Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Robert Fawcett - Draftsman Extrordinaire

I received the book "Robert Fawcett - The Illustrator's Illustrator" for Christmas this year and boy is it a beauty. With insightful text by illustration aficionado and intellectual property lawyer David Apatoff, this book comes to life with hundreds of eye popping images by Fawcett.

I was aware of Fawcett's work from my history of illustration classes, but this book brings a whole new appreciation for the quality and draftsmanship that Fawcett produced. Born near London in 1903, his family moved to Winnepeg , Canada while he was a young boy. Popular magazine illustrations by the likes of Howard Pyle and N.C.Wyeth sparked young Robert's interest in picture making.

Fawcett was largely self taught, spending only two years of formal art training at the Slade School of Art in London. This volume documents his rise to the top if the American illustration ranks after abandoning a short career as a "fine artist". Apparently not being able to stomach the "commercial side of fine art", he determined to earn a living doing "honest commercial work".

Fawcett felt there really was no line between fine art and commercial work insisting that an illustrator was just as capable of creating quality work as a gallery painter was of creating mediocre work. As far as his own work was concerned, Fawcet said, "everything I do is fine art".

Opinionated and often brash, Fawcett commanded top prices at the height of his career that stretched from his return to the United States in 1924 until his death in 1967. Though he never took a course on human anatomy, It would be difficult to argue that there has ever been an illustrator with stronger skills in draftsmanship and narrative composition than Fawcett.

This book showcases all of his formidable skill in stunning fashion.Particularly of interest in the book are some of the sidebar details that describe Fawcett's style and working methods as well as a reprint of a Famous Artist Magazine interview with Fawcett from 1960.

Anyone with an affinity for great drawing and gorgeous mid-century illustration will want to pick up this volume. Also check out the other great art and illustration books from Auad Publishing at the link below.

Auad Publishing's website
Another post on Fawcett by David Apatoff on Today's Inspiration

Friday, February 24, 2012

Canyon Romance - Almost Finished

Canyon Romance- Greg Newbold- oil, 24" x 24"
The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features... The glories and beauties of form, color and sound unite in the Grand Canyon... It has infinite variety and no part is ever duplicated. Its colors, although many and complex at any instant, change with the ascending and declining sun... You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view...but to see it you have to toil from month to month through this labyrinths...but if strength and courage are sufficient for the task, by a year's toil a concept of sublimity can be obtained never again to be equaled on hither side of Paradise."
John Wesley Powell - 1909
We can behold what a river and time are capable of creating, but can anyone adequately capture the power and grandeur of the Grand Canyon? I am not sure, but this obstacle will not keep me or  countless other artists from trying. I am almost finished with this Grand Canyon painting. I have a few more passages that I want to push and a few highlights and details to add, but I think I am about 95% complete at this point.I am sure my gallery, Williams Fine Art, will be glad to see it.

See previous post of this painting in progress here

Friday, February 17, 2012

Window Cleaning

I started this picture yesterday and finished it this morning- including the drawing as well as the wait for client approval. I can't believe the difference in speed working digitally has made. Granted this is a rather simple illustration, but working traditionally, this painting would have taken at least two days, maybe three. Everyone told me that eventually digital would become much faster than paint, but I didn't understand how fast it would become until the last few projects. I still miss having a physical object as an artifact of the process, but I cannot dispute the dramatic increase in speed.

This magazine illustration revolves around a young boy who goes to help give service one Saturday which included cleaning windows, so my picture depicts the moment when he wipes the window cleaning fluid off the glass. you can see him through the clean section. The magazine title and text will go on the left side and continue under the figure over his shirt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hartford Illustration MFA- New Website

As many of you may know I had the privilege of earning my MFA degree at the University of Hartford in their Low Residency MFA of Illustration program. This program is uniquely designed to allow working professional illustrators a chance to further their studies and earn an advanced degree without uprooting their family or abandoning their career to enroll in a full time program. It was the perfect place for me and I found it to be the perfect environment in which to be challenged, inspired and in which to cultivate new skills. In addition to my MFA degree, I left Hartford with a network of lifelong friends that I still talk with on a regular basis. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is seriously considering graduate studies in illustration. Program director Murray Tinkelman and the outstanding faculty (including the likes of Gary Kelley, C.F. Payne, Ted and Betsy Lewin) and inspiring guest presenters from the highest ranks of the industry make this an unforgettable growth experience.

Check out Hartford's Low Residency MFA in Illustration here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Juliet- by Greg Newbold, Acrylic; 8" x 8"

I am not sure that Romeo and Juliet is the best example of love on a day like today, especially given that  these teenage lovers knew one another for a grand total of four days before they both DIED.  Like it or not, there is no arguing that the story has resonated and endured through the centuries.
It is a common misconception that Shakespeare created the plot as well  as the characters in his tragic tale of star crossed lovers, but this would be far from the truth. Read a great account of the history of the Romeo and Juliet myth as well as the many incarnations and adaptations of the most famous love story in history at Artwife Needs a Life.
I painted this version of Juliet as part of a season series I did for the Utah Opera several years ago. It appeared in all their advertising as well as on the posters and program covers

Monday, February 13, 2012

Random Fish Doodles

Just a few goofy little fishes to start off the week right.And yes, the Bee-Fish really is a fish, not  a swimming bee. You just can't see the gills behind all the bee fuzz. My favorite is the poor Dog-Fish with the neck cone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Unburdened" In 9th International Art Show

Unburdened-24" x 32" oil by Greg Newbold

I just got word that my painting "Unburdened" has been selected to hand in the 9th International Art Competition. Nearly 1200 entries from around the world were submitted to this competition, so I am pleased to be among those artists whose work was selected to hang in the show. This is the first time I have entered the show and I am excited to be a part of it.

