All art copyright (c) Mike Kloepfer
"The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we were able to focus on it."
-Steve Vai

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Post Mile Hi Con Wrap Up

This past weekend at Mile Hi Con 45 was interesting, constructive, and fun. I had a good time with Lisa and Toni, ran into many old friends and companions, and met many new and interesting people.
First of all, Authors Row was a great place to network, meet others in the publishing and self-publishing business, and connect with like-minded individuals.
Second, and most dramatic for me, was the Art Show. I was singularly impressed with the work of Aaron Miller. I had seen his work in books, magazines, and online, and was always impressed. But in person, I was inspired. His paintings are spectacular. It was exhilarating for my creative mind, my heart, and my spirit to see his original works in person.

This was my favorite piece in the show:
Fires In The Desert.
...and I was only looking at a canvas print!
The paintings were equally stunning.
Go to
to see more.

I am reminded what I told Carrie a few months back; I need to get out to galleries, museums, and art shows more often. I am uplifted by the works of my fellow artists; I always come back inspired to reach further in my own endeavors.
This is one of the areas that my own competitive nature is a boon. When I see that others can achieve great things, I feel I must achieve great things myself. Upon seeing the best that others can create, I cannot accept less than the best from myself. This is a good thing, when directed positively. 

I attended Aaron Miller's portrait painting demonstration. It was fun, and it is always educational and informative for me to see how another artist works, to get a glimpse into their thinking processes.
I made a personal goal to get into the art show for next year's Mile Hi Con. And not only to get in, but \to make my presence known and felt, as a powerful artistic force to be reckoned with.A noble - and attainable - goal, but it will take focus and dedication, and "no small amount" ofeffort.

 This is a further development of what I have been discussing with Carrie recently. I have put together a body of work. Now is the time to take that to the next level, in many ways.
First, I need to get into some shows, get my work out in front of as many people as possible.
Second, I need to elevate my artwork to the next level; I must begin to create the artwork that I was born to create. It is time for me to create my life's work, the pieces I will be known for, the artwork I have always yearned to create.
I have known, have felt it in my heart for years and years, that I was born to create great works of Fantasy Art, and more recently that my work in this area would be of a quality and level that would warrant being exhibited in galleries and museums.

So I must get busy. There is much to do.

Carrie has been great. I say I want to do figurative works that venture into the Fantasy Art genre, and she says “Do it!” I say that I want to incorporate figures with animals, and she says “Do it!” I say that I have a series in mind of female figures, clad in period costumes, wandering in the wilderness, floating, and flying, and she says “Do it!” I say that I want to do a series of animal studies that will be incorporated into larger, more complex pieces, and she says “Do it!”
I say that I want to take a step back and redirect my efforts (get more schooling, work on this skill or that skill, etc.) and she says “Don't do it!”
She has good instincts, knows that the best thing for me is to move forward. 

I also made many good contacts at the Con. I met with authors and publishers, and even made some connections for upcoming projects and cover art. This is great! I am moving forward, getting my work, and my skills, in front of people who appreciate it and are excited to work with me.

I also met quite a few good costumers and characters. I took a bunch of photographs, and exchanged contact info. I am getting in touch with good faces and costumes to populate the scenes in my paintings.
This is good news, especially after the recent mishaps with my computer crashing (another one!) and being unable to access the awesome reference photos I had taken with Michael Sheridan.

I am very excited. Good things are on the horizon, and great artwork is in the making....!

Friends in costume
Aaron Miller painting demo

Great costume!
When we met, she said
"You're a brave man, shaking hands
with the Mother Confessor."
True dat. ;)
Great costumes!
Adorable AND scary!

Adorable AND scary!
Adorable AND scary!

What can I say? It's Peter:
Long-time friend.
Good costume.
Adorable AND scary!
(...and he has baklava!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mile Hi Con 2013

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I will be at MileHiCon to promote the books Fable and Fated by Lisa Fender and Toni Burns.

