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lone watch before the festivities
Art Mediums & Materials
oil painting on canvas
22 in x 28 in / 55.88 cm x 71.12 cm
"December" — Derek & Brandon Fiechter
created from both observation and imagination
March 2021 to May 2022
My idea for 𝑳𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝑾𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔 actually originated from Brandon Sanderson’s science fiction and fantasy book series Mistborn. In the second novel within 𝑴𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒃𝒐𝒓𝒏 𝑬𝒓𝒂 𝑰 called 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝑨𝒔𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏, there were many scenes where Vin and her shapeshifting kandra wolfhound OreSeur were training, adventuring and roving the village roofs of Luthadel together late during the night. Very often the two of them would also rest and sleep atop the roofs, and many of the dialogue scenes between Vin and OreSeur took place while they were sitting or standing high up atop the village roofs and gazing at the distant mountains and city of Luthadel at night. I had gotten some wonderful and terrific mental visualizations and depictions from reading those scenes within 𝑴𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒃𝒐𝒓𝒏: 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝑨𝒔𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏. This led me to be inspired to create a mountain-and-village fictional and fantasy scenery at night as well. The roving pack of wolves in the white birch tree forest in 𝑳𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝑾𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔 were inspired by Vin’s shapeshifting kandra OreSeur, who took on the form of a wolfhound throughout the book.
The distant, faraway scenery of vast, dark and snowy mountains as well as the brilliantly lit, vibrant and bustling village were heavily inspired by Zermatt in Switzerland, a mountain village and resort located in the southern part of the country’s Valais canton, renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking. Zermatt was nestled in a deep valley enclosed between steeply scarped mountains, and it was dominated by the giant, graceful and iconic pyramid peak of the Matterhorn. The landscape of Zermatt, Switzerland was the best referencing point the entire time while I was creating the distant, faraway scenery in 𝑳𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝑾𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔. The whole painting also somewhat had a bright, exciting and festive atmosphere and feel to it that seemed to be brimming beneath the surface, as though it was Christmas time or near Christmas season during the midst of winter. Therefore I was exploring a range of various Christmas medieval village houses as inspiration and reference points for creating the shapes and designs for the houses within my village as well.
During the creating process, I started with painting the snow covered ground and silver birch trees of the wintry forest, but then worried whether the shadings and tones of grey and blue might be too light so that the entire scenery no longer looked like it was nighttime. I countervailed this by painting the night sky and colossal mountains in very deep and dark Prussian and phthalo blue, in order to truly bring out and depict that the setting was during the dark hours of night at full moon.
My main biggest challenge was painting the incredibly tiny details of the village, where the slow, time-consuming, tiring, cumbersome process could be wonderfully saved and reduced had I made the wiser choice to work larger scale on a canvas with greater areas and dimensions. Especially when I was struggling even with the thinnest, tiniest brushes to paint those dense, busy and minuscule village houses. I realized it would've been wiser had I simplified those pencil drawings to save energy and time. But if I wanted intricacy and precision in order to depict the effect that the bright, vibrant, festive village was distant and faraway, working large scale was the best and only way to achieve that.