The Inside Scoop: Magic the Gathering’s Basandra, Battle Seraph – Commander Deck



Basandra is one of the few Magic the Gathering images that I have hanging in my home.  It's almost as if the wall in the middle room (which has been painted for over 3 years, yet remained barren) was waiting for this piece. I was excited to find out she is also featured in the soon to be released Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.

I have to say… umm, err… yes… I really do love this piece.  It falls into my classic modus operandi of loving to paint beautiful women who also happen to be strong, powerful, intelligent and a tad intimidating.  If you're feeling a bit weak, you can stand in front of her and breathe in the power she's willing to share with you.  She seems to embody the evocative command, "BRING IT".

It's perfect for our houseful of Goddesses… a symbol of feminine beauty and power that happens to match our decor in an uncanny way, AND… I happened to have a frame from an old piece I'd done pre-Art Center that seemed to have been custom-made for it.

Here's what the art description from the art director looked like:


BasandraBattleSeraph TITLE: [Basandra, Battle Seraph]

SIZE: 2 1/16" (52mm) wide X 1 1/2" (38mm) tall 


Color: White and red legendary creature 

Location: sky

Action: Show Basandra, a legendary angel whose presence heralds war. Like all Magic angels, she's a sexy badass, but she has fire-engine-red hair and carries a long cat-o'-nine-tails with steel cable whips. It's up to you to design her costuming and style; she should feel like one of a kind.

Focus: Basandra, the archangel of war

Mood: "The blood spilled today shall be sanctified in my name."

As always, one of the first things I look for is reference.  For this, my very talented friend, Scott Harben REALLY came through for me.  He has an amazing "warehouse" of images he lets me peek through when I need to come up with something original.

Be sure to visit Scott's Harben Pictures.

The model I chose from his inspiring collection was Erin Stern, 2010 Olympia Figure Champion.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable challenges of working on this piece was to find a way to integrate and merge the essence and symbolism of fire with Basandra's visual presence.  I wanted you to feel hot standing in front of her, like you would in front of a raging bon fire.  Did I get there? xP

The fire motifs you see in Basandra are inspired by the icongraphic symbols in Tibetan art as depicted in this fantastic reference book The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer.

You'll find them in her halo, along the two side panels, and in her heavy duty armor… well, (conspicuously drafty) war-drobe. (click pic below for detail)

The original art is: SOLD

Size: 12.25 x 9.5"

Medium: Acrylic, oil, colored pencil, gold ink

Basandra Sketch

Fire-Extinguisher Sketch: SOLD

SIZE: 14 x 11" Graphite on tracing paper parchment.

I have two sizes of prints. One large 17 x 22" size, frame-ready image size of 16 x 20 (the same as what I have on my wall) and a smaller 13 x 19" size frame-ready image size of 11 x 14".  All prints come with flame retardant certificate, fire extinguisher and hazard insurance in case she accidentally lights more than your soul on fire.

*O.k., you caught me on a silly day*