Thursday, November 29, 2012

Albert Dorne - Master Illustrator

Albert Dorne Master Illustrator is fresh off the presses from Auad Publishing and just in time to make it onto your Christmas list. I got my copy a few days ago and have been enjoying it ever since. The book is full of Dorne illustrations that I had never seen before as well as many classic pictures that I was familiar with.

Editor Manuel Auad and writer David Apatoff have done a bang up job here in presenting Dorne and his exquisitely drawn work to a new generation. It has been said that Dorne was the Jack Kirby of his day and with his expressive characters and knobby knuckled hands it is easy to see why.

I love the format of the book and the fine quality of the printing. Other nice elements include interviews from Dorne taken from period sources such as Famous Artists Magazine and Pageant. There is even a graphic tribute to Dorne drawn by the great Jack Kirby himself.

Albert Dorne (1906-1965) was a self taught artist who worked his way to fame and riches through sheer determination and hard work. He described a childhood in which he would skip school to draw from the sculptures and paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, claiming to be the youngest artist ever granted a sketch permit from that revered establishment.

Dorne worked at a studio for no pay for an entire year sleeping just a few hours and holding down a night job in order to get his foot in the door of the industry. He went on to found the Famous Artist School correspondence course which influenced countless artists.

It is obvious that Dorne had a gift and flair for drawing people but what surprised me was the range of expression and stylization that he achieved over his four decade career. He was at ease in any approach to the figure from total exaggeration to fairly straight forward depictions.

He was a master of the complex multi figure composition and could manage dozens of figures in a scene and yet let them all add to the overall effect with an appropriate hierarchy of importance.

As with the previous volume on Robert Fawcett, This book also has several vignette pages that focus on Dorne's skill in depicting hands, characters, attention to detail and complex picture architecture. This book is a feast for anyone who enjoys vintage illustration or simply likes to look at great drawing. Gotta go now, Albert Dorne is calling, and I have to figure out how to draw better.

Get your copy of Albert Dorne Master Illustrator

Friday, November 23, 2012

Glen Society Logo

I Just finished this logo illustration for Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. They are a private liberal arts college and I was asked to do this little bit for their Glen Society. It was a fun little piece to work on and it was painted in Photoshop.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks

We all enjoy a little turkey, pie and football and I am looking forward to that today as well, but this year has been different. The last few months have had their ups and downs but through it all, I have found so many reasons to be thankful. I am thankful for a great family and a loving spouse whom I admire and adore. I am grateful for all the countless acts  of kindness and support from friends and family who have brought in meals, to kind notes in the mail to the army of friends and neighbors who helped me get to all those yard work  and maintenance tasks that have been on the back burner since breast cancer threw us for a loop in July. I am grateful for modern medicine and for the healing powers of heaven. I wish you all a day filled with gratitude for the bounteous blessing we all enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turning Summer to Winter

On Sunday, the newspaper brought with it the new City Creek Center Holiday insert, so now that it is public, I figured it was time for me to claim credit. I was approached in late August to do illustrations for City Creek Center, the new multi billion dollar redevelopment project in downtown Salt Lake City, UT.

Concept art provided by the client
Of course I jumped at the chance since the mall and surrounding properties are practically in my back yard. The development spans multiple city blocks and there is a distinctive pedestrian bridge that connects it together. One of the images needed would showcase this architectural feature. the time frame and complexity of the architecture, as well as the continuity with existing City Creek advertising necessitated a much more Photoshop based approach than usual. I also would need to transform summer into winter, complete with twinkling lights and snow and decorations.

Left side of the panorama
Center section with sky cut out
Right side of the scene
I took the concept art from the client and took photos around the mall from which to work. I could not get the entire bridge panorama into my camera in one shot, so I pieced the three parts together using the photo merge utility, which us incredibly good at matching things up. I then adjusted exposures to get them all matching and then went to work painting over the entire scene.

