Gems and Elementals

Illustrating Universes Known and Imagined

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Gems and Elementals

Postby intrigued_scribe » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:52 pm

In the gallery, I've posted the two newest images in the Four Elements series, alongside the newest Gems Within Dreamscapes entry.

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Postby Windwalker » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:14 pm

Dear Heather, I'm very happy to see the continuation of both series! They continue to develop very interesting and distinct universes.

The milieu of the Gem series has a fin-de-siècle feel that reminds me of Erté and of Kushner's mannerpunk novels and stories. Also, the Garnet two -- perhaps because of the details of their physiques and facial expressions -- bring to my mind Estraven (the slanted eyes, straight raven's wing hair, tattoo) and Genly Ai (the curly hair, slightly stiffer clothing) from Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness. I love the sense of startled and reluctant recognition of affinity that's conveyed.

It also came to me that your Elementals are "Grecian", broadly defined -- Earth was Classical, Air is Archaic, Fire is Gandharan. By that I mean how the figures move and are shaped: Marinen is angular like a Kouros, whereas Fajra is sinuous like the figures in the Indian temples. Of course, there are other cultures and mythologies echoed here: Fajra looks like a Chinese version of a jinn, Marinen like a figure out of the Kalevala.

The colors are exactly right for each manifestation and I love the way the elements fuse with their bodies and the shape and flow of their limbs and their hair -- the eddies of air for Marinen, the fire flowers for Fajra.

Beautiful, evocative and thought-provoking as always!
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.

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Postby intrigued_scribe » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:04 pm

Dear Athena, I'm very glad you like them!

For the two newest Elemental pieces, as with the first, incorporation of mythological echoes was one of the foremost aims in mind, as was inclusion of cultural touches, and I'm pleased that those elements come across.

Likewise for Garnet, particularly the two characters' appearances and clothing, which concepts of mingled classic and futuristic overtones inspired. (And I'm definitely going to have to check out Left Hand of Darkness, along with Kushner's work.)

Thank you!

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Postby Windwalker » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:13 pm

You haven't read The Left Hand of Darkness?! Run to the nearest bookstore! It may seem a bit mild today, but it changed the face of science fiction when it appeared.

I actually did a drawing of Estraven and Genly Ai long ago. I'll scan and post it, so that you can see how I envision them.

Of the Kushner series, my favorite is Swordspoint -- see if you can find the edition that has four or five associated short stories as appendices.
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.

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Postby intrigued_scribe » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:45 pm

I'll be sure to! And I look forward to seeing your image of Estraven and Genly Ai.

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Estraven and Genly Ai

Postby Windwalker » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:57 pm

Here's my rendition from, oh, 25 years ago:

Image

Estraven is a Gethenian. They're androgynous hermaphrodites who spend most of the time being neither female nor male (somer). When they go into estrus (kemmer), they temporarily become either women or men, and can both mother and father children (who stay with "the parent of the body"). When they're in somer, they don't think of sex. When they're in kemmer, they think of nothing else. Their planet is locked in an ice age, so they look a bit like Inuit.

Genly Ai, a conventional human man, has a hard time dealing with the Gethenians without resorting to obvious gender distinctions. And in a single throwaway sentence, Le Guin lets us know that he's black.

Gethenians count status by the complicated concept of shifgrethor (literally, casting a long shadow). This is why I used the term for my blog essay about changelings.
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.

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Postby intrigued_scribe » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:12 pm

I like it. :) Glimmers of the characters' respective personalities clearly show in the renderings and they're equally compelling.

The concept of shifgrethor does indeed fit perfectly into your blog essay, which I enjoyed.

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Postby intrigued_scribe » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:17 pm

The fourth painting in the Elements series is now up in the galleries (overdue though it is), and the first has been given a name adjustment, so that the titles as well as the images tie together more closely.

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Postby Windwalker » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:37 pm

Dear Heather, I'm very excited to see the Elemental series completed -- and the final companion is as beautiful and evocative as the rest.

Earth is Classical, Air Archaic, Fire Gandharan... and Water is Hellenistic! In addition to embodying the merfolk of myth, he also carries the Botticelli reference of Venus Rising.

The color palette is wonderful, similar to Air yet distinct from it (the lavenders and teals are particularly lovely, just as purples and ice blues grace Marinen). I love the fact that Niraj's tattoos and hair tufts could also be seaweed fronds. The finger webbing is wonderful, as is the sinuous sway of his body, like a wave cresting.

You have a knack for beautiful titles, and these follow the tradition -- though you broke with tradition in a most interesting way, by making Fire female and Water male. Their names, of course, are drifted homologs of the elements' names from different traditions, which adds to the layering.

It has been a while indeed, but this was completely worth the wait.
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.

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Postby intrigued_scribe » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:23 pm

Dear Athena, I'm very happy you like it.

Alongside the incorporation of tattoos in place of scales and legs where merfolk are most often given tails, the reversal of the genders usually attributed to Fire and Water, respectively, was indeed another way in which I sought to give the piece and series a non-traditional twist.

My thanks!

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Re: Gems and Elementals

Postby intrigued_scribe » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:53 pm

Opalescence Burns is up in the gallery.

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Re: Gems and Elementals

Postby Windwalker » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:18 pm

She looks magnificent!

I particularly love the spiky hair, her expression, her stance. Also, you rendered the opalescence beautifully. The details are equally marvelous: the weapon, the bandage on her hand, the lines of her clothing reflecting the wheeling/shooting stars above, the half-crystalline/half vaporous reflections in the viewport behind her.

*Happy sigh!*
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.

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Re: Gems and Elementals

Postby intrigued_scribe » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:44 pm

Thanks -- I'm very glad you like it!


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