This is the cover I did for the recently released Italian youth novel `Il Quinto Segno` by Pierdomenico Baccalario. Published by Mondadori
“Every Wednesday night at exactly 2:23 I hear our regular guest coming in through the sliding backdoor. She then proceeds to count my mother’s inherited collection of nine china plates in a soft and slow, almost humming voice: Oonee…Twooo…Threee… When she has counted up to plate number nine she stands silent for a moment and then sighs and hangs her head. It’s almost as if she’s looking for a tenth plate. She then kind of jerks and twitches her head and shoulders in a very peculiar manner for a few seconds. She seems to have some uncontrollable tick, but it only manifests after the counting of plates. It’s a bit scary.
In the beginning I used to ask if I could help her with something, anything, but she just turns around in silence and smiles before leaving through the backdoor again. A very large smile that almost reaches from ear to ear. After a while I decided to just let her be and give a friendly smile back. She’s odd, but seems friendly.
Her appearance is one I have never really seen before. She hunches over slightly which makes her very long hair, that she wears loose, often cover her eyes. Her skin is very pale and has a hint of the color indigo to it. She wears an all white layered kimono tight together with a large sash around her waist; an attire you don’t see in everyday life. I think it might be an heirloom stemming from a long gone era. To be honest I believe she wears it as a nightgown and I’ve come to suspect she might actually be sleepwalking. I once read one shouldn’t disturb a sleepwalker, so I just watch her in silence.
The thing about her that I find very strange though is that she always leaves her sandals (that also look kind of ancient) at the backdoor, but it almost looks like she doesn’t have feet. Her kimono looks like it’s translucent at the bottom, but even stranger; it seems as if she’s floating just above the floor…
Our regular guest is a very strange lady indeed.”
An attempt at writing a short ghost story. I borrowed a small element from the famous ghost story of Okiku.
“There was some that was feared of Pew, and some that was feared of Flint, but Flint his own self was feared of me. Feared he was, and proud. They was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint’s; the devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them. Well, now, I tell you, I’m not a boasting man, and you seen yourself how easy I keep company; but when I was quartermaster, lambs wasn’t the word for Flint’s old buccaneers.” – Long John Silver
It’s been only a short while ago when I discovered the tv series Black Sails that instantly turned me into a fan. The series is basically a prologue to Treasure Island, the famous fictional novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and follows the main characters of John Silver and Captain Flint along with many real historic pirates, ships and locations twenty years prior to the events of R.L. Stevenson’s novel.
My love for the series Black Sails compelled me to paint a portrait of Captain Flint as portrayed by Toby Stephens in the series. I found a small screenshot online in which I found the lighting and colors in Toby’s face particularly striking and decided to use that as a reference. The result is this Alla Prima painting in oils that I painted in two successive and relatively short sessions.
Life size oil on wood panel.
Very happy to see this in print and hitting the bookstores as of now.
I illustrated 40 pages for this non-fiction picture book written by Kathleen V. Kudlinski (published by Capstone Publishers), which tells the heroic story of a young girl during the American revolution. This has been my largest project to date and my first children’s picture book publication.
“late every night a woman clutching a child would come to a certain amazake dealer to buy the sweet sake from him, which she would then give to her child to drink. The sake dealer, sensing something mysterious about this woman, followed her from his stall one night and watched her as she made her way towards the main hall of the temple, where she disappeared like a blown-out candle. When she vanished, the sake dealer could hear the cry of a baby coming from somewhere in the cemetery. Tracking the sound to a freshly-dug grave, the sake dealer enlisted the help of some others to dig up the grave, and when opening the coffin discovered a crying baby nestled in the arms of its mother’s corpse.”
Recently I was invited to participate in a Halloween gallery group show, which I got very exited about. After pondering what subject to choose and searching for creepy legends, I got inspired by a tale of the Kosodate Yūrei, the child raising ghost.
Here’s the initial sketch/drawing of my “modern-ish” take on the ghost mother (her dress, buys candy instead of sake), which will be the basis for an oil painting.