Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ben Franklin for Scholastic

Ben Franklin, Inventor by Greg Newbold
In the last few months I have done several jobs that I couldn't show immediately and this one for Scholastic's Science Spin was one of them. I got the chance to do one of the classic inventors and statesmen in American history, Benjamin Franklin. When I was in elementary school, I loved the Weekly Reader and other publications from Scholastic and now I get to work with them. This project involved a cover depicting Ben along with of several of the things he invented, namely, The gas street lamp seen out the window, a book grabbing tool, the famous "Franklin Stove", bifocal glasses and one that didn't catch on. In case you can't locate this lesser known invention in the picture, Ben is sitting in a chair that he engineered with a foot pedal powered flapper that would move the air above his head to shoo away flies while he was reading. Needless to say, it didn't catch on.

Ben's Lightning Rod- by Greg Newbold
The interior article illustrates a live demonstration of his lightning rod, a concept that all modern lightning rods are based on. Not only was Franklin a great inventor, he was a writer, printer, theorist, statesman and diplomat, along with being a signer of the Declaration of Independence. I had a great time working on this, and I'm currently working on another similar project for Scholastic that, of course, I will show at a later date when it is published.

Monday, January 11, 2016

At Night In Tribeca


"One belongs to New York instantly.
One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years." 
-Tom Wolfe
Anyone who has been to New York knows that evening can be a vibrant and fun time to hit the town. I'm pleased to have my work add to the enjoyment of a night out in the Big Apple, so here's a little show and tell. I couldn't resist sharing this shot of the window mural I did for the Tribeca Barnes & Noble store all lit up for the evening. If you get a chance to drop by the store, check out my contribution to the New York City scene!

Read all about the Tribeca mural project here

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Santa Brought Art Books Again



My wife and kids think that my Christmas lists are boring. I inevitably include the year's rundown of art book wants on my list with things like socks and gum. This year was no different and as always, Santa and the family have obliged. Anyway, I always look forward to digging deeply into my new art book editions and this year is no exception. Here's a quick run down of the books I got this year.

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes
An Exhibition Catalog by Bill Watterson. 


Who doesn't love Calvin and Hobbes? I have enjoyed the escapades of Calvin and his stuffed (or real) tiger since the strip debuted in 1985. It's hard to believe that it only lasted ten years before creator Bill Watterson decided it had run it's course, but we take what we can get, right?
This volume was produced in conjunction with a major retrospective exhibit mounted a couple of years back, but the major draw for me was the rare and wide ranging interview that is included. Watterson is candid and funny as he describes the ins and outs of how the strip came about, how difficult it was to maintain the creative edge and what ultimately led to the retirement of the strip. He also touches on why he has never exploited what would undeniably be a cash cow in the merchandising Calvin and Hobbes. This book is enjoyable as a cross section of what is, in my opinion, the greatest comic strip of our generation if not of all time (sorry Schulz), but what makes it worth every cent is the Watterson interview.

Sorolla: The Masterworks
by Bianca Pons Sorolla


My first book on the master Spanish impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla. I'm glad to finally have one in my collection after many years of covetous longing after previous rare or overpriced editions.



I have not read the text by the great granddaughter of the artist yet, but the reproductions are good, especially given the rather affordable cover price. I hope that it is as insightful as the reproductions are to anyone enamored by the lush paint and fine draftsmanship of Sorolla.

The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris
by Steve Martin and Cynthia Burlingham


This is the first major volume on the work of Lawren Harris that I can recall and it's a beauty. I have been fascinated by the works of the Group of Seven artists for quite some time now, ever since I found a volume on these Canadian artists at a used book store in the pre-internet days.



Harris is often overshadowed by Tom Thomson, whose work and untimely early death led to the formation of the Group of Seven, but here he gets his due. The book is essentially the exhibition catalog of a major retrospective spearheaded by art aficionado, collector and comedian, Steve Martin. It is lavishly illustrated in full color with a number of closeups that show Harris' brush stroke and surface texture. I look forward to digging into this volume much deeper as the weeks go by.

The Golden Age: Masterworks From The Golden Age of Illustration
Volume 3 by Daniel Zimmer


Brought to us by the man behind Illustration Magazine, Dan Zimmer unveils this third volume in the series of illustration masterworks. All images have been newly photographed from the original art and is a stunning overview of some of the best picture making of the era. There is no text, just pictures and like previous volumes, the reproductions are top notch. Well worth the price for any lover of early to mid 20th Century illustration, or any fan of good art, for that matter.

Santa knows just how to satisfy my art book cravings (OK, mostly because I give him a list), but nevertheless, it was a banner year for art books under the Christmas tree. Thanks Santa!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ed Eyestone For BYU Magazine


I finished these three pieces up a few weeks back for BYU Magazine to accompany an article by All American and Olympic runner Ed Eyestone.


First concept for opener
Eyestone shares several life lesson anecdotes in the article including the time when he gave his last ounce of energy during a race and collapsed short of the finish line.  His coach told him that he had "run like a horse" meaning that a horse will run until it collapses and never gives up simply because the task is too hard.

Final Drawing
A mule on the other hand, will simply stop and refuse to continue on when it tires, despite prodding. He had pushed himself until he dropped and that made his coach proud. This experience was the inspiration for the opening spread.

