The Mountain

The Mountain is yet another piece tied to my endless art project, Conspiracy of Shadows. I’ve been working on bits and pieces of this thing for about 16 years, and only now do I feel like I am finally hitting my stride, both artistically and thematically. It’s an exciting time for me, so I’ve decided to more actively share what I am up to.

With that in mind, I have been documenting my progress as I move through my work. In this case, I was pretty slow as life got in the way of me completing it, but it helped me explore some different ways to tackle this piece. Speaking of which, the piece is about the children of one of my protagonists heading towards a foreboding place to try and stop him from ending the world. Nothing like heady material…

This is the first piece where I started by sketching in Procreate some of the components. It was an interesting experience and I think I will use it again in my workflow.


I like to start my paintings using acrylic markers to frame things out. It helps me translate the various pieces I have pulled together into a single composition.


I started with the sky. I used to do a lot of full pieces of playing with color and splatter paint, so this was a nice nostalgic moment for me.


I then moved onto my first pass at the mountains and the river in the midground. I like to block out color and shapes regardless of the medium I am working in.


The next step was painting the greenery and giving more dimension to the river. This was the first pass, but I was not even remotely done at this point.


I moved on to block out more details and began work on the figures in the foreground. This is where the piece started to come together for me and I identified mistakes I made that I needed to address.


I closed this out with a combination of details and leveraging layers of glaze to create both the dark points of the landscape as well as the impact of the campfire.


Photography doesn’t do this enough justice, but I think this zoomed in view gives you a sense of what it looks like in person. The usage of dark and light colored glazes was super powerful for this work.