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"Art and ponderings of Tom THOR Thordarson" My paintings

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NEW 2017 PAINTINGS POSTED!! Scroll to last Page!

My buddy "Grog" told me of this thread many months ago, and I am just getting around to becoming involved here. It's beyond inspiring to see all the other enchanting art and minds driven to create something from nothing. I feel far less alone in my insanity.

I have so many different pieces i have posted over the years in TC I am not sure anyone would want to see them re posted again. But I may take a few I have that were unusual or most interesting for me, and lay them down here for discussion. I definitely will start posting new paintings, more velvets. and of course my never ending desire to perfect the crafting of a shrunken head that defies question of it's authenticity.

So,I will post this as my intro to my thread and begin posting art below over time in no particular order. Enjoy just peeking into my studio, my laboratory and looking over my shoulder as I swish brushes through grey paint water in crazed tiki mugs. It's a great gift to be an artist...but even greater to be among friends that are artists.

Warm Aloha's ~~THOR

NOTE: All images are under strict copyright owned by myself, Tom Thordarson A.K.A "THOR" and use or duplication in ANY FORM for personal or business use is prohibited without written permission from myself. I have and will continue to strictly enforce this at fullest extent of law. Please respect this, as I am posting here with faith that I will not need to pursue such matters and can continue to share here with this TC Ohana openly.

Thank you to several members here who kindly informed me of some abusers to this request and matters were resolved with firm and rapid closure. That out of the way, lets enjoy sharing art!

First, some unusual new creations...where the element of "Tiki" or Tropical escape is brought to one of the least likely of places. The Military. I liked this challenge a lot. They need it too!

Below, a tribute to the Brave messengers of ALOHA..the crews and squadrons of the CH-53D Sea Stallion Helicopters..from Hawaii. I was approached by the US Marines, many that collect my work in Hawaii, to consider doing a creative interpretation focused on these Marines in the sky from the Islands, now enduring the heated sands of the Middle East and need something to dream of and inspire them to recall home and Hawaii. Formal unveiling at USMC Base for this this Dec., 2010 before my shows. It will be a fun bash at the Officers club along with what I was told will be some fun times in the air too.
I have been working with some great officers at the bases and they are truly excited about this. Basic story I created behind this image is that we are in the middle East..middle of nowhere, between Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps. Its dusk.
The Marines, by using these work horse "helos", native to
Hawaii as home station are "bringing a taste of Hawaii and Aloha" to this place. They are like transporters of Hawaii..and Aloha..special tropical messengers from the Island Ohana.
You see the sky faintly suggests the American flag in the striations of clouds and approaching night.....some faint stars in upper left. Lei's are being dropped from the in upper right, beautifying and transforming the attitude and sweet fragrance of the warm air. One "helo" is dropping water...and has, after a few trip's, created a lagoon/oasis...a beach with sands that are foreign, but reminiscent of home.

A small Military trench caterpillar tractor has helped to create a scaled down "sand dune" version of helo! A much needed backdrop.

There is great little place with Lanai hanging over the Marine made waters to refresh and sip a cool something. It's a little Tiki Hut called
"Da Semper Fi Lanai", built by Marines using local palm logs and sand bags.

Shipments of Hawaii comfort foods like Kona coffee, Spam and pineapples, with fun "Marines" brand names, like "G and H" Sugar(short for "Gung Ho") or "Hoo Rah" brand Pineapples and "Sea Stallion" brand, Kona Coffee.

A desert camel is draped in lei's.....taking in the Aloha! There is the element of tropical paradise no matter where we dream it to be.....and I think there is no place they can use it more right now that over seas supporting the freedom of our Country.

I might as well post the other two pieces I have done for military so far. I am developing some strong fan ties with Military and have met some outstanding unsung hero's that allow us all of us to ponder Tiki and dabble paint or mud as they put their life on the line for such freedoms. This has inspired me greatly. I plan to cover ALL branches...inspired by a diversify of stories and represent, as an artist, a side to such a serious subject matter that somehow takes the edge off of the challenges and hardships endured at war.
I also want to celebrate these Americans. no one wants war... and we can debate endlessly the matter it's self. However, it's something that seems to be in our lives as Americans to process. Hopefully, to end forever in some future generation.

