With space opera style, this oil on masonite panel painting is an otherworldly science fiction creation by the American artist, illustrator, and writer Raymond Bayless. Finely detailed with fantastical space exploration imagery, the painting shows a collection of space ships, varying in technical prowess, that are trapped within an asteroid belt. Spidery alien creatures menacingly lurk on the jagged, rocky surfaces of the asteroids, minding the ships like bugs trapped in a spider's web.
This is a magnificent piece from the artist, who counted among his friends the pioneering science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. One of the artist's paintings recently went up for auction that came from Bradbury's estate.
Notations on verso are done in Bayless's own hand and reads:
An immense area in the asteroid belt inhabited by invading creatures from another dimension who weave vast webs that trap interstellar space ships over the centuries. An Earth ship eventually attacks these creatures and drives them back to their own world.
Raymond Bayless passed away on June 9, 2004. His obituary from the Los Angeles Times gives a highlight of his career.
"Raymond Gordon Bayless, 84, a landscape painter whose works hang in the National Air and Space Museum and other public buildings, and author on parapsychology, died May 25 at his Los Angeles home of natural causes.
Bayless was born in Oakland and spent most of his life in Los Angeles, where he learned to paint by studying paintings in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He provided his works to the federal government, contributing scenes of ships and landscapes to the Air Force, Navy, State Department and the Pentagon.
Bayless, who also painted science fiction and fantasy scenes, created a half dozen book jackets for Arkham House Publishers Inc. Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury in 2000 called his fantasy and landscape paintings "truly excellent."
Bayless published a half dozen books on parapsychology and collaborated on others: "The Enigma of the Poltergeist," "Animal Ghosts," "Experiences of a Psychical Researcher," "The Other Side of Death," "Apparitions and Survival of Death" and "Voices from Beyond.""