Monday, November 29, 2010

Discover a Muse book is out

The book from the "Discover a Muse" contest I entered back in May has been released. And yours truly is on the cover. Okay, not exactly yours truly... the world isn't quite ready for that... but the next best thing: a painting by yours truly did end up being chosen for the cover. Big thanks to Jon and Veronika for making this happen. All the info on how to order the book can be found on the Art Order blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Illuxcon trip report

What a weekend... I don't even know where to begin to describe just how amazing this years Illuxcon was for me. I guess the beginning is probably the best.

E.M. Gist, Lucas Graciano, Tom Babbey, Ryan Schutter and Arthur Loftis and I all flew into Philadelphia on a Tuesday night red eye. We rented a minivan and drove to Philadelphia Museum of Art. While there were a few notable paintings, the highlights for me were the extensive armor and flintlock collections and the completely immersive rooms full of rebuilt ancient architecture.

From there we drove about an hour to the Brandywine museum. Seeing the enormous collection of N.C. Wyeth's work in person was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life. The Brandywine museum should be a required pilgrimage for all Illustrators out there... period. If you are ever even remotely close to it, you need to go out of your way to visit.

The convention itself was nothing short of magic. Pat and Jeannie Wilshire have created something truly special out in the middle of nowhere that is Altoona, PA. I was incredibly honored to be invited to exhibit again this year. I spent the weekend surrounded by several hundred amazing paintings, talking to dozens of the most accomplished, yet humble and friendly, artists alive. I got to display and talk about my craft with some of the most unpretentious, bullshit-free collectors out there. I got to chat with and give advice and critique to a few of the students attending the event. After so many years of tracking down and hounding pro artists to look at my portfolio, it was great to begin paying it forward. And.... in some respects the least important, and in other ways the most: Sales were outstanding, I sold 4 of the 6 paintings I brought with me, a few drawings and a handful of prints as well.

The dates for next years show have already been announced: November 3-6, 2011. I am already counting down the days...

Photo Credits: Cynthia Sheppard and Noah Bradley

Sunday, November 7, 2010


And here is the final piece I will be bringing to Illuxcon this year. This was also done as a book cover sample portfolio piece. Big thanks to my nephew, sister and father for donning all the costumes and letting me take pictures on a particularly hot day. 16" by 24" oil on paper on board.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A simple, personal piece done to add to my line-up for this year's Illuxcon. I painted it alongside a larger, more complex narrative-driven illustration. It was great to be able to switch back and forth between two paintings with very different goals. 16x 20 oil on paper on board.

Stay tuned, I will post the "Inheritance" in a few days, the last of the new Illuxcon paintings. As well as a shot of everything framed just before I shipped it off.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Erolissi Marr

And here is the other card I did for this Norrath expansion, who is basically a female ranger version of cupid. I was a little tired of painting leaves after this.... 20 x 16 oil on paper on board.

For those wondering why the format is different; for Norrath the actual format is a square. But I tend to compose to both fit the square and a rectangular format that I prefer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Offering of Peace

I finally get to show some new art again, The 11th expansion for SOE's online card game Legends of Norrath released today. Here is one of the images I did for them.

16" by 20" Oil on paper on board. One more month until Illuxcon! This is one of 5-6 paintings I plan to bring to the show.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Misquoted in ImagineFX

After this years Illustration Master Class, my piece was chosen to appear in an article by ImagineFX magazine. So I sent in my piece and answered 4 questions via email. After reading the article as it appeared in the magazine I realized that one of my answers had been abbreviated and printed out of context. This comment could possibly be construed as arrogance, or worse, disrespectful to the IMC organizers and/or faculty. I don't think most people will take it that way, and I don't think the writer was trying to make me look like a jerk, but I do want to take the time to post the entire interview and explain a bit further what I actually meant.

Here is the section of the article that was written:

"For Michael Hayes, this session needed to change his skeptical outlook on hyped workshops. "I set a simple goal of picking up a few tricks," he admits. "But Greg's lecture on 'innate talent' and why it's total crap, followed up a few days later by Donato's on why he paints left me positively giddy"

The second quote is fine, the first one is where I feel the problem is. Here is the entire Q&A that I sent to ImagineFX

How did you find out about the masterclass?

Being an Illustrator and staying plugged into the community, it is rather hard not to know about it. It was conversations with several IMC alumni this year that convinced me to go. These were working professionals at a much higher skill level than I, telling me how much they learned.

What did you want to get out of it?

To be honest, my past experiences with over hyped workshops still had me a little skeptical, so I wasn’t quite sure what I would get out of it. So, I set a simple goal of raising the bar for my own work and picking up a few tricks. I can’t even put into words how much more than that I ended up getting out of it.

What did you enjoy most about it?

Greg’s lecture on “talent” and why it is total crap, followed up a few days later by Donato’s lecture on why he paints left me positively giddy. It’s a good thing they weren’t back to back; otherwise my head would have exploded from sheer inspiration. Just thinking about it makes me want to stop typing and go paint...

