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Enter the Realm – Page Four

Enter the Realm 004 thumbnail

Enter the Realm

4

The events in “Enter the Realm” follow immediately after the introduction story “The Dream Awakens”

Caelestis, Ethereal Guard

This is the House of Om. I am Caelestis, Ethereal Guard, and protector of this home. For centuries have I stood my ground, on this very stone, defending the Realm and the sanctity of these walls. 

These golden walls of the House of Om of The Realm Ethereal have forever been a beacon for all The Ethereals. It is my duty and privilege to serve Om, The Ethereal of Vibration. But now, this Casia Minohr, has entered into the space of these golden walls.

Who is she? What is she? Before my very eyes, the skies here in the House of Om begin to stir. They stir in a way I’ve not seen before. The Waters Ethereal begin to shade red…what does it mean? And her arm…her left arm…it’s formed of flames! What could it mean?

The symbolic Left Arm, bathed in flames…only one Ethereal bears that mark. His name is Kor, and he is The Ethereal of Chaos. Is there some connection here? This Casia Minohr must be removed from the realm…

Left arm flames

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Enter the Realm – Pages Two and Three

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Enter the Realm

2-3

The events in “Enter the Realm” follow immediately after the introduction story “The Dream Awakens”

I feel as if I’m floating on gold…these discs beneath me, I know not what they are or what they mean. In fact, I know not what any of this means! But the gold…it’s almost everywhere in this strange realm.

There appear to be large structures surrounding me. They look to me to be made of gold as well…and that’s A LOT of gold. They have a strange texture. The texture seems to mimic the parts of the water that I am floating on. If this is even water at all.

The man in the robes and towel has identified himself as Caelestis, an Ethereal Guard of The Realm Ethereal. I suppose this all looks and feels ethereal.

Caelestis yells out to me, “I know not fully how you came to be here, but you must be removed from this place.” It’s at that moment that my emotions unexpectedly shift from feeling confused and afraid to bursting with fiery anger.

I start to make a fist with my hand. I notice it starts to glow. Then…FIRE!!

I recall now another one of these Ethereals…a man, a giant. Half his body appeared to be set on fire. All I remember is the fire…

Casia-fire-002-003

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Enter the Realm – Page One

Enter the Realm_fantasy art comics by Rene Arreola

Enter the Realm

1

The events in “Enter the Realm” follow immediately after the introduction story “The Dream Awakens”

Casia Minohr_Enter the Realm
Casia Minohr

I have been torn from the stars, somehow placed here, in this …strange realm. No longer exploring the stars in my flight ship. From my last recollection, I was charting a course to a nearby moon, just outside my homeworld of Geo-Nue. Then, I crashed.

Entry into this world has been intriguing and scary. I thought it was all a dream or was it? It felt real. I certainly felt real anguish. And those…beings…what were they? 

What is this place? Where is this place? And…

…Why am I dressed like this??

 The man carrying a large, golden staff barks out, “Who are you?? How did you get here?!”

I sit there, barely taking it all in. Having just experienced what I did, feeling dumbfounded and confused…not knowing what to think. I answer with the obvious. “I am…Casia Minohr”, I say with a voice filled with false confidence. 

I follow up with a question of my own. I say to him, “The giant man, blue and gold…he had wings of gold…where is he? Where is Om?”

The man, with strange robes flowing all around, standing on a floating stone surrounded by a landscape I’ve never seen, replies in a very surprised tone: “You’ve seen Om?? Your kind does not see Om!”

 ‘My kind’? What does that mean?

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Edom, The Ethereal of Dark

Edom Ethereal of Dark by Rene Arreola

Edom, The Ethereal of Dark

Edom Ethereal of Dark by Rene Arreola

A new Ethereal walks The Realm: Edom, the Ethereal of Dark. Edom is one of the first character names I came up with in 2018, right alongside the other four main Ethereals: Om, Oda, Ena, and Kor. Oda is the Ethereal of Light and so Edom was meant to be a sort of counter part to Oda.

But in developing the other classes of beings in the Realm Ethereal (Ethereal Guard and Metaterrans), Edom was basically shelved for a time. So today, Edom gets to shine as the Ethereal of Dark. Dark matter to be exact. Edom’s design follows similar characteristics of the other Ethereals.

Edom, like all Ethereals, is represented mostly in pure figure form, not much clothing or costume save for some body markings. Edom does have an overall dominant body coloring, similar to the blue in Om’s body, but with markings like Oda’s. Edom’s mask/faceplate is a three-pointed dark star symbol. “Dark Metal” as it is known in the Realm Ethereal.

