-By Paul Bonner

Persuaded and cajoled out of my creative solitude, I find myself in the esteemed and hallowed company of Muddy Colors – a diverse gathering of creative creatures, springing from a suitably diverse collection of backgrounds, to present a luminous display of diverse talent. A lot of talent – supplying fuel and fire power to both energy and inspiration. It’s an honor to be included and I’ll do what I can to match up to the lofty visuals ideals on show.

Having said that – this introductory post is not quite the meat and potatoes that often turns up on the menu here. Though I have done it before, a couple of times here on Muddy Colors, this post have to forego the pleasure of bombarding you all with out of focus progress shots, rambling descriptions trying to nail down the fine points of a non-existent technique, and slightly embarrassing, exploratory pencil scribblings (sketches being an all together unfair word to burden them with).

All the above will – I promise – appear in another post. Until then, as I’m embarked upon projects that seem to require a veneer of secrecy, I find myself a little limited in what I can serve up for you. Hence these two paintings.

One, you might have stumbled across in cyber-space, the other, the vampire chap – this is his first outing. I asked permission especially for you lot out there.

In the past I didn’t really enjoy single figure work so much, always being restless to get on with the next “proper” painting. I felt it was strange and frustrating having to present someone – or some thing – divorced from any kind of surroundings, backstory, light, shadows, weather and possibly – company. I wanted to give them all these things. Make them complete. But, I find the little worm has wriggled about, and managed to turn. After always ending up spending far too long on each “proper” painting – wrestling heroically with all the above mentioned attributes; surroundings, back story, light, shadows, weather and possibly company, I now find it a welcome relief to be able to ignore them. It’s a kind of little holiday. I still need to pack my paints, brushes and imagination, but there’s an awful lot of baggage that can be left behind. The ones that contain all the stress, frustration and passage of way too much time that all that wrestling inevitably brings on ( and a single figure requires a significantly lower number of pages covered in those tortured scribbles , as my imagination demands to be made visible). Also, the thought of starting another “epic” painting straight after the relieved completion of one – is a rather daunting prospect these days. Oh….I have the ideas; the sweaty anticipation of getting to paint the last jewel like little details – but blimey! It,s a long journey to get to that point. Must be getting old.

However – I have found out that it is fun and challenging (in a thankfully much more appealing way) to bring all those big, epic painting attributes and try and imbue a lonely little single figure with them. Little clues provide a viewer with the possibilities of making their own back story. Maybe a scar. Some specks of blood. Mud on boots or the hem of a tunic. Some strange tears in fabric. Dents in armour. A bit of war paint. Anything you want – even the trickier stuff that happens on the inside. Hatred. Anger. Weariness. Loneliness. Try doing those as subtly as you can……

More often than not, most of these little tweaks and quirks are made up as I go along. The character grows and develops his –or hers –or it’s – own story, and I feel like I have been commissioned to express that for them.. Painting little clues to their personality and their circumstances.

The dwarf sitting on the rather brutish ogre is obviously not a happy dwarf. Seems like he has a lot of issues, and you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the corner of the pub with him. There are a lot of buttons there that really don’t want to be pressed. His trusty steed is a bit more of an unknown quantity. Could be completely passive – or just one really big button that the dwarf wants you to give him an excuse to push.

The Vampire, hopefully comes across with a little more subtlety. I do like me some children of the night, but I prefer them to be the rather, sad, broken and lonely type – rather than the handsome, long haired, leather trouser, long coat – flapping around stylish leather boots kind of debonair, slightly romantic lord that has been done to death. I wish someone would make a medieval vampyr film. Mud, mist, dripping pine forests and our vampyr ( looking surprisingly like mine…..)– shuffling and snuffling around, emerging from his cave at edge of the moors, terrorizing the peasants, and making the one or two knights seriously question their faith. It would be marvelous – and no teenagers in it….or super heroes.

I seem to have digressed – but find myself without really anything to add. When it’s my turn, and when I can I will post some more things. Maybe next time, if I can find the progress shots – I will try to come up with something from the more “epic” end of things. Tortured scribblings, scrubbed out colors, paper scorched away by frantic brush work, tear stains, paw prints in the corner. Epic stuff.

Until then – thank you for your kind attentions. Always appreciated. All the best for now.

PS If anyone has any idea, or requests for a post – please feel free to throw it out here. I have some ideas, but could well be you lot have some better ones! No promises though.