Did you learn anything that’ll change your approach to art?

For me there was no drastic “one thing” (although I did hear that from others…) but rather lots, and I mean lots, of little things here and there that add up to a significant change. I would say that every step of my process, from concept to finish has been improved upon in some way.

To explain a bit further: I had been to another art workshop, put on by a different organization, that was advertised (by the organization itself) as "a life-changing experience" amongst other grandiose claims. I figured if it was half as good as they said it was going to be I would be worth my time and money. It wasn't... It was such a letdown that I didn't travel to another workshop for 6 years.

The IMC staff makes no such grandiose claims (thought they could and it would be true) any hype it has is from actual alumni. I was not trying to say that the IMC was over hyped or that I was skeptical of anyone involved. I was not trying to say that I traveled across the country, spent $2000 and took a week off of work to "pick up a few tricks" I just wasn't sure how much one could learn in one week, no matter who is teaching or organizing. Turns out I was wrong... you can learn an unbelievable amount.... Which is what I was trying to say. I only mentioned the skepticism as a way of contrasting what my actual experience was.

Sorry for the long rant. I knew a few of the IMC instructors beforehand, they have always been incredibly kind to me. And I had nothing but the utmost respect for everyone involved with the IMC beforehand. The article made is seem like that may not have been the case, so I felt like I needed to clear that up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Influence Map

This Meme has been going around the internet, When I first saw it I wondered if I could come up with enough influences to fill it up... After sitting down to do it though, I ran out of room very quickly... I probably could have added at least another dozen.

I will have more art up soon... I have been busy as usual. Lots of NDA stuff, some of which I can't show until next summer, some I will be able to show next month.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Three new paintings for the gallery show

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, as you can see I have been rather busy working on paintings for my upcoming gallery show. Here is all the info:

The new paintings are 20" by 30", 18" by 24" and 16" by 24"

The entire exhibition will also be available for purchase online at the gallery's website for the duration of the show.

Time to start getting paintings ready for Illuxcon now... stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joan of Arc

Here she is... not much to say except that this is quite the breakthrough for me. It will be on display at my booth at Illuxcon 2010 in November. My sincerest gratitude to everyone who helped me create this.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gallery Provocateur - Upcoming Exhibition

I am proud to announce that I will be part of my first group exhibit at the Gallery Provocateur in Chicago. The exhibition will run from August 21st, 2010 through October 2nd 2010, so if you live or will be in the area at that time I encourage you to stop in and take a look. Info on the gallery and exhibit can be found here: and here

Above is an illustration I did for Legends of Norrath. It is 18" by 24" oil on board. This painting along with the discover a muse piece below and 3 others I am busy painting will be on display at the exhibit.

I am just putting the final touches on the Joan of Arc piece I did at the IMC, I will have it up in a few days. Stay tuned, you are going to want to see this one....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Off to the Illustration Master Class

For those who haven't heard about the week long intensive course. All the info is here

I get on a plane early tomorrow morning, and I am very excited about it. One of the main goals of the workshop is to complete a finished illustration under the guidance of the instructors. We were given a list of 6 assignments to choose from, ranging from sample magic cards to a paranormal romance book cover. After carefully reading all the options it took me about 0.5 seconds to choose Joan of Arc. It fits in too perfectly with what I like to paint.

Above is my rather obnoxiously detailed sketch. I have to get it through a round of critiques by the industries top dogs before I can paint it, so we will see what the final image actually ends up looking like. I will, of course, be posting the final when I get back... stay tuned.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Discover a muse contest

So what was that I was saying about a subtler way of doing things? ummm.... Here is an upside down angel with a bright color palette.... old habits die hard I guess

I actually painted a few subdued illustrations prior to doing this one. This one just screamed for some color, as much as I tried to push it otherwise. At the end of the day you have to do what the painting tells you to do and go for the best possible piece. Even if it is inconsistent with your current goals.

This one is 22" by 27.5" oil on board. It was done for the Discover a muse contest over on Jon Schindehette's ArtOrder blog.

I forgot to mention it in my last post but that painting is 32" by 18" and was a private commission

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fashionably late to the party

Finally got around to getting one of these things started. I plan to update quite regularly with finished illustrations, sketches, life drawings and paintings... as well as instructional posts and many other goodies...

I believe the image above is a perfect way to kick off this blog. Not only is it arguably my strongest painting to date, but it marks a slight shift in the direction of my work. Most notably, I intend to shift away from the high chroma pallette I was pushing... towards a subtler more subdued pallette. I will be making a number of other small changes as well, most of which are difficult to explain in a small number of words or even put into words at all. But they all follow a similar theme of a shift towards a subtler way of working that will, hopefully, draw people into the worlds I am creating instead of the bright colors or other techniques I employ to create those worlds.

So... for those familiar with my work: I hope you like the direction I will be taking things. I encourage you to check back regulary. And for those who aren't: this is a good point in my career to start paying attention!