Another Giveaway!

Bubbah on a Bullfinch  -  6"x8" watercolor
Yet another giveaway contest!
We are offering this chance for you to WIN an original Omar Rayyan watercolor painting.

If you buy something from either of our Etsy shops ( or your name will be entered for a chance to win.
Contest starts today and runs until August 31, 2014 at midnight (EST). 
Good luck and happy shopping! :)


Omar has been very busy this year painting commissioned works for private collectors. I thought you all might like to get a peek at what he's been up to, so here's a few that he's done.
Backgammon - oil on panel

The Young Knight - watercolor

Kiwi Tea - watercolor

A Night at the Races - watercolor

A Night at the Races (detail)

Spectrum 3

Join us and 200 artists May 9th, 10th & 11th in Kansas City for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 3. Spectrum is a three-day celebration of the best in fantasy, science fiction, horror, and comics art. You will interact with Traditional medium artists, Digital artists working in the Film, Animation, and Video Game fields, Sculptors, Cover Illustrators, Comics Artists, and more. Additionally, there will opportunities to attend workshops, live painting and sculpting demos, panels, meet art directors, conduct portfolio reviews and attend the Spectrum 21 awards ceremonies. If you enjoy our work and would like to experience a wide variety of what the field of fantastic art has to offer we hope you will meet us there.

Twitter @SFantasticAL ​​

Aquarium Art

Omar's "Contessa with Squid"
We're very excited to announce that Omar's painting "Contessa with Squid" has found a home at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in their recently opened exhibit called "Tentacles".
The collection not only features live specimens of octopus, squid, and various other cephalopods, but also has ancient, historical, and more modern art and sculpture inspired by these wonderful creatures.
They also commissioned San Francisco Bay Area artist Nemo Gould to create kinetic sculptures for the exhibit using found objects. Check out the video below to get an glimpse of the cool stuff he made.

A real giveaway...

Smoking Jacket - watercolor, 7.5"x8.5"
Return of the giveaway contest!
We are offering this chance for you to WIN an original Omar Rayyan watercolor painting.

If you buy something from either of our Etsy shops ( or your name will be entered for a chance to win.
Contest starts today and runs until October 31, 2013 at midnight (EST). 
Good luck and happy shopping! :)
Update Nov. 2: WE HAVE A WINNER!
Congratulations to Adam Janicek, he won the painting. Thanks to everyone who entered, we'll probably do this again next year... stay tuned...

Another Road Trip, part 2

Our little corner of Spectrum
The reason we trekked all the way out to Kansas City was to attend Spectrum Fantastic Art LIVE 2. This is second year for this particular convention, and while it is still trying to find its feet, we both think they've hit on something good here. Walking out on to the floor can be a bit overwhelming, there's so much amazing art, so many different styles and mediums, and well, just really great art everywhere you turn. You want to talk to everyone and get their story, learn new techniques, talk shop and find out how they are surviving in this crazy world of art. A lot to take in for such a short weekend.

Whenever I had a chance to escape from our booth and check out the rest of the show, I always forgot to take pictures. So here are some quickies I took on one strafing run.
Omar being interviewed. Possibly for a documentary?
In a neighboring booth, Paul Bonner and Jean-Baptiste Monge doing a portfolio review.
Donato, with his super slick professional-looking display
Justin Gerard and Cory Godbey, being happily thronged upon.
Cory had won a Spectrum award the night before, so that added an extra twinkle to his eye, I'm sure.
The rug in the convention center was pretty wild. No diving allowed!
Charles Vess' very large watercolor painting
I'm a big fan of Virginie Ropar's work.
Here's one of her sculptures, with her working in the background on another one.
Articulated doll by Marina Bychkova

At the request of another artist, I had brought along my hair bling so I could teach her how to do it and also put some in her hair. (For those who don't know what I'm talking about -- hair bling is a kind of very thin tinsel you tie to your hair, and it comes in all sorts of colors. It adds a little shine or sparkle to your hair and around December it makes people think you've been walking too close to Christmas trees.) Once I have done one person's hair, usually more show up to get theirs done, which is what happened at this show. Charles Vess was one of those who tracked me down to get "blinged". I love it when men want it done, my ultimate goal is to put some in a nice long beard. Haven't had a chance to yet. Guys with long beards tend to not like other people messing with them. Either that or they are hiding treasure in there and they don't want me finding it. Probably food. Ew. Second thought, maybe I don't want to do that.
Me putting bling in Charles Vess's flowing locks

Saturday night was Award Show night, so they rolled out the red carpet and fed us a yummy BBQ buffet at the Midland Theater. The theater itself is a work of art, lavishly decorated with velvet, carvings, dark wood, marble. You know what I'm talking about. My camera couldn't handle the splendor, so I didn't get many good photos of the interior. Opulence, just think opulence.
On their way to the Award Show, the Spectrum big mucky-mucks.
(l-r) Peter de Sève, Greg Manchess, Irene Gallo, Cathy Fenner, Arnie Fenner, Jon Foster,
Charles Vess, Terryl Whitlatch, Brom, and Tara McPherson

Omar and I, inside the theater, eagerly awaiting the start of the show
Here comes the mother ship! Oh no, wait. It's just a light fixture.
Allen Williams winning Gold for Concept Art (yay Allen!)

