Saturday, March 22, 2014

Monster Sketches

I'm working on a fun project that includes a poster and eventually a complete board game. Client has given me really good creative freedom that sparked the characters I came up with. I'm looking forward to populating the project with these guys in all sorts of fun situations. I'll keep you posted on the fun as I go along.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

3 Dutch Girls

3 Dutch Girls- 8" x 8"; Oil by Greg Newbold
In 2009, I drove cross country with a friend to my final summer session of graduate work. On our way to Hartford Connecticut, we made a few fly by stops, including Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country and it was interesting to see some of the Amish farms and get a glimpse of the horse drawn buggies that populate the roads there. I also took a pit stop to photograph these cows on a local dairy farm. The painting's name, 3 Dutch Girls,  comes from the location and not the breed, but I liked the ring of it. I painted this one in oil on MDF panel- over the top of another failed plein air attempt. I sanded off the most obnoxious texture, but some of it telegraphs through the paint and adds to the final look of this new painting. You can get this one at Meyer Gallery in Park City, UT.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Third Wheel

Third Wheel- 9" x 12"; Oil on board by Greg Newbold
Another small oil that I will be taking up to Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah this week. Whenever I am out searching for subjects, I take tons of photos and never quite know what I have until I get back in studio. This is one of those cases where I didn't think there was a painting in there until I started looking at the photos. I decided that if I combined elements from several photos I could create an arrangement that I liked. It's a fun challenge to come up with a painting from seemingly nothing. It goes back to my assessment that picture making subjects are everywhere depending on your point of view. Almost anything can make a good painting if you apply principles of strong design, storytelling, color and value arrangement. The title refers to the horse on the left side who is about to awkwardly insert itself into the nice quiet lunch of the pair of horses.

See all my paintings available at Meyer Gallery

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Descending Mist

Descending Mist- 8" x 10"; Oil by Greg Newbold
Our family was driving up Logan Canyon one spring morning when I caught a glimpse of what would inspire this painting. The sunlight had yet to burn off the canyon mist. As we rounded a turn nearing Cache Valley, I saw a few cows wandering down the grassy slope. Camera ever ready, I snapped off a couple of shots. The only problem was that it was blurry. Still I liked the atmospheric effect and figured someday I'd use it. And I did. I'll be taking this up to Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah later next week.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why You Should Ride the Rejection Train

Years ago, I decided to take a ride on the Art Train. To a young naive art student, it sounded so exciting to take this trip. Exotic destinations, accolades, fabulous wealth, fame, permanent placement in museums of world renown. I bought my ticket and jumped on board. I chugged merrily along in my wide eyed naivete, enjoying new projects and challenges, paying my dues and improving my craft. Someday it would pay off, I assured myself. It was going to be a long trip but I was in it for the long haul. Some of the stops were memorable, like my first picture book or the first time I got my work in Communication Arts. Others not so much, but those are subjects for another post, or no post at all.

I've been on the train for a long time now. Every now and again the ticket taker comes along and asks for my ticket. Ticket? I know I bought one, way back when I boarded the train.Where is it? But Mr. Ticket Man insists that if I don't have one, I must get off the train. I scramble through my pockets searching in vain, but nothing I do makes the ticket materialize. It has vanished- Poof- into thin air. Like a punch to the gut, I realize I'm not going to be making it to the next stop. I have to get off. That's what rejection feels like.

I used to take rejection very personally. If someone didn't like my art or had something negative to say about it, I felt like I was a failure. My art was an extension of who I was and it hurt. I have since grown much more philosophical about rejection. I have learned something from the countless "no thank yous" I have endured over the years and it is this:

The fact that I got rejected says much more about the person rejecting me than it does about me.

I heard it once said that we should learn to love and embrace rejection because it points out to us those people that have no desire to align themselves to our visions and passion. If we don't let them clutter our lives with doubt or keep holding out hope that someday they will come around, we can make room to find the people that will allow us to progress and succeed. Find your believers and along the way, I think the key is to keep working. 

I have entered and been rejected by countless professional illustration shows over the years. Once in a while I get something in, but I had long since given up wishing for a Gold Medal. For years I held that up as some sort of Holy Grail. I thought that if I could somehow earn one of them, I'd be on my way. After enough rejection, I decided to change destinations. Just do good work and enjoy it, I thought. That's enough. Well, a few weeks ago, I found out I won a Gold Medal from SILA- the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles for my illustration Grasshopper Hunter. Sometimes you get what you want when you stop wanting it so badly.

It feels nice, I will not lie, but it's not what defines me as an artist anymore. I still have a lot of things to create and things to prove to myself, even if nobody else cares. But it's not about the destination anymore. It's about the journey. I have to create the art that I want to create, to make the paintings that I can't wait to get into the studio to work on. I need to do the things that make me smile with satisfaction when the signature goes on. Outside voices will never give you that inner validation. You have to give it to yourself. Of course you should never ignore or summarily reject any criticism of your work that accompanies rejection. It should be analyzed and dissected with the intent of using it to improve your work, but do it in a non emotional way. Some may be subjective, but some will be helpful. As difficult as it may be, you have to separate your personal identity from your creative output. Don't take criticism personally. Keep riding the train and polishing your work and sooner or later, you will find yourself always with ticket in hand and looking forward to your next exciting stop. All aboard!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Evita Poster Art

Evita- 12" x 16; mixed media by Greg Newbold.
I like to post on the weekly art challenge website Illustration Friday as often as I can. There is a new theme word posted every Friday and participants illustrate it however they want. Sometimes whatever I am working on can be massaged to plausibly fit the week's challenge and I post the current piece. Other times I am too busy to create something new and what I am working on doesn't fit. On those occasions, I like to post things I have created previously that fit the theme. This week the word is voice. I realized that even though this poster I did for a production of Evita was done years ago, I have never posted it here on the blog. So, for what it's worth, here is my take on Eva Peron.