Art Wanted Slideshow

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pahoa or Bust: One

Pahoa Natural Groceries

Way back when, in the mid-80's, I went on a whirlwind trip to Hawaii, including Maui and Oahu.  I had an extra ticket, so, I took one of my buds with me...that was about the extent of the plan.  We had no hotel or other reservations and decided to "wing it".  I know it's hard to believe in the post 9/11 world, but, boarding an airplane was a much less intensive experience back then.  What I mean to say is, one of the items we used as luggage was a plastic 10 gallon gas can which we cut a door in, to be used as a prop when attempting to hitch rides in the Hawaiian hinterlands.  Yes, a red 10 gallon gas can was allowed on the plane with basically a little explanation and joking around as to its true purpose.
Me and the infamous gas can luggage
As I mentioned, we had no plans...once we touched down at the airport in Honolulu, we started walking to find someplace to hang our hats for the evening.  We proceeded down the road from the airport and we had our first success with the gas can.  A fellow in a white pickup truck asked us if we needed a lift.  We explained that, yes, we could use a lift to Honolulu, but the gas can was just a prop, yada, yada, yada.  He got a kick out of it and told us to hop in.  As it turned out, he was leaving the airport after checking on his plane, a Cessna type private aircraft.  He related that he was a school teacher in Honolulu and inquired if we had a place to crash for the night.  We explained that we had no place to stay and little plans for the entire trip.  He offered to let us stay at his apartment and then asked us if we wanted to fly to the north side of the island the next day...but we would have to wash his airplane.  A fortuitous beginning to our trip!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pink Cave after Louisa Chase

Pastel on Paper

This is a rather large drawing I did about 28 years ago or so based on a striking painting by Louisa Chase, Pink Cave, oil on canvas (1983).  I saw it on a trip to New York, probably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as that is where the work resides now.  I just loved is a link to the original artwork by Louisa Chase Pink Cave
Additional information from original post:  I just found out that the artist Louisa Chase passed away in May 2016.  Very sad news. NY Times obituary here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Star Trek Gorn Sketch Card: I Will Be Merciful...

One of my favorite characters from Star Trek, the Gorn Captain, drawn here on a sketch card.  Loved many things about this episode, Arena...the war story, the Gorn, the landscape of the alien planet, a.k.a, the California desert...the Macgyver invention of Captain Kirk.
This card is currently available on eBay Star Trek Gorn Sketch Card by Randall Ensley

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

BayouCon June 24-26, 2016

Good news! I will be an artist guest at BayouCon in Sulphur, Louisiana June 24-26, 2016.  I'll be in Artist Alley and enjoy interacting with all.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Comic Book Day

Me at a previous year's FCBD.

Click on the logo for the link!

Author's note: This post is from a couple of years ago.
Free Comic Book Day approaches. This year it is concomitant with the release of Iron Man so there should be a cool mini-figure given away free along with all the comics.
I will be appearing at Sarge's Comics in downtown New London, CT. Sarge's is a great (and large) comic shop in New London. I'll be selling prints and copies of the book "Writers of the Future Vol. XXIII" in which I have a couple of illustrations. There's always a large contingent of Stormtroopers and the true star of "Escape from New York", wrestling legend Ox Baker.
Come on down!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fatal Error by Randall Ensley

Fatal Error copyright Randall Ensley

Fatal Error was based on a early Soviet-style cosmonaut helmet and suit combination.  The trope of showing dire warnings in the reflection of the space helmet had probably been around for some time when this was created back in the early 2000's, but I thought the effect I got from this black and white pen and ink illustration produced exactly the results I wanted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  What a time for science fiction and fantasy in pop-culture!  It's like all the things I was interested in in the 1970's is now crazy popular...from movies based on comics to a new Star Wars movie in the theaters.  Crazy.

