The story behind these four was a bit ad hoc. I'd misread the requirements at first, and thought I could get away with conveying emotional beats (I strove for creepiness, mystery, and perhaps an inexorable air of foreboding), but I needed a story.
So I told this one:
These places are artifactual remnants of the star-spanning civilization that called themselves the Maquaa (some of the kunic writing can be seen on the doedecahedron in the first panel and the grave markers in the third panel).
The idea is that this alien civilization isn't inscrutable (as many others seem to be), it is extinct.
Apart from the color cues in the palette, which I tried to blend into a sort of script all on it's own, we progress from intact to decay, from functional to nonfunctional, from a place and position where the world was relatively alive to one that is utterly dead.
Maybe that's a bit much to bite off and chew, but the idea in my participating in this challenge was to try something different, even if it is a failure, and perhaps get a little faster painting.
I started this while working through a grant application and urgently finishing off and delivering an art show in March. Perhaps not the best time to try things, given that the pressure never let up for more than two months and I found myself scrambling for ideas and pretty much painted right up until the last minute.
Overall, I'm not terribly happy. Panel one is unfinished, but I had to move on. Panel two is super-pedestrian, and not a great realization of what I should have had in mind (which I'm still not sure what it should be even now). Panel three literally hasn't been finished as of this typing, so I'll bet that winds up incomplete as well. The only one of these which I'd consider moderately successful is panel four, above. Given that I pulled it out of nowhere in about ten hours, that's not too bad.
Next time I'll fail better.