Painting: Space Dragon (for Madison)
Why would I paint something so wildly different from my normal style? Why is the dragon in space? Where in the world did the inspiration for this come from?
Short answer: My sister.
Space Dragon: The Origin
“Alexa, will you paint me a draaaaagon?”
I can’t help but smile at the way she says it, then quickly dismiss the suggestion. Because, quite frankly, I have no interest in painting a dragon. I like to paint things that I can reference or at least clearly envision, and (unlike her) I could hardly care less about Dungeons and Dragons and the like.
Yet, somehow, this painting exists.
The request above was made many, many times (in exactly the same manner), enough so that when Christmastime came around, I decided that it was finally time to paint her dragon.
But what kind of dragon? I knew little to nothing about dragons, nor had I happened to encounter one yet in my 18 years on this planet, and, considering my dragonless track record, I determined myself unlikely to meet such a creature before December 25th (update: as of this day, June 17th, 2019, I still have yet to encounter one…..)
Forced to find inspiration elsewhere, I thought about my sister: deep-thinking, passionate, caring, bright, creative, hilarious. Slowly, the idea formed to paint a dragon in space (which, from this point on, will be referred to as Space Dragon). Madison was a hardcore space-kid in elementary school, and to this day is obsessed with stars. In addition swirling galaxy colors seemed to well represent her brilliant, many-faceted personality.
And thus the inspiration for Space Dragon was born.
However, December 24th came, and Space Dragon was still nothing more than a sketch in my sketchbook. So, on the evening of Christmas Eve, I painting the top of her Dungeons and Dragons dice box, planning to finish the actual painting within a couple of weeks.
Space Dragon: The Climax
Fast forward to March. The background for Space Dragon has been on my easel for months while I have gotten distracted by various other projects, not motivated to begin the actual dragon. One week, however, I decide that Space Dragon has been neglected long enough. I summon all my willpower and discipline, determined that I will finish this painting.
I would like to say that the dragon wasn’t as hard to paint as I had anticipated, but that wouldn’t be true. I essential had to paint the whole dragon twice before I was happy with it.
Yet, for all it’s challenges, whenever I motivated myself to sit down and work on this painting, I generally enjoyed myself. It forced me to think outside of the box and experiment with colors and textures in ways I hadn’t before. By the time Space Dragon was finished, I had used paintbrushes, sponges, my fingers, and even repeatedly flung paint onto the canvas to achieve the end result (yes, it made a mess, and no, I do not regret it).
I feel like fantasy as a genre is like looking at the world with your head tilted sideways in order to understand it a bit better. It encourages exploration, and gives free reign to wild creativity. I would have missed out on some of this had it not been for Space Dragon.
He now lives happily on our living room wall.
The takeaway of this epic tale: Don’t be afraid to explore and take on new challenges my friends. To create is a gift from the Lord, and a way in which we reflect His own matchless, brilliant creativity.