The Sleeping Skull was created as an homage to pulp mystery/adventure novels. The painting style is a mash-up between quick color daubs and carefully rendered textures on the skull, the turquoise, and the water. Although I love the faded colors and limited palettes of pulp covers, I am personally drawn to colorful, exuberant work.
If this cover were to have a story, I bet it would have a scene where a hard-bitten detective has waded into a river with the skull held over his head--his one piece of evidence that he can't let wash away! He'd be chased by a scruffy group of Blackshirts, and their Sherpa mastermind.