Evenings are a time to wind down the day and gather in smaller groups for dinner or drinks or both or neither to talk. Talk about art, not talk about art. Just talk. Talk talk talk talk talk. Most artists I know live pretty secluded lives. It's just the nature of the business. Quiet and alone, you get your work done. And then when you go out, you go OUT. Gotta make up for all that alone time. Most everyone is hoarse by Sunday. If you're not, that means you got some sleep. Or you brought honey.
After hours talking shop: Omar, Robert Anderson, and Jean-Baptiste Monge.
One of the things on everyone's mind all weekend was the weather. There were severe thunderstorms forecast, and with them, tornado warnings. They were forecast to come in just in time for break down of the show, which means everyone would be hauling their art out in some pretty rough weather. Not something we were looking forward to. We lucked out, though. The bad weather didn't hit until just before sunset, so I think everyone had already packed their art and left by then. We had gone out to dinner and had just returned to our hotel when the skies opened up with a humdinger of a thunderstorm.
A real gulleywasher
We hit the road for home the next morning, with more thunderstorms skittering around us. Tornado warnings were still in effect, and we were happy to get outta there. I know of a few people who were flying out that got stuck for a few days more than planned because of the weather. We drove through one storm Monday, and while it wasn't too bad for us, I believe it was part of the line of storms that  decimated Oklahoma City, a very sobering thought. After one last crazy thunderstorm caught up to us while we rested in Indianapolis, the remainder of the trip home was fairly uneventful.
The cleanest food in town
Traffic jams are the perfect time to pause and reflect

Another Road Trip, part 1

So, last week we packed up trusty ol' Snubby and headed west to Kansas City, MO. Traveling from the east coast in Massachusetts, it's fascinating to watch how the landscape changes as you travel. Somewhere mid-Ohio, the land rolls ups its sleeves and gets down to business in serious flatness. Mind-boggling flatness. Endless flatness.
The midwest. Brown flatness. Green flatness. Yellow flatness.
Breaking up all the flatness is a cornucopia of billboards, mostly either quoting bible scriptures, or the exact opposite of that: advertisements for adult video stores. It is truly a conflicted land. When you cross the border into Indiana, you enter Tom Raper world. This guy's unfortunate name is plastered on every billboard, selling everything you can think of, or so it seems. He must own half of the state or something.

On our way out west, we decided to stop in St. Louis, MO and do some touristy stuff. We wanted to see the Gateway Arch, and it was definitely worth the stop. We even took the tram up to the top. The tram is very small and akin to an old-school sci fi egg-like pod. Five people squeeze into each tram pod. And I do mean squeeze. It has a tiny door with a window so you can see the inner structure of the arch as it clanks and clunks it's way to the top. I found this video on YouTube that gives you a good idea of what it's like going up. Definitely not for the claustrophobic, agoraphobic, or those prone to flatulence. The view from the top is pretty spectacular.
The view from the top of the arch, straight down. See the teeny-tiny people and the teeny-tiny cars?

So, the Mississippi River was a bit high, ya think?
Standing on a flooded road, I stick my toe in the Mississippi.

Once Upon a Time...

"Once Upon a Time" is a card game published by Atlas Games. The premise of the game is to tell a story using the fairytale elements on the cards, while trying to guide the plot toward your Ending Card. Omar did all the illustrations on the cards and packaging for the current edition, and also for the forthcoming expansion sets. In the video below you can see the game in action, being played by Wil Wheaton, Amy Berg, Mike Phirman, and Chris "Doc" Wyatt...

Robots and Dinosaurs

I'm not sure why, but robots and dinosaurs always sound like a good combination. Omar has decided to try his hand at painting them, neither of which he paints very often. I think he should do more, don't you??? :)
"At the Back Gate"  watercolor
"Triceratophatus" watercolor
"Staggersaurus" watercolor
"Triceratops in the Tea" watercolor


So. Omar and I were invited to hang our art in the group show "Faerie" at the Krab Jab Studio in Seattle, WA. Our work will be rubbing shoulders with creations by artists such as Stepahnie Pui-Mun Law, Gary Lippincott, JB Monge, and oh yeah Brian & Wendy Froud. 


