2nd December 2014

Anarchist Detail Example
Spot The RUSH References Competition

Now that The Anarchist is complete it's time for some Festive fun, and the chance to win yourself a Limited Edition Macrograph of your choice from my collection.

Within the Anarchist picture, I have painted 22 deliberate Rush references - excluding clockwork Angels - from albums to anecdotes, songs to sidelines. Some are obvious and some are tenuous, some are clear and some are well hidden. But all are Rush related in some way, and you will have to examine your print closely to find every last one of them.

The first to email me 16 correct references and where they appear in the painting will be announced on the closing day and sent a Limited Edition Macrograph print from a choice of: The Anarchist, Red Barchetta, 2112 viii, Snow Dog, and The Fountain of Lamneth.

This competition will close at midday on Saturday 31st January 2015. No Clockwork Angels related answers will be accepted. In the event that nobody finds 16 references, the person with the most correct answers will win. An example of an acceptable correct answer would be: 'Face Up - bowler guy jacket'.

Oh whoops I done gave one away :F

Email your answers to graham@macrographs.com

For more info and screenshots:

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1st December 2014

Anarchist full linework composition
Anarchist Completed!

Order your Limited Edition print here.

My version of The Anarchist can be translated in one of two ways: literally, and metaphorically. The image has been designed in such a way that the lyrics can be comfortably applied to either, so that The Anarchist is whichever you choose... Man or Machinery, neither will bow to laws beneath those of fate or physics.

The Anarchist has been by far my most demanding piece yet, and the most complex. Although the demands of this image have irreversibly and forever taken their toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally, it is still my favourite work to date and I wouldn't trade the experience, or the result, for anything.

Note: As with previous work, I have chosen to avoid any subsequent and extraneous influence with this image and have concentrated purely on the original Rush only concept, lyrics, liner notes, and of course music, from the Clockwork Angels album exactly as they have inspired me from the very first listen to present. That's not to say the novel, graphic novel and other inspired artwork and literature are not fantastic in their own right, it's just that for me, the spirit of the album is easily strong enough to stand alone in it's purest form without the need for third-person information to add to, and possibly confuse, my own already fevered yet fully formed imaginings.

The Anarchist, November 2012 - November 2014

For more info and screenshots:

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14 July 2014

Anarchist full linework composition
Anarchist detail work begins

All underpainting is now complete and detail work is going well. In this full composition screenshot I have left the detail linework layers visible to give you an idea of what is still left to paint in, lettering / signs / surface textures / clothing details etc.

Finally after all the detail work is done I will add the shadows and faux lens after-effects such as flares, bloom and depth of field.

For more info and screenshots:

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23 February 2014

Anarchist full linework composition
Anarchist linework complete

Finally the line-work for The Anarchist section, the third part of my CA triptych, is complete. There is a LOT of detail in there so it's taken a long time. As a result there is a change of plan again, I will be rendering this section up to completion before continuing with the other two. This way I can gauge interest a little better before I start a Kickstarter project, AND have another finished painting in my portfolio for youz guys.

My Crown City is set in an alternative vision of Victorian London, circa 1860 – not in a Victorian present as most Steampunk tends to be, but in a Nuclear past. Greenwich Observatory seemed to be the perfect setting for Chronos Square and the Temple of the Timekeepers, being the birthplace of global time keeping, the origin of the Meridian, and the Observatory itself, which in this alternative history sits atop the quad columned tower at the centre of a vast armillary sphere... one that mimics the progress of the planets and stars beyond and charts the passage of true universal time, or Chronos Mean Time, the currency of the Watch Maker.

Suspended against a clockwork dome of animated star trajectories are the Angels, symbols of the four elements (being the city's alchemical power source that provides energy from Coldfire, a demonic fission process that can produce galvanism without the burning of coal), tracing their paths across the night sky as bright constellations, huge articulated gantries of brass, copper and stained glass studded with galvanic carbon arc lights. Revolving closer to the centre of the mechanism and seeming to float in mid-air are the planets, illuminated hydrogen balloons that cast a warm glow over the tower, the square below, and the Blackheath Avenue fairground.

At this end of the avenue where the statue of General James Wolfe will be erected 60 years hence, thunders The Anarchist, a nightmarish carousel of two directionally opposing storeys populated by galloping horses, coffin benches and steam-cycles.

The Anarchist section features:

  • 10 Rush related Easter Eggs
  • 18 People
  • 5 Rush fans as characters (are you one of them?)
  • 1 Band member
  • 1 Artist
  • 35 Buttons
  • 56 Screw heads
  • 5 Barrels
  • 4 Anarchists
  • 1 Acrobat
  • 4 Tarot cards
  • 6 Carbon arc lamps
  • 1 Oil lamp
  • 4 Pairs of goggles
  • 6 Flags
  • 21 Bones

and

  • 1 Rabbit.

