Monday, August 19, 2013


oil on panel, 28" x 44"
©Matthew Stewart

Last year I was commissioned to create a painting of dragons. The collector had seen my previous paintings, Waterfall Dragons and Dragonforge, and wanted something similar. Unlike most commercial commissions where the needs of the client are pretty specific, this was wide open. The only condition communicated other than the dragons was when the collector stated "I like yellow". 
I could could put my creatures in any situation I want. The story (or lack of story) would be mine to choose. 
I had a number of ideas and inspirations in mind before I started painting.  One that came back to me time and time again as I sketched ideas was a place I had visited a year or so before.  Skellig Michael-a
jagged rock jutting out of the sea island off County Kerry, Ireland, where christian monks hid from marauding vikings in the dark ages. It was one of the places my wife and I visited on our trip to Ireland. It's like no place I had ever seen. So yeah, there's not much of a specific story in this piece. Merely two dragons chancing each other. Whether they be predator and prey, or two friends playing "you're it", that's up for the viewer to decide. For me it's about that wild landscape of jagged lichen covered rocks and swirling water.  

Two shots of the entrance of the island. I took a raft of pictures there. 

The preliminary pencil drawing. I wish I could bring the painting to Illuxcon in a few weeks, but the drawing is the next best thing. 

A couple months ago I had the pleasure of talking Matt Kalamidas, senior art director at Science Fiction Book Club at a lecture at the Society of Illustrators. For artists, Matt's a great art director in that he's very approachable, always a good conversation, and open to seeing one's latest work. Hence, Chase  appears on SFBC's late summer catalog.  You can check out more about it and other great catalog cover images on at the Vorpalizer, the SFBC's blog. 


  1. I really like the way the sunlight shines through the dragon's wings, the rendering of the water, and the contrast created by the warm bg light and cool foreground shadow area. Fantastic painting. Can't wait to see you and your paintings/drawings in person at IlluxCon.

  2. Killer stuff Matt, every inch is interesting! See you soon!

  3. Spectacular, man. Masterfully handled everything everywhere I look.