All this said, my art ALWAYS starts as a story in my head. It becomes an inspiration. I try to not be repetitive...I get bored with painting like subject matter very quickly and so my work may change in medium or from whimsical to dark. All things that make strong story, and real life meeting fantasy.

Below is a tribute I did based on numerous chats during shows I have done where various military shared their stories and hopes that i can paint something to represent a part of their real experiences. An officer of the Navy who commanded one of the main Hawaii stationed submarine crews told how they had gotten a lot of bad press for totally un supported claims of "hurting sea life" with sonar, etc. and shared that he had never seen such a thing in all his travels.

Same story came from countless other submariners. In fact, the stories came in to me about how the sea life followed the subs...whales almost "falling in love" with the familiar shape of the subs and dolphins playing in the wakes and following them for many miles under the sea. So I choose to believe and celebrate this idea. If anyone cares to argue this, please do it on another website, lol, I am just an artist and care to believe that, "life imitates art", as a fellow artist once said...If I paint something..it's going to set that attitude out to the world..and what happens from there is only up to God and fate. Good happens from good intent if you send it out there...I believe.

Also, when a submarine comes back to Hawaii after a tour of duty...it is given a giant Lei...placed around the tower made of a huge string of colorful plastic bags that look just like a king size lei. Families wait to welcome them on shore.

So here, this painting shows these inspirations. The proud sub..eagerly approaching the shallower coast of Hawaii's home waters, while all of the sea life there escort it to where their families await them on dock. All the native creatures represent aspects of the Navy and of the US Navy's modern Subs. Many layers of symbols in this painting. I would need many pages to outline, but this gives a good start.

The result..a painting below titled, "All Lei's returned"...dedicated to my friends serving somewhere beneath the waves to and from the far East...may they always return..to be celebrated with lei's and the hugs of their Ohana.

Below rounds off the "Military series" to date. I anticipate a lot more this year. I was offered a two week trip to a "safe" Medical Hospital/base in the Middle early in the coming year to collect inspiration and one on one stories from troops. I told them to just get me Kevlar vest that can accept acrylic paint and I am good!

Anyway, so It is is called "The Humma Hummer" It's inspired by a US Marine who I met at one of my shows in Honolulu/Pearl Harbor who told me he was an officer that had my work in his office on base in the Middle East. He shared some very touching stories of comrades he had just lost to land mines exploding under their patrol Humvee Vehicle. He said something like, "Ya...they all should have just stayed back that eve and we could have painted up the Hummer in Polynesian camo, light a few canteens full of gas and call em' Tiki torches and pretend were on the sands of Waikiki instead a feakin' desert", and laughed with half emotion. This stuck with me...and inspired this painting.

Here's a piece below that was inspired by my childhood adventure days with my cousins who lived in Hawaii. I would spend about 2 to three Months a year with them since I was about nine years old through my late teens. They lived in the "Big Island" of Hawaii, but my Uncle was a commercial diver and started us all on scuba since I was that age...years before I was certified. My Uncle owned a salt water fish export business and so my cousins and I would help him collect various specimens for a few hours in the early morning just outside the reefs. We used large, clear plastic "slurp guns" that looked like giant hypo syringes...and would be down under beneath the waves for over an hour per dive.
After we helped, our "chores" were complete and it was play time. We would often build tree houses and find debris washed up on the shore to make stuff to pretend we were pirates or jungle savages or whatever adventure theme that day was decided to become. we would also find driftwood and make "ships" on the sand,or rig up catapults out of junk from my Uncles garage of potential.
I recalled one very special time when we all took a flight to Oahu for an overnight camp adventure. We were destined for Kualoa beach on the east side of the Island while my Uncle discussed business with a local in the town. The next morning my cousins and I got up just as the sun was coming up on the beach. The tiny island called "Chinaman's Hat" was just off shore, behind it, the sky was a magical spectacle I will never forget.
We picked up the various treasures that had washed ashore and wove an adventure worthy of the most swashbuckling of tales ever to be told. Making swords from sticks, bamboo and plastic bottles for the hand hilts. Treasures of coral and bottles..and I recall a sharks egg case (a "mermaid purse") we added to the booty of precious "gems". We fought till the sun was well above the horizon..and the adventure ended when we smelled Spam, eggs and pancakes sizzling on my Uncles Coleman camp stove.

