After completing Series 3, I was in a spot where I needed to make something new for Angelarium. The table had been completely set after covering both the Emanations series as well as remaking all 12 original angels from back in 2003. The plan that I was shooting for, was to create a set of 20 fallen angels and give them their own distinct flavor within the Angelarium project. The first one of those was Sathariel, Angel of Deception.
rough value layout
What I didn't realize at the time I was making this piece, was how influential it was going to be for the rest of the series. At the time, I remember feeling pretty stressed out about the weight of designing a new set of angels and containing them to a particular style. The solution on how to carry the series forward was not clear, so painting a figure blinded by white smoke seems in hindsight to be a little on the nose.
closeup of the rough value layout
You can see that in the early version of this piece, the character is intended to be villainous. That's the first thing we think of when we think about fallen angels. It was an obvious place to start and at the time I knew it was a little shallow. The inclusion of the moth wings connected the classical angelic theme with a more animistic vibe that is associated more with occult mythology.
As the piece began to shape up, parts of it became clear. I drew from past pieces where I'd used a surreal color palette to create sense of uneasy space. Combined with a slanted horizon line, the piece was intended to feel off balance. Themes of shifting perception and misdirection were taking root, but there was something that I still wasn't sure about...
the most influential change in the series
Around this point in the painting, something major happened. A friend had said some really hurtful things about me behind my back and my wife found out about it. Suddenly, drawing a snarling villain didn't feel right. All I could think about was how betrayed I felt and that made me want to completely reverse what the painting was about as well. The angel was now wounded by deception rather than empowered by it. This was the point where the theme of the series became clear. Each angel's theme, wouldn't describe their power, but describe their tragedy instead.
my own hand as reference
Completing the painting at this point was much easier. Having an emotional core for it gave me a foundation to build on. That same approach was repeated many times throughout the series and as I write about each piece, you'll hear me speak about the emotional core of each one. Every angel in the series has with it a core, relocatable experience that it represents. For Sathariel, it's the feeling of being hurt by a friend.
First off, I have to say 'thank you' again to the over 400 backers that supported this project in the first 24 hours. You guys are the reason this thing exists. I'll be trying to maintain a roughly daily set up updates relating to the work in the book. There are already more pieces done than there are days left in the campaign, so I won't be able to get to all of it, but I'm hoping that they will be something you'll enjoy and want to share with people online. Sharing this project is the best way that you can help it.