Mordenkainen the Wizard 34” x 25” Oil on Panel, 2020 Art Director: Zack Stella

I am honored to present the portrait of Planeswalker Mordenkainen the Wizard from the recent Magic:The Gathering. expansion: Dungeons and Dragons – Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
This painting is my most detailed and masterfully executed Magic: The Gathering cards as well as one of the finest portraits to grace my portfolio.

The portrait of Mordenkainen envelopes so much of what I love about my career as an artist – from portraiture, to narrative storytelling, rendering of reflective surfaces, dramatic lighting effects, and most importantly conveying a sense of wonder and mystery. We may never know what the wizard was working upon as we interrupted his contemplative thoughts in his study, but we can be certain we will feel the wrath of his ire!

Ever since discovering Dungeons and Dragons in my youth, I have enjoyed the complexities, challenges, and excitement of role-playing the character class of wizards. This portrait represents the deep passion I have for gaming and the art creation infused within my youth around roleplaying. It was this wellspring I returned to again and again as this work evolved.
Reaching back deep into those wizardry gaming roots are a set of bookends I created during my hard-core D&D days, with one side a diorama composed with the elements from Grenadier’s ‘Wizard’s Room’ lead figurine miniature set. I loved to paint these miniatures, owning handfuls of the diverse sets produced, and enjoyed endless hours of enjoyment in use in our campaigns.

Due to the lack of access to proper art supplies as a young artist, all small details on these figurines were rendered and applied with sharpened toothpicks. You can see this in the botched eye in the image above! I am happy to state those logistical hurdles are no longer a hinderance in my art creation now. I have long ago learned that proper tools are part of the pathway to creating masterful, professional works of art.

To those ends, as this painting came closer to finish, a proper frame was needed to house this image and complement its craftsmanship. Masterworks Frames in Utah was commissioned to create a customized silver frame with a slight accent of dark blue in the broad field of the frame.

I am proud to now publicly share this major work with you and the fantasy community!

Ps. The final image sent to wizards has a digitally added ‘Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound’. I felt that the inclusion of the hound in the oil painting would weaken the ambiguous nature to Mordenkainen’s spell work and take focus away from him as a portrait of a powerful wizard.

And for those interested, the original oil painting is now up for auction

in the Facebook Groups MtG Art Marketplace, closing July 11th, 11:30pm EST:

Blue pigment and ink drawing/painting for the Hound, digitally added to final image for Wizards of the Coast.