Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Avalanche Callers

When I was a kid, we got to spend one week a year up a canyon near my house with a ski resort nearby. If it snowed, and you woke up very early, you could hear cannons going off. The cannons are intended to remove the threat of an impending avalanche while no one is out and in danger of being caught in it. The least dangerous type of avalanche is one that's already happened.

(From the sketchbook section of my website)

I've had the idea for a sort of alpine character who rides a big saber-toothed cat for a while, but never knew what to do with him. Then a few weeks ago I needed to make a painting. Nothing specific, just a cool, fantasy theme painting. I decided that that might be a pretty cool job for him: go ahead of trade routes in the winter, and clear the way.  I finally got to use my lion rider, and he finally got a purpose.

Coat colors
Initially, I felt like I wanted a pretty blown out image--dazzlingly bright snow, a clean white coat, and gold accents. Then I flatted it, and hated it. I decided on either ochre or blue, then asked a few friends which they preferred. The unanimous vote was for blue.  My friend Laura helped me name them, at this point, so meet Nils and his ice lion, Leaper. 

Shaded, mostly done.
I knew things still needed to be done, but by now, I had been looking at it for too long, so I went to a couple of trusted friends, and deviantART for critique and feedback. After a few days of fiddling, I decided it was finally done. 
Prints are available at my Etsy shop. 

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