|Breakfast To Go- 9" x 12"- Oil by Greg Newbold|
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
|Fading Colors- Highway 9, LaVerkin; 12" x 9" Oil, by Greg Newbold|
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
|Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Digital by Greg Newbold|
Another fun theater poster project just came off the table (or the desktop, rather) and I am pretty happy with how things progressed from concepts to finish. This one was also for the Footlight Players in Charleston, South Carolina. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was written by Edward Albee in 1962. In 1966, the play became an award winning film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It tells the sad tale of two middle aged people in a caustic marriage as a drunken night of verbal and emotional abuse plays out in front of a younger couple.
Step one was to watch the film. I readily admit that I had a hard time watching it and wondered how it has become so critically acclaimed over the years. It was like watching a train wreck and I felt like I needed to take a shower afterward. It's possible that this was the intent of the author, but I would rather not subject myself to that subject matter. That said, I had a job to do and I dug in and came up with the three above options. The client gravitated to the screaming mouth, which was appropriate given the amount of bickering that pervades the work.
|Photo collage with some painted shapes around edges.|
This rough is a combination of painted shapes and sections of my own photos pieced together in Photoshop. I make these types of roughs quite often and then I usually create a separate finished drawing which becomes the basis for my final art. This one was so simple and was already working so well, I decided to just paint over the top of the photo comp. Now, there has been a lot of discussion on various blogs about whether this type of "photobashing" is cheating, so I will put in my two cents here.
Photobashing is a common practice in concept art circles where the essence of a scene must be captured quickly to convey the idea to the production staff. An artist takes existing photos and cobbles them together and paints over the top, adding effects and shifting colors as needed to get the result that tells his story. Of course with the pervasiveness of Photoshop in the commercial art world in general, this technique has spilled over into illustration and even trickled into the college classroom.
|Starting to refine the shapes and paint textures over the top|
The most common complaint is that photobashed pieces are not really art because the artist did not draw the piece "by hand". Don't get me wrong, I respect the amount of time and drawing skill that many artists put into their work and would never want to downplay that. I am one of them. That said, my approach to this piece was to get the best result possible in the quickest amount of time. I used the tools and knowledge at my disposal to do so. I created the concept, took my own photos and rendered it in my own style. I just don't see how this piece is any less a piece of art than one of my oil paintings.
|adding more over painting, shadows and textures|
I am fairly certain that if Leonardo Da Vinci or Johannes Vermeer had had Photoshop at his disposal, they would have been using it to the full extent of it's capability. It's just a tool. Essentially, digital technology is no different than a tube of paint, or a palette knife. In the hands of a talented artist, the results can be amazing. When wielded by an artist with an under developed skill set, it becomes a crutch. The resulting work from these two artists can be like night and day. One will likely be individual, stunning and highly crafted while the other will be clumsy, stiff and carry the telltale signs of a piece that has been heavily digitally manipulated.
|Final work with final detail, lettering, and signature added|
Monday, October 13, 2014
Creating new art for a story that is so iconic is a bit daunting and I didn't want to copy the familiar climactic family embrace that features prominently on most of the video versions of the film, so that was automatically out. Also, since this is a musical version, I wanted to somehow imply this aspect in the art. Other iconic symbols that I considered in the sketch phase were snow, Christmas bells, George Bailey, fir trees, holly, angel wings and more snow. I came up with four possible options to show the client of which, they chose the snow globe idea. We decided to add George to the snow globe from sketch one and add some musical notations to the swirls of snow.
Once again I created the hand lettering for this poster and incorporated it into the illustration. The client is thrilled with the result and I hope that it adds to the popularity of the production.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
I finished this little piece for the Friend magazine last week. The article recounts the author's trip to Africa where he noticed the giraffes avoiding a muddy waterhole. The guide said it was because of the crocodiles. He looked but could not see any. Later from a higher vantage point, the mud covered crocodiles could clearly be seen as they laid in wait for an unsuspecting victim. Life has a lot of snares, some we cannot predict and some of our own making. That was the thought in my head as I laced up my running shoes this morning.
