Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making Choices

Someone much wiser than me once said, "To be an artist is to make choices."  Do I use oil or digital? Canvas or panel?  Horizontal or Vertical?  Abstract or figurative?  Cobolt Blue or Aquamarine?    Every brush stroke that  a painter makes is a little choice.

As a commercial artist I am constantly reminded that most of these choices are not up to me.  Illustration, concept art and commercial art are collaborative.  There are art directors, editors, authors, marketing directors and advertising considerations that are making choices with you. So it is very enjoyable when I am given the opportunity to make many of the choices myself.

It is about 3 months until Illuxcon in Allentown, PA.  An event that I look forward to every year.  Its a chance to spend time with a small group of dedicated painters and enthusiasts and share ideas and the work we've been doing for the past year and talk freely without the censoring presence of art directors looming around the corner.

Every year I like to do at least one painting for myself without the restrictions of the client.  This year however I thought I would recruit the help of you, my audience.  Usually, the public is the last to see my work, after its been notated, changed, color proofed and edited.  In this instance I'd like you to be the first to see it and to help me make the choices.

First, The Composition.  I have already made several choices at this point.  This is going to be an oil painting 17"x48", Why?  I like to work in odd formats, and to be honest, I have an empty frame that I sold the painting out of. (Choices.)

Below I have three concept sketches for three possible paintings.  I only have time in my schedule to do one.  Please leave a note suggesting which one you feel would make the best painting.  I'm not promising that I will adhere to the majority, but this could be fun.

As the painting progresses I will share color comps and WIP images to enlist your suggestions again as the painting develops.

Thanks in advance.



The Oracle 

"This image was inspired directly from the photo reference. The ominous lighting reminded me of a Pyle or Sargent painting.  This painting would be very dark with a lot of tonal variations and texture, contrasting against the smooth skin of the figure.  Unfortunately this image is very similar in theme to another painting I completed earlier this year including a mythological nude with tree branches. I might be willing to present them as a set."

The Riddenmark

"Inspired by bonsai design this image depicts the windswept plains of Rohan from The Lord of the Rings.  I envision the golden fields of wheat shimmering in the dappled sun.  The winds of war stir the clouds.  The aged tree represents King Theodin, bent and worn, but not broken.  Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli look out across the plain."

Prospero and Miranda: from The Tempest

"This image has been hanging next to my easel for months taunting me.  I love the emotion and the tenderness.  As a father I'm drawn to the narrative.  Steel Grey storm clouds breaking as the storm abates, and fresh sunlight spills across the couple.  Every time I think I'm ready to start I become daunted by the level of work involved, and find something easier to do."

©William O'Connor Studios


  1. Hello Artist! Dope idea! my humble vote would be in favor of Prospero and Miranda! Thanks for sharing your art with us, people, fans, admirers...

  2. It's hard to choose, these looks all amazing!
    Probably I would like to see the first one completed, The Oracle, but only because It's a little bit different from your traditional subjects and it could be interesting to see what it will looks like once finished.