The water shrine (2019)

[Original manuscript]

“The rescue of the injured star traveler had incurred a blood debt of water for the clan and, as the century-old law of the Sadusi demanded, Malena was required to make the arduous journey across Ashman’Rak’Sh, the “Devil’s Anvil”, to Varu’Mandira where her clan’s water shrine was concealed.

Deep in a cave, and lit only by the noon suns and guarded by stone effigies of Sadusi elders, the shrine itself was ancient, carved out of the cave wall in the likeness of of a Sadusi female, with open mouth and her hands held before her in offering. The spring water flowed from the open mouth and from the eyes like tears, symbolizing some forgotten pain and suffering that the Sadusi must have been subjected to in the distant past…

On Wesdraken IV, water was life, and a fountain of water was deified by all, for that gave them life and that was their god…”


Technical aspects: Up until now the images that I have created have been desert scenes, so to focus on water as a theme was a real challenge. The original “The water shrine” image of 1999 was more of an experiment to master materials like transparent cloth, falling water and atmospheric lighting, and I had not yet developed a story or a motivation for Malena’s character.

Long after I completed the original “Annals of Malena”, I realized the potential for developing the “religion” of Wesdraken IV. I do not deny it, Frank Herbert’s Dune books have always had a tremendous influence on me, and I also wanted to bring aspects of the Hebrew exodus out of Egypt and the latter Jewish diaspora into the larger mythology.

The composition went through several iterations, which I have posted into the WIP – Work In Progress gallery. With a basic humanoid character created in DAZ Studio and imported into 3D-Coat, I created the central water shrine statue as well as the 6 flanking statues (which you can barely see) in stone. Malena was clad in a dress created in Marvelous Designer, and the waterfalls were composited in using some Photoshop brushes and transferred into my image editor of choice, Affinity Photo. Finally, my Wacom Intuos tablet  was used to created the final “oil-painting” look.

Worlds in the Making