Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Warmest wishes for the holidays. Thank you for visiting my blog and your interest in my artwork. I am grateful to all who have commissioned artwork, purchased a print, my sketchbooks or have sent a message saying how much they enjoy my paintings during the past year. I am proud to present a recent painting of mine that was commissioned for the promotional calendar for the Joffrey Ballet's 25th Anniversary production of The Nutcracker, published by Munro Campagna Artist Representatives in Chicago. My painting of the Joffrey's principal dancers can be found gracing the month of September 2013.
From New Album 1/21/08 10:23 PM

Saturday, November 17, 2012

H.P. Lovecraft Visits Sam Spade

I was visiting a friends gallery awhile ago and was asked about some of the projects I was currently working on. After offering some top secret information about various assignments, I mentioned a very interesting commission that was sitting before me. I said, "There's this really interesting piece that I've been sketching and about to start painting. It's H.P. Lovecraft visiting Sam Spade (portrayed by Humphrey Bogart) and Lovecraft is presenting a cthulhu statue, while Sam is displaying his Maltese Falcon." The explosion of laughter and enthusiasm from my friends at the gallery was exciting and it actually took me off guard!
I had known that I was fortunate to receive this commission but I didn't think anyone else would understand it or find it as exciting for me or for the patron who approached me. After all it was a personal request that the collector had been thinking about for sometime - and was waiting patiently for me to paint. In fact, when he first explained his idea to me, I immediately thought how awesome of a concept it was, but he didn't think it would be something that I'd be interested in or that I'd find it as cool of an idea that he'd been keeping to himself!
So, we discussed his idea in depth and did some rough thumbnails to capture his idea all while the "Maltese Falcon" played in the background. I wanted the complete back story so I could do his concept a deserved service and something that he can feel pride in. All I will say is that my friend, John is a big time detective, Maltese Falcon, film noir, pulp loving, fedora and trench coat wearing fan- who just happens to be a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan!
The BIG challenge here was a side view of Lovecraft to fit the rough we decided on. I had to get a good likeness to work from and all photo references that I could find were front view portraits and most were in shadow. The lighting for the painting was to be similar if not identical to the Sam Spade office set of the classic film. I also looked at paintings by illustrator, Harry Anderson for an overall emotional tone, and some composition inspiration. I wanted the painting to basically be that quiet moment when H.P holds up the artifact and the moment before Sam responds. Almost a pause or a reflection.
I had my model come in and do a photo shoot. My friend Dave doesn't look like Lovecraft but I knew I could work with him and I'd be able to get a solid foundation down. It took awhile and I almost lost heart but the pencil studies eventually "clicked" and I felt very confident that I had gotten a great likeness that people would respond correctly with.
Once I finished a rough drawing for presentation I waited for a response from John. I was mighty anxious to start painting but I'll admit that I was a bit nervous that John would have some comments. Fortunately he gave a call right away and it was all praise. I immediately began and finished the painting in about a weeks time in between a variety of other deadlines and obstacles. "The stuff that dreams are made of."- Sam Spade.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween! And in anticipation of the Holidays approaching, I wanted to reveal some great news concerning one Monster model from the past. I was contacted a few years ago by Monarch Models to paint an illustration of Gorgo for an upcoming release. I was treated to a prototype of the Gorgo model to work from, I knew of the movie (but never saw it) and being a former Aurora model builder myself, Monarch agreed that I had all of the requirements to be a part of the legacy of being a model box artist! A detail of the pencil sketch can be found inside my sketchbook, A Fistful Of Lead. My only direction was that the illustration should resemble a companion box for Aurora's Godzilla. I remember those glorious years building models as a young boy with. My favorites were, of course, Aurora's line of Famous Monsters with wonderful James Bama paintings that were just mesmerizing to me and all my friends and remain classics today. I'm sure those don't need any introduction. But, Monarch might. So, the news that I received is that Monarch will release Gorgo in time for Christmas this year! Check online or your favorite hobby dealer. My painting was originally commissioned and completed over 3 years ago. So, I have been just as anxious as any model collector to grab this off of the shelf. I'll be building mine with my sons!
From New Album 1/21/08 10:23 PM

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Watch out! Zombie!

Here's a recent cover painting for a very enjoyable read from American Fantasy Press. It's the first collection of short stories featuring detective John Justin Mallory, the hero by Mike Resnick. The brand new hard cover publication will be available in time for Mike Resnick's Guest of Honor appearance at the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention. There's eight stories featuring a hard boiled detective from our world unhappily stranded in a Manhattan filled with trolls, pink elephants, blue nosed reindeer, powerful demons, and Mallory's office cat / sidekick Felina. You can read more about the book at the website: www.americanfantasypress.com Thanks to Robert Garcia for another incredible project and subject matter for me to work with. Bob and I sat down at the Windy City Pulp and Paperback Convention and roughed out a cover concept. From there I developed the drawing for approval and moved forward on the finish painting. The cover is directly inspired from a scene in the story, "Stalking The Zombie" which appears in this collection for the first time. I also did two black and white spot illustrations for the interior.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Howard Wolowitz Wall of Fame

Hey! Can you spot my Stella 7 painting gracing the wall in Wolowitz's bedroom? As a fan of the hit television Big Bang Theory, my family and I were thrilled to learn that there was a poster of her nicely displayed among Howard's Space Girl bedroom decor. There's a lot of really great artwork hanging on all of the sets. So, I am incredibly flattered that someone thought to include a poster that was promoting the comic book Space Doubles from Third World Studios a few years back. The painting was originally commissioned for the Chicago Fantastic Film Festival commemorative poster, featured in a Spectrum art annual and then as the cover for my first Sketchbook. But as my friend Steve Boyd commented: "You know you've made it big when your artwork makes the hallowed Walls of Howard Wolowitz." Thanks to Eric LeFaber for telling me about it before I saw it for myself.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe

Recently, I had an opportunity to paint one of the all time great detectives and one of my personal favorites in full blazing pulp tradition. My intention was that you hear the "crack" of the gun shots and put you in the middle of pulse pounding thrills. You can also hear all the gun shots and thrills on the Marlowe OTR radio programs. "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" is now available from Radio Archives. If you are a fan of the Raymond Chandler's classic detective, you'll enjoy the restored old time radio programs that Radio Archives has available - with my illustration on the collections packaging. They are also offering 12 x 18 prints in their Pulp Book Store for those who must own one for their wall or collection. Visit www.RadioArchives.com and tell'em Klauba sent you!