Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
In Joy Still Felt by DarthFar In Joy Still Felt by DarthFar
In memory yet green, in joy still felt,
The scenes of life rise sharply into view.
We triumph; Life's disasters are undealt,
And while all else is old, the world is new.


- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

100 Pictures Challenge #80: Words. Because, if anyone or anything could represent 'words', it would be Asimov.

A tribute of sorts to my biggest literary hero, the biochemist and award-winning author Isaac Asimov, who wrote hundreds of books on anything and everything under the sun from SF to history to lecherous limericks and Shakespeare guides, and who was my portal to science fiction and, ultimately, hardcore science. I can't remember the last time I put so much into a painting; indeed, I'd been pretty much working it over to kingdom come, trying to fix everything, until I finally gave up and resigned myself to the fact that my skill level was only 'up to there', and there was only so much I could humanly do. Would that I could learn from Asimov's refusal to edit and polish!

Details may be viewed here: [link]

Anyway, a breakdown of the elements for anyone who's interested:

No books! - Given that Asimov was an insanely hypergraphic writer with over 300 titles to his name, I didn't see any reason for putting any books in the picture!

Background (interior) - The biggest pain was how to represent his Foundation series without resorting to drawing books of them. And then I decided that, if Asimov could base the Foundation books on Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, then I could jolly well depict it in Roman architecture, and to heck with it being cheesy. The reliefs are: (left) the hologram of Hari Seldon in the Vault revealing the truth about the Encyclopaedia Foundation and warning of the collapse of the Galactic Empire, and the death of Emperor Cleon I, and (right) the sacking and collapse of Trantor, and the rise of the Mule.

Background (exterior) - While Asimov is perhaps best known for his science fiction stories taking place in near-to-very distant-futures, he himself wasn't particularly inclined towards technology, refused to fly in airplanes, was highly claustrophilic, and would've been the last person on earth to volunteer for a trip off the earth. It was originally plate glass that separated his 'room' from the futuristic outdoors, but my beta pointed out that the lighting glare and light-muting all but obliterated the 'scape outside, and suggested a force field instead. :D The eclipse is a homage of sorts to Nightfall, perhaps Asimov's most influential novella.

(Yes, Asimov was also acutely acrophobic, and still I put him in a high-rise building. I'm very sorry, Isaac).

Arch - While atheist by belief, Asimov was Jewish by descent and, proud of the fact. The Hebrew letters spell out 'Asimov' (aleph-zayin-yod-mem-aleph-vav-vav) in Yiddish. It was either that, or 'Yitzhock' (which was what his Russian parents originally named him), which I can't even begin to write. I know it's bizarre, coupling Roman architecture with Hebrew letters. Screw it!

And it's in Yiddish because that's what I got from Asimov's website, and it was the only resource I could find.

Typewriter and stack of paper - Asimov did all his writing on typewriters, at mindboggling speeds of >80wpm, and only very reluctantly started using a Radio Shack word processor in 1981 when it was all but forced on him (it took him a month to figure it out, too). Still, he kept his electric typewriter(s) for first drafts, and used the processor for minor editing for two reasons: (1) he wanted the 'comfort of a pile of yellow paper' that he could flip through to check for things instead of floppies, and (2) he didn't want to fall into the habit of editing and polishing his work.

Letter - You'd think that a man who wrote up a storm wouldn't have time for much else, but Asimov somehow found time for letters. Tons of them. ("I am a compulsive answerer of letters, even from the numerous fifth-grade students who write me [...]"). And to a whole host of people, from young fans to publishers to Gene Roddenberry (whose Star Trek he enjoyed) and Kevin Kline. Yes, that's what his letterhead looked like (or as close to it as I could manage), and there's actual text and signature on the paper, too. The *pen* was actually based on one of his - or at least, one he's used at a book signing before, though I'm willing to bet the original didn't carry the name 'Darius Just' on the barrel. (Invisible at this size).

Ball-and-stick molecules - An aromatic hydrocarbon, a bunch of hydroxyl groups, and a sulfonic acid group hint at the structure of Asimov's notorious fictitious chemical compound, thiotimoline (which, when dissolved in water, breaks down *before* making contact with the water), on which he wrote a spoof scientific paper entitled "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline" during his doctoral research in biochemistry.

Bolo tie - Asimov apparently liked them a lot. This particular one depicts a black widow spider, and is a reference to his collections of stories about the Black Widowers, a gentlemen's dinner club whose members have an unwholesome appetite for mysteries. (The club, and its members, were based on a real-life literary dining club called the Trap Door Spiders, of which Asimov was a member).

Hologram - One of Asimov's greatest contributions to science fiction was his Three Laws of Robotics, now widely adopted in robot stories:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

(a Zeroth Law, "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm" was later added).

While the hologram may be taken to represent any and all of Asimov's robots, the letters on the projector's base, NDR-113, are in homage to Andrew Martin of Asimov's Hugo Award-winning novella, The Bicentennial Man (which is my favourite Asimov story).