For more info and screenshots:

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08 October 2013

Clockwork Angels linework collage

Clockwork Angels colour sketch
CA Progress: The Anarchist

Top: Some finished linework elements that will appear in the Anarchist section of the Clockwork Angels triptych. The final linework shown here for the Anarchist / Acrobat characters and carousel are all complete.

Bottom: Quick colour and lighting study, also for the Anarchist section. This gives a basic idea of the composition of the finished piece I am building up, final linework elements for this section are now around 85% done.

Now that I have a plan for the full composition of all three images together, I have decided to work solely on linework for each of the three individual sections of the image until completion, primarily because the digital file is just too huge for my little puter to handle in its entirety, but also to enable me to keep track of the sheer amount of detail that is going into each of these sections. Once linework for all three is done I will tie them all together by underpainting the entire panorama as a single lo-res image to ensure the continuity of lighting and levels, and then detail paint each image individually.

For more info:

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29 May 2013

Clockwork Angels teaser collage
Clockwork Angels Progress

It's been forever since my last update. That's because I haven't really had anything worthy of showing, scribbles, notes and construction lines don't usually make for very good viewing and the goal I am trying to achieve can easily be lost in translation if revealed too soon. Though that isn't to say the work isn't being done. Work is going well and I have now completed the rough composition layout and several fine linework assets to use in the final composition, a small collage of some of those details included as a teaser in this update, for what it's worth.

My working method is a little different this time around because of the sheer scale and intricacy of this project, it is one most oil painters will be familiar with: Rough composition sketches, research and designs followed by detailed fine linework, then a translucent underpainting of light / shadow areas, and finally colour work over the top. I plan to Kickstarter the project once I have all the linework finalised and am ready to underpaint. For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter.com, it is a pledge-based funding site for developing new creative projects. I will give more details of my Kickstarter project as it draws nearer to launch.

About the image

The final image will be set in Chronos Square and will include my take on many aspects from the Clockwork Angels album, as well as including a few nods to previous albums, songs and references. The scene will be divided into three separate themes: The Temple of the Timekeepers, The carnival Midway, and The Anarchist. Like the songs in the album, each image will stand alone as a picture in its own right, but together will form a large panorama. Alex, Geddy and Neil will each appear as characters, as hopefully will a lucky few who pledge during the Kickstarter phase to have their faces custom painted into the scene as the Anarchist or the Acrobat!

Eventually I want to make the prints available individually as limited editions or as one very limited edition giant scroll, possibly on canvas or vellum. The custom face prints will be an edition of one, for a very limited number of pledgers only.

Thanks for your patience, and keep enjoying the shows! I've got a devilish carousel to design. Mwuh. Mwuhahaha. MWUHAHAHAHAAAA

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28 October 2012

Snowdog Complete!
Snowdog Completed!

Full aspect image in its finished state. Slightly amended composition, extra effects and constellations roughly relevant to current time Toronto latitude; with an interest in astronomy I just couldn't resist squeezing our old friend Cygnus in there. All other detail finished. Time to stamp the snow off my boots, light the fire and get warm.

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20 August 2012

Snowdog Detail
Snowdog In Progress 3

At this stage all final detail is complete except for the left and right midground rocks. The stone arch has been removed for reasons explained on my facebook page. I have also included the iconic Snowy Owl to balance the new composition.

The Owl was something I wanted to pay tribute to and include right at the beginning, but there was just no place for her. Now i'm much happier with the scene, and although just a small part of the picture, she was very enjoyable to research and paint - they are truly complex and beautiful creatures. I chose a female as they have the distinctive patterning, I tried the plain old white of the male but it looked very bland amongst all that snow. Besides, it went against my obsessive need to paint every tiny damn detail.

Did you know:

Snowys are one of the few Owls that are diurnal. Oh the irony.

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06 July 2012

Snowdog In Progress 2
Snowdog In Progress 2

Entire underpainting done, some details complete.

Lighting an image composed mainly of snow is a lot more difficult than I first thought. Due to its translucency, snow reflects and absorbs light in all sorts of complicated ways, so it is hard to make it look believable. It's loads of fun to paint though, and it is a welcome change from the endless rain outside my window.

Still lots more work to do on it but I am looking at an Autumn release for this print, was hoping to get some on-location reference for Broon's/Trees this summer but the weather is all wrong, so I may work up a brand-new piece for my next project.

The Angels are calling...

