Avast me hearties, been back to port for about a month and finally have me land legs enough to write about my adventures on the high seas.

Why am I talking so pirate-like? Because I recently spent two weeks, back to back, on two different music festival cruise ships, exhibiting with Wentworth Gallery. The monsters of Rock Cruise, and on the heels of that, the Cruise to the Edge.

As a refresher, I’ve been with Wentworth for a few years now, and what they are famous for is exhibiting the paintings of literal rockstars, like Paul Stanley from Kiss, Mickey Hart from the Dead and most recently, Guitar legend Joe Satriani. These music festival cruise ships are a natural place for them to set up a boutique gallery. After all these artists are often on the boat.

As a matter of fact, one of the headliners for the Monsters of Rock cruise this time was Joe Satriani. And the gallery asked me to do a two man show with him. (That in itself is crazy. Been a fan since Surfing with the Alien.)

Enter me. Wentworth originally brought me in as a Fantasy Artist, cause you know, that is what I am most known for. Gallery brothers Christian and Richard O’Mahony played a lot of D&D back in the day. And with Fantasy art being a genre so many grew up with, they thought my work would be a natural fit for the gallery.

I have always been a rock -n- roll metal head. Thus, I took inspiration from the very rock stars I grew up with, in the gallery, and I have been diligently creating a body of work that could be called ‘Rock and Roll Fantasy Art’. The gallery was super into it. They suspected their rock centric collectors would be into it as well. It makes sense, fantasy art has been on metal albums, well, since the beginning of the genre, lol!

While they were setting up the gallery, I snuck one of Joe’s hand painted guitars out of its case to play. OMG Satch was the last one to touch these strings, lol! Trying to absorb some of his mojo here.

Rewinding for a moment, I was crunching on this body of new work for a month and a half before the first boat would leave the port of Miami. I turned away all other gigs to make room for it. And I worked all day past midnight for most of it. But I managed to get decent body finished, putting the final strokes on at 2am before I hopped on the plane.

First up was the latest in my Strange Skull Series, Strange Skull number 11. Continuing a life from death theme with these. Oil on Panel. Feels like a Doom Metal cover to me so I thought it was fitting painting to start with.

Ace Frehley was going to be on the Cruise. And being a KISS fan from way back, I wanted to paint a tribute of him. (Secretly hoping I could actually meet him. One can dream.) Really enjoyed painting the Spaceman. Took me right back to being a kid and having his poster on my wall. Oil on Panel 24X24.


But my love for Ace didn’t stop there. In addition to paintings, the gallery loves it when I paint on actual guitars. So I acquired a special 1997 Burny Ace 3-humbucker Les Paul. Which was created in Japan as a celebration of Kiss returning to Buddakan. I broke out the sign painting enamel and went to town. Also dreaming maybe Ace would see it.

And HOLY CRAP it worked! Ace did get to see the guitar, and dug it so much, he agreed to sign it for its new owner, Bobby. Then, Ace asked to meet the artist so I was rushed in minutes before he took the stage!!! He blasted his social media with it later! Pinch me.

After finishing the work for the Ace pieces, I wanted to do another legendary tribute. KK Downing of Judas Priest, who was also on the boat with K. K.’s Priest. Same drill, first I did a painting of him. And I used the Hellion from the epic Screaming for Vengeance album cover as a backdrop. The original iconic cover was painted by Doug Johnson. Who also did the Defenders of the Faith and the Turbo album covers. Oil on Panel 24X24

If you haven’t guessed I have a bit of a guitar obsession. And while I couldn’t track down one of his original Hamer flying V guitars, I did track down a similar 1984 ESP V! And I painted if from a wooden husk this time. Even making the translucent pickguard by hand. I actually used Graphite on this one, and then masked off the drawing to paint it transparent red. The graphite is awesome because when it reflects in the light it looks like metal. I also got to meet KK, and got to ask him some questions about the bands album art. But alas no pics, so you will just have to trust me. Such a cool dude!

At this point I felt like painting a person who is a Rock Star to many but not a literal Rock Star. We’re talking Bruce Lee. It is the year of the Dragon after all, and I got the idea to paint him on the Monsters of Rock cruise last year via a lovely conversation with a fan of both Metal and Bruce. Oil on Panel

Get this, after being on the Monster’s of Rock cruise for almost a week, when we docked, I had one night in a hotel, then I got on a second cruise called the Cruise to the Edge. Which is more of a Prog rock cruise. Got to see so many fantastic bands on both boats. But I wasn’t the only one who did two cruises in a row, the band Queensrych was also on both boats as their fans cross over to both crowds. And a definite highlight was hanging out with Casey Grillo, drummer for Queensrych. So cool. He invited us backstage and everything. Got to meet the other chaps in the band. So epic. And Casey picked up one of my mixed media canvases from the gallery! And holy crapola he gifted me his toured drum head. Casey actually has a buisness where he makes drum heads, for like everyone. Have you watched the Super bowl in the last few years, or saw Kiss on their farewell concert? Casey’s heads. http://www.drumstatic.com/

Chillin’ backstage with Casey plus Christian and Hayden from Wentworth Gallery.