So, with that magical day still cradled well in my mind, and a little embellishment to sweeten the legend just a tad, here is my painting that I named, "Swashbuckler Sunrise". Dedicated to the child in us all, my dear Uncle who passed away last year...and the wisdom of childhood we must all re-learn to recognize as our greatest of God given wisdom.

Let's begin a Hawaiian Gecko string of work here, now. As anyone knows who has been to the Islands, the little gecko's are everywhere. You see them often on ceilings in homes and restaurants, usually near a light source, catching moths or insects with a flash of their long sticky tongues. They are adorable creatures and I have befriended many.

I see gecko art all over Hawaii. But I always felt it to be so un imaginative. Illustrations or sculptures of geckos surfing on miniature boards or wearing miniature Hawaiian shirts and hats...blah blah blah. Bored me. I wanted to really make a gecko's world believable. I had to "think like a gecko!"

So for weeks I would ponder...looking at objects on the ground or on a table at a beach side bar or restaurant. What would I use that dis guarded plastic spoon for..if I were a gecko. What would I use as a Hawaiian grass skirt? Cocktail umbrella's..AHHH perfect size! On and on...I immersed myself in a tiny world. I "spoke" to them...watched them and soon it became easy to visit and paint, their world. The series became quickly popular with both locals and tourists..which is a rare thing, usually.

SO, in no chronological order, here is the series so far. Beginning with one I painted about three years ago. It was inspired when I was having lunch on the lanai of "Tiki's" restaurant in Waikiki. I wanted to eat healthy and ordered a "fruit boat". I posted a photo of the actual plate/boat here on an earlier thread but I just looked and the size of the photo I posted is the size of a postage stamp here now, so its hard to see. It was a half hollowed out pineapple with fruit.

Well, I ate most of it but a few grapes. A fiend of mine had some Asian salad and so when they were done, there was an extra pare of chopsticks , still in wrapper they didn't use. A few cocktail napkins and a white plastic spoon from a yogurt we had earlier...all lay on the table. Well...I began to "think like a gecko". What about a Pirates adventure? I can use this hollow pineapple and if I cut it a bit lower in the mid section's side it's kinna like a Spanish Galleon's shape, I thought.

Soon, to the fascination of some kid the next table over with her mouth hanging open as he gawked at me, I began perfecting my pirate ship, gecko style. A Chopstick became the mast, A banana leaf from the plate was later replaced by a napkin that made fine sails...the wrapper from the chopsticks I used too...a perfect mast flag and telltale. I would soon plunge a white flexible spoon I had in my board shorts from a frozen yogurt sample I ate earlier deep in the port side of the pineapple. I fired a grape over the balcony of the lanai (Immature..I know)...barely missing a sunburned, melon bellied tourist walking on Kalakaua Ave.below! Grapeshot!..for real!

Below is a photo I took with my camera phone of the actual fruit boat" I was half way through making at "Tiki's Restaurant that day on the lanai. Note the little girl at the table behind...who was earlier watching me like a hawk till her Mom scolded her for something and she now pouts.

It needed a bowsprit so I temporarily used a chopstick, later replaced in the painting by a swizzle stick designed as a fictitious bar with pirate theme. Plastic cocktail swords became the crews weapons...and this entire freaking fruit fight adventure was just itchin' to begin!

I got back to studio, began to draw...looking at the photo I took of my food creation on my phone camera...and this painting was born.

I made it feel like a battle was in progress...Someone was shooting maraschino cherries at the pirates..but never figured I would have to explain who or what the source was. The prints sell well on this...but every darn person buying it would ask me...PLEASE tell me...WHO is shooting the cherries????? SO..i knew i would need to address this one day. But first..here's the one that stated this all...and just because I played with my food.

It's titled " Purple Projectiles off Port Side"... see below.

SO.....Three years later and countless requests to the "mystery"...here it is.

