This one was nearly the death of me…
This character has been on my list to paint for almost two years to the day. I know this because I first conceived of this painting the night I opened my first gallery show. I won’t go into details about where the concept came from because it doesn’t really matter.
This is Mint (don’t ask why that’s his name, it just is). He’s a pit demon. What that means is that not only is he from Inferis (the Underworld in Unspoken Gods), but he is from the deepest and darkest part of the underworld where no light exists.
All pit demons have specific characteristics such as having an extra pair of arms and a large tail, but Mint is a special case. Mint has the ability to pass through the gates into any of the realms in the Unspoken Gods universe, and to make that easier he is able to morph himself to look more human in certain realms.
My goal for this piece was to create an image of him midway between his two extreme forms so that I could show off certain characteristics from each of those forms.
In the beginning, I wanted to showcase the two sides of his character, so that stayed the same. But the difference was that I wanted to paint him in the pit - which meant nothing but black everywhere aside from the little bit of light coming from the fire he’s holding.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make the first two attempts at that look work. It was too boring, I didn’t have the skill to pull it off, and no matter how much I changed and re-cropped it, the framing didn’t sit well with me.
The first attempt at this painting was in oils, and I started it just under two years ago and never got even close to finishing it. The second attempt was more recent, only finally being left behind in February of this year. The reason for walking away from that piece is a bit more complicated than not liking how it was working out, but for personal reasons I had to walk away and start fresh.
Don’t believe me that there’s a huge difference in skill level from February to now? Scroll down to see that attempt that was abandoned in February. It’s nowhere near the quality of the new piece once I let my hand do what it wanted instead of trying to force the concept to do what I wanted.
Walking away from the first two attempts was for the best, but I’m happy I didn’t walk away from the overall concept entirely. It was a really fun piece to work on, and all in all (even with the multiple backgrounds I worked through in the new version), it was a really fulfilling experience to finally have him finished.
While I’m happy with how he turned out in the end, the finished piece looks nothing like what I had originally set out to do.