So, I was thinking, which tends to happen a lot when I am too tired to talk with my wife as we battle the miles and fatigue. In this contemplative state, or possibly just a state of exhaustion, we passed another jogger running the other direction just as we rounded a corner and started up a mild hill. She called out a "good job for running the hills!" I jokingly responded that it was uphill both ways. As I worked my way to the top of the rise, I got to thinking how true that statement really is.
Life runs uphill both ways. The trick is learning to run the hills.
We often times lament life's challenges, wishing that somehow life were easier or that if only such and such would happen, things would be better. Well, news flash, everyone has challenges. I just think that some people are better at taking the obstacle in front of them and overcoming it. People I admire seem to somehow transform tough things it into a positive. Just because I am not where I want to be in this regard, doesn't keep me from trying though. I have come a long way from where I was, but it's still an uphill battle. For example, I don't get as upset or stressed as I once did when stuff happens, because I have realized that stuff happens to everyone. I don't get as jealous of other's success as I once did, I try to be genuinely happy for them because celebrating another's success doesn't diminish my own success or my self worth. I try not to compare my work or situation to someone else's because they deserved whatever they have worked for. Good for them. My work is mine. If I want it to be better, I need to keep working. I try not to be disappointed when something doesn't go my way or slide my way in to wallow in the mire of self pity (at least not for long). It can be hard sometimes, but I think all of the above are things that trap us. In a sense, they are like the crocodiles in the mud. They wait for you to wander too close. You can't get eaten by a crocodile if you don't wallow in the mud.
I'm still learning to run those hills. They still feel uphill both ways, but I'm getting better at staying on the path rather than in the mud. And running those hills.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
|Rainbow Bridge - 16" x 12" - Oil on board by Greg Newbold|
The natural wonder that is Rainbow Bridge is located in a finger of Glen Canyon that is now only accessible from Lake Powell in Southern Utah (true, you could hike in, but I really don't think many people take the arduous overland route). The first time I visited it in the mid 1980's it looked pretty much like I have depicted in the painting. Record runoff two years in a row had filled Lake Powell to capacity and the water had backed up all the way under the natural sandstone formation. Climbing on or under the bridge is restricted today out of respect to the Native American tribes who deem it sacred, but the time I visited with my Boy Scout troop, we took the opportunity to cliff jump directly underneath the bridge. I can't remember if it was discouraged then , but we did it anyway (oh the shame of youth). After a short swim to the other side, my fellow intrepid teenage adventurers and I scaled the slope under the bridge to take the plunge. I estimate that the drop was between thirty-five and forty-five feet, but after I launched myself off, I swear it felt like a hundred. After slamming into the water and then fighting back to the surface for a welcome gulp of air, I decided once was enough.
Lake Powell is currently more than one hundred feet below capacity which now makes the hike from the water to the Rainbow Bridge more than a mile. When I first went there, the boat docks were maybe a hundred yards from the bridge and that was only to keep boat traffic a reasonable distance away. It would take several years of above average snowfall to fill the lake again. I am not sure I will ever see Rainbow Bridge like that again. My friend who commissioned the piece said that her family went to Lake Powell many times while they were growing up and this is the way she wanted to remember it. I guess this view is just water under the bridge, so to speak.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
|Wait Until Dark- by Greg Newbold 13" x 18"- Digital|
I set up a photo shoot with my wonderful model Betsy and photographed a couple of different options. I wanted to invoke the feel of old film noir movie posters in the color palette and also by adding the distressed edges and scratches. I created and scanned my own hand made distressed folds to make it look like the poster was worn along the folds as well.
I also took the opportunity to handle the title design. I found a very retro feeling font that was appropriate for the overall feel of the poster. I also distressed the type layer to match the rest of the image. I'm thrilled with how it turned out and the client, Footlight Players Theater in Charleston, South Carolina, was as well.