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Persistence of Memory by balaa Persistence of Memory by balaa
"The sand comes in undulating whispers, serpentine lines consuming memory and becoming a single sweeping timeless thought. But she too comes with the sand, a lingering persistent memory marking this place in time. And then she departs as silent as she came with only the light to mark her passage; A mirage, a feeling, folded into the cavalcade of sand."


This piece was done on commission for the lovely Digital Artist Magazine who gave me the fantastic opportunity to write an article for the magazine detailing my process. The editor was simply outstanding and really welcoming of my ideas. And by heck I learned a lot myself doing this!

This was an idea that had been bobbling about in my head for a long time, though it's various forms all vague and nebulous until this opportunity presented itself. I truly hope someone walks away from the article learning something or even moreso..feeling inspired to create something!

The idea is inspired, in part, by imagery of a town in the Namib desert called Kolmanskop that is slowly being devoured by the surrounding desert. For me it presents an eerie and unsettling feeling because I am so used to seeing more ancient looking buildings in such scenarios, but the buildings in the town are fairly modern thus leading to the haunting feeling. The second idea is images I have come across to what is, at least from the reading I have found, a new subspecies of cheetah that is thought to live in the Sahara desert (The Saharan cheetah). Images of the elusive cat are sparse and most are blurry grayscale captures by a night camera depicting a thin long legged cat that looks almost like a ghostlike apparition. So in the end the two inspirations joined together to form the above imagery. The cheetah is not quite thin enough to be a Saharan cheetah, and it's spots are too pronounced..but I sprinkled a little bit of personal fantasy into the mix.

I hope you folks enjoy it as much as I enjoyed painting it! There is a sister piece I am hoping to do that will accompany this image C=.

If you want to read the article, it is in issue 33 of Digital Artist Magazine, the May issue in the UK and I believe it is released a month later here in the US. Included with the article are the brushes I used C:. You can find the magazine at: Digital Artist Magazine Website. The magazine also features fantastic articles from other artists you may be familiar with, specifically :iconvantid: (for those of you as confused by the mystery that is Corel painter!)

Also ps, the image title is actually inspired by the title of an episode of Cosmos, which may have been inspired by the Dali painting (I couldn't say!)
tools: Photoshop and Wacom Intuos 3
Size:5500x3600 at 300 dpi
Prints: Find prints in my store at [link]
Refs: [link] cheetah pose courtesy of Victoria Hughes of Deadwood Digital. Many many photos for Kolmanskop([link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] & [link] ), more for the sand, sky, and everything else C:!
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TruthOfTheMt Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That is awesome
Lunicc Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG! This is so perfect! <3 I really love the's so...surrealistic, amazing! *-* 
rathacat Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This knocked right off my paws...amazing!
LexiDreams Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013
I really love this.
thetravelingbard Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
breathtaking work, its very realistic and so intriguing.
RikiBek234 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013
Это так... У меня вызвало множество эмоций, и даже понять не могу... И просто это невероятно красиво
SyaraSirene Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Joysweeper Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
Makes me think a little of Tomorrow's Sphinx.
catz537 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I....I....there are just no words to describe how amazing this is. Just. Outstanding. Beautiful. Awesome. All the most wonderful purrfect things all together marvelous. Thank you for contributing this beautiful piece o art and the description is very fitting .... :iconiloveyouplz: in love
bcbdrums Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Please join the International Cheetah Day Challenge! [link]
bcbdrums Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Please join the International Cheetah Day Challenge! [link]
TinyWild Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
I have featured this deviation in my journal! [link]
Wonderful painting! :meow:
mirkolive Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Very nice :)
Lustanjo Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012
Wooooow! O.O
bongiornoprincipessa Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
avsolutely amazing!
DarkElektra Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
it's an amazing artwork, well done! :clap: :hooray:
FoolSightBlind Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012
I absolutely love this!
Heyriel Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Student Digital Artist
A friend of mine bought the magazine at London airport yesterday -then boarding started and I couldn't run back to get a copy for myself as well ;_; But from the quick glance I got at your pages it must be incredibly helpful, so hopefully I can get my hands on it in the very near future <3
balaa Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! I was extremely limited by word count so I worried maybe the meat of what I wanted to get across would be missing but I hope not! I am glad, if even with only a glance over, you liked what you saw, means a lot to me to hear that!
Ricchin Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The way you put together your ideas is really interesting and surprising. Very unique.
At first I just noticed beautiful white cheetah, coz I love cat's but after reading about the piece it all made more sense. If it were not for the cheetah, I would get very anxious feeling from this. I would be so lifeless and scary. But even if the figure look like a ghost, methinks it would be a good, caring ghost, just sitting there, making everything a lot better.
Really, I would tell more, but I just can't find the right words... And it's so beautifully made.
xoxdanyellexox Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
ms6evil Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
Just great. Bravo!
MODDEYDOO Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I've featured you in my journal. Hope you are fine with that. Love your work :-)
TrueAegis Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The art is quality, but I think the concept is what kept me staring at this one for a while...I like it. :)
SilkenWinds Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Your work is really amazing and unique!!
MODDEYDOO Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Egreonna Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Student
That's absolutely beautiful. It's amazing how you've captured a dreamy, mystical feeling while including beautiful realism and details. Wow.
Social-Misfit Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
One of the best pieces I've seen in awhile and I look through A LOT of art :)
Wonderful idea, technique, perspective, composition, color palette, etc. The wearing of the wall, the windswept sand...sheer brilliance.
TeknicolorTiger Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Surrealism + cats = yay! Gorgeous work as always!
Astralkidx Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
very nice, i recognize te doors from a national geographic foto, great idea !
akeli Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012   General Artist
This is possibly one of your best pieces, and one of the best pieces of art I've ever seen. Aside from the gorgeous colours and layout, the cheetah is just drop dead gorgeous. The combination of epic realism in the figure, but with an expressive face...just beautiful. :heart: :heart:
Nekoyasha12 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey hun, do you think I could use this image as a preview cover to a story of mine on Fanfiction?
balaa Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
sure thing, just link back to my da page if you wouldn't mind ^^;!
Nekoyasha12 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much him! ^^
I've placed a link in my profile with the stories info to this picture.
CasArtss Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
talliesynn Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You've done a really great job with composition here. The way you've lit the cheetah up followed by the inside of the room, the way the sand guides you with those sexy lines, it really pulls your eyes through the whole picture. :heart:
outofcontr0ll Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
mrMockingbird Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012
so amazing :o
ooh god my eyes
it is so wonderfull

