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! :)

Good King Wenceslas

 Omar illustrated a new children's book that has just been published : Good King Wenceslas, retold by Jane Seymour. The book also comes with a DVD featuring Jane Seymour reading the story, accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Look for it at your local bookstore, or you can order it online at

Chesley Award

A few weeks ago, at the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, ASFA held it's Chesley Award ceremony, and Omar was quite tickled to find he had won for his oil painting, "Dragon and Nightingale". We weren't in attendance so Omar wasn't able to accept the award in person, so they mailed it and it arrived today. It's quite a beautiful award, I'm not sure who the artist is that makes them but all we can say is WOW. The top part is a glass"meteorite" with a galaxy-like swirl of blue dichroic glass, mounted on a hefty mass of black marble. This is the second Chesley award that Omar has won since they redesigned the award. We're gonna have to reinforce the award shelf if he wins any more of these. :)

The Return of "Free" Art!

"Hellhound", 5x7 watercolor by Omar Rayyan

We did this last year, and have decided to do it again.
To celebrate Omar's 1000th (!!) sale on Etsy, 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, 2012 at midnight (EST). 

Good luck and happy shopping! :)

update Sept 5:
We have a winner! Congratulations to Audrey Wilson Kirk!
Thank you to everyone who participated.

In Print

So, this month Omar and I are both featured in magazines, what are the odds of that? I'm in Pyrography Magazine (on the cover, too! WOOT!) demonstrating how to woodburn a fabulous steampunk birdhouse. Omar is in International Artist Magazine issue #84, showing how he does his watercolor magic from start to finish.

Omar does cute

Sorry, gang. I guess I was in a "squee" mood today when I was picking out something to post here. Omar did these interior spot illustrations of a baby possum for the book Possum Summer by Jen K. Blom. (He did the cover illo as well, you can see it when you click the link).