You see...it's what one might call the "Royal Hawaiian Wee Navy" of gecko's....sent in one of their most sophisticated sea vessels. The fruit flinging Pirates have ravaged the local ponds, tide pools and Ala Wai canal long enough....so a stealth Green turtle submarine ( mask on it's back makes a water tight compartment for gecko's to slip under the rubber nose skirt and submerge into the depths safely for time enough to escape dangers.

This "Sub" is armed with a powerful cherry shooting snorkel cannon....powered by the blow hard cheeks of a salty sea turtle. The outcome is a story yet to be known....but this mini maritime fruit fight will be a grand battle in deed! It is painted to be hung to the left of Purple Projectiles.

Title: "The Sub-Turtle Cherry Hurdle"

Below is a three panel Gecko "trip-tic", though I hear a lot of people purchase the prints individually in Hawaii. I designed them to work as compositions that could stand alone..but when hung side by side, make a wide vista of a what it would look like to be on a Hawaiian beach and be only a few inches tall. The attempt was to reflect this scale. Notice that "waves" are just those little tiny ripple waves we see just as water gets bubbly and washes up into the sand.

Again, thinking like a gecko....what would I use for a day at the beach. Well, I found a "spork"..one of those plastic spoons with tines at the end you get in some fast food places. One was on the beach I notice. So, I layed on my stomach on a small beach near Hawaii Kai so my eyes were about 4 or 5 inches above the sand. I watched the ocean..the sand..and looked at what things people left in the trash cans or dropped near the pic-nic tables.

Soon I could see it all happening. A plastic knife became a "long board"..."sporks" and spoons, short boards...napkins were beach towels and a red Chinese take-out box I saw fallen next to a trash can with chop sticks...well, there's the life guard stand! Also..most people miss noticing the match book on the far left panel where the female gecko uses it as a beach lounge under her cocktail umbrella shade. It is the same design as the old "Don Ho Show" matches given away in the 70's ..but says, "The Gecko-Ho Show" with a Gecko type Don image...well I thought that was pretty funny, but then again, I may get a far better kick outta my own warped humor than most. lol!

So..here yah go. With a sandy chin and a sun burned grin...I painted this trip-tic, titled:
"WATER SPORKS". Below are the three panels, how they look together first, then seperate to see detail.

Be aware again!!!!!!!!!!!, I know a very well respected Kahuna who has blesssed my work and asured me that if any of my images were used without my permission or purchased as should be...they would soon find a string of bad luck that would make even the truest rooted Hawaiian cringe. So...please look only at all these I am posting.....I am actually not kidding on this claim! It's part of a the way honest business works in the old Hawaii style I was told.

Next Gecko piece was inspired by a little South of the Boarder influence. Here a gecko and a bull frog play out a scene that was inspired by my visit to Mexican Restaurant in Waikiki called "La Cucaracha". I felt like a few shots of Agave Tequila and sat at the bar. I "thought like a gecko" and imagined this... A bullfight in a "ring" in miniature. Those little decorative toothpicks are perfect for mini matadors! But the Bullfrog ain't so amused!! Below, a painting titled... "Bar Top Matador"

On the lines of "table top" or "Bar top" stuff.... Here is another inspired by my sitting at a Sushi bar in Waikiki. I was wondering...what a gecko would do if it was feeling good from a drop or two of Sake and wanted to show off to impress a female. Well..this is what I might try! How can you lose with some maneuvers with chopstick stilts as your honey sits back on a nice soft Masubi daybed and watches the show! Here is, "On A Roll"

There was this little umbrella table on an outside Lanai at restaurant off of Kuhio Rd. in Waikiki. I had a mai tai and relaxed. The mai tai's had little plastic swords and umbrella's in the cherries and pineapple garnishes. So...I made up a story in my mind...about a couple gecko's fighting over a little female that loved the attention.

I saw a little cockroach for real, on the oxidized aluminum umbrella pole near the hole in the table. Hawaii has lots of these outside wherever food is served..no matter how clean the place is. So. I added him into my story. Anyway...when I sketched up the painting to show the Gallery what was on the horizon for new painting ideas, the response from the Gallery manager was, " OMG...PLEASE, just don't paint that roach in this painting or we'll NEVER be able to sell this"!! lol. So...what did I do? I painted the scene....and made the roach EVEN BIGGER..cheering on the fight!! lol The original sold in just a few days. The painting is called, "Table Top Tussle". Dedicated to those who can never resist a good duel with a fine pair of plastic cocktail swords...no matter how old you are!

