Force of Will (Eternal Masters)
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This is a limited edition of 750, printed on watercolor paper. The size of this print is 13 x 19". Each print is signed and numbered in gold.

This print is shipped in a 3" mailing tube.


Story Behind the Art

Merging the various elements to suggest the ability of this card was a fun process. After I read the art description, my immediate thought was “Cool! I think I can get away with adding a bit of my 'thing’ to this one”. There are a couple dozen pieces I’ve done for Magic over the course of 20 years that are laced with this symbolic, diagramattical approach. 
This was the assignment.


Title: Control Magic
Color: Blue spell
Location: Unimportant
Intention: This spell takes control of another creature.
Action: A DRAGON swoops toward us, its eyes glowing a striking blue as it is strafing the ground with unnatural BLUE FIRE that matches its eyes. Kind of super imposed on this image is the magical blue visage of a male human mage, probably just the face and hands… this is to communicate the presence of the mage who is psychically controlling this dragon. The mage should look intelligent and powerful and have some sort of interesting flare… some sort of ornate filigree head band? up to you. His expression should be smugly pleased with himself, and his open hands frame the dragon on either side, as if he is actively controlling it. His eyes glow softly with the same blue of the dragon’.
Focus: The image.
Mood: I’ve turned your best weapon against you.
Notes: In Magic dragons have 4 limbs and 2 wings.

Recently, I was asked by PucaTrade to answer some especially thought-provoking questions for their Artist Spotlight. The one shown below is relevant to my process for this piece.

QUESTION: Diagrammatical patterns are one of the most recognizable characteristics of your Magic cards. The woven tapestry of phi ratios and the touches of The Vitruvian Man in Silverskin Armor give viewer’s eyes a movement to follow. How did you develop your intuition around aesthetics, and how have your instincts evolved over time?
ANSWER: Maybe I was an alchemist, monk or mystic in a past life, who knows. I appreciate aspects of the Symbolist ideologies, art as a way to express and hint at the ineffable nature of dreams, visions and psychological truths. Oddly, I’ve been designing images within and around shapes and old diagrams ever since I was a kid, though they have become more compositionally and symbolically complex over the years. Maybe it represents a search for meaning or truth. Diagrams seem to be explaining things, trying to make the arcane a little more accessible. Maybe I think if I meditate over one long enough my brain will light up and I’ll finally understand something really cool that I didn’t know before.
I can’t really explain it. Diagrams out of weird old mystic texts, etchings and sacred geometry are an interest, maybe an obsession… it just seems to want to come out. Sometimes I make up my own or create derivatives out of something I’ve seen, or combine two or more in a way that makes sense. Of course many of my illustration pieces don’t have all the diagrammatical elements going on, but I love when it seems appropriate to slide some of that into a piece.
Just like when I’m looking for the right person to use as reference, someone with the right “feel,” I am often searching for the right diagram or symbol that will contribute to the compositional nature of the piece and represent the essence of what I’m trying to portray. Over time, I have just come to know it when I see it. I can be leafing through a book with literally hundreds of images and suddenly I’ll see a small diagram that just seems to pop out. I’ll enlarge it and end up building the whole painting around it.

For Control Magic the diagram circled in red (above) was the obscure diagram I built this painting around. You can see the influence most prominently in the drawing. When it came to finding reference for the personality of the mage, I was captivated by a small b/w photo of an artist in the early 1900’s for my visual springboard-- points to anyone who knows. :)
Graphite on tracing paper parchment 10.25 x 8"
Graphite on tracing paper parchment, 10.25 x 8"
The drawing was submitted and approved with a couple minor revisions. I went on to print the drawing out on Arches Oil Paper, a new paper I’ve been experimenting with. The unique aspect of this particular paper is that its surface has an oil barrier that absorbs water, solvents and binders evenly but still allows the paint and pigment to remain on the surface. With this paper I don’t have to seal it with matte or gloss medium before switching mediums to oil. So this oil paper works exceptionally well for my mixed media approach. 

Oil, colored pencil, Kremer gold on Arches Oil Paper 9.25 x 7"Oil, colored pencil, Kremer gold on Arches Oil Paper, 9.25 x 7"
This painting was done primarily in oil and colored pencil was use for some the linear work. The delicate touches of gold were applied with Kremer Gold. 

P.S. For the record, a few people have wondered if the mage in this piece was Ertai “all growed up”. It is not, but I would say they do share a similar cocky attitude. :)


Will there be artist proofs?

I'm pretty sure there will be. When I have them in my hands and available on the site I'll post it on my Facebook art page and Twitter. Everyone finds out first there. 

Will there be a playmat?

I hope to have that available a few months down the road.

Control Magic - Limited Edition (750) 13x19"

Price: $39.95
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