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24 April 2012

Snowdog Detail
Snowdog In Progress

As usually happens I have been sidetracked by my brain. It told me to put Broon's on the back burner until summer, when I can get some reference sketches from Wistman's Wood - an allegedly haunted copse of stunted, twisted Oak just up the road on nearby Dartmoor. I want to wait until the leaves are out and the sun is shining before that little expedition.

So I began work proper on an idea i've been sketching out for some time, a dual image set portraying By-tor in one image and Snowdog in the other, the idea being to hang the paintings on opposite walls so the two face each other, squaring for battle.

Though the two opponents will effectively be standing around 50 yards apart, I plan to make each image very different on the colour scale - Snowdog lit by cold ambient blues and greens, By-tor defined by fiery orange torchlight and deep shadow. Although tied to each other through a shared location and lighting, I feel the contrasting palette will differentiate the two enough so that each image can exist in its own right.

I'm totally enjoying this one, and will keep you posted as Snowdog develops. Finally I get to paint the Aurora Borealis!

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28 March 2012

Broonsbane anatomical study
Aconitum Castaneus

As an apéritif to my next full-size painting in which it will appear in the wild, this little anatomical study of the rare, deadly and most precious medicinal plant 'Broonsbane' will be available soon as a high quality A4 semi-gloss print.

A member of the highly poisonous Aconitum family, the plant is said to have been commonly named after the unfortunate chap who, soon after stumbling across it while rambling through woods close to his home, felt compelled to immediately and vigorously chew up and swallow the entire plant in an uncharacteristic fit of lunacy.

It must be strongly noted that no other fatality has occurred since, and indeed extracts taken correctly have been proven to induce brief feelings of melancholy followed by an enormous sense of well-being.

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21 February 2012

2112 VIII completed
2112 VIII completed!

The first of what I hope to complete as a retro-future illustration trilogy, this image available as a run of 21 PRINTS ONLY.

Part VIII takes place straight after the return of the Elder race and the razing of the temples, which I keep picturing in my mind's eye as the cooling towers - the pipes of Syrinx - of a vast, ageing Soviet reactor. The terrifying force of destruction immediately prior to the image is left to the imagination.

Terry Gilliam's 1985 film 'Brazil' was an early introduction for myself and I guess many others to a kind of Steampunk - an alternative view of the future with backward technology, though in Gilliams case (and mine for this project) based in the 1940s / 1950s instead of the Victorian or Edwardian era as seems to be usual for Steampunk.

Compared to Cyberpunk, its more purist sci-fi big brother, I find this proximate low-tech future a lot darker, more plausible, and much more terrifying than both period and ultra-hitech futurism as both past and future are so much nearer, just beyond our own lifetimes in fact, so the horrors of our old crimes are still fresh in our memories.

We cower in the present... equidistant from past and future, where both circle in the shadows beyond this small island of light afforded by our guttering torch. Watching. Waiting for it to go out.

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07 September 2011

Barchetta completed
Red Barchetta completed!

Finally I am happy with it, fussy old bugger that I am.

I wanted to paint the car not during the chase but after, in it's quiet, rural setting. This painting is about the heady smell of old oil and dust and leather and the memory of the chase in the droning lazy scent of a late country afternoon, a brief snapshot of a calm place between the lyrics. I can hear muted water running in the kitchen somewhere off to the left and the comforting chime of unintelligible words as somebody washes up for dinner, full of excitement and spent adrenaline and tales to be told.

I would like to say thank you to all who have shown such an enthusiastic interest in this painting and for your endless patience. Time to frame it up, hang it under a picture-light, and enjoy!

Also:

Launch of new Macrographs Facebook page

With the completion of this painting I am moving all 'In The Works' updates to Facebook, so for further information on Macrographs news and updates:

Visit Macrographs on Facebook

12 November 2010

Barchetta Progress
The Home Straight

Phew. All perspective tweaks are done and background detail is now finished, that was hard work but i'm pleased with the way it all came together in the end, especially the atmospheric effects (which I was going to do last of all but just couldn't resist).

Finally started work on the car, woohoo! The race is almost over, the farm is in sight, and a welcoming fireside awaits.

09 September 2010

Barchetta Progress
Barchetta Detail Work

Work on Barchetta has finally reached the detail phase. With the linework and underpainting finished for the background, I have been rendering up the ground, foliage, and some woodwork in the barn. Next up will be the barn walling / beams, then the old debris within. Working on the maple leaves and yard was a joy, but being in the shadows is not something that I am particularly relishing.

Can't wait to start work on the car itself, which I will paint last before working on atmospheric effects. But I am noticing more and more the perspective on the rear wheel is a little wrong so I will have to bend that out before starting on the car.