Speaking of painting images that are "defiant" I have two more below. Again, what inspires me isn't just what will "sell"..but more getting a reaction or taking a subject that is not cliche' in acceptability and painting it because of that aspect. So, I took two "Underdogs" off Hawaii. Two things that most people go "YUCK" at when you mention or show them. One is the food known as "Poi" made from the taro root. It's a starchy purplish paste like goop eaten with traditional foods of Hawaii. Always with a finger as your "utensil". What a "romantic" gesture, I thought...if a Male Gecko was trying to be a lil' gentleman, hopped into a fresh bowl of gooey Poi, got a big dollop on his finger and offered it with love to his female admirer sitting on a lava rock Poi pounder.

Here is an example of how a viewer one can make just about ANYTHING "sexual" if they choose to see it like that. IT WAS NEVER MY INTENT!! However, a few people have come up top me blushing and say..."OMG...that is a really NAUGHTY painting!" Go figure! LOL
Here it is below....titled: "Poi Meets Girl"

Second "Yuck" subject I painted was about the Moray Eels that are in the lava rock tide pool areas in Hawaii. Shy creatures really...and very under celebrated. Perfect! So I painted more unlikely love. A cute little she gecko and a silly, sea serpent like Eel fall in love and meet nightly under the moonlit sky above the tide pools in Maui. The enjoy the romantic candle lights inside glowing urchin shells and the sweet tropical breeze. I called this painting "At's A Moray"...and it's one of my personal favorites...cus it's such sweet, impossible love.

Next, a few gecko ideas I got while staring into my Mai Tai's at the end of a hard eve in Waikiki. Two little paintings emerged. First is simply about a little gecko who crawls atop a Mai Tai that has one of those little plastic cocktail mermaids we recall wanting out of our parent's drinks as kids. This gecko falls hopelessly in love...not realizing this little gal is not going to be able to return much love when made of clear plastic dipped in rum. It's called: "Love on the Rocks"

....and a glimpse of what happens when a gecko uses his "007" stealthy ingenuity to climb up a frosty Tiki Mug and steal his favorite treat....and parachuting quickly to the table through the use of a convenient paper cocktail parasol! I called this one: "The Maraschino Bandito".

Sushi "on the go" is pretty available all over Waikiki...and one day I picked up a little plate at the Food Pantry off Kuhio for lunch. I got a few hand rolls and such. It came to my attention that the plastic garnish "leaf" that you get with these pre-made sushi plates would be what a gecko might use as a "grass skirt" for a mini hula. At the same time, I had bought some Hawaiian sweet bread for later's dinner and as I ate my lunch, pondered what the little wire "twister ties" on the bread bag would be useful for..if I were a gecko.

The two ideas came together and this simple painting was born. I ate my lunch as the trade winds blew through the streets off Kuhio Ave. and tourists walked by...and I could see clearly, these little gecko's doing a hula show for me. I had their "costumes" ready...and enjoyed the show in my head that day. The painting...: "Twister Tie Hula"

Speaking of whatching tourists go by. Most of you have heard of Hauma Bay on Oahu. It's a marine life preserve and hundreds of thousands visit the cove to snorkle and see the native fish. I saw a kid in an ABC store with his family one early Morning in Waikiki and over heard the family talking about what they wanted to do that week on vacation. Glass bottom boat trip? Polynesian Cultural Center..etc. Well I heard them ask the lady at the checkout counter how to get to Hanauma bay. The little boy and his lil' sis were buying these cheap bright colored snorkle and mask kits for their venture to the bay.

