Monday, August 3, 2015

infraREAL: The Art of Imaginative Realiam at the Jonathan Levine Gallery

oil on panel, 20" x 27"
©Matthew Stewart
 On Wednesday this week, Jonathan Levine Gallery will host an opening for infraREAL, a special exhibition of Imaginative Realism art. The show is curated by Patrick Wilshire, who along with his wife Jeannie are have been collecting art for over twenty years and are the organizers of the highly successful annual IlluxCon conventions. It's an honor for me to be included with such a prestigious roster of artists.
My contribution "Ozymandias" sprang from a sketchbook exploration below. Not a literal illustration of the poem by Percy Shelley, the title refers to the theme of the poem- Nothing escapes the ravages of time, and the contemporary glory is fleeting.

infraREAL-the Art of Imaginative Realism
August 5-August 22, 2015

Opening Reception with the Artist
August 5th (at two locations)
557C West 23rd Street: 6-8 pm
529 West 20th Street:7-9pm

Friday, July 17, 2015

"I will not say the day is done"

"I will not say the day is done"
red pencil on toned paper, 11" x 14"
©Matthew Stewart

Having climbed to the top of the tower of Cirith Ungol in pursuit of the orcs who have taken his master, he finds a dead end. Believing Frodo to be now beyond rescue he sits down and begins to sing. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Honored Hierarch

Honored Hierarch
oil on paper on masonite, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

Honored Hierarch is one of the two card illustrations I painted for the new Origins set for Magic:the Gathering. Magic fans would recognize him as an inhabitant of Bant from armor and golden sigils he wears. The man is the keeper of a sacred olive grove. I originally intended to paint a younger man, as seen in the preliminary sketch below. After submitting the sketch, I thought it would give him more gravitas, more of an implied history, if he were an older man. Rather than just the caretaker, he proudly looks on the grove of trees he planted and raised from saplings. 
Honored Hierarch (drawing)
8 1/2" x 11", graphite on paper
©Wizards of the Coast

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Recent Drawings

Some Tolkien inspired drawings I've done over the last few months that I don't think I've shown here yet. 

Bard the Bowman
18" x 24" , red and white pencil on toned paper

Bard the Bowman II
18" x 24" , red and white pencil on toned paper

Beneath the Dragon
11"x 14", red and white pencil on toned paper

In Moria
11"x 14", red pencil on toned paper

Ring a dong dillo
11"x 14", red pencil on paper

11"x 14", red pencil on paper

Friday, January 16, 2015

Abzan Skycaptain

Abzan Skycaptain
oil on paper mounted to mdf, 12" x 16"
available for purchase for $1,250
©Wizards of the Coast
 Abzan Skycaptain was done for the Fate Reforged expansion set for Magic: the Gathering.  I've painted these anthropomorphic birds for Magic in the past, basing my designs on golden eagles or snow owls. The supplied concept image for the aven design in this set looked like a vulture. So I based the Skycaptain on a griffon vulture, which is native to the near east and central Asia. The Abzan clan takes its inspiration from the medieval empires of this region, so it seemed only appropriate. Also, maintaining the feeling that the creature is flying while it holds its weapons with its wings was surprisingly tricky, but I think I'm happy with the results.

Abzan Skycaptain preliminary sketch
graphite on paper, 8 1/2" x 11"
available for purchase for $225
©Wizards of the Coast

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ivorytusk Fortress

Ivorytusk Fortress
14" x 18", oils on mdf
©Wizards of the Coast
Here's a bit on the process that Ivorytusk Fortress went through from thumbnail to final.  For some pieces I know right away what I'd like to do. For others, which is most of the time, the image must go through many incarnations before I'm happy with it. 
Small thumbnail sketches, sometimes pages of them, are done. Promising ones are imported into photoshop for further development. I like to think about value and color as early as possible, and photoshop allows me to do that rather easily. 

A page from my sketchbook. Not pretty. 
Various thumbnails, developed further and with values and color added

When I arrive at a rough I like, I usually go back to pencil and paper to really nail the composition down, adding information from reference, and working on the details. With everything worked out, the painting of the final image goes a lot smoother. 

The final drawing

The image as it appears on the card, in foil. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In the Forest Under Night

In the Forest Under Night
oil on panel, 30"x48"
©Matthew Stewart
 "A wandering Elf, a thrall escaped, whom Beleg met and comforted,' said Gwindor. 'Yet once I was Gwindor son of Guilin, a lord of Nargothrond, until I went to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and was enslaved in Angband.'"
J.R.R. Tolkien
Of Turin Turambar, The Silmarillion

In the Forest Under Night is a scene from the tale by J.R.R. Tolkien that appears in both The Silmarillion and in a longer form in The Children of Hurin. Gwindor is a Noldor Elf lord captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, also known as "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears". At this catastrophic defeat, the kingdoms of the Noldor elves were smashed by Morgoth. As one of the Noldor, skilled in mining and smithing, Gwindor was kept alive as a slave. He escaped, however, into the forest Taur-nu-Fuin, which in the elvish language means "great forest under night". He has lost a hand in his escape, and carries with him a Feanorian lamp in the other. It is light of this lamp that Beleg, in pursuit of the captured Turin, sees and finds Gwindor. You can read the story and decide for yourself if Gwindor would have been better off left alone.

I'll have both this painting and the drawing seen below, along with many other pieces on display next week at Illuxcon 7 at the Allentown Art Museum. The show runs from Wednesday, Sept 17 to Sunday, Septemebr 21st.

In the Forest under Night
preliminary drawing for the painting
red pencil on paper,  21" x 33"
©Matthew Stewart