I'm looking forward to a lot of things in 2016, from a new Daredevil season on Netflix to Captain America: Civil War.  Would also like to be involved in a comic-con or two.  I have recently relocated to Southeast Texas and there is a con close by, in Sulphur, LA, Bayoucon, that I want to reach out to.  Worldcon 2017 may even be in New Orleans.  If so, I will definitely apply for the art show.  My first Worldcon was in 2004 in Boston, MA.  What a blast, and I met some great people and artists who I've looked up to for some time.  Joe Devito, Dave Seeley, Frank Wu, Bob Eggleton and more.  I was lucky enough to have one of my pieces win a Judge's Choice Award in the art show.  I had so much fun and would love to participate again.
Final Frontier copyright 2002 Randall Ensley

Monday, April 6, 2015

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo

Although I wouldn't have expected it, the town library where I am currently living, Nederland, TX, has an extensive graphic novel and comics section.  One of the largest I have seen in a library.  While there tonight I saw they have the 6 volume set of Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo.  For those who have only seen the animated movie, excellent in its own right, I have to recommend you read the much more detailed and deeper manga version...soon! I read it a few years ago, mostly online at artwork and story.  There's a further connection with me, Akira and Nederland.  In the 80's I was visiting my wife's family here and found a comic shop in a quonset hut.  Went in and saw a book called Akira and flipping through it I saw some imagery that was impacting.  I guess it was the first issue translated into English.  Purchased it and that was my first experience with this classic story. So, read the books if you like science fiction - your library can likely get them for you even if they don't have a copy, through an interlibrary loan.  Great artwork.

Katsuhiro Otomo wiki

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter to All!

Happy Easter everyone!  I took this pic today from one of the places where I am lucky enough to work, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, TX.  This is inside the epiphyte greenhouse where some of the orchids being displayed. 

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

Friday, April 3, 2015

Retro Reading: Hugo Award Winning Books (or Books that I Thought had won the Hugo!)

You have to figure that if you aspire to read every Hugo Award winning novel written since 1954, you are really going to have some memorable experiences.  While my original goal wasn't to read every one, just the ones that I have been putting off for too long, I may go ahead and try to finish them all.  I had read a number of them before I started actively looking for the ones I have missed and the Hugo Award for Best Novel began in 1953, so I have about 40 books left to's very doable and should be rewarding.  As it turns out, this post will include some non-Hugo winning books that I thought had won and read them anyway.

As I am writing this, I was about to include Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke, but I notice that it did not win the Hugo when it was published.  I found it to be one of the more disturbing and memorable of the books I have read recently and I picked it up thinking it must have won the Hugo based on all the acclaim it has received over the years.  I believe I have read that the Hugo wasn't given out the year it was published (1953) although it was nominated for a Retro Hugo in didn't win!

The Stars Are Also Fire by Poul Anderson faked me out I think because the book cover said Hugo Award Winning Author.  But, I probably picked it out because of the cool Vincent Di Fate cover artwork.  It was a good page turner and seemed written 20 years before it's actual publication date for some reason.  The characters were relatable (sic) and there's a lot of drama contained within. 
The original three Foundation books by Isaac Asimov...didn't win the Hugo!  But I read them knowing they were part and parcel of a science fiction readers lexicon. 
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov was another collection of books that were so "classic" that I assumed were Hugo Award winners.  They were fun and I could definitely see how they inspired ideas in many films and subsequent books, including Star Wars.
Arthur C. Clarke has won some Hugo Awards, but this book, The Songs of Distant Earth, wasn't even nominated.  Written in 1986, it presages the internet and a few other contemporary aspects of life.  I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to deals with global calamity and escape from our world to survive, but the crisis does not come from climate change.

What books have you read that you thought had won the Hugo or other awards but hadn't?  Or what books do you think should have been nominated?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Recent Reads: Hugo Award Winning Novels

A couple of years ago, in between books that I was waiting to read, I decided how could I go wrong by catching up on some Hugo Award winning books?  I started with Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh and followed it up with Way Station by Clifford Simak.  A good start on my retro-reading journey.
I am a big fan of Starship Troopers and had a hankering to read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman for some time.  Read The Forever War and found it so memorable and well written - absolutely loved it!
I am a really big Philip K. Dick fan, although his concepts are difficult for me to wrap my head around.  I've read quite a few of his books and next on my Hugo winners journey I chose The Man in the High Castle, which has just recently been released as a TV pilot for a mini-series perhaps?  Challenging writing but, again, very rewarding.  I have recently begun reading the comic series Saga and am seeing elements of The Man in the High Castle in parts of it, or maybe it is my imagination.

