painting, I'm back at it again, and at the present, I'm combining my art with my writing -- painting pictures that I might use for my book covers. The painting above is my latest effort. The inspiration comes from the end of The Bright Black Sea's first part -- where the Lost Star sets out for the drifts from the Sanre-tay System, and the moon of Lontria.

Now I'm not an illustrator, and this sort of work falls largely outside of my expertise -- but with my publishing budget, it falls to me to do my own covers. Ideally I'd be an expert in Photoshop and Illustrator, and could create a modern looking cover, but I'm not. Still, my books are old fashioned, so perhaps old fashioned covers suit them.

I painted this scene over several times over this past week. The first time I was looking to keep it simple with just silhouettes.

I decided that was a bit too crude and plain, so I revised it, like this. giving color to the Lontria and Sanre-tay.

I tried the using this for the cover, but it had too much light. I wanted the cover to reflect the title, and there was too much bright and not enough black. and I also didn't like the Lost Star just hanging there, so it was back to the drawing boards.

 For this version, I changed the shape and color of the nebula, made the Lontria and Sanre-tay larger, and added the lights of a thousand ships as well. However, I still didn't like the Lost Star where it was -- it was too remote from Lontria, so I made another revision, which I did not photograph, painting over this Lost Star and making it a bit smaller, changing its direction and moving more to the center of the painting, as well as revising the nebula as you now see it. In the end, I didn't think that worked, so I painted over that version to make the Lost Star coming out at the viewer, leaving  the Unity behind -- the painting at the top of this post. Below is the cover I got out of this painting

As it stands now, this would be the cover I use when I release its companion volume this summer/fall. I'll keep the current cover so I can see if it makes any difference in downloads. And well, I still have plenty of time to paint more and perhaps better covers before I actually need one.

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