Just kidding...
Holy cow! There's an impressive list of artists in this exhibit, and we're so happy to be included!

Below are the pieces we will have in the show

Mermaid's Masque - pencil

Titania's Bottom - watercolor

Life Imitates Art

In the background of this photo is Omar's painting "Mists of Oolong", which is hanging in the Big Bunny Fine Art Gallery in New Orleans, LA. Apparently the chap in the foreground drops by the gallery on a regular basis to visit the painting because he looks EXACTLY like the guy in the painting. Well, minus the teapot head of course, but still... WOW. o_O

Illuxcon 5

Earlier this week we returned home from attending Illuxcon 5 in Altoona, PA. Illuxcon is a small convention for illustrators and artists primarily working in the science fiction and fantasy field (but definitely not limited to just that).
On the ferry. Me: wide awake. Omar: asleep. Typical.
 So, being island-dwellers, all journeys for us start with a boat ride. We awoke bright and early Wednesday morning, packed the car and headed to the ferry. A Nor'easter was forecast to come in that day, but we had all fingers and toes crossed that we would be off the island before the winds got too strong and they had to start shutting down the ferry runs. We got the the boat, and found out our trip had been cancelled due to the winds (already!). They made no promises that any other boats would be going out that day, but put us in line anyways in case the next trip went out. We were lucky, the next boat made its run, and we were on it. Phew. We found out later that by the afternoon, all boats were cancelled and did not resume service until Friday morning. We were very lucky indeed.
By the time we reached Connecticut, it had started to snow. The roads were getting tricky, and the traffic was moving very slow. I wasn't complaining. Usually during the first snow people drive like idiots, but for once everyone was being cautious. We knew we had a loooooooooooong day ahead of us.
The highway had become a parking lot, so we snuck off at a nearby exit and declared it time for a lunch break. Snubby contemplates the snow.
The drive took us five hours longer than usual, but was pretty much uneventful. The only real drama was when we left the highway to gas up the car and find a bathroom. For some reason the town we picked had no working rest rooms. We stopped in three different places, all had out-of-order loos for varying reasons. Finally found a fairly disgusting but working toilet at a convenience store. It very nearly tipped over when I pushed on the handle to flush it. And the sink was full of pine needles for some reason.
Nearly at the NJ/ PA border, Snubby's nose had a thick glaze of ice.
By the time we reached Altoona, the temperatures were warmer, the roads were dry, and there was no snow or rain or wind. Kinda like "what Nor'easter?".
Thursday morning we slept late, and then headed in to town to set up for the convention.
Omar's panel at Illuxcon
The next four days all kind of blur together. Lots of art, lots of artists, collectors and admirers of art. We sold, traded, bartered and talked shop. With a lot of goofing around as well.
An "aerial" shot. Can you find Omar? :) One of the rare moments he was at his panel.
Omar doing a portfolio review.
Tom Kuebler's shrunken heads
More of Tom Kuebler's work. So awesome.
Fellow artist Cyril van der Haegen was unable to attend this year, but he was there in spirit, and as a cardboard cutout face. :)
Travis Lewis's impressive beard eclipses Omar.

For the past three years, Illuxcon has been giving out an award they call the Illie Award. Artwork is nominated and people vote for their favorite piece. Each year a different sculptor creates the actual award, and this year it was a latex mask made by Jordu Schell. We were very happy and surprised when we found out Omar had won this year! Woo hoo! Omar works so hard and it's nice to get the recognition, he is quite humbled by the whole experience. A huge thank you and smoochie smoochie to all who voted.
We had a little too much fun with "Illie", who now lives on our piano.
Omar right after receiving the award
And of course was had to bring it to the bar for a celebratory drink. Bob Eggleton, Jim Burns, Omar, Jane Frank and Marianne Plumridge
Illie having a wee tipple (photo by John Davis)
Omar, Tom Kuebler, and Jon Schindehette try to out-ugly Illie. I think Jon was going for ugly cute but only got as far as cute.
Illie enjoys a tootsie roll with the painting that won her. And a troll.
The last day of Illuxcon, and the boys are hoping for some Mardi Gras beads. Or something.
(photo by Edward Howard)
Packed up the show, said a final goodbye to the Altoona Heritage Discovery Center, and back to the hotel bar for the dead dog party. (photo by Tom Kuebler)
The morning we left, no hangovers here!
Illuxcon is always a good time. We know that dealing with artists is sometimes akin to herding cats, but we really appreciate all the hard work that Pat and Jeannie Wilshire do to put this show together. We are so looking forward to next year in the new venue when Illuxcon moves to Allentown. Let the madness continue! :)