This exhibit is very much a spiritual art show and my painting has deep meaning for me beyond the fact that helping with shearing sheep was a yearly ritual for me when growing up. The title "Unburdened" is a metaphor symbolizing our Savior's redemption for our sins and how we, like the sheep, must submit to His will in order to be relieved from the weight of that burden..

"Unburdened" will be on exhibit at the Church History Museum from Friday, March 16, 2012, through Sunday, October 14, 2012. Award winners will be announced on March 16, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. A reception will follow in the Church History Museum through 9:00 p.m. There will be viewer favorite awards as well, so if you make it down to the show, please vote for my painting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Olive Oil Label

Last fall I got the call to create an olive oil packaging label for a major big box club store. This sounded right down my alley, so of course I put forward my proposal.  The designer was a little cryptic about who exactly the client was (Sam's Club) until I landed the job a few days later.

Final Sam's Club Olive Oil label

The challenge with most packaging illustration is the fact that the art rarely gets to take center stage. I usually gets relegated to subordinate player with logos and product names front and center. For this one, I could have simply illustrated the perimeter, but I wanted to have a complete piece at the end and not just another illustration with the center missing. I chose to paint all the area behind the logo as well. I couldn't talk about it until now, but since the product in on shelves, I figure it is public knowledge. This one is painted in Photoshop.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Olympic Torch Run - Ten Years Later

Me carrying the Olympic Flame- February 8, 2002

Today is the tenth anniversary of the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics. That day a decade ago started out on a much more exciting note for me than for most people.  I had been selected to carry the  The Olympic torch as it meandered across the valley all day long before reaching Olympic stadium. You might ask how in the world I got this once in a lifetime opportunity. Well, its all my wife's fault. In anticipation of welcoming the world, we wanted to participate as much as possible in the festivities, so when we heard that Coca-Cola was running an essay contest to pick torch bearers, we had to enter. The catch was that you had to nominate someone other than yourself. I wrote a glowing essay nominating my sweet wife and she did the same for me. It became very obvious based on the selection that she is the better essay writer (a fact that is never allowed to be forgotten). Read my wife's account of the torch run here.  I knew months in advance but it almost didn't seem real until the outfit came.

Post Torch run with my family

Waiting for the warm ups to arrive was a little nerve wracking but they showed up a couple of days before the run. I tried them on and the reality began to sink it. I was really going to carry the Olympic flame! The day broke with a blizzard. Slipping and sliding my way, I  navigated my way to a fire station in Taylorsville, the coordinated meeting place, where we would board the bus. The Torchbearers all got an orientation on how to  receive the flame, carry the torch and how to pass off the flame to the next runner. By the time we boarded the bus, the storm had broken and it was clear and sunny with fresh snow on the ground. Each torchbearer was dropped off a bit ahead of where they would receive the flame. As I stood at the side of Redwood  Road watching the flame approach, an overwhelming rush of excitement surged inside me. There were hundreds of cheering spectators lining both sides of the road cheering me on as I dipped my torch to receive the flame. I turned and ran (well, jogged since I didn't want the moment to pass too quickly) the fifth of a mile allocated to all torchbearers.

With my parents after the Torch Run

It was all over in a matter of minutes and I passed the burning symbol of the games on to the next lucky runner. A Torch Run assistant extinguished my torch and I watched the next runner disappear over the rise. Then I was surrounded by family, friends and complete strangers asking to pose for photos with this torch bearing "celebrity". I enjoyed wearing my Olympic Torch Run Gear to all the venues we attended for the rest of the games and had many conversations with folks about the experience. I was even interviewed live on the Jumbotron at halftime of one of the Olympic hockey games. It was such a fun time to see the world come to my home town for a couple of weeks and get to participate in such a memorable way. I hope the games return someday. Until then, I trasure the memories- and my torch which I got to keep.

Friday, February 3, 2012


The Illustration Friday theme for the week is "suspense". I did this piece for a magazine article a couple of months ago. In the article, the father feels prompted to check on his young sons sleeping in the back of the camper truck while traveling on an early morning camping excursion. He finds them passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning, but they are revived because he listened to the prompting. The moment I chose to depict is that moment of suspense when the father doesn't quite know what is going on as he looks in the back of the truck. The light from the flashlight served to illuminate the bottom of this full page article. I cropped off the fade to white.

Once again, it's nice to have a willing model in a pinch as I used myself for this project. My indulgent wife shot the photos which I pieced together to get my photo comp from which to draw. This piece was painted entirely in Photoshop after I scannned in my drawing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Warning Signs of Art

You may know someone who either is either already addicted or who may become addicted to art. Know the warning signs and be prepared to make appropriate intervention if necessary. Remember, art can be dangerous! Don't let your loved one become the next victim!

Too late for Me but maybe you can save someone else!

This creative promotional campaign is from The College for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan