In memory of chucksiebuhr

LillianH · February 3, 2005 11:50 am

Tags: Memorials

On January 29, 2005 Chuck SiebuhrThe King of Fantasy Art — Ventured to another realm,
after losing a year long battle with the most evil of villains — Cancer!

Long Live the King!

Some artists’ works are so amazing that the moment of the first viewing, their images become eternally etched into memory — Chuck Siebuhr was that kind of artist! I vividly remember the first time I laid eyes upon one of his images. As newly appointed Managing Editor of the Renderosity Magazine, I was assigned the task of voting for the magazine’s cover. Chuck’s contest entry of “the lady in the silver mask” was mesmerizing! Especially the eyes, they exuded mystery and magic.

Not only was his image chosen for the magazine’s front cover [Issue 3], it was also the inspiration for Renderosity Magazine’s first writing contest [Issue 4] — based upon his cover image. And, so it began — my three-year journey into a wonderful friendship with one of the most extraordinary artist of our time. In a magazine interview for Issue 5, Chuck allowed me into his world of creativity, his love of art, and his struggles with self-doubt — I am always astonished that the greatest artists are also the most humble.

Over the years, Chuck’s images graced nearly every issue of the Renderosity Magazine and The RIM [The Renderosity Interactive Magazine], and he was honored as one of the first Featured Artists on The RIM. His artwork was also showcased within the pages of Renderosity Digital Art for the 21st Century.

Yet, his biggest accomplishments, and I know one of his greatest joys, was the devoted following of his fellow Renderosity artists. One only has to view Chuck’s Renderosity gallery to get the full extent of the admiration the Renderosity community so appropriately bestowed upon him. Chuck was not only an extraordinary artist, he was also an extra-ordinary “gentle” man. To say he will be missed is a grave understatement. So, with great sadness of our collective artistic souls, we must bid farewell to the King of Fantasy Art – May he rest in peace knowing he shall live eternally through his artwork, and that we forever hold his memory gently within our hearts.

Award Winning Artist – [chucksiebuhr] Chuck Siebuhr

Interviewed by Dee-Marie

In loving tribute to the memory of this amazing artist and “gentle” man we would like to re-present a 2003 interview with Chuck, originally featured in the Renderosity Magazine [Issue 5].

Have you had a lifelong passion for art, or is this a recent undertaking? Lifelong passion. I enjoyed a brief couple of years as an artist in the San Diego art community years ago. Back then I worked in all the traditional media - oils, acrylics, watercolors, pen & ink, and pencil. During that time I received some very favorable reviews, was featured in one man shows, won some awards, and so on. Then, the economy took a downturn and I had a young family at the time, so I took employment in the telecommunications industry and that has been my mainstay ever since. I never lost the love for art, nor gave it up, but what I found the time to create was for my own personal pleasure. Then, a little over a year ago, a friend introduced me to Photoshop. I haven't picked up a brush or pencil since!

Are you a professional artist? Is art a second job? Or is art a mere means to unleash your creativity? At the moment I guess you could say that I am a semi-professional artist. Art is currently my second job but hopefully that will change in the near future. By semi-professional, I mean that I have been awarded several competitive commercial projects in the last year; architectural renderings, logos, photo re-composition, etc. Soon my partner and I will have a web site up offering these services and more. Is art a means to unleash my creativity? Absolutely! Basically all of my spare time is spent experimenting with art.

Do you have any formal computer graphics or art training? I have no formal art training - at all. Everything I have learned has been self-taught, both in conventional art and computer graphics. It seems to take so long doing it that way, using the "trial and error" method, but once you learn it ... you seldom forget it.

Which computer graphic software program do you use most often? Since being introduced to Adobe Photoshop by our art department, I am reputed to be a full-blown Photoshop addict. I have tried other graphics programs that some of my friends have, but quickly retreat to the comfort of Photoshop. It is such an intuitive program for me, but I suppose that makes it similar to choices that traditional artists make when they decide on their particular medium: some work well with oils while others seem to be born to watercolor; some prefer natural bristle brushes while others insist on synthetic bristles. Photoshop is an awesome creation unto itself. It amazes me almost every time I open it up. One of the things that I enjoy the most is that I can create images on the PC that are almost identical to the styles and techniques I used in more traditional works, including the background layers with their textures and often random shapes or forms. When using traditional art techniques, layers would often take days for each glazing to dry so that the next could be applied. Now, with a simple click, the next layer is ready!

What was your initial reaction upon discovering that you had won first place in Renderosity [Issue 3] Cover Contest? Were you surprised, excited, did you think you would win? At first I thought it was a prank when I got the e-mail. My partner, Steve, is a PC Wizard and we always play jokes on one another. I'm not a PC Wizard and constantly remind him that it is only a "paint-box" for me. I first thought he had faked the message. Then, when I realized that it was real, yes I was surprised and very excited. Did I think I would win? No. There are so many talented artists that I see on the Renderosity site that I hoped I might make the finals but didn't really think I had a chance at winning. By the way, some of those artists have commented on the work and that is really inspiring.

Your cover image was uniquely beautiful. What inspired her creation? Thank you very much. Frankly, I was in a state of disbelief when notified that Masque had been selected. I had created her as yet another experiment. When I started to enter the contest, I almost backed out before hitting the send button, thinking that it just wasn't good enough. As far as the inspiration for her, I have always been something of a romantic, and have always been attracted to a model's know, the old "windows to the soul" saying. But, I didn't want to start repeating things that I had done in the past. Instead, I wanted an otherworldly or futuristic or even medieval feel for the piece.

Can you give our readers a brief description of how you created the cover image? What software programs did you use? Did you start with a photograph, a drawing, or was your base image a Poser figure? What technique did you use to create the silver spider veins upon her mask, her translucent skin? It is all Photoshop and KPT5. After scanning the eyes from a photograph, I used the Levels, Dodge and Burn tools for more contrast and, then created a new layer for the bolder contour shape around the opening for the eyes. Working with KPT5, I fashioned various shapes and patterns on separate layers using KPT5 FraxFlame and FraxPlorer. When the shapes and patterns seemed right, the next step was to selectively use Color Range to select and "cut" portions from each pattern until I had the molded shapes on separate layers. Satisfied with the final shape, I merged those layers, leaving the eyes on a separate layer, and then selected the entire mask. The metallic look was applied to the merged layer using the Layer Styles and Blend modes in Photoshop, along with the Lighting Effects on a blurred Channel. There are many ways to get the chrome or metallic effects, the easiest being third party plug ins which I am slowly collecting, but I think learning first how to do things with Photoshop's native filters is important to actually learning how the program works. The translucent skin was probably the easiest operation. I created a fractal design that I liked with KPT5, placed it over the layer with the eyes and chose Blending Options in the Layer Styles until I found the one that worked best, which I think in this case was "Overlay." Then I simply created a new Layer at the bottom of the stack, filled it with black and it was done.

Not only was your image featured on the magazine cover, it was also chosen to be the inspiration for Renderosity Magazine's first writer's contest. With the entrants putting their feelings about your art into words. What did you think of the winning stories? Were you surprised at how differently people perceived your image? Had you been asked to write a story about your masked lady, how would you have approached the tale? The winning entries were outstanding. For me, it was strange, reading the different versions and how they perceived my image. That was a first. I had to really work hard at narrowing it down to two, and then finally ranking the top five for my vote. Each story was so unique and different from the other. But, that is one of the things I try to accomplish with my art - to make each viewer see something different, based on their interpretation of what they see. Or think that they see. If I had been asked to write a story, I'm afraid I would have failed miserably. My imagination works with visual imagery, and not too well with words. I'm quite certain that my story would not have been competitive with the others submitted.

Many of your images are collages with a strong "graphic's feel," is that your preferred method of approaching a new image? Yes. Very much so! Believe it or not, I used to create these types of images by hand with pencil, inks, oils or acrylics. Friends that remember those days have remarked about how very similar the new images are to the old ones. Personally, I enjoy doing art for art's sake, whether for traditional viewing, posters, or for a client's logo. Simply put, I am addicted to creating art, whether for myself or someone else. The collage is definitely my favorite approach. There are no confining restrictions such as the sky must be blue, the grass must be green, the house must be white. You can let your imagination run wild in a collage. And, I like trying different perspectives and scaling of images for composition.

What advise do you have for other aspiring artists? Advice for aspiring artists? Probably the best advice would be to just never give up, never flatten out when it comes to challenging your creativity. I have seen artists that I call "plateau people." They arrive at a level of work that is acceptable and then just stay there. They don't work at taking it the next level. Personally, when I finish a work I like to compete with myself and try to make the next one even better. Rather than compete with other artists, I prefer to seek inspiration from their work. Then I see if I can make my next image better than the last one I completed. Naturally, it doesn't always work, but it is always a challenge, and challenge is stimulating.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to share your thoughts with our readers. My thanks to you, Dee-Marie, and all those at Renderosity that gave me this wonderful opportunity to share my work with the art community at large. As I said, it really is an honor, and has been a real shot in the arm for going even further with my work. I may not be a prolific artist, but you can be sure that I will continue to post new images to the Renderosity site as soon as I complete them. Why would I want to go anywhere else?
To view full image, click on thumbnail.

Click here to visit Chuck Siebuhr's entire gallery

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Article Comments

DEITRIX ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

May you rest in peace Chuck... and may your family have the comfort that you are in a happy place. We will all miss you here.

STEVIEUKWONDER ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

Oh, I am so devastated. Chuck was such a wonderful friend to me and I will miss him just like a brother. Such a brave and phylosophical man. He knew his end was near, he told me so months ago. This indeed is a GREAT loss, which saddens me greatly. I will miss him. God bless you Chuck, I hope and pray that you're being well looked after. Such a waste! What a talented artist and wonderful man.

cynlee ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I am overwhelmed with sadness & grief to hear of his passing... I cannot see through my tears... he was an extrodinary artist & so very kind... long live one of the greatest artists, the king! a master! Chuck, I will miss you so much :(

audre ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

Very sad news, indeed. I am honored to have had the opportunity to not only work with Chuck, but, as Dee pointed out above, also feature his beautiful creations in both "Renderosity Magazine" and the "Digital Art for the 21st Century: Renderosity" coffee table book authored by myself and John Grant. My deepest condolences to Chuck's family in this difficult time. I'll remmeber him through his beautiful works, which have had a great impact on me. Through this, Chuck's memory will live on in my heart for as long as I live.

Vampi ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I am stunned... Chuck and I had only been friends for a short time. He was indeed a gentle man and I am so sorry that he is gone.

MOOOW ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

Chuck was one of the best artist and master of digital art here between us,he was so clever with excellent ability for creating any digital artworks with many different and high technique,He was so polite so kind ,we really miss him so much .......

Jay7347 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I got to know this fine man just a little thru IM's, comments and advice he gave. He was such a gentle soul. Encouragement flowed from him like his wonderful creative talents. May the big guy upstairs give you a big old hug Chuck for all the positive things you did down here. I'm gonna miss you... -jay

titta ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

So sad. I will miss you Chuck. It was such a joy for me to know you at least a little. - You and your art will live long after us all.

Tedz ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

Such a loss...such a wonderful Artist.

dragonfly2000 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

He has always been extremely kind and helpful to me. I know he's been ill for such a long time, but I hoped for a miracle. Such a great friend, a wonderful and innovative artists, he lives forever in his work.

LillianH ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

My deepest sympathies to Chuck's family, friends and the community. I was so stunned and sad to learn of his passing. I have been a long time fan and admirer of his work. I am thankful for the gifts that he shared with the rest of us with his time and his talents. He will be greatly missed.

SAMS3D ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

A major loss we have suffered. His art has inspired me beyond measure. His talent was enjoyed my so many. May you rest in piece and your art always be with you and your peers. Our thoughts and prayers to you Steve and all family. He will be greatly missed.

Olenkamajka ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I do not know Chuck...I came here not long time ago...but I am so sorry for his loss, my deeppest sympathies to his family and his friends, I dediceted my poem for Chuck in his honor { Come to me... ] dedication to Chuck Come to me, in Spring. Be dressed in a silken, feathery, snowy gown. Bring with cold fingers your ebony hair with pearls of dew,sparkling in the gold rays of the mornig sun. Come to me beloved, in Summer. With a flower's song and a morning birds whispering. Lay down on the rainbow of my meadow full of wind whisper. Come to me my darling, in Autumn. With a richness of passion, wrapped with the doleful cry of cranes, flying to grey depths of the sky... smelling of flowers, which the frost bleeds. Come to me, dear, in Winter When this sleepy time, will hold me in its arms. Then put your palms with the musky smell on me. My Ghostly Death. Copyright by Olenka

Blitzz-Licht ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

He was one of my favorite Artists here. Its really sad and i will miss his wonderful Artworks.