City Creek Bridge- Final version

City Creek bridge starting point
Then came all the work of adding the holiday cheer to the scene. I added a nice moonlight sky and stars to the background, edited out the power poles and barricades, replaced all the people with bundled up shoppers, added all the garlands and trees and tossed in thousands of twinkling lights. I also added a generous sprinkling of snow on the ground and light flakes falling. By the time I finished, I had painted over and added textures to pretty much the whole scene. I like how it turned out, though it was not my traditional method of working. Bottom line was that the client was very pleased and that is what really counts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pulpit and Altar - Zion

Falling Shadows - (Pulpit and Altar - Zion) - 9" x 12" oil by Greg Newbold
I Just finished another painting from my recent trip to Zion National Park. This formation is at the top of the road in Zion Canyon is called the Pulpit and the Altar. I don't know which one is which but I was attracted to the way these two stones were silhouetted by the falling shadows on the canyon wall behind.

Cropped view of the Pulpit and Altar
We had about one hour before I knew we would lose light so I was putting down paint as fast as I could mix it. The shadows moved so fast toward the end of this one, that I had about five minutes  at the end to paint the entire foreground before I lost the light altogether.

In Progress- about 30 minutes in
I only have one progress shot of this one and I don't have a shot of how it looked before I touched things up in the studio, but the foreground was pretty messy. There is something exciting about trying to capture a fleeting moment in the field that I find hard to replicate when working straight from photos. This one is now at my gallery Williams Fine Art. I have a sneaking feeling it won't hang around there long.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grasshopper Hunter in Illustrators 55

Grasshopper Hunter - Digital 11" x 17 by Greg Newbold
I got a nice phone call from the  New York Society of Illustrators yesterday informing me that my piece "Grasshopper Hunter" was accepted into Illustrators 55. It was a nice call to take considering that I have not been so lucky the past couple of years. For those who are unfamiliar with the Society's Annual, this year marks the 55th year of this annual competition which typically accepts around 400 of the years best illustrated works from a pool of around 6000 or so entries. It is pretty stiff competition and it is always nice to get something in the show. The piece also got in the Spectrum Annual earlier this year, so I must have done something right on this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Studio Offering - Holstein- SOLD!

SOLD! - Holstein - 6"x6" oil by Greg Newbold

I did this 6" x 6" cow recently and rather than take it straight to the gallery, I thought I would offer it first to my loyal online and Facebook friends. If you are looking to add one of my paintings to your collection or looking to buy a great gift for someone else this Christmas, this may be the perfect thing for you.

This piece comes as shown with a great little custom frame made by Travis Humphries at Gold River Gallery. I am offering "Holstein" at the unbeatable straight from the studio price of $325. This offer will be valid for one week unless it sells sooner. Sales tax (Utah residents) and delivery charges may apply.

I am also taking a limited number of holiday gift commissions but contact me at 801.274.2407 soon if you want something done by Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Art Featured in UMAA Magazine

Midway Pasture - 11" x 18.75 oil by Greg Newbold
Check out my art featured in the premiere edition of Utah Music and Arts Magazine. I was interviewed recently by editor Mike Robinson and got to share my thoughts on why and how I create. This publication fills a serious hole in the Utah art market and I encourage everyone to give it a look and support this effort to celebrate the wealth of artists in Utah. For a state that is home to so many fantastic artists and musicians, we often times don't do a very good job of promoting our work in state. Have a look!

UMAA Magazine site

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Zion en Plein Air

Zion Shadows - 8" x 8" - oil study, by Greg Newbold
Yesterday, I showed the first result from last weekend's painting trip to Zion National Park and Southern Utah. As with any painting trip, there are successful paintings and ones that are less so. This trip for me was a breakthrough in that I felt pretty good about every one of my pictures. Some I liked for the paint quality and color (like yesterday's post) and others I liked because of compositional or abstract qualities.

This painting was the last effort of our first day and we had to work quickly to get something down. Late fall sunlight moves quickly in the evening so we tried to keep this study around an hour. It is always a challenge to capture scenery as big as Zion without getting too busy and losing focus. I chose to crop and focus on a certain area of the mountain. I really like how the light and shadow shapes play off of one another and the abstract quality this creates. I think this study is worthy of being worked up into a larger painting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Painting Near Grafton

I went to Southern Utah on a plein air painting trip last weekend with friend and fellow painter Richard Hull. Our first stop was Grafton, Utah, a ghost town best known as a location in the Robert Redford/Paul Newman film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. On the road near what is left of the town, I found a subject I liked overlooking a gnarly old tree in it's full golden fall splendor. The hazy blue outcroppings of Zion National Park are in the distance.