Back to painting… Before switching gears to try something new, I figured I had one more Rock Star painting in me. I wanted to do someone special to me and the Prog fans on the Cruise to the Edge. Neil Pert from Rush was the answer. Known as the Professor, Neil’s legendary skills behind the drum kit guided me to this more surreal take on a traditional portrait. Alas I will never have the chance to meet him in person. Also Oil on Panel 24X24.

Not gonna lie, at this point in the body of work, I was exhausted. So many long nights pushing brushes. I needed to shake things up. I needed to do something new. Something I’ve almost never done before. Landscapes.

The gallery has been itching for me to do landscapes for while now. And I love landscapes, but wanted to find a new take on them. I was painting on the actual Ace and KK guitars, and painting their famous guitars in their respective portraits, and it occurred to me that these guitars were as iconic as the players themselves. What if I just did a portrait of the guitar? But it needed something else. Something weird happening.

There is something special about landscapes. Portraits are great, but nothing allows a viewer to enter the work like a landscape. To imagine themselves actually in the image, not just a bystander looking at it. So in a true peanut butter and jelly moment, the Musicscapes were born. Portraits of instruments in surreal environments. So excited to paint many of these in the coming year. (Whose instrument do you think I should paint? Drop it in the comments!)

I started with one of Joe Satriani’s best buds, Steve Vai and his famous Ibanez EVO Jem. Wow a real joy to paint this. Sometimes with painting figures and faces, there is so much pressure. Especially when doing likenesses. This was just the bliss of moving paint around the surface. No one knows what these rocks look like, I can make them look anyway I choose. And being a guitar nerd, I felt like I got to know Steve’s guitar on a new level by deconstructing it for the painting. Oil on Panel.

Next up was another for the Prog fans. Steve Howe’s Gibson ES-175. Hard to get more ‘Prog’ than the guitar player for the band YES! As a matter of fact it was the band Yes that started the Prog cruise BITD. Pushing the fantasy elements here. You may notice I even cut an archway right through the guitar body. Which I wold never do to a real ES-175. Fantasy man! Dude I just want to live in this guitar. Oil on Panel.

I had to up my still life object painting skills to pull these off. I have one of the most skilled Still Life painters I know right in the house with me, my wife, the remarkable http://www.teresanfischer.com/ so there was no way I could slack. (She is also an artist with Wentworth.) I still have a ways to go, but I took those skills as far I am currently capable in the final painting, the ‘Dragon SG’. Maybe the most real looking object I have painted. Heh I even got out a carbide scribe and scratched cracks into what would be old lacquer paint. Funny story, you may notice this scan has no strings on the guitar. I didn’t notice that till the evening before I flew to Miami. So at 2AM after scanning and packing, I got the brush out one last time and pulled those long lines for strings. not an easy thing to do with a brush actually. Especially when you are running on zero sleep.

By the time I finished the body of work, I really felt I needed a vacation- then I remembered I was about to go on cruises for two weeks! And it was just what the doctor ordered. So many amazing memories and performances. Also I am meeting so many new people who are fans of Fantasy art. It is funny, unlike a convention like illuxcon or dragon con, I knew almost no one on these boats. It is a whole new crowd. And yet, somehow I felt like I knew everyone. Cause we came up loving the same things. As if I found my lost tribe. My thanks to Wentworth Gallery for having the vision to get me on these boats.


I will finish off with the craziest thing that happened. (At least from my perspective.) I’ve been playing guitar for years. If you have seen any of my process videos you have likely heard me playing for the soundtrack. The thing is, I have never actually been in a band (Until recently but that is a different story.) I’ve never played on stage before, or in front of a crowd, with any other musicians. So the first time I do so, I am asked to get on stage with one of the best guitar players ever. Mr. Joe Satriani. Are you kidding me!!! I haven’t been that nervous since my wedding day! I was a total mess. Forgot all the skills I have learned over the years. Joe would start to solo over me and I would forget what planet I was on. But I did manage to keep it together for about 1 minute. And a glorious minute it was!

Next up for me will be the Monsters On the Mountain show in Tenessee this August. Hope to see some of you there! (And I’m very happy it will be on land!)