Tamela.J. ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

May you rest in piece my sweet friend!!! With Love & Blessings Tamela

Odious ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

sad.. sad day... i have always been a fan of his work.. i wish only the best to his surviving family during this tough time...

BlueLotus7 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I'm in shock. I had been emailing with Chuck only a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful talk about how he was anxious to begin rendering again. He was surrounded by loving family and friends and was touched over my concern. I was unaware of his medical condition and when he told me I was so sad for him--however, he was so understanding of my emotions and instead of me consoling him, he consoled me with his charming personality! His work was the work of a brilliant and imaginative mind. I will miss him most grieviously.

vlaaitje ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I know he was sick, but it touch me deeply to hear that Chuck is past away. I used a lot of his wonderful art for my poetry. He gave me permission, and he was so happy that I write my words on his art. He will be missed, he was an outstanding artist. My deepest condolences to Chuck's family in this difficult time.

sossy ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I admire Chucks work from the first moment I visited his gallery. His images were full of secrets, emotions, power, joy, fear, fantasy and life. He is a Master of art I never met before! And now I cannot express how sad I am and it is a great lost of a fantastic artist and wonderful person! My heart is full of pain. I will miss him and his work. But I hope he found his deserved peace after a long suffering and fight. All my deepest sympathies to his family and friends in this difficult time!

curly-locks ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

My sympathies to chuck's family..My prayers to give them strength.. He gave us many beautiful works of art,and was an amazing artist.. he will be missed.. The next rainbow i see.. i will think of "out of reach" and know that chuck has the paint brushes and is touchin up the colors in the rainbows....

hawkstheman ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

My deepest sympathy to his family such a great loss. God Bless

tony_br22 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

I know this one picture from the cover contest very well .. it impressed me deeply first time I saw it, as I can understand it did many others here. I never got to know Chuck himself, but I admire his work so much. He will be sadly missed. My condolences to Chucks family and friends!

Bigt ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

A time of great sadness and a moment to reflect, we will miss you greatly Chuck, Find peace my friend!

hauksdottir ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

He was a true artist, and we'll all be poorer for his passing. :(

retrocity ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

My prayers go out to his family and loved ones as they deal with this great loss. Chuck has always been helpful and willing to share his immense talent a the drop of a hat. i shall miss him greatly indeed. retrocity

duncanlong ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 03 February 2005

The world is a smaller place without Chuck. He will be sorely missed by his friends and fellow artists.

Ardiva ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 04 February 2005

Chuck and I shared things "Egyptian" and when I uploaded my fractals containing Egyptian artifacts, he came in my gallery and commented how nice it was. I was stunned that a man of that caliber would take the time to do that unsolicited. We IM'd alot and I learned of his cancer. I am in deep sorrow now and in tears for I will surely miss him and his art alot.

TheVelvetFoxx ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 04 February 2005

Like Vampi, I had only known Chuck for a short time. I am completely stunned that he has passed so quickly through the grasp of life. He was an excellent artist to be sure but more importantly, he was a true friend. His kind words always encouraged me and his work inspired me. I am unbelievably sad.

gallimel ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 04 February 2005

I returned two days ago, and tried to communicate with him, with no luck... the fear and the pain about what could have happened took me straight after having no response from mails nor Ims. I am in so huge state of sadness, cos thanx to his awesome art I used to find answers for the question my soul was searching solutions for. We lost a fabulous artist... but today I am mainly missing the awesome person he was. My heart goes to his family. My heart will be forever a house for you, sweet Chuck.See you one day, where clouds and stars get coloured in orange and pink.

gunsan ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 04 February 2005

Oh Chuck, I am so overwhelmed by sadness when I hear you have left us, loosing your long fight with cancer. I will miss you as a masterful artist, one of the best ever, always so humble and gentle when talking of your talent. You were such a good and caring friend, always sweet and supportive. You gave me so much both with your wonderful art, so full of mystery and beauty, and your words, always positive even when you had a difficult time. I miss you so much! My thoughts go to your family, I send them my codoleances in this time of grief. I send you my love Chuck, I know you can feel it!