Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Book Report

Just finished this little piece for the Friend Magazine for accompany a poem called The Book Report. It was a fun little piece to create. I focused most of my interest on the colors and shapes. I'm pretty pleased with the transitions between warm and cool. The light area on the banner is where the poem will print, so I had to leave it a little lighter than I normally would. This piece is digital over a graphite drawing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lehman Creek Plein Air

Lehman Creek- Watercolor sketch by Greg Newbold
A couple of weeks ago, we spent the weekend camping at Great Basin National Park in Eastern Nevada. Many people have asked blankly where Great Basin is. Well, I say, you make your way to Delta, Utah and hang a right.

A hundred miles out west in the middle of the desert you will find one of our nation's youngest National Parks. Great Basin is actually much more than I envisioned with it's eleven thousand plus foot Wheeler Peak, boasting one of the oldest bristle cone pine groves in the country as well as the spectacular Lehman cave.
The "Parachutes" inside Lehman Cave
We camped at about eight thousand feet elevation in a nice pine forest setting. A few steps from our tent site trickled Lehman Creek and I took an hour on two consecutive days to sketch it in watercolor. The first day's effort was cut short by intermittent cloudbursts, so I finished up the next afternoon. We also hiked to two alpine lakes and visited the bristle cone pine grove.

Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park
 These amazing centuries old trees are survivors. Some are estimated to have lived over three thousand years and because their resinous wood resists rot, they remain for a Millennium or more after their demise. Some portions of the trees cling to life long after large segments  have given up the ghost.

Bristlecone Pine, Great Basin National park
The wind and sun burnish their bark stripped carcasses But they stubbornly continue to stand as sentinels above the frost line where little else can survive. I took quite a few photos and hope to paint these majestic beauties as well. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Palm Island Poster Finished

Palm Island- 18x24- digital by Greg Newbold
A while back I showed sketches for a game project I was working on. I finally finished the first phase of the project and we are now planning for the next round which will include a Kickstarter campaign to fund what's coming next.

The Connection hero has plenty of options to make eye contact with you
This poster will play part in both the board game as well as a counseling program that helps children build life skills such as gratitude, courage, generosity and personal connection. The game will be able to be played independently from the program and will be a lot of fun. When I was first approached to do this project, The initial idea was to have kids as the characters on the poster and the in the game.

The Generosity hero helps you out and cheers you on
I asked how open was the client to other ideas and she said I had plenty of latitude as long as the concepts were clear. I came up with the idea of making the super hero monster characters to embody each of the concepts in a fun way. Each finger of the hand shaped island represents one concept and the goal of the game will be to make it to the top of your chosen character's finger by successfully completing challenges and and answering questions. You can also progress by helping other players reach their goals.

This guy is actually the bad guy albeit not too scary of one
This game aims to be family oriented fun while subtly teaching life skills that kids need to succeed. There will be additional elements for me to illustrate as we get closer to making the full fledged board game a reality and as the program and games expand on the idea of these new heroes.
I am excited to see where we go from here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BSA Polaris Poster

Toward the end of June I got an email from the Boy Scouts of America wondering if I had time to do a presentation poster. I have a great history of working with the BSA over the last ten or twelve years on projects for Boys' Life Magazine and the scouts in general, so I was excited to take this one on.

concept sketches guided my photo shoot

The time frame was fairly tight and I had other projects to get off the table before I could start. The premise was to create an image of adventure that could be coupled with words from the scout oath or motto. The kicker was that it needed to feature a machine partnering corporation Polaris. I set up the photo shoot, scratched out a few idea sketches, lined up my model and went to town. The BSA worked closely with me to coordinate contact with the local Polaris dealer and set up a photo shoot with the specific youth sized ATV that was to be featured.

I had one shot to get all the info I needed, so I planned for three or four different options.Jeff Schoetz at Plaza Cycle was awesome and got my model all geared up with the proper safety equipment and we rolled the machine up on a ramp outside. It took some serious imagination to picture this out in the wild, but I got some good angles and managed to cobble together a view that I think works.

