‘Anything is Possible’ is a painting I created which tries to capture the feeling of being able to do, well, pretty much anything, when you roll a natural 20 in Dungeons & Dragons.
I’ve had this floating around on facebook for a little while now, with a favourable response from most people who’ve seen it. I thought it was high time I put together a little walk-through of my thought processes while I was painting it.
This isn’t a tutorial, there weren’t enough images available to do something like that, and I don’t think the way I work with canvas painting fits with step-by-step nature of a tutorial (If I want to draw a D20 for example, I look at a d20 and then I draw the D20. It doesn’t mean its a perfect D20 but there aren’t any intermediate steps that will help you, its just experience of being able to put what I see, onto canvas or paper and the way I do it might be different each time. maybe at some point I can go into processes you can use to help build this experience)
First things first, I wanted to depict the feeling of power that comes with rolling a natural 20, and fire or lava felt like they would suggest a failure of sorts (more on that in another post, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with it). As far as I’m concerned, the most powerful force on earth is the sea, it can shape continents, change our weather, and we’re all going to have to live on boats with Kevin Costner if it’s level gets too high
My initial sketch was based around the idea of ice sheets smashing and water exploding outwards, however, when I put down the first few layers of colour my idea changed somewhat.
A Moment of U ncertainty
With the colours down, although I preferred them to the ice idea, I still wasn’t sure about the piece as a whole and was tempted to leave it and move onto something else (which is fine sometimes, have a watch of Tommie Soule’s youtube videos, he mentions it on a couple of occasions), The painting is a hobby after all and moving onto other things is perfectly acceptable. However, I got the itch to do more to it and I’m glad I did. I felt that I hadn’t given the piece a chance if I moved away at this stage, didn’t give it enough time to coalesce into something closer to the vision I had.
You can see in the picture above that ‘Anything is Possible’ is starting to take shape. I still doubted myself at this point but I could see, with encouragement from friends, that there was something there, something that just needed refining and tidying.
The waves especially were bugging me, so I set about changing them, with darker patches, glazes of more colour and brighter highlights to show the reflective nature of the water.
Once that was done I moved onto the D20 and started refining it, but honestly it didn’t come together until decided to add a glow and wisps of raw magic.
The Finished Piece
A piece of art is a living thing, it changes and evolves right before your eyes. But like a living thing, you have to give it a chance at survival, to become the best piece it could be. I don’t do that often enough with my art, I don’t give them the chance they deserve. Hopefully now that will start to change.
If you read this far, then thank you. I have prints of the artwork (and the original) up for sale in my
I paint miniatures for a living, I create art on canvas and anything else I can get my grubby little paws on, and I occasionally sculpt too. All in all not a bad way to spend the day.