The different aspects of going from idea to finished artwork, the long artistic journey.

3d Design

I’ve moved away from using photos for painting reference and into the world of virtual scenes. Designing characters, buildings, environments, and props is a new step in my workflow and opens up possibilities that I couldn’t accomplish using my old method.

I explain each of the major steps needed to build a scene in 3d including modeling, lighting, and rendering. With the aid of realistic simulations and other advanced new features, my scenes will reach a new level of realism.

Drawing & Painting

It’s been many years since I picked up my first crayon to start drawing something from nothing. Since then I’ve been improving my artistic skills, always trying to create images that feel real, either through visual accuracy or the message behind them.

Even though no two paintings are made in the exact same way, I do have a set workflow that I’ve refined over the years. Like a finely tuned machine, each step is planned and necessary to achieve the realistic end result.

Historical Research

Before any art can be created, I first have to gather research for each part of the scene. That includes finding information on fashion, time periods, culture, furniture, tools, etc.

It starts with opening a book and traveling to another time and place. It’s easy to get lost down a rabbit hole. Learning about a steam engine can inevitably lead to discovering the intricacies of municipal governments or headline murder cases.

architectural drawing of Second Empire house

Inspiration

We are a product of our environment, constantly shaped by people, books, movies, articles, and events around us. For example, my childhood experiences led to my first series, My Humble Existence.

What other forces have led me to this point? This page is devoted to all of the weird and wonderful things that influence my life and art.

My Library

I admit, I’m addicted to books. I can shuffle through the pages of an art book or spend a year reading the entire history of how a bridge was constructed. Once I started collecting I couldn’t stop, and I treasure every one I have.

Come take a look at my collection, but you’ve been warned – lots and lots of non-fiction and reference material ahead. Nobody will get between me and my Field Guide to American Victorian Furniture!

stack of art books

Storytelling

In the past, I relied on self-contained stories in my artwork that were more implied than expressed directly. I wanted the viewer to understand the series concept as a whole rather than follow any set narrative.

It was difficult to find concepts for each new piece. Now, with a long fictional history to work from, I can pull from specific events to tell my story in order to relay larger conceptual ideas. I can paint small, intimate moments or chaotic, city wide events.

Worldbuilding

What kind of world do you want to live in? That’s the underlying theme for this entire project. But how do you build a fictional world? Instead of inventing an entirely new and alien type environment, I’m building on top of our existing world, specifically the mountains of Virginia.

My fictional characters and cities are inspired by actual history and formed into stories that are woven into our American timeline. How does Autumn go from an unpopulated valley to a modern semi-utopia?