Acrylic - 32" x 48"
THE SMOKE RING
I was already fascinated with Larry Niven's free-fall environment, and then in this book I was especially taken with his descriptions of life in and around the "Clump." The Clump is a LaGrange point within the Smoke Ring where curious matter of all types has collected; in the deepest part of the interior it is flowing "soup," an area the inhabitants call the "Dark." Given the already strange ecology of the Smoke Ring proper, the addition of organisms peculiar to the Clump made for an intriguing proposition irresistible to an illustrator. In this view, the Clump flows into our field of vision from the lower left corner. Spherical green puffball plants and "jungles" provide shelter for some inhabitants of the region, while (from the painter's angle) providing an essential reference to the Earthbound viewer for spatial distance and perspective. Strange life forms, the peculiar geometric "huts" of the human inhabitants of the region, ponds, clouds, and other strange objects float around the scene like shapes in a Miro painting. In fact, there is so much going on in there that I was concerned that the human activity on the right would clutter things up too much! Unlike the painting I did for the cover of The Integral Trees this one encompasses both suns within its field of view though they are somewhat obscured by haze or Clump material.