A wave of “dark energy” emanates from Edom’s back, although it appears like light. This also symbolizes Edom’s ethereal nature. But Edom chooses to illuminate the dark matter to appear as light. This is due to his benevolent nature. Wielding an artifact that appears in the shape of a staff, Edom administers dark matter throughout The Realm Ethereal. ◼︎

Edom character sketch
Edom painting thumbnail
Edom costume design
Edom costume design
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Kiana – Ethereal Encounter

kiana-leafy-sea-dragon-fantasy-art

Kiana – Ethereal Encounter

Kiana-Ethereal-Encounter-13x19-fantasy-art-print

One of the first paintings ever of the series of Metaterran class characters is Kiana. In the first iteration of this character, I pictured her floating in time and space, albeit in a very ethereal setting. That first painting had her nestled in between planets, the cosmos, and a mysterious liquid-like substance. Part of the inspiration for the character back then was influenced by visits to Hawaii. The name “Kiana’ is said to be predominantly either Irish, Persian, or Hawaiian origin.

With her dark hair and tanned skin, Kiana can almost fit the look of someone who enjoys being in the water, possibly even a surfer! Keeping on with that theme for the new painting, I focused more on the water element.

While the background of the painting is more ethereal, I added one of my favorite sea creatures to the mix: the leafy sea dragon. I recall the first time I saw one was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, not far from where I live. It’s walking distance from my art studio.

I have always wanted to draw or paint this majestic looking creature and in “Kiana – Ethereal Encounter” I have done exactly that. Once again, we see Kiana in a state of flux. Her abilities to control time and space are still new to her so she still finds herself with strange, ethereal encounters. In this instance, Kiana comes face to face with a dragon! But Kiana finds there is a warmth and peacefulness in this creature she cannot deny. And thus begins Kiana’s first encounter with a creature from the Realm Ethereal.◼︎

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2021 Realm Ethereal Fantasy Calendar

fantasy calendar 2021

2021 Realm Ethereal Fantasy Calendar

fantasy calendar 2021

My latest art calendar just came out and it features some of my best art. The 2021 Realm Ethereal fantasy art calendar is a print edition of the new paintings I created in 2020. The very first calendar of this series was launched in 2019, at the time I just started working full time as an artist.

RE-2019-january-fantasy-art-calendarAt that time, to be able to collect the paintings I did in 2018 for the first calendar was such a monumental feat for me. In 2018 I had just started to envision working full time as an artist as I was developing these new characters. It was exciting to be able to have an offering of my art as early as I did back then.

It was a lot of work, but lucky for me I have a background in digital prepress and print production. Being able to put together the calendar and have a print-ready file meant once the artwork was completed, I could send it off rather easily. Part of the creation process for me includes designing the calendar itself.

At the core of the fantasy art calendars is the artwork and characters. Since 2018, I have been steadily creating my Realm Ethereal universe and stable of characters. Each month, I’ve been making at least one new painting. This is how I am able to have so many illustrations ready for the art calendar.

In the last three years I’ve been able to offer my fantasy calendars. Each calendar below (2019, 2020, and 2021) also represents certain technical growth as an artist. I knew my development of the characters and understanding of painting digitally would be different than when I first started. As I am relatively new to digital painting, there are still methods, ideas, and principles of working digitally I am learning.

Realm Ethereal fantasy art calendars by Rene Arreola

The Realm Ethereal 2021 fantasy art calendar is now available for purchase. I also have a few remaining copies of my 2019 and 2020 calendars if you’d like one of those as well. All are available at my online store.

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Om in “Ethereal Power”

Om Ethereal Power profile_fantasy art

Om in “Ethereal Power”

The study of the human figure has been an academic staple when it comes to learning to draw and paint. My own study of the figure in art began somewhere in my junior college years. In fact, it was the very first time I was exposed to live, nude models in figure drawing classes.

But even long before that, I had a fascination with bodybuilding. I think it was sometime in my high school freshmen year I discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Modern Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. This was a huge tome, showing many black and white photos of Arnold and other bodybuilding greats of his day.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a point in my very early high school career when I wanted to be that big. It sounds crazy today, but I followed those real-life “superheros” on TV when I could find them and in the muscle magazines. Alongside the comic books I read back then, is it no wonder I am drawn to these muscular body types when creating my own artwork?

As it would turn out, I would be more of a dancer than a bodybuilder. I used to work out a lot in my 20s and 30s in public gyms. By that time, I figured out I don’t have the ‘gift’ of being able to get that big. But, I still paint many of my figures with these idealized proportions. For me, it comes down to the process of researching and studying the muscles in different poses for my paintings. It’s how perfect I can make these physiques in my paintings and how far I can push them as my creative vision takes me.

