Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The Art of Rowena
If you like fantasy art books, The Art of Rowena will be a keeper. Rowena Morrill’s paintings have appeared on calendars and the covers of speculative fiction books such as The Dolphins of Pern, and I bought it because I’d seen two of those paintings before.
One was of two people kissing through a great iron gate, their limbs twining around the bars. The ironic thing was, there was nothing connected to the gate—no walls whatsoever. They could simply have walked around it and there would have been nothing separating them. The other painting was a portrait of my favorite SF author, Isaac Asimov, seated on a throne carved with symbols and depictions of his work.
These and many others make for a wonderful visual experience. Another favorite of mine shows a little boy walking home in the dark, hands in pockets, clearly trying to whistle a tune. Following him is a bizarre dragonlike creature, claws extended, jaws agape—but its pink-and-green coloration saves the scene from being completely horrific.
Several paintings feature people in the skimpiest of clothing, just in case this isn’t your kind of thing, though Rowena has an amazing touch when it comes to small details. Jewelry, weapons and flowers all look vivid and realistic. The settings range from Ancient Egypt to an Aztec altar to medieval lands and outer space. Plus, there are notes on each painting—what inspired Rowena, what it was like working with the models and so on.
Her style tends to be lush and colorful, as opposed to the cool restrained art of Jacek Yerka. But the paintings are delightful to browse through, and this book would be a good addition to any fantasy collection.