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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Taming Media Horses


This magazine assignment, which I finished last week, got me thinking about how much time I waste every week on low return investments online or on TV. The article's  focus was on how to rein in and control the consumption of media within the personal or family structure. How do you deal with the ever present access to information and entertainment that comes with smart phones, ipads, cable or satellite television and the like? Do we even realize how dependent we are on our precious devices? Do we know how corrupting this dependence on media is or worse yet, how damaging the seedy side of the Internet can be if abused? I got to thinking that while I use the Internet each day for my work, I could probably cut back on my consumption and that would be a good thing.


Then my phone froze while enjoying on one of my "favorite" mind numbing time wasters, Temple Run 2. If you are not familiar with the game, it entails leading an Indiana Jones type character on an endless run through jungle obstacles while trying to collect coins and other artifacts. I say endless, because you NEVER win. You rack up as high a score as possible before you die. But wait. You can save yourself and rack up even more points by spending the gems you have collected! Sweet right? OK, I admit I have had some fun with it, but it had gotten out of hand as I racked up over 200 gems and 250,000 coins on my way to level nine. I had spent coins on all the upgrades and had collected most of the bonus objects offered. I had different characters and had earned different hats they could wear. Then BAM! My phone froze while in the game. No problem right, these phones are smart. Just reboot and all is well. Not so fast. I went back into the game with some annoyance and was horrified to find that everything had been reset to ZERO! I threw the phone down on the floor and stomped it to bits. OK, not really, but I did mentally destroy the stupid thing. Then I thought about it and realized this was the perfect opportunity to simply give up the game. So I did. Haven't played it since and I have not missed it. On the contrary, I no longer have to worry about whether or not I completed the daily challenge or wonder what the next one will be. No more frustration when the game buffers and I slide off the end of the bridge and die. No great loss.


So, a small thing you say? Sure, but it was a catalyst and now I am thinking about other ways I waste time and the next obvious time suck is Facebook. Given that I use it quite a bit to promote my work and enjoy keeping up with other artists and friends, I am not intending to give it up completely, but it's time to go on a bit of a Facebook diet I think. Face to face interaction with real people is so much more rewarding anyway. What time suck would you be willing to give up?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Scuffy in 3X3 Picture Book Annual.


Last week I received the great news that pictures from  my personal project "Scuffy- A Scarecrow's Tale" have been accepted into the 3X3 illustration Annual. I've been trying to get the story published ever since I started the book as part of my MFA project back in 2009.



Finally, a picture book annual that had an unpublished category has come along and I am gratified to finally see at least part of the book in print. There was a snag in the process when I read in the submission guidelines that even unpublished entries needed to be submitted as "published" spreads and include the "cover".



I enlisted the help of friend and fellow artist Val Paul Taylor to give my spread mock ups and cover a nice type treatment. I am super excited with the wonderful type treatment he came up with for the "book". Scuffy is currently being shop by my literary agent, so hopefully I will actually get to finish the book at some point. Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Alabama Story



I recently finished another piece of art for Pioneer Theater. This one for a new play that will have it's world premier this fall called Alabama Story written by Kenneth Jones. The plot revolves around a little known incident (at least I had not been aware of ) that happened in Alabama during the racial tension of the late 1950's.


In 1958,  Garth Williams, famously the illustrator for Charlotte's Web and the Little House on the Prairie books, wrote and illustrated a charming little tale of two rabbits who frolic together and fall in love. At the end of the book the two rabbits  wed in a ceremony attended by their fellow woodland creatures. Innocent enough, right?

Well in the racially charged South, this book became the center of a firestorm because, in the book, one rabbit was white and the other was black. The book was censored and a lawsuit raised to remove the book from the state funded library system. The story revolves around a white librarian, her childhood friend who is a black man and various other lawyers and State legislators who are immersed in sorting out this murky topic.


As I began sketching the art, and admittedly before I read the script, I thought it would be fun to use the rabbits as symbols for the racial tension. Early sketches revolved around the idea of the black and white rabbits and the book that precipitated the argument. Even after I changed the setting to the library shelves, the client felt that the furry rabbit angle gave too much of an impression that this was a children's play so that idea was scrapped.


I still wanted to evoke a feeling racial tension and imply the idea that the story somehow revolved around books, so we switched to the idea of the black character and the white librarian being on opposite sides of the the divide, in this case, a stack of books. The light filtering from the left side illuminates her as she reads and the the other side is symbolically more in shadow.


After this idea was approved, I set to work. I took photos and proceeded to the final drawing and rendering. I think it turned out pretty well considering my deadline was cut about three days short due to a planned excursion with my son. I had to scramble to deliver the art before I left town which included a 2:00 am bedtime one evening. I don't enjoy the late nights and avoid them as much as possible, but sometimes the deadline just has to be met, regardless of the lack of sleep.