Serene Illustrations
Posted on June 26, 2017 by Serene on Behind the Scenes

BTS: Timekeeper

I went to Hawaii last summer and visited a small, secluded island. What made this island such a hidden gem to me was that it was completely covered in black sand. Black sand is actually made out of tiny fragments of lava. It’s created when hot lava enters the water, cooling it down so suddenly that it solidifies and shatters into large amounts of black sand. Since I’ve never seen anything like this before, I guess you can say I was fangirlling pretty hard. I fell in love as soon as I stepped foot on the island and was instantaneously inspired to make a painting. Everything was perfect; the island being so peaceful, and the black sand was absolutely gorgeous, especially with the little speckles of green and red sprinkled in its particles. I documented a peek of what the island looked like in the video below:

Usually I get inspired to create a painting based on a certain feeling or thought I have at a particular moment in time, which means I would try to pull imagery from my imagination that could piece together to tell the story from my head. Since this time I was creating a painting based on tangible scenery, I already had images that I could incorporate. I wanted to depict the green tints I remember seeing in the black sand and how impossibly blue the sea was contrasting with the island. I also stumbled across a beautiful broken skull of some type of animal that I low key wanted to stuff in my pocket and take home (but I was pretty sure that it was illegal to take things away from the island, so that idea was quickly shot down).

The concept of time being a fleeting thing was something I wanted to incorporate as well. The hourglass in the body of the Timekeeper represents life, and each grain of sand symbolizes one day that a person has to live. The image of the sand disintegrating off its body represents how quickly time passes and how irretrievable it it is once it’s gone. When all the sand disappears, that’s when life is meant to end.

Check out the behind the scenes!

Initial Sketch





Final Product

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it. I have more original characters like this in the works, so stay tuned!

– Serene


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