Toppled chesspiece - Asimov was generally ghastly at games, but this failure generally did not bother him (given his only real hobby was writing) - with the exception of chess. He taught himself to play the game at a young age - and, from then on, was solidly beaten by everybody who played him ("I was simply the most appallingly bad chess player who ever lived"), a fact that distressed and frustrated him because it seemed at odds with his "smartness".

Half-hidden leaflet? - Reproduction of an 1920s Stafford & Co. poster of Iolanthe, which was Asimov's favourite Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. Asimov was a big fan of G&S plays, certainly enough to have seen all of them, sing for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society *and* to write his own book of annotations.

Azazel - The pocket-sized demon/extraterrestrial who grants favours that invariably go hilariously, horribly awry in Asimov's fantasy short stories.


If all of this adds up to cheese and corniness, then I evoke my right as a fan to be cheesy and corny if I feel like it. :psychotic:


What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for.

- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)



Technical notes
Original painting size: 6065x9240 px, or 15.16"x23.1" at 400 dpi.
Time taken: Spread out over the course of a little over a week, although I can't tell you how many hours it actually took because I was in the Gizkatopia chatroom half the time.
Using: Corel PhotoPaint, from the initial sketch to the finished painting.



Submitted to :icondigitalartnetwork:*DigitalArtNetwork
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjohnwschmidt:
JohnWSchmidt Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014
Azazel? Where?
Reply
:iconbrutalityinc:
BrutalityInc Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
We're all going to miss him and his stories. 
Reply
:iconeyeprey:
Eyeprey Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A wonderful tribute. I love the details and the descriptions you added along with them - they make the picture very complete, and they encourage to contemplate it. Actually, I'm not sure now, how much time I spent staring and thinking. I love Asimov. I feel I'll be getting back to this image from time to time, great job :)
Reply
:iconmisterartmaster101:
MisterArtMaster101 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013
His books are a joy to read. Even if science did march on.
Reply
:iconquantumreality:
QuantumReality Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Lovely work! :D I'm a huge fan of Asimov. :hooray:
Reply
:iconr-220:
R-220 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
Great! I also love his SF and Science books and Mystery.
Reply
:iconyosop:
YoSop Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
He is one of my favorite writers ever!
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012
He was a brilliant writer of *both* SF and non-fic, wasn't he? :D
Reply
:iconyosop:
YoSop Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I know. Such an amazing
person.:iconfaintsplz:
Reply
:iconvemutum:
Vemutum Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012
such a wonderful painting of a wonderful human being.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012
Yes he was a wonderful guy. :) Thank you.
Reply
:icontweede-kans:
Tweede-Kans Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011
I love this. Absolutely entirely. Please excuse the incoherence of my comment. I'll write more later. :)
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011
Thank you very much. :D
Reply
:icontweede-kans:
Tweede-Kans Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011
Yeah, you're quite welcome--sorry for my previous... utter... incoherence.

Anyway, this is so wonderfully detailed and fitting--I absolutely love it. :)
Reply
:iconmurphy12783:
murphy12783 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2011
Wow! Thanks for adding notes on the meaning of the different symbols you used in your picture! It's really good too!
Reply
:iconjarm13:
JARM13 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I understand he wouldn't even drive a car , but only took buses or trains . Definitely a great writer . Oddly enough the foundation stories were my least favorite of his books . I prefer his detective stories and robot books .
Reply
:iconsaasn:
saasn Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
i like Isaac Asimov
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
:D Asimov was awesome.
Reply
:iconhera-of-stockholm:
Hera-of-Stockholm Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2010
An awesome tribute to one of the greatest writers and a redefiner of the genre! I still can't get over the fact that he never got the Nobel price.
Reply
:iconnerub29:
Nerub29 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2010
You put some measure of effort here.

I'm sure he would enjoy te gesture. I would.


Un saludo.
Reply
:iconkennyc:
kennyc Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2009
Great Job. I still hold the Foundation Trilogy as the best SF ever written.
Reply
:icondragonfly22:
Dragonfly22 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is wonderful! It isn't only the technical aspect, but also, like you say, the personal attachment that is reflected in your work too; it's like the music player's flow and grace that shows his rapport with his instrument!

Hey, when I read the laws of robotic I thought about iRobot, the movie, which I saw and loved; and then I read that Asimov wrote it- wow! How's that for an overstimulated imagination! I haven't read Isaac but I like Jules Verne for science fiction. :)

Your painting (especially its background) reminds me of another one of Isaac Newton in a book I have, so I scanned the page for you to see:
[link]
Reply
:iconthe-blonde-vortex:
The-Blonde-Vortex Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2009
Awesome pic man! I mean I wouldn't put him on my 'homie list' if I knew him, but you did a good job making him look realistically 'special'!

