Michael Whelan

THE STARS LOOK VERY DIFFERENT TODAY

THE STARS LOOK VERY DIFFERENT TODAY

Many years ago in a galaxy far, far away I was faced with painting works to use as portfolio pieces, hoping to secure a commission from a national magazine like Time. Being an early and enthusiastic fan of David Bowie, I decided it was a good opportunity to combine my interests in SF and his music in one piece.

In the end, I believe it never was used for a publication, but I don’t regret taking the time to create it. (Needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that he was cast as the lead in the film THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH!)

We are all diminished by the loss of this singular and uncompromising artist. Fly on forever, Major Tom.

HARBINGER

HARBINGER

The essential composition of HARBINGER came to me many years ago, and it has always centered on the wasp nest surrounding a stoplight—an omen of something running out of control, a slippage into chaos.

My initial inspiration, I believe, grew out of concern for the destabilizing and immense effects of global climate change, a sense of nature out of control and giving birth to unnatural and cataclysmic phenomena. I realize that it is not the happiest of subjects to dedicate a painting to, but the idea just wouldn’t let me go without painting it.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

With this painting I revisit themes developed in my “Passage” series, which featured heavily in my first couple of one-man shows at the Tree’s Place gallery. All of the Passage works use the dream-object of the lighted bubbles—symbols of spirit or unfettered consciousness—to convey the idea of movement from one state of mind to another, a transition to a more open and lighted place; a release.

A QUESTION OF BALANCE

A QUESTION OF BALANCE

This is one of a pair of paintings done as an experiment to see how readily my acrylic painting style would work in the egg tempera medium. Both paintings are compositions using the same symbolic elements: an egg, an ammonite fossil, and the leaf of a ginkgo tree.

WORDS OF RADIANCE

WORDS OF RADIANCE Oon March 4, 2014, Brandon Sanderson released his sequel to The Way of Kings, second in The Stormlight Archive series. Words of Radiance is such a large book—in both page count and visibility—that Tor commissioned the cover as well as a second illustration for the...

ANNE MCCAFFREY

ANNE MCCAFFREY

Anne McCaffrey loved Michael Whelan’s covers—and so did the fans.

One of the things that sets Michael Whelan above some other cover artists is that he reads the books before he illustrates them, and that brings a level of detail to his covers that really makes them shine.

TOTEM II: NAUSET

TOTEM II: NAUSET

Looking for subjects suitable for a still life I’ve been turning to mementos scavenged from visits to Cape Cod beaches during summers past. Each one of these stays have their own particular memories, and objects which are invested with personal significance that I’ve managed to hold on to through the years.

When I think of Nauset beach I am reminded of times I’ve walked the sands there in the early morning, wrapped in dense fog. However, one late afternoon a fog rolled slowly in off the ocean, something I had never experienced outside of Northern California. As we sat on the dune the water gradually disappeared and before our eyes the sun made a splendid “fogbow” in the mist. It seemed magical, and I knew before even starting this composition that a fogbow would have to be part of it.

LUMEN 9

LUMEN 9

This image originated from an idea that I brought home with me from the hospital in May of the year 2000. When the idea came to me, the only thing I had to draw on was an advisory pamphlet for patients, so I used the back of it for a rough sketch of the composition. I carried the idea in my head for years afterwards and didn’t get around to executing the painting until ten years later.

HALLOWEEN 2013

HALLOWEEN 2013 Assembled here for your delectation is a hodgepodge of images selected to fit the Halloween season. They come from a wide variety of sources, including concept renderings for book cover assignments, studio sketches, a digital experiment and a couple of more recent...

INTO SHAYOL GHUL – THE MAKING OF A MEMORY OF LIGHT

INTO SHAYOL GHUL – THE MAKING OF A MEMORY OF LIGHT

My approach to A MEMORY OF LIGHT was dictated by unfamiliarity with the series. Not having read The Wheel of Time books, I focused on the scene provided and the characters therein while also keeping in mind that this book was the culmination of many years of reading for devoted fans.

It seemed best to start with the focus of the painting: Rand himself.

My initial sketches explored the pose he might adopt as he entered the dark confines of the cave. I attached light sticks to a wooden bokken and descended a flight of stairs with the lights off, trying to get a feel for how he would be holding the sword to light his way into darkness. (Since early in my career, I’ve found a kinesthetic sense of the figure’s pose is helpful before attempting to recreate it in it’s variations.)

Pin It on Pinterest