Well..it was one of those days I was "thinking like a gecko" and this moment inspired me. How could a family of gecko's go on a glass bottom cruise to enjoy Hanauma Bay? The MASK!! A perfect vessle! A mini moment when the magic below the waves could be seen and shared by the entire Ohana. Best of all...they got to see the Hawaiian State Fish too! Painted for your enjoyment in sharing my story. Here is, "Glass Bottom Venture"

Along the line of tiny maritime mania.... I couldn't resit one moonlit friday summer night in Waikiki....couples in love...romace in the air. I took the idea of a Italian gondola fused with a Hawaiian outrigger...and made one up in my mind for these gecko sweet hearts. Banana leaf sale, bamboo frame, and banana hull...proudly displaying the toothpick spiked cherry at the bow!

The oarseman uses a coctail swizzle stick as a paddle and small warm candle drips over the side of the boat....weaving a path like the lovely tales of romace that are woven in whispers between the two gecko lovers.... "Crescent Courtship"...named after the moon's magical backdrop, just for them!

Note: All are welcome to write me regarding questions or thoughts on all this stuff here or my Facebook pages under my full name, Tom Thordarson or Thor Art. The majority of the originals are SOLD, however there are some still available and more in the making, so I am happy to direct you to sources for Prints of these images or available originals. My direct E-mail is: [email protected]
I remind all again kindly...These images may NOT to be used in any form, public or private. All images are available in published forms and I am happy to guide you resources. All best Wishes! ~~~THOR

[ Edited by: THOR's 2011-01-08 06:35 ]

[ Edited by: THOR's 2011-01-12 07:04 ]

[ Edited by: THOR's 2017-02-23 10:32 ]

[ Edited by: Thor's 2017-02-23 11:20 ]

TikiG posted on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 8:32 AM

Brilliant Tom!

The subject matter is fantastic but the way you capture mood with color, the light quality, is a standard by which I hope to achieve someday in my own works.

Yes, its great to be among friends that are artists...

Thanks for posting. G

Beautiful work Tom! Good to see you posting in the Gallery!

Wow, Wendy

Tom's finally in the Gallery Section!
Excellent work as always,Tom
and just filled with such stories and content!
The greatest thing about your work
is that it keeps the viewer's interest
the deeper they probe into it!

THOR's posted on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 8:21 AM

KEN! Thanks so much. LOVE you work very much as I have expessed many times and talk about getting lost in a painting with interest..you are the KING! I will post here little by little so I can put them here with a little back story on them for added interest. Both paintings and sculpture..like the Shrunken Heads, etc. I have been pretty reclusive this past year ..just painting and focused...maybe a little too into my "own worlds" and miss seeing you and others more. Anyway, thanks again bruddah in Art.

[ Edited by: THOR's 2010-12-01 09:27 ]

Zeta posted on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 9:03 AM

:cry: (gasp)

GROG posted on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 9:11 AM

On 2010-12-01 08:21, THOR's wrote:
I have been pretty eclusive this past year ..just painting and focussed...


Damned artists, can't spell worth a crap. Either that, or you've been doing another RUM PAINTING and drinking your paint. :)

Kicking some ass there Toe-Mahs! GROG like.

THOR's posted on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 9:25 AM

HAAaa no..just working on a laptop with half the keys missing...it's true, my Parrot who is my studio helper has a thing for keys! So forgive the typos... I love to write but dearly need a better instrument! HAaaa

THOR's posted on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 6:43 AM

I am not sure who posted above here....the link doest work...???


It's spam, you can ignore it.

THOR's posted on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 8:31 AM

LOL That's a first as far as spam on a thread I have seen....sad that some dip sits at home and makes a livig pissin' out spam links like a hound dog with a bladder infexion marking a city dump.

You are a very, very talented man Mr. Thordarson! Boundless imagination and flawless execution!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful art and your thoughts!

Tom, It's awesome that you are bringing aloha spirit and beautiful, comforting visuals to those brave men & women of the armed forces through your great artwork. It breaks my heart whenever I hear that we've lost another young life in these senseless wars.


Great work as always, Thor. Hope to see more!



These illustrations are just brilliant and touch home for many. Keep them flowing as I can't wait to see more.

Thank you for sharing!


THOR's posted on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 8:19 AM

Thanks McTiki! It makes it all the more worth it to know of your appeciation. Aloha!

