Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Donato Paints Joan (of Arc)

I confess that I'm not as up to speed as I should be when it comes to Science Fiction and Fantasy art. But I'm working the problem, as they say.

Speaking of problems, a problem I have with regard to Fantasy art is that the stuff looks pretty much the same. That is, the subject matter seems to dictate the result to a degree that's puzzling when you realize that the subject matter is essentially imaginary rather than real. Consider Western art. Subjects here usually are Indians, cowboys and such from the nineteenth century, so depictions have to be reality-based and viewers can accept that.

Apparently something like that kind of acceptance happens when Fantasy fans view, say, covers of Fantasy fiction books. Even though they aren't real, viewers seem to have the same expectation of what a dragon looks like as they would for a trooper of the 7th Cavalry.

But what is, is. Therefore I'm pleased when I find a SciFi-Fantasy (SFF) artist who paints other subjects and does so with commercial success. One such artist is the half-blind Donato Giancolo, who professionally goes by his first name. Donato blogs at the Muddy Colors group blog (well worth your attention if your interests include SFF illustration). His Muddy Colors biographical sketch is here and his own website here.

Above is a painting of Eowyn and Nazgul, a Tolkien subject. I show it here as an example on Donato's Fantasy art.

Speaking of Tolkien, this is Donato's 2012 posthumous portrait of him. I am not a Tolkien fan, so here is Donato's explanation of the symbolism found in the painting.

This 2007 painting is titled "The Museum." I don't know its background, so I'm not sure if was for a book cover or is standalone art.

A recent painting that does not fall into the SFF category is of Joan of Arc.

Above is an in-progress view of it from two days into the final painting. Donato discusses this work here. For artists interested in how-it-was-done videos, one is available; see his blog link above for details.

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