06 May 2010

Barchetta Progress
Barchetta Progress

The line-work is pretty much complete, i'm pleased with the way the composition sits now. Being such an odd viewpoint the perspective was a bitch to get right and involved a lot of vanishing-point plotting sketches. Would've been a hell of a lot easier to build in 3D I guess, but hey, that's not the way it's done around here dagnabbit. All my line work is done by eye, using vectors so I can upscale easily without losing definition.

My Barchetta is based on the classic Touring Superleggera styling and borrows a little from several of the 25 models that were built, but isn't technically a model that ever existed - I like to think of it as a 'lost' model, which would fit perfectly with the Red Barchetta story.

The next stage is to start the overpainting, i'll probably work up the background in the barn first, most of which will be in shadow so a lot of that detail won't even be visible in the end. Looking forward to putting a lot of time into the bright areas... always nicer to work in the sunlight, working on shadows can get depressing. Must be a psychological thing.

All hands to the paintbrushes me hearties. Yarr.

16 March 2010

10% Spring Discount

An apology for the lack of updates recently.

Now Spring is in the air I have decided to offer a 10% discount on all Lamneth prints. Funny what a bit of sunshine can do to the soul! Offer closes May 3rd, discount does not apply to postage and packing.

08 November 2009

Warmest of Welcomes

The first couple of weeks of Macrographs has been intense and has had me busier than i've ever been in my life, no small thanks to the kindness of the Rush online community.

I owe Ed Stenger of Rush is a Band huge gratitude for his help, along with John Patuto of Cygnus-x1.net, who both set me on the road to my first sales... thanks, guys!

In other news, here in the UK Royal Mail have ended strike action for the time being and will be resuming business as usual. Clearing the backlog of undelivered mail is still likely to take them a while though so please be patient with your orders.

24 October 2009

Macrographs Goes Live
Macrographs Goes Live

It has been my dream to make a living from my freehand work since leaving art college in the '80s, but there was always something else to eat up my time... until now. It wasn't until my job of over a decade was taken away from me earlier this year that I had time in which to nurture the idea of Macrographs, and the dream became a reality.

Now after 9 months of hard preparation, here I am doing it. What I've always dreamed of doing. What's more, providing small colourful pieces of it to people like me; friends of a common interest. It feels terrifying and exhilarating. I hope you enjoy my artwork as much as I enjoy painting it.

Welcome to Macrographs, my sliver of soul.

06 September 2009

Red Barchetta Concept
Red Barchetta 1st Concept

Rarely do entire images just flash into my head, usually they exit my skull reluctantly via hand and eye, and after that require a little mixing with other ideas to form a whole... but this one literally appeared as a momentary snapshot of bright, vivid colour as I was drifting off to sleep - the quick sketch you see here reproduced almost exactly.

My initial thoughts for this painting were to try and capture speed, but then thought that that would be unfitting as a piece of fine art, more akin to game art than something you might frame and hang on a wall. I liked how the vision seemed to fit the bill by illustrating a quiet space between the lyrics.

To be continued.

18 June 2009

Lamneth Complete
Lamneth Complete!

Finally, the image is finished to my satisfaction. Tweaking and adjusting for print readiness is complete and it is now good to go.

Reference for granite, heather and rock formations involved many trips over Dartmoor near my hometown, as well as mountain walks in the English Lake District and North Wales.

Sadly, much as I tried to find one within travelling distance, none of these mountains were in the east...

Fine Print
Macrograph print specifications including sizes, paper and framing options. Read More
Fine Print
In The Works
An artists diary of news, thoughts, sketches and works in progress. Read More
In The Works
Why Rush?
Artists of a different brush: Why does their music inspire such depth of vision? Read More
Why Rush?
Disclaimer
To illustrate a song in a way that appeals to everyone, particularly the author, is an impossible feat. All I can hope to do is paint each image as my own mind's eye sees it.

So, for you the listener: I apologise if my pictures are not what you see with your ears. But perhaps your eyes will like what they see nonetheless.

For you the author: My intention is not to attempt to amplify what can already be heard, but merely to illuminate what can't be seen.

Graham Whieldon - 2009

Friends

Rush.com - Official Site

Neil Peart - Official Site

Rush is a band - THE definitive Rush information blog

Cygnus X-1.net - Dedicated Rush fan tribute site

Power Windows - Up-to-date news and band info

Freddy's Frets - Fred Gabrsek, master luthier

RushCon - The largest North American fan convention

The Lofty Oaks - Prog Instrumental Rock artist blog

The Rush Forum - The largest fan forum on the net

The National Midday Sun - European fan forums