-By Gregory Manchess

Sometimes, paintings just come off the board….at least, it feels that way. Dress Your Marines in White is a short story art directed by Irene Gallo for Tor.com. She had an idea and sketched it out on a napkin or something and sent it to me.

The large letters refer to the individual soldiers’ blood type. We had ideas to work with camo designs, etc., but the story didn’t call for that. I shot some reference of me and made a sketch.

I got the ok from Irene, projected the sketch to the canvas, splashed some acrylic around to seal the pencil, and dove in.

It might’ve felt like it came out of nowhere, but when this happens, I know immediately that the many, many years of training kick in, driving the paint by what neuroscientists call ‘automaticity’, allowing my brain to have room to shift, change, edit, regroup, and embrace accidents on the fly, without having to remember how to mix, what to mix, where to place it, and so on. I’m engaged with the concept, the idea, and not so much about how to get there.

There was no point at which this painting did not feel right. That’s what I look for every time I paint. It’s what we all strive for.