oh my god
KooikerKaz Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is simply amazing. The amount of detail, the themes of it... I love every bit.
VerticalGravity Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
enchanting :heart:
Child-of-God Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
Gorgeous! :D
Mitch-el Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
What positively beautifully imagery. Where would one start in doling out praise for it? The lighting is magnificent, caressing the soft sand dunes, highlighting the cheetah, brushing the door frames, and kissing the broken walls. The hues all complement one another, as well as the composition itself. I particularly love the silvery-gray colors of the cheetah. And, of course, the layout of the piece itself is most appealing, with the cheetah situated off-center and balanced out by the building in the background, as well as the contrast between darks and lights. All-in-all, this is a most beautiful composition. Lovely work!! :aww:

In regards to the town of Kolmanskop, I believe I have heard of it. The pictures, at least, look familiar. I must have seen them on the National Geographic website some time back. As for the mention of the Saharan cheetah, that is most interesting. I hope they continue to gather more information about this creature.

-- Mitch
Lost-in-the-day Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
lvixen Featured By Owner May 26, 2012
So beautiful.
Lykouros Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student General Artist
I know you probably don't have time to respond to this, but I'm afraid I can't purchase the article but would like to know what kinds of brushes you used/where you used them. Before you posted this I really didn't even know professional artists used non-default PS brushes and I am having a hard time adjusting to using these new brushes instead of the default ones.

This is a beautiful piece, too, and congratulations on getting it featured in the article.


balaa Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
Actually I used mostly photoshop's default brushes for this piece. The only custom brush I used was for the sand C=. If I am able to share them at a later date, I'd be more than happy to, but since this is a published article I'm not sure I am at liberty to share the resources used for the piece just yet. But again, primarily I used 4 or so standard photoshop brushes for this piece ^_^.
Lykouros Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Student General Artist
Ok, thank you and that's fine I understand. I really appreciate you getting back to me on this!

That's actually really reassuring for me; this may sound silly but I was afraid I'd have to learn how to use tons of extra brushes in order to paint professionally, but this may not be the case ^^ Thank you again!
balaa Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
I think thats acommon enough misconception c:and I used to think that too but the more I read and the more I painted, the more I discovered it to be to the contrary! The best tools are very often the simplest ones and it is best to master those before jumping to more specialized ones. Best of luck to you in your endeavors, check out tutorials and resources here on da, ther are tons of walkthroughs, tutorials and brushpacks availabl right here through other artists c:.
aliceinwonderville Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Student General Artist
CrazyAssCC Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Student General Artist
it resonates a Salvador Dali feel
this is a gorgeous piece
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Submitted on
May 18, 2012
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