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ErikShoemaker's avatar

Palace of the Mountain King

Hey all,

this is my latest matte painting made for the "Kings and Queens" contest:…
I went with the most classic categories, 'Medieval King' and 'Landscape of the kingdom'. The scene is supposed to be all about the castle and the environment, but there also lies a little story hidden in the details if you just look close enough. [:

The castle is based on this excellent stock image (Plaza España in Seville, Andalusia):
Plaza Espana Arches by EveLivesey
Other stock photos I used are:
King: | crown: | Slaves: and | Guard: | Torches: | Fire:… | Tower:… | cliffs: and | clouds:… | texture:

The background landscape, birds and hand are from my own collection.

I hope you like it! :)

© Erik Schumacher
This is no stock image, so don't use, copy or manipulate the original artwork without my written permission. 
Image details
Image size
1680x684px 1.11 MB
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spiraloso's avatar

Damn Erik!! This is truly mind blowing and you keep making incredible perspectives!!

ErikShoemaker's avatar

thank you mate, although this is quite old already and I didn't know that much about proper perspective back then :D

spiraloso's avatar

Oldie but goodie Erik :) No wonder galleries shows works made millenniums ago.....great art is great art to me and there is no time in these situations for once in life lol You're surely better now by the way but that's obvious

hey man i loved this imagem, can i use in the background of my video?

ErikShoemaker's avatar

thanks for the compliment! You can use it in youtube if the video isn't monetized and you credit my image in the description.

You just gave me a whole new world of ideas now.. I should make some collage on Photoshop and paint over it.. (noob here)

ErikShoemaker's avatar

that is basically what I do :D although there's a little more to the "collage" part if you want to get a realistic result

JamWisme's avatar

the open wide angle and warm colors are stunning, ea really clean and satisfying piece, i like it alot. And yes i also spotted the climber on the right, cool Detail. Strong compositon.

ErikShoemaker's avatar

Thank you! I'm always happy when people take the time to look at the details too. :)

Eichenfels's avatar
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Technique
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Impact

I must say that i like the wide angle of this, therefor you have very much details and sure still haven't figured all little details out. But what I did noticed is, that there is some bald guy climbing on the right side onto the balcony, i wonder if there are bad things to happen. Also the girls who get naked are pretty much going on the king, but he still has his sword in hand... and the guard in the background doesn't bother. Well i truely wouldn't too, they look good but... whats that sword thing, is he awaiting an evil entracer? At least... i love the picture, the shading is great and it tells little storys like promised. By the way the clouds also look incredible in combination with the sun. Definetly a Fav and a thumpsup
ErikShoemaker's avatar
Thanks a lot! Yes, the king is kind of aware - or paranoid - that someone is coming, hence the sword. Whereas the guards aren't aware at all. :lol: He should hire new ones for sure.
Glad you like it!
whereismyoldself's avatar
:star::star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star: Impact

I don't understand the technical aspects like others do but;

First of all the picture itself is looking so elegant, so exquisite!

I see a king who has troubles and probably millions of problems in his mind yet he looks determined. Pledged to defend his kingdom!

Elegancy of two girls, the way they stand, hold their clothes, the way lights drops on their body, looks so majestic.

You can tell their loyalty and submissiveness to their king from their gestures..

No need to talk about architecture of palace, it talks for itself. Although, after seeing the original Plaza Espana picture, I wished the place had a view of infinite sea, haha.

This is a well thought art.

ErikShoemaker's avatar
I have yet to visit the original plaza myself! It must be really impressive in real life. Thanks a lot for the kind words, I'm glad you like it. :)
Skycommand's avatar
:star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Overall
:star-half::star-empty::star-empty::star-empty::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star-empty::star-empty::star-empty: Impact

The work as a whole is stunning. It makes one dreaming of visiting the place in person, even live in it and gaze at the scenery every day. It is almost magical. Presence of a king adds a touch of ownership to the work. That should be enough for the minds of the observers who are most occupied with "tax" and "total cost of ownership", i.e. those who normally look at it and think "living there? Probably costs a hand a leg."

And yet, there comes incongruities. A naked sword without a sheath. Two other more prominent naked things. A guard in the distance. They are out of time, out of place and out of context. Sure enough, the absence of one or two of them could eliminate the incongruity. For example, leave only the guard and the sword. Or remove the guard and the sword. Or all four. These incongruities severely impact the end results. But more importantly show how vision was lacking altogether.
ErikShoemaker's avatar
Thanks for the honest critique! It's true, I never considered the guard to be out of place, and I completely forgot about the sheath, too. What's wrong with the naked ladies, though? :XD:
Skycommand's avatar
Should I take your XD smiley face to mean that your question was a rhetorical one?

Then again, there maybe people who might genuinely ask this question. Like I said, it is the gathering of all these items at the same time that makes the setting incongruous. Full vision score, IMHO, belongs to an artist whose work can justify all elements of itself through them working as an inseparable whole.

Since you asked, my advice is that if you have high art aspirations, vigorously resist any and all temptations to add femme exposée to your work without her having a less than paradigm-shifting purpose.
ErikShoemaker's avatar
To be honest, it was not really a rhetorical question and I find your answer to be somewhat pretentious. :roll: If I added the girls only for extra attention I would have certainly chosen models, who reveal more than just one butt cheek. It appears that the king of my vision likes to show off his power by having half-nude concubines around all the time. It's fine with me if I get only half a star for that. (;
Skycommand's avatar

I definitely didn't say the "extra attention" thing (although I did imply that it isn't good thing), and that wasn't what I was thinking either. You see, the sword might indicate he probably wants to butcher them than to show them off. (Even a beheading has additional preparations intended to make them less bloody.) But again, the fit of rage is absent. (Incongruity)

Also, they are not a mark of power. Every married man has one; and image-conscious kings (i.e. most kings) build harems, not red districts. That's because the image those two project is that of "pervert" not "powerful". "Powerful" is what the palace's majesty projects. Kings also want respect and dignity.
Syllesta's avatar
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Impact

This is a stunning piece of work and what I have to say is only nit-picking. I believe where the sun sits would change where the shadows are so maybe make the sun just a little bit lower. Also, the woman to the right almost seems like a goddess and not a human. She's too skinny in the waist with how she's drawn. Also, the man seems to lack emotion with having his sword drawn. I recommend to place his sword in the sheath or give him some emotion. For some reason, it seems as if this work could be a little more busy. What I mean by this is that maybe have more birds flying further back in the sky or add more people in the background. Again, this is only nit-picking and I really like this piece!
Avaloyuru's avatar
I think you did a wonderful job!! 
ErikShoemaker's avatar
Thank you for the critique!
Since this is a photo manipulation, the models are all from real photos. I might have tweaked the women a little bit to make them look sexier so as to befit the body slaves of a king, but I stayed true to their anatomy. I do agree however about his face expression!
Thanks again for the input!    
kemalesmer's avatar
:star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star-half::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Impact

This is one cool and epic piece of art work. Well done. The palace that goes round look just nice. And what is more is it is ashore. Endless sea and sky together goes so atmospheric . The color balance overall the art work is nicely done. Maybe you should have placed more sky birds flying over the sea or high on the sky. But those already placed over the bench of the palace and some on the sky is ok as well. Sunrise and shadows of the columns on the wall is nicely arranged. Good luck be with you in the contest.
ErikShoemaker's avatar
Thanks for the critique, and sorry for the late reaction to it. I'm abroad at the moment with limited internet access.
The castle is not actually ashore, it is just a regular landscape (you might notice it is partly green and yellow), but it doesn't really matter.
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