Here is a progression of the image and where I stopped painting after the light changed too much. One of these days I will learn to capture a finished statement in the time I have before the light is gone, but until then, I will be content to finish them up in studio.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

R.I.P David Grove (1940-2012)

Poster for Something Wicked This Way Comes by David Grove

My earliest exposure to the work of David Grove in 1983 when I saw the stunning painting he did for the film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes".  As with many of the works I drooled over in my early art life, I didn't have a name to attach to the art, but the brilliance of tis particular painting was burned into my nascent artistic psyche. I enjoyed more of of his work over the next few years until I finally learned the name David Grove in a history of Illustration class.

Poster for "Never Cry Wolf"
 Mystery solved. I was in love with the work of David Grove. Like many students I also dabbled in Grove's gouache rub out and acrylic technique before I settled into my own style. It was not until 2009 that I actually met David Grove when I was privileged to hear him give a presentation during my MFA studies.

Grove told many stories about his forty odd years as an illustrator that alternately amused and inspired the crowd. He outlined how his career began in 1965 as an illustrator in Paris, France. He had started out as a photography major at Syracuse University but left there to have what was intended to be a six month European experience. He stayed in France for a year and a half.

In Paris, Grove linked up with a representative who only dealt in illustration. The agent asked him to do a sample to prove he could draw. Grove obliged and the agent subsequently got Grove his first job in less than a week. It was an overnight rush job - a black and white newspaper advertisement. Due to confusion over the language barrier, Grove thought it was a $5 job.

When his agent handed him the $500 check, he realized that he had just made enough money to support himself for over a month. That job showed up on a billboard which led to another $500 job and that was the start of a brilliant career. After settling in California after his return from Europe, Grove found truly interesting work to be in short supply. He took a trip to New York where he immediately earned contracts to create nine book covers Those jobs were followed closely by fifteen more covers. Grove was launched as a top illustrator here in the United States.

David's long and storied career included countless movie and theater posters, book covers and advertisements for which he earned many awards  and the respect of the industry. Grove's clients included film posters for Disney, Warner Bros. Orion, MGM/UA and Fox.  Other clients included Sony, Pendleton, Eddie Bauer, Mercedes Benz and Deutsche Bank.

David Grove was a consummate craftsman and would go to great lengths to get the right information for a painting. Once he needed some guns for reference material. Rather than locate prop guns, he decided to build his own out of wood, cardboard and scraps. Well, the fake guns needed a coat of black spray paint in order to be convincing which necessitated a trip to the roof of his studio building. As Grove was spraying away, he heard the crackle of police radios and looked up to find himself staring down the barrel of a SWAT sniper rifle.

Neighbors had called in a report of some crazy guy with guns on the roof of a building. It took some convincing and a visit to his studio before the cops wrote it off as a false alarm.

Grove's technique involved making a detailed drawing based on his research which he said "could take anywhere from twenty minutes to weeks". The drawing (which took one night or up to weeks) was transferred to a gessoed board and then sealed off. Because he had his drawing established, the gesso could be applied in directional strokes that could follow the thrust of his drawing.

Flowing vibrant washes of gouache followed which were then rubbed out to reveal the highlights and subtle transitions from light to dark. Grove admitted in his presentation that for a while, he only used Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue in his gouache palette. He liked how the blue would settle lower into the valleys of gesso and reveal a subtle vibration of warm to cool across the texture. A coat of Krylon Workable Fixative to seal the gouache that was then followed by layers of Liquitex Acrylics over the top.

Grove's paintings were finished off with a coat of matte varnish. He figured most of his paintings took about a week to complete. The combination of textures and the glorious flowing washes in Grove's work were often imitated but never equaled.
David Grove was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2007. He passed on October 25, 2012 at the age of 72 following a long illness. His talent and influence in the world of art and illustration will be greatly missed.

There is a book of David's work available at the link below from Norfolk Press. I can't wait for my copy to arrive.

David Grove : An Illustrated Life 305 page softcover monograph available here