Another spot dealt with Eyestone's interaction with the team trainer when as a freshman, he wanted the same post workout massage as the senior runners. The Finnish trainer said "you don't waste the black powder on the small birds" but then relented and treated him the same as the rest of the team. This experience taught him that everyone is important.
The final spot dealt with how small things can help you reach your goals. Kyle perry had set the goal to run a sub four minute mile and then concentrated on all the small things that would help him reach his goal, including a strict training regimen and diet and focusing on a list of ten small things he would do every day as he trained. He dropped from a 4:05 to a 3:59.16. Concentrating on the small things had helped Perry reach his goal.

All pieces were drawn first in graphite and then scanned and painted in Photoshop. Handmade crackle texture was added at the end.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Barnes & Noble Tribeca Store Mural

Tribeca Barnes & Noble Facade Mural by Greg Newbold
Last spring, I was approached by Barnes and Noble about creating a full front facade window mural for their Tribeca, New York store. The store facade consists of floor to ceiling windows divided into six sections. The storefront look was a little tired and they wanted to upgrade by installing a site specific mural.
Existing Store front windows were pretty bland
The goal was to spice up the facade, make it more inviting and give a little flavor of what Barnes & Noble has to offer. Having never done a project that was specifically intended to be enlarged to building size, I was excited to tackle something this big.
Initial client provided direction sketch
We went through an initial round of sketches where the focus was to be primarily about what the store offered by way of services and ambiance on the inside. One of the main criteria was to feature the Cafe' cup, so I created a concept that included it prominently. The steam swirling above the cup would fall behind the store logo to add interest in an otherwise empty space.

First round idea sketch
Here is what the first concept sketch looked like with individuals browsing books and a group of kids enjoying a story time. They also wanted to give the impression that gifts other than books were a big part of the store vibe, so we went with some swirling Lego blocks and a gift card along with the books. I sent the sketch off and as sometimes happens, the concept was killed. After seeing what was requested, the client decided that they would scrap this approach and brainstorm something else and get back to me. Of course that's always disappointing, but I was paid a sketch fee and moved on to other projects.

Woolworth Building
Franklin Street Subway entrance with it's distinctive arched roof
A few months went by and then I got word that the Tribeca mural project was back on with a revised direction. This time, rather than focus on the inside of the store, they determined that the focus should be on the the Tribeca neighborhood and include a couple of landmarks that would be recognizable to everyone, namely the Woolworth Building and the Franklin Street subway entrance. The carryover from the first concept was the cafe' cup with it's swirling steam, which the client loved. I also needed to include a space that would be cut out to allow the events poster to be changed out every week as well as the hours of operation. I though it would be fun to have these areas as pages of a book.
Approved rough sketch
Final Drawing with adjusted Events and Hours sections
I set out to revise the sketch and try to capture a bit of the eclectic feel of the neighborhood and New York in general. I wanted something very NYC and after some discussion, we decided there was nothing that said New York more than a yellow taxi cab. Here's the rough sketch as it was approved and the final drawing that I used to create my Photoshop painting.

Final drawing with window template in place to check fit
I wanted a warm palette with nice contrasts of blue and lavender in the shadows and I think I achieved a nice color balance. I particularly like the angle of light coming from the late afternoon sun filtering through the clouds. Below is a later stage progression as I moved from underpainting to final details ( I forgot to save out earlier stages). The most evident areas of change were to the left side of the painting where you can see the purple undertones.




The scale was big for this project. It was determined that the art needed to be somewhere around 100 pixels per square inch on the full size reproduction, so I worked on a file that stretched the RAM capacity of my machine the final file was over 700 MB. I tried to merge layers as much as possible during the process in order to keep the file size down but even so, the finished file was the biggest I have ever dealt with. The upload alone to about three hours thanks to my less than lightning fast upload speeds.
Final are mocked into place on facade
Here is a digital mock up of the store facade with the painting in place. Barnes & Noble is currently working on installation of the full size vinyl reproduction and I will post an update when I get pictures of it. It's kind of fun to know that thousands of people will enjoy my art on the streets of New York in the coming months and years.

Also, see a previous Barnes & Noble Project here

Friday, October 30, 2015

Just a Little Nibble Won't Hurt...

"Just A Little Nibble Won't Hurt..." - digital by Greg Newbold
I finished my scary version of this piece a little too late for Halloween last year, so it had to wait. I had originally done this as a poster for for the depressingly alcoholic stage play"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", which is scary for completely different reasons.

I just couldn't resist the allure of a gaping mouth and it called to me to turn it into a vampire. Next step is to combine the two into a gif or animation of some sort, but I haven't taken the time to figure out how that works just yet. Maybe next year! In the meantime, have a fun Halloween and stay safe!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September Gallery Sales

Approaching Storm- 36" x 24" Oil on canvas by Greg Newbold
September Still- 12" x 9" Oil on panel by Greg Newbold

I'm pleased to get word from Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery that two pieces from my recent show have sold. It's still hanging for a couple more weeks, so take a minute to swing by and see it if you are in town. I'm happy to see these paintings go to their new homes. Now, time to get some new paintings underway for the Art & Soup night at the beginning of March, 2016.

If you can go:

Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery
3295 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

Hours- M-F 9:30 am-6:00 pm Sat- 10:00 am- 5:00 pm Closed Sun

Previous Post about the show
And another post as well