Making ready (2020)

[Original manuscript]

“Sandwiched between the high canyonlands of the Rakta’M Wastelands and the scarp of Varu’Mandira where her clan’s water shrine was hidden, lay the Ashman’Rak’Sh, the “Devil’s Anvil” a flat featureless plateau of sandblasted basalt, feared and respected by the Sadusi as the hottest, harshest and most terrifying region of the whole of Wesdraken IV.

Here drifting flurries of sand  barred from slithering further downwind by low outcrops of basalt had become coalesced and fused by the extreme heat onto drifts of smoky glass. They were called Phu-Llita or jewel-drifts, but few Sadusi would stop to admire their temporary beauty. The speed at which the Sadusi could safely traverse to Ashman’Rak’Sh at night was more important than the natural wonders of the region.

The dromas where docile after their daytime hibernation but once the suns had set, they could swiftly cover vast distances before the next day’s dawn. Malena quickly checked the seals on her moisture suit and took a bearing on the setting suns to confirm their current position before night fell.”



Technical aspects: The original 2000 “Making ready” image was in landscape format. It was composed to convey a wide desolate plain of Wesdraken IV. I was inspired originally by the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” where TE Lawrence crossed the notorious Al-Nafud  – The Devil’s Anvil – to conquer the Turkish harbor of Al-ʿAqabah. In this revisited series, my compositions had to be portrait orientation, so the original composition had to be reworked yet still convey something of a story of Malena preparing to cross this region on her droma with an as-yet-unnamed companion. The droma went through a number of iterations before I achieved some sense of satisfaction. My composition conforms to the “Golden Section” with the rifle in Malena’s right hand leading the eye into the composition

Frank Herbert’s Dune books will always be a tremendous influence on me, and this time a bit of the vistas of David Leans vistas of the desert in “Lawrence of Arabia”  crept in and dictated my final vision.

The basic droma animal was based on a dinosaur called a Polacanthus. It was created mostly in 3D-Coat and then finally imported in DAZ Studio. The rocks were created from scanned rocks from my own garden and transferred into my new painting program, Affinity Photo. Finally, my Wacom Intuos tablet  was used to created the final “oil-painting” look.

Worlds in the Making