Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes. Two Christmases ago, my wife and I made a bunch of chocolate truffles to give as gifts. They turned out well, but ended up being much more labor intensive than I had expected. After that experience, I cast aside the idea of making truffles again without the help of a chocolate tempering machine. Somehow, completely unbidden, an idea popped into my head of how to make some really unique truffles and I couldn't seem to let it go. I am a sucker for a good concept and even though it would entail an elaborate process, eventually, I just had to make them. Walnuts have always reminded me of tiny little brains, so coated with candy and set inside of miniature chocolate skulls, they would make an irresistible Halloween treat.

To pull this idea off, required quite a bit of preparation. First, I sculpted little skulls out of polymer clay and molded them in food grade silicon. Then, I made bittersweet chocolate ganache, froze it and rolled it into little balls. Finally, I molded the white chocolate skull truffles, fitted each one with a bittersweet center and topped it off with a candy coated walnut "brain". They looked appropriately macabre, packaged in black tins lined with red velvet. No one expects a Halloween gift, so the recipients were amused and delighted.

Now that I know the process, I have quite a few other ideas for unique truffle shapes. If anyone wants to try making their own food molds, I described the process in detail here.
It was a lot of work, but fun and I now have a mold I can use for years to come.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life changes

Well the last 18 months have been the most challenging in my life. My wife passed away due to breast cancer at the end of October 2008. Her dying at only 31 years old has radically shifted my view on life. It is no longer acceptable to push off the dreams I have to a future that may never come. I have always wanted to travel and so far this year I have spent 3 weeks in Germany and Switzerland, a week in Hawaii and am just about to go on a month long road trip across the USA.

I haven't really had the energy or desire to paint outside of work, so this blog has languished in the meantime. I am feeling better every day, so I hope to get back into the groove of it soon. I really want to feel inspired again and I am hoping the fresh perspective that travel can bring will help.

One of the games I did some work for has come out and another one is due to be published in 2010. I did a lot of background paintings and prop design for them, but I can't show much yet. These images have been published elsewhere, so I can re-post them here.

Here is the cover of A Vampyre Story. I painted everything but the characters, which are 3D with some touch up by me.(.. and the bats, which my boss Bill Tiller added in)

Here are a couple screenshots with backgrounds I painted. The game is Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island which is due in 2010.