It’s clear from the images you create that you have a fondness for neoclassical artists such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Frederic Leighton. What is it you admire about these kinds of artists?
I think the thing that I am drawn to most is the beauty that they capture in their work. I also love the very high level of craft that they achieved. Beauty + skill gets me every time!
You create most of your paintings in your studio, but yet you also get out to do plein air painting. Do you think it’s important for artists to paint from life outside the studio just as much as inside?
Painting from life, both people and nature, has made my studio work much stronger. You see things when working from life that infuses into your work from photography. I think it has made my understanding of color stronger too.
In many of your videos, it appears you work directly on the white of the canvas to begin your ébauche, or underpainting. Is this a technique you’ve used to keep your colors vivid?
I do find that it keeps my colors crisp. Especially if I need to have a glowing effect! I will sometimes paint on a toned canvas or panel though, especially when I am doing something alla prima. It gives the paint layer one more element of depth that is appealing.
You’re a painter of such beautiful things. Are you terrified or excited when you get an assignment to paint something scary?
That’s funny because the longer my career has gone on the less I get approached to paint scary things! I guess you’re hired to paint what’s in your portfolio. It does still happen though. I am excited when those opportunities come along but I am glad that I get to paint a great variety of things.
Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
I have a solo show with Haven Gallery in May of 2021, IlluXCon in October of 2020 and a series of mythology paintings that I am working on and probably will be for the next 10 years! I started a deep dive into mythology and have a list of about 60 paintings that I want to do. Apart from that I continue to host my weekly painting sessions and try to be a student of art every day.
Howard Lyon began his career studying illustration at Brigham Young University working with artists such as Robert Barrett, Don Seegmiller and James Christensen. Over the past 21 years he has worked in the video game industry as an art director, concept artist, freelance illustrator and gallery artist. For much of his career he painted dragons and trolls or scenes from science fiction. His work can be found in products from Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, and Star Wars. He has studied art in Italy, France, and most recently at the Grand Central Academy in New York. Howard creates work in the fantasy illustration market, for fine art galleries, as well as religious and inspirational art markets. Howard has a passion for learning and studying the artists of the past and their working methods.