[ Edited by: THOR's 2010-12-07 08:20 ]


Well we all want you to know we want to see ALL your works in your Gallery here and I think a few are missing? :P
Most Excellent stuff Thor


Thanks Benz!! OK...You asked for it!! lol

These are, unsurprisingly, Freakin' Amazing! The Gecko patrol is such a great, whimsical set!

Prints are available on your website, I trust?

You have long been an inspiration for many of us, whether it was from your theme park work, paintings or just your bon vivant personality. Thank you for sharing and creating. Looking forward to it all.


Thank you Kari! Well....I will keep adding here. Happy New year!


Amazing stuff THOR !!!!

I have been wanting to post this for a while:
A "Before" and "After" comparison in regards to the LIGHTING of black velvets, as demonstrated on one of Thor's fine Shrunken Head specimens.

In general black velvet paintings are in need of being lit by their own little spotlight. In addition to that, it makes a big difference what color the spot has. I learned from my cinematography that using the SAME color than one of the ones in the subject you are lighting ENHANCES that specific color considerably. Like when I light a Blue Screen with blue filters, it practically GLOWS in blue as a result.

Here is the shrunken head in ambient daylight alone (which is "blue" in color):

and here after I put a tungsten spot on it, which is WARM in color temperature:

Unfortunately my digital camera falsifies the effect in regard to making the blue looked all washed out, it ain't so to the human eye. But where it really is accurate is in showing HOW MUCH the warm background colors are all aglow now and enhancing the depth of the painting. The tungsten light practically makes the piece be on fire and pop off the canvas:

Thank you Thor for this fine piece of paganism!


NO problem Big Bro!!! lol

I am soooooooooooo happy you posted this about lighting Black velvets. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to light them properly. You described the phenomenon very well!! Adding to that, is the entire "special effect" that is present in black velvet that can not even come close to being captured unless viewed in real life. It's all about what is happening to the light and how the brain and eye are receiving it from the painting.

The reason black velvet is unlike any other painting surface is because it has the capability of almost TOTALLY absorbing the light aimed at it. Especially if it's a spot, in low surrounding light. Also, velvet has a "grain" that you need to look for to light it to maximize the "special effect". I paint on velvet where I position the fabric so that if lit from an angle that is from above the painting aiming down, that way, there is no "sheen" off the fibers...and the only light reflected back to the viewers eye is from the painted areas. The velvet becomes like total black atmosphere, lacking a sense of surface. This creates the feel of light inside the painting...and almost 3D.

This is how I light my velvet when painting on it...and if they are lit like this when displayed...they will come to life. I notice your light source is coming from bellow aiming upward....and though you can light it that way, if you take that light and put it above the painting angling down slightly(...like if you attached a small spotlight behind the Tiki's head aiming at the velvet), all that slight "haze" on the velvet will vanish to a deep almost infinite black....and the painted areas will REALLY radiate off the surface..as though almost floating! Try it as an experiment. The difference will be VERY apparent.

Thanks Big BRO!!! Glad you like the fella! Was great to see you at Tonga Hut a few weeks back! Oh...tip on cleaning if need be. I use a lint roller, the type with the adhesive paper you can tear off. It takes all the hairs, lint and dust off and leaves the painting and velvet in fine shape.

Happy New Year! ~~~ THOR

[ Edited by: THOR's 2011-01-02 11:17 ]



Going to start adding to this older Gallery here with New Pieces! I took a break from Tiki a litte, do to demands from my career in Themed Entertainment industry. Making sure to carve out time again for my passion for Tiki from now on. Also, accepted the position as Creative Director recently fro "Tiki Farm", and I am having a BLAST designing and sculpting new mugs for this year!

Here's a couple newer painted pieces!

"Da Monkey Business" is the story of how the Hawaiian Gecko's are ACTUALLY the ones who make the all so familiar coconut monkeys bought by tourists!

" Huntington Pier Pressure" tells the story of a Tiki Carver from the 60's who finds paradise by selling his carved creations on the Huntington pier...surfing, carving and living on the beach in between!!

Full stories on my website http://www.thorart.com Enjoy! ~~~THOR

It sure is fun to log on to Gallery and to find your art posted. Your detail floors me, Wendy

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