Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RE_WORK: Waterfall Dragon

-By Justin Gerard

The following painting was such a let down for me that today I am resigning from my career as an illustrator and am taking up agribusiness and I have ordered my first pair of llamas:


Kind of.

The painting is in fact, a terrible let down. And I may, or may not have illegally acquired a pair of llamas.

The reason the painting is such a let down for me was not just that it fell short of some internal artistic goal, or that the story I had hoped it would tell didn't communicate well; it was mostly that it failed to truly convey awe-struck I was upon beholding a particular waterfall in Switzerland a few years ago.

I hiked up it for several hours one day.  There was something about the thunderous roar of the water and the way the water coiled down the mountain that made me think of some vast, terrible dragon. It was an awesome force of nature. One wrong step on the slippery, moss-covered rocks and I would be ground up and eaten.
My little sketches might one day have been found and they would have pieced it all together.  (Sir, we've deciphered it. It was aliens, aliens riding dinosaurs that got him.)

Something about this place put the image of this dragon snaking his way down the mountain into my head. I would later scribble down a tiny thumbnail of this to remember it and since then have made several unsuccessful attempts to paint it.

This time I have decided to try it from a slightly different angle. 

By flipping it horizontally. NOBODY WILL SEE THIS COMING.  

Actually there is more than that.  My favorite thing in representational art is story, and in particular when a piece of art draws you in and makes you tell the story yourself as you walk around inside of it.

In the previous attempt my story was rather one dimensional. (Warrior with sword fight big dragon! Painting smash!)   At the time I felt it was interesting but on further consideration I wish that I had thought a little longer about it before painting it.

In this one I wanted to do something a little more fun and hopefully more interesting. Since it was tax season the following story seemed to dovetail nicely with the original theme.  (The title is the key...  More on that next time..)

The Plan: Pencil and acrylic on paper, then sealed in matte medium and the color painted in oil. 18 x 24 inches.

In general I hate to retread old ground and would always prefer to plow on to someplace new, but this time, I am really excited to see where this leads.

Original Waterfall Dragon post here: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/08/dragon-watercolor-and-final.html


  1. I really like this second attempt better. Specially the added story layer with the totems. I only wish you would have not put the rock behind the dragon's head, he would have looked more like he was sticking his neck way out there.

  2. I have a theory, and when I tell other artists and creators about my theory, they nod in agreeance to it.
    When seeing an image in our mind's eye, we only see specific details in our works clearly and not a complete picture -even though our brain is tricking us into believing we see a whole image. That's why when our art pieces come into physical existence, it looks almost nothing like our mind's eye.
    I think, at least in my journey, one of the biggest huddles young artists have to jump over is accepting the realm of forms and realms of material are very different camps; what you imagine isn't always what you are going to get. Maybe when I've painted for thirty years my theory will change -I'm open to that idea.
    Disappointment is the bread and butter of many artists, don't make it yours, too, Justin. You want to make that waterfall better? Problem solved: make the waterfall the focal point of the image.
    PS- Llamas are great. They smell nicer and spit less than camels.

  3. While the new one is looking great, I actually love the first one. It's one of my favourite pieces of yours!
    But I'm always excited to see new work from you. And I have a soft spot for giant stone/wooden heads so I may end up liking this one better ;)

  4. I have seen real life water fall dragons and Draco caves and even had pictures at one time . The spirit world has plenty to see when eyes are open!


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