Gateway by Frederik Pohl seemed intriguing, so, I snatched it up next...Wow!  Very good, highly recommended! A well-deserved Hugo Award winner!

That wasn't the end of my plunge into old-school science fiction that I should have read 30 years ago but just getting around to recently.  It turned out to be a winning strategy as they were all high rate!  Will post more next time.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Primetime by Randall Ensley

Primetime by Randall Ensley
This illustration was created for the Writers of the Future contest, which I entered in 2006/2007.  I did end up winning one of the Illustrators of the Future quarterly awards, of which there are 12 winners.  The Gold Prize is the big deal with the artist winning $5,000.  My friend Lorraine Schleter was the well deserved winner that year.  As it was, being a quarterly winner is quite a nice deal too...I did win $500 and they pay you for the illustrations which appear in the book, Writers of the Future.  Also provided is an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood for an illustrators workshop, which was headed that year by Ron and Val Lindahn and Stephen Hickman.
The contest is well worth entering for those who have a desire to create science fiction or fantasy art for books, magazines, role-playing games, etc.  I made friendships which persist to this day and was treated very well during the workshop week, which culminates in a black tie awards ceremony.  So many luminaries in the science fiction and fantasy world are in attendance that one can get a little starstruck.  All in all a very memorable and rewarding experience!
I was lucky enough to be asked to produce two illustrations for the book because one of the winners dropped out.  This illustration, Primetime, is for a story of the same name by author Douglas Texter.  It is about a future where journalists are able to traverse time to record important events in human history, similar to a reality show/primetime news program.  Things go amiss when one reporter attempts to record the bombing of Hiroshima.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Salvage and Demolition

Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers, a short novella.  I recommend any books by Tim Powers; some great titles to start with are The Anubis Gates, The Drawing of the Dark, Declare and Last Call.  I was fortunate enough to meet Tim as he is one of the author judges at the Writers of the Future contest.  I had never read one of his books but got to spend some time with him during the workshop week in Hollywood when I won the Illustrators of the Future award in 2007.  We had great convos, and I was eager to read some of his novels after the awards week.  He's such a great smart and funny.  Books are hard to describe...but perfect.  Speculative fiction/alternative history?

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Art of James Bama

I've always admired the art of James Bama, whether it was his monochromatic take on Doc Savage paperback covers to his artwork for the Aurora Monster model kits.
Art Copyright James Bama

Most recently he has been recognized for his Western-themed portraiture, which is quite a departure from his early years.  He is truly a modern master of illustration whose art has reached millions of viewers.

Copyright James Bama
Copyright James Bama

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Here are a couple of Easter eggs I made last night.
My Jack Kirby inspired Red Skull

A creation inspired by Russian Orthodox Easter eggs

Sunday, January 26, 2014

XXXV Annual Hygienic Art Show

I had the opportunity to enter a piece in the annual Hygienic Art Show in downtown New London, CT.  The show lasts for a couple of weeks, so, I hope you get to the gallery to see all the great artwork.
 I've always had an interest in graffiti and street art and hope that this piece represents some of my influences. 
Jim D. and Randall Ensley at the Hygienic Art Gallery, January, 2014

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Captain America's Shield

Captain America #78 1954.  John Romita cover art (wow!)

Oh my gosh, did I fall down a rabbit hole when I started researching this topic, basically, "When did Captain America first appear with a round shield?"  Some of the covers and artwork this led to had me fascinated.  The answer was a surprise to me as well.  He only used the triangular shaped shield for his first appearance, then the round version appeared.

But looking at all the covers from the 1940's through the 1950's was amazing, especially the cover above from 1954 by John Romita.  All the color variations of the rings on the shield were also interesting.

Here is a Wikipedia article regarding the history of Captain America's shield.

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 2013 Planetary Conjunction

Copyright Adam Ensley 2013.  Canon Rebel EOS.
My son, Adam, snapped this great shot of the Venus, Jupiter, Mercury planetary conjunction on May 27, 2013.  Apparently, this conjunction is the tightest three-planet grouping until the year 2026.  It was nice viewing last night.