Look for us in the authors' row section.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Progress on FATED cover art

Cover for Fated -
The new book from
Lisa Fender and Toni Burns

The novel 'Fable – Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy' is on the bookshelves at, complete with my cover illustration and interior map. 
Fable - Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy
Interior map for Fable

I met yesterday with the authors to review progress for the cover of the first Novella of the series: 'FATED – Book 1 of the Djenrye Chronicles.'
We are very excited about the book, and the series. We'll be at MileHiCon October 18 – 20; look for us on Authors' Row. Stop by for a sneek peak at the newest book, to check out 'Fable,' and talk with the authors and myself.
This is a dream come true for me. Growing up, I envisioned myself illustrating the covers of Fantasy novels, like my heroes Frank Frazetta and Michael Whelan. And now I'm actually doing it! Not only that, the authors give me plenty of room for my 'artistic vision.' I also get to have fun with typography, which I always enjoy, especially on a project like this one.
(My thanks to fellow artist and designer Phil Normand for showing me so much about typography, which is becoming something of a lost art. He will forget more than I ever know...)
This cover has presented me with some fun challenges. I am exploring different methods of creating textures in acrylic, with the help of Carrie, my agent and fellow artist, who does exquisite textures in her realistic and abstract paintings. I always enjoy breaking new ground and adding new tools to my kit, so to speak.
I can't show you the cover yet, as we are saving the surprise for the release. However, I can show you a couple of closeups – one of the concept sketch, and one with some of the fun textures and lighting in the final painting. I am attempting to create the look of an old wall – plaster or stucco, something along those lines.
Closeup - cover concept sketch

 For the cover, the authors requested an image of a sabre-toothed tiger used as a sigil. Those of you familiar with my work may recognize the look from my previous painting, 'Tiger Eyes.' I find each animal's face interesting, and there is quite a bit of variation in a single species. In fact, I could paint tigers from the same vantage point and never run out of interesting new insights and discoveries. I find the direct gaze of a giant predator to be exciting to paint. However, I did not want to simply remake the same image. Simply remaking previous pieces holds no interest for me at all. Plus, this is not just a tiger; the sabre-tooth is a separate animal, and I wanted to capture the 'essence' of this, in a more graphical form. I researched large cats and archeological examples of the sabre-tooth and combined them into a sigil. The final painting is very exciting and I can't wait to share the end result.
The book is entering the final editing stages and will be released soon. I'll keep you posted as we progress, and soon there will be another in the series of completed covers!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Thanks to encouragement from my pal Michael Sheridan, I have opened my shop MIKEYZART on ETSY for my artwork.
I'm starting with a couple prints from my catalog, which has exploded in size over the last year!!!
Take a look, and keep coming back... I'll be adding content regularly!
Click the banner below, or the link at the bottom:

A Riot of Red!

One of the pieces I had time to work on over the past few months is The Musketeer
Though it has been several weeks since I worked on the piece, I wanted to share a few fun aspects of this painting and its progress.
I was able to develop several areas that were giving me a hard time, and make a few key decisions about the piece. Unfortunately, I kinda mucked up the hues on the face, but that will not be too difficult to fix. (I shoulda left well enough alone! LOL)
Here is a close-up shot (kinda blurry!) of what I like to call "A Riot of Red"...!

Closeup of The Musketeer "A Riot of Red"
A few years ago, my (then) boss Dino Casterline took the gang to the Orlando Art Museum to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. I was in awe. I had only seen reproductions of the pieces in print. I had always liked Rockwell's work... but the original paintings were a whole 'nother experience altogether. 
One piece that caught my attention was the painting Checkers showing a group of circus performers backstage.  The reds he created in the fabric of the ringmasters coat really caught me. I thought I knew the color "red", but could not believe how "red" the color red could be! 

At that moment I knew that one day, I would attempt to create reds in a painting that had that "red"-ness. And so here I was, with this beautiful musketeer costume, and the red satin of the cloak staring me in the face. I said to myself "Self... now is the time!" 
And what fun it has been! I have used many different reds, purples and browns, in adjacent swaths of paint and combined in layers. I never fully realized  how many variations of red I could employ in one section of a painting... until now!

This has turned out to be one of those 'long term paintings' that presents many unique challenges and opportunities for learning. I have repainted several areas - some more than once. I enjoy setting it aside and letting it 'percolate' in my brain, then coming back to it a while later. 

I'll be posting more from this painting as it progresses.