 Because of the quick turnaround, I used the photos to mock up different option and one (actually my favorite) was selected. After approval, I had about one week to digitally paint the poster image and get it to the designer for the type application. Brady Tauzon and Bryson White from Weld were great to work with and I think Brady nailed the type treatment on this one and we sent it off to get printed. BSA had to have framed copies in Minneapolis five days after I delivered the art to Foundation Arts for the ceremonial presentation to Polaris executives. Gina, Jared and the team at Foundation Arts did an amazing job and turned the printing and production around in two days! This project was one of the quickest turnarounds I have done and yet one of the smoothest. Everyone kind of understood that it was a tough schedule and all the steps just fell smoothly into place. Not only that, I already got paid. Talk about a great project! Thanks to the guys at Weld, everyone at BSA and Foundation Arts for making this one such a joy to work on. Can't wait for the next one.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Autumn Dusting Sold at Springville Salon

Autumn Dusting (Mount Olympus)- 36" x 60" oil on canvas by Greg Newbold

Last week I got a lovely check for the sale of my painting "Autumn Dusting". I was part of the 90th Annual Springville Spring Salon, which is a distinct honor as well. At 36" x 60", this work is my largest oil painting to date meaning the sale was consequently the largest price netted for one one of my oil paintings. I am a little wistful to see the painting go, but I know the collector will enjoy it and I can afford to keep painting a little longer. It sets a nice precedent of value for my work in the gallery arena which is also good. Well, no time to rest on my laurels. Back to the easel!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Remember Why We Draw

The last few months have been busy. Busy is a good thing. It means that people like what we do and want to buy it, but sometimes we need to take a little time to remember why we do what we do. I have stolen a few moments the last few weeks to simply draw. No project, no purpose, no client, I drew just to draw. Drawing is the fundamental building block of every true artist, but sometimes we forget to draw. Life is busy and even in the midst of an art career, we sometimes stop drawing if it's not part of the current project When we forget to draw just for fun, we lose sight of WHY we draw and sometimes even feel like we have forgotten HOW to draw.

I fall into this trap all too often. Deadlines feel too tight to take a moment of frivolous drawing. It seems selfish to indulge in drawing for drawing's sake when the paying projects are nagging at you, but this is just what I did on a few recent outings. I don't regret the choice. The experience of drawing from nature with no intentions other than to capture what was in front of you and make it a permanent expression of your perceptions on paper is a powerful experience. I had forgotten how therapeutic it can be to simply draw for no other reason than to draw. I found myself immersed for a few moments in the shapes and textures of my subject. I found myself really seeing the things I was drawing and solving problems as I worked to get them down in my sketchbook. I was totally invested in the effort and for a moment there was nothing between me and the trees but a thin column of carbon. I became one with my drawing. This is why I draw.

I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen.
-Frederick Franck

In spite of everything, I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great disagreement, and I will go on with my drawing.
-Vincent Van Gogh

There will always be reasons why not to draw. but don't let the ups and downs, the pressures of life and deadlines derail you from your drawing. Draw on!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jimenez Logo Redux

A couple of years back I did an illustration for a brand logo that was being revived. The brand had been used commercially for years, but had gone under during a corporate transition and fallen out of use. The new logo was to be a modernization of what I thought was a rather crude and dated look.

I did the illustration and it turned out very well. I thought I had captured beautifully the personality and essence of the company founder who was the face of the brand. The fully rendered version I completed consequently got mired in a conflict over the likeness of the company founder. In the end after more than a year of wrangling with the family foundation it was decided that the safest thing to do would be to go back to the logo version that was wholly owned by the brand and create a closely updated version from that.

Working closely with friend and fantastically talented illustrator designer Val Paul Taylor. I did a new, very graphic version of  the figure. Val then created an updated version of the typographic treatment  that brings the brand into the 21st century while paying appropriate homage to the 1980's version. The client was very satisfied with the outcome and they plan to relaunch the brand this year. I rarely get the chance to do something this graphic outside of a few t-shirt designs for my son's swim teams, so this was a fun change of pace that I hope to do more of in the future.