by Petar Meseldzija
It’s been a while since my last Conan commission update (click here if you have missed the previous updates). I wish I could show you more but, as I already announced, there are some other jobs that I had to attend to. However, since a few days ago I am working on the Conan painting again. Beside tackling some other parts of this composition, I tried to define the final position of the Conan figure as well, especially the position of his leg and his arm. Because of the specific reasons, that I will explain later when the painting is finished, I wanted to keep Conan’s left leg as stretched out as possible.
Here are a few images to illustrate the progress and the slight changes in the Conan figure that happened during the process, and as you can see, much of it is not finished yet. But anyway, for you who are interested in how I move from the underpainting to the next step, here you go.
Petar Meseldžija was born in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 1965. He began his career in 1981, publishing the comic strip "Krampi" in the Stripoteka, one of the best known comic magazines in the country. This was followed by a series of short comics and his work on the licensed comic book Tarzan. He graduated from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, in the Painting Department. During his studies he continued to work on comics, but also more often working on illustrations. In 1991 he illustrated his first book Peter Enkorak, published by Mladinska knjiga from Slovenia.
At the end of 1991 he moved to the Netherlands. Soon after, he stopped working on comics and dedicated himself to illustration and painting.
During the 1990s he painted about 120 posters and greeting cards, mostly for Verkerke Reproduktie from Holland. For Grimm Press, a publisher from Taiwan, he did 33 illustrations for the book King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He held his first solo exhibition of illustrations and paintings in 1998 in the Tjalf Sparnaay Gallery in Amsterdam.
He has participated in many group exhibitions in Yugoslavia, the Netherlands and the USA.
His work has been published in a variety of periodicals and books all over the world.
Among many awards which he received for his work are:
“Plaque The International Golden pen of Belgrade, 1994”, Yugoslavia;
The “Art Show Judges Choice Award” – 59th World Science Fiction Convention, Philadelphia, 2001, US.;
Two Silver Awards from “Spectrum 4 and Spectrum 10 – The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art”, U.S.;
Gold Award “Spectrum 16 – The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art”, U.S.
From the beginning of 2000 he has dedicated himself to gallery art. Of the exhibitions where he has participated, the most worthy of mention is the Exhibition of Independent Realists. This exhibition, organized annually at the Mohlmann Museum from the Netherlands, offers clear insight into the creative achievements of contemporary Dutch artists in the domain of realist and figurative art. In addition to painting, he continues to do illustrations.
Two other significant projects should be mentioned. He painted 10 book covers for books of children's fantasy literature for the American publisher Scholastic Inc. Likewise, he illustrated the Serbian folk take “Prava se muka ne da sakriti”(“Real Trouble Cannot Be Hidden") for Bazar Tales, a publisher from Norway. In his work on the book, The Legend of Steel Bashaw, he has invested enormous time and effort. This project, for him of the greatest importance, was started in 1993. Including shorter and longer breaks, the longest of which lasted 7 years, he has been working on the book for 15 years, finally finishing it in August of 2008.
His original work is to be found in the private collections in Serbia, the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S.
You know, Petar, I think your marks have always been energetic, but lately it seems to me a certain “wildness” is coming into play – it's very exciting to see. It's like you're letting something loose, or perhaps giving over control for passion. A good example here is the way you've handled Conan's fur wrap… it has so much life, yet you've achieved that with such minimal description and fuss.
I find this kind of brushwork very engaging as a viewer. The energy and looseness immediately draw me into a piece in a way that hyper-realism usually doesn't. Whatever you're tapping into to do this, keep it up, because it's wonderful…
I just love your style.Cant remember one thing though (or have never read it at all) and it is as it follows: Do you do your underpainting in oils or in acrylics like some other illustrators. If you do it in oils how to u aprouch further in the painting- wet to wet, or u wait for it to dry? Thank you
Hi David – As you definitely know, it is always rewarding for a hard working artist ( who spends much of his life in solitude and working for days, weeks, even months on his art piece, often having no response, or a very limited amount of it, during the process of creation) when people react positively to his achievements by saying that they like it. But it is for me a special treat when I come across somebody who likes it not just because “ he likes it”, but also because he understands it, and on the top of that, he is also quite competent and able to explain why! You, David, understand, you can put it into words nicely and you have an eye of a painter…!
Hi Gollorr – I don’t do my underpaintings in acrylics, I used to do that long time ago, but not anymore. Although, I must say that because of the dangerous and unpleasant turpentine fumes (for I use a lot of turpentine which I mix with the painting medium, when doing my underpaitings), I might be forced to start using acrylics again.
I usually paint wet-on-wet and try to finish as much as possible in one layer. The finishing touch is done after the paint is thoroughly dry.