Proportions are sometimes exaggerated or adjusted as I see fit for my paintings. This is part of the fun I have when creating my art. I’m able to sculpt the type of physiques in these paintings that I once wanted for myself. For myself, wanting to look something like these incredible figures is not my goal these days. I’m well over that. Now, I’m content to do push-ups at home and use a pair of 20-pound dumbbells for my work outs to maintain my own shape.

There is a fantasy there, but it goes beyond the physical aspects of the figure in my paintings. By the time I combine light, shadow, color, and some narrative, I’m transporting myself to areas that focus more on composition as a whole. While these characters are the focal point, they are part of an overall composition.

As it is now, I’m still using photo references for my artwork, especially for the figure work. This new painting of Om focuses a great deal on the physique, no surprise there. But, I also feel I’ve taken a step toward getting a bit more abstract in my approach. For example, I was stuck when I finished this painting prior to adding the vertical columns of light behind Om. Once I added that element into the composition, the whole image came to life and I knew I was done with the painting.

Starting with a figure or character is still very important in my paintings. It’s integral to the reason why I paint art in the first place. But moving into a realm where I start to think more and more about composition could be a good thing. I see it as essential for myself to pay more attention to composition. This can make for an interesting transition in my art. Time will tell. Until the next painting…! ◼︎

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Gaius, Ethereal of the Land

Gaius Ethereal of the Land profile_fantasy art

Gaius, Ethereal of the Land

Gaius 13x19 fantasy art print
Artwork by Rene Arreola
tree reference
The tree reference used in the Gaius painting. Photo by Rene Arreola.

In the Gaius, Ethereal of the Land painting (“Gaius” pronounced GUY-us), I was inspired by a tree near where I live in Monterey, CA. Near the Monterey Bay recreational trail, there is a tree that I’ve always really been drawn to. The image of the tree in the Gaius painting is made based on a photo reference I took on my phone. I’ve known for about a year or so that I would end up painting this tree into one of my artworks. So there you go.

For the figure itself, I was inspired in particular by bodybuilders. Although not wearing posing trunks, Gaius is shown in nothing more than a wrap around his waist, hips, and groin area. I suppose I could have made him practically nude (kind of like Nor) but that just seemed to be a bit too much. 

My inspiration is in painting the human physique. I will admit to not wanting to cover up the figures I paint. Or, I at least find ways to barely cover them up. But it’s largely due to simply wanting to celebrate the human form and paint the types of physiques I imagine these Ethereals to embody. In Gaius’ case, a decent, muscular form. And flowy, long cape-like things. Capes being a common theme you will find in some of my work because I prefer caped superheroes. 

On a much deeper level, my paintings have had double meanings. In my painting titled “Charis: Metaterran”, the subtitle is “Found”. You can read all about that story here. In this Gaius painting, the other meaning of the painting has to do with fire. Devastating fires as they pertain to the wildfires of August-September 2020 in California. These fires have been devastating to people, animals, and the land, to say the least. 

I would be remiss if I did not even mention how these fires affected me and my wife. Thankfully, my wife and I were never in any immediate danger of the fires reaching us. We were in a fairly safe spot on the Monterey Peninsula, but we knew several friends who were directly impacted by the devastation caused by the wildfires. Through it all though, we were subject to the smell of the smoke. Evidence and a reminder of the fire itself were made evident with our cars being covered in white ashes. We also definitely had our fair share of dangerous air quality. After all, there was a reason why the skies were reddish at one point.

The eeriest thing in my mind was the yellowish to reddish skies due to the fires burning all around us. Some dramatic photos were taken from the San Francisco Bay area and other locations near to it showed blood-red skies and city views. These skies were beyond eerie to me. These skies appeared sinister at times. Or, at least what life on Mars might look like.

Gaius Ethereal of the Land profile_fantasy artThe Gaius painting symbolizes re-birth, or new growth, coming out from the devastation. The idea that amongst all this destruction, life will prevail is a hope I think most of us have. It can be a long time to heal and rebuild, as it often has been before. But it’s a reminder that even though the fire burns bright at times, at some point, it burns out. Life is a cycle which we are all a part of. Different people are in different stages of that cycle. I think it’s a good thing to remember that, appreciate it, and respect that. ◼︎

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The Merlady Full Time Lapse Video with Commentary

Merlady full time lapse art video

The Merlady Full Time Lapse Video with Commentary

In my latest video, I comment about  my process in creating the “merlady” painting (Charis the Metaterran). From the sketch stage to the final color painting stage, this under six minutes video documents the entire process.

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Gaius Preliminary Character Sketch

Gaius-Ethereal-fantasy-art-character-sketch

Gaius Preliminary Character Sketch

A preview into some of my pre-planning for a new character design to be turned into a painting. This original character design’s name is “Gaius”.
 
And below are some thumbnails for a full painting to feature this new character. The cool thing about thumbnails is that any that go unused may be repurposed for another character or painting.