Fan­tasy chiaroscuro

PA­TRICK J JONES paints The Sentinel us­ing time­less oil paint­ing tech­niques and meth­ods, with an em­pha­sis on dra­matic light­ing

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Chiaroscuro is an Ital­ian word mean­ing light and dark. As a kid I was en­thralled by Dis­ney’s mas­ter­piece, Pinoc­chio, and the beau­ti­ful chiaroscuro in­vis­i­bly wo­ven into the art. The Dis­ney artists un­der­stood the power and magic con­jured by a pool of light. It was my first sense of light as com­po­si­tion and even though I didn’t un­der­stand it yet, it left an in­cred­i­ble im­pres­sion.

The fact that our eye is drawn to dra­matic light is a pow­er­ful hook, but the light must also con­tain a cap­ti­vat­ing im­age. When paint­ing The Sentinel I imag­ined the sound of the dragon’s tail drag­ging slowly along the arid floor. To dig a lit­tle deeper I used al­le­gory and sym­bol­ism. I chose the age­less al­lure of Beauty and Beast to en­gage the viewer’s imag­i­na­tion. The princess’s martyr pose may sym­bol­ise sac­ri­fice, or any fan­tasy you dare to dream.

One art lover made my chiaroscuro com­po­si­tion and sub­lim­i­nal prompts worth the ef­fort when he asked, “Which one is The Sentinel?” This kind of con­nec­tion with an­other en­quir­ing mind is what makes art spe­cial. With a sin­gle im­age we’re able to start an imag­i­na­tive con­ver­sa­tion that can go in any di­rec­tion, open­ing up a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties. By pulling the viewer in they will ask ques­tions, and dream the an­swers.

Pa­trick’s new fig­ure draw­ing book, The Anatomy of Style, is re­leased world­wide this month. He is also the best-sell­ing au­thor of Sci-Fi & Fan­tasy: Oil Paint­ing Tech­niques. For more on Pa­trick and his art, visit www.pjart­

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