New Works

Original paintings by Sara Light-Waller inspired by art of the pulp era.

New Pulp Art Cover Gallery

“Cold North” – Adventure

"Cold North"
“Cold North”, 20″ x 30″ casein on watercolor board

Artist’s remarks

This piece was, paradoxically, the most difficult subject to come up with and also the easiest to paint. After a great deal of thought it occurred to me that a Laplander might be a good subject for the painting. I can easily image the hero of the tale having a grand and dangerous adventure in Finland, perhaps finding a lost civilization hidden deep in the cold mountains.

Inspiration for the piece

These two covers from “Adventure” magazine painted by Frank C. Herbst (left) and Paul Remmy (right) were both published in 1924. I loved the way the artists brought sunrise colors into their snowscapes and I wanted to try my hand at that. Although the magazine’s masthead in both of these examples is in red, “Adventure” used different colors at different times for their titles, including white as seen in my sample. 

“The Devil’s Pet” – Ghost Stories

“The Devil’s Pet”, 12” x 23.5” acrylic on paper

Artist’s remarks

I grew up with a splendid pair of antique wooden Foo Dogs in my parent’s home. They were each about 3 feet tall and I loved them. For this painting I wanted to revisit those old statues but give them a more mysterious and menacing appearance. The brazier from which the ghostly dog is appearing is based on an ancient Chinese bronze vessel. The woman knows that something’s wrong but hasn’t yet realized that the vessel she’s bought contains…the devil’s pet!

Inspiration for the piece

For this piece I was heavily inspired by Dalton Stevens’ (1878-1939) paintings on the covers of “Ghost Stories” magazines in the early 1930’s. The color of his ghosts is an interesting pale shade of blue/green or cerulean (depending upon the preservation of the cover) and I wanted to try recreating it.

“The Victor” – Horror/Detective

“The Victor”, 16” x 22.5” acrylic on paper

Artist’s remarks

There is actually a story called, “The Victor” by pulpster, Bryce Walton. It was never featured on a cover. And although it was science fiction it was also a psychological horror story — one of his best and most chilling in my opinion. I thought the story should have had a cover illustration and made one for it. The bells in the image are training the inmate to unnatural levels of bodily control.

Inspiration for the piece

The detective pulp covers had some of the best portraiture, in my opinion. I wanted to try and emulate the extreme expressiveness seen on some of the better ones during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May” – Western

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May”, 20” x 21.5” acrylic on paper

Artist’s remarks

I thought a great deal about the subject of this piece. The obvious subject would be a shoot-out. But I didn’t want that. I still wanted a “manly” subject but not so ultra-violent. There’s nothing more manly than a fist fight, I thought. So what about a rancher just in from the range who’s then cheated at cards? Bingo! I think I’d like this young rancher. How about you?

Inspiration for the piece

Without a doubt, I was inspired by pulp artist Walter Baumhofer (1904-1987) for this piece. The yellow background from his “Dime Western” cover paintings and the wonderful storytelling of his imagery are marks that I wanted to try for myself.

“The Runaway” – Western

“The Runaway”, 22” x 17.5” casein on paper

Artist’s remarks

This piece actually has a real-life inspiration, my first pony — Misha. He was a wonderful horse to learn on as he took great pride in trying to scare me, buck me off, and run away with me. That said, he was also very smart and a fun ride if you could stay on – which he taught me to do!

Inspiration for the piece

Artistically, I was inspired for this piece by western artist, Gayle Porter Hoskins (1887-1962) whose magazine covers showed that he knew horses and the horse world very well.

“Last Kiss” – Love Stories

“Last Kiss”, 24” x 21” acrylic on paper

Artist’s remarks

There are many ways to illustrate a romantic scene. Feeling is the first consideration. We know in our hearts what makes a scene intimate and that’s what I was reaching for here. My idea is that you can hear the words spoken, even though it is silent. That seems to be the understanding behind the best of the “Love Stories” covers.

Inspiration for the piece

I have to give artist Modest Stein (1871-1958) credit for my inspiration here. Stein created many “Love Stories” covers as well as some beautiful art for the cover of “Photoplay” magazine. I was also inspired by the silent films of the 1920’s.

“The Gernsback Continuum Reopened” – Science Fiction

“The Gernsback Continuum Reopened”, 20” x 25” acrylic on watercolor board

Artist’s remarks

William Gibson published a story very early in his career called “The Gernsback Continuum.” It’s a little known story in which the author symbolically ends the Golden Age of Science Fiction and opens up the much darker, cyberpunk era. My painting shows a 1930’s space hero and a 1970’s super heroine being confronted by a djinn representing delusion. The girl has been injured but holds her ground. The man is just entering the scene. He represents a more traditional hero, which is still present but who has been in the background. He will help her and they will conquer the demon together. A new age begins and the Gernsback Continuum is reopened. It is not all that is required to build their shared world but the age of wonder it represented is needed once again.

Inspiration for the piece

Color! Although the other pieces on this page have very specific color palettes, with this painting I wanted to emulate some of the fabulous colors seen on the covers of many of the science fiction pulps.

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