In case you haven't noticed ... I'm picking on Isaac! haha!

p.s. u hungry? :hungry:
Reply
:iconstephanusembricanus:
StephanusEmbricanus Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2008
Nice Illustration I like those symbolic additions explaining the person as on a portrait out of 17th century.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2008
Thank you very much! :D
Reply
:iconyuyivi:
yuyivi Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008
So much thought into your piece! I was just recommended this author's books, so now I'll definitely give him a try.

Impressive detail and style, I like your stuff!
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008
Thank you very much! :D He's my favourite writer; anything less, and I wouldn't have even begun to do him justice.

You might like to try his short stories first, if you're not sure how you'll respond to his works. I personally find short stories to better reflect a writer's abilities than full-length novels. :nod:
Reply
:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner May 20, 2008  Student General Artist
One of my favorite writers! I love the way you composed this piece, with the warm lighting and colors, and the miraculous view out the window. Beautiful work, and a worthy tribute.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2008
Thank you very much! There's nobody who can quite weave a story the way Asimov does, is there? :D
Reply
:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2008  Student General Artist
Fo sho.
Reply
:iconpegahoul:
Pegahoul Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
great painting! I like the arch behind him and that vein effect in his hand. Great textures especially.
not familiar with the person though ^^
as far as critique goes, I think his expression's a bit stiff... like he was forced to smile for the camera ^^
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008
You know... he probably was. :rofl: He looked far more natural "lofty" than "happily grinning".

Thank you very much! Isaac Asimov is one of the most famous science fiction writers who ever lived. A number of movies have been made based on his stories/ books including "I, Robot" and "The Bicentennial Man".
Reply
:iconbolsterstone:
bolsterstone Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2008   General Artist
Nice Asimov and excellent attention to detail. ;-)
:+fav:
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2008
Thanks very much!
Reply
:iconbolsterstone:
bolsterstone Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2008   General Artist
You are very welcome. :-)
Reply
:icondigitalartnetwork:
DigitalArtNetwork Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2008
Hi! :wave: This wonderful piece is featured in our club journal [link] :) (If you'd like to have it removed let us know)
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2008
Wow, thank you very much! :D It's an honour.
Reply
:iconfalconfan:
FalconFan Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2008
:steaming:

...Where's that blasted "standing ovation" smiley when you need it?!

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

I am in utter awe...this is so beautiful... Flawless likeness, astonishing details (I read through the entire description before I really studied the piece--I bow to your sublime creativity!), beautiful light and shadow and deeply meaningful symbology--it all combines to make a piece that should be hanging in a museum highlighting the man's life and accomplishments. :clap::clap: Gawd, it's... Well... :+favlove: :trophy: :worship:

FF
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2008
You actually *plowed* through the whole commentary??? :faint: :aww: Thank you. I'd be modest about it, but the truth is that I *did* slave over this picture; it's the one I have the strongest emotional attachment to. So the fact that you actually took the time to go over everything I wrote about him touches me as much as your feedback.
Reply
:iconfalconfan:
FalconFan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2008
I adore Asimov--he's one of my own favorites, too!--so of course I HAD to read through all of it! And hat's off to you, my friend--this tribute should be on display somewhere, in a memoriam to the man. :nod: Just gorgeous!

FF
Reply
:iconpheobemeryll:
PheobeMeryll Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2007
I love this picture. And the inclusion of Iolanthe is great - so few people know that he was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I am personally obsessed with his annotations on them.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2008
Thank you very much! I've never had the opportunity to go through his Iolanthe annotations, but I'm sure his passion for it must have made it spectacular.
Reply
:iconpheobemeryll:
PheobeMeryll Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008
It did...I highly recommend reading them, if you get the chance. XD;
Reply
:iconjachra:
Jachra Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2007
...I just noticed this. Why is Henry Seldon NAKED?
I imagined him as a tweedy old accountant, not Socrates Superman. ;D
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2007
LOL! Actually, he *is* dressed - I based his shirt on this: [link] - but zoomed out to 10% of the original size, it *does* look like he's not wearing anything, doesn't it? :rofl:
Reply
:iconjachra:
Jachra Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2007
Indeed, you've crippled me for life, you dog. :D
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2007
:giggle:
Reply
:iconjachra:
Jachra Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2007
*phew*
Now there's a lot of symbology.

I can see you did your research.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2007
LOL, yeah. :laughing:
Reply
:icongabzies:
Gabzies Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2007
Mazel tov! It's Asimov!
He was/is an amazing man! I've only read his Robot series, and a few short stories of his, but he is my favorite writer, by far! I'm just finishing "Robots and Empire', and then I'll go from there. Truely amazing! I love the Hebrew, and everything, really!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×
  • Photo
  • Art Gifts
Download JPG 650 × 989




Details

Submitted on
November 6, 2007
Image Size
388 KB
Resolution
650×989
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
10,105 (2 today)
Favourites
162 (who?)
Comments
135
Downloads
152
×