Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Barnes & Noble Table Topper

I had to keep this project for Barnes & Noble under my hat for a while but I just got the green light to show it. I got the cal a few weeks back to work on a table display poster for kids to showcase books that have been turned into movies.

Rough concept sketches- the center sketch won out
The poster will roll out nationwide and may already be sitting atop displays in your very own local B&N bookstore! I'm really excited to have had the opportunity to work on this one.

Detail of the adventurous kids
Always fun to do a fat little pencil
The client loved it so much, I am currently working on two other projects for them. I will show more of those projects when they are final, but suffice it to say, I am pleased that my work seems to be a good fit for Barnes & Noble and hope to continue working with them for a long time to come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Delivering the Truth

Delivering the Truth- Digital over graphite by Greg Newbold
Here is another book cover I just finished. The book is a mystery novel called Delivering the Truth and deals with a Quaker midwife in 1888 Massachusetts. She doles out advice, delivers babies and even solves mysteries in her spare time. I wanted to do something that gave the flavor of the era as well as a sense of mystery.

The client proposed an arrangement similar to this
The client proposed a shot of the character from behind that focused on the apron strings. I secured a great costume through my connections at the regional theater here in town, Pioneer Theater and had a great photo shoot that gave me multiple options. I created three possibilities of which I liked one the best.

I felt that a cropped shot of the figure holding the doctor bag was strongest and would be more to the point. By zooming in closer on the hands, and not showing the face, that cover option would add a sense of mystery as well.  Thankfully the art director and designer agreed and I got the go ahead. I was asked to add the town and landscape behind the figure in the distance which I had left out of the sketch.

I was not sure that my favorite option would be chosen, but it was simple to drop a few buildings in behind the figure. The monochromatic color scheme allows for the hands to be the true focus of the piece as well. I enjoyed painting them and tried to say a lot with the gesture of the hands. I think it gives a sense of confidence, gentleness and a bit of apprehension all at the same time. Perfect for the tone of the book. Thanks to Llewellyn Worldwide Publishers for the chance to work on this project..

Thursday, April 23, 2015

High & Dry- 300 Plates 2nd Piece

High & Dry- 10" x 11"- Oil by Greg Newbold
Here is my second piece for this year's 300 Plates Show at Art Access Gallery. I described a bit about this show/fundraiser a bit ago when I posted November Pastures here. The show is coming up on Thursday night, May 14, 2015 and tickets are limited. Get tickets early to have a chance at tons of great work at reasonable rates and benefit a great cause at the same time. Click through to the 300 Plates show site here  and I hope I will run into a few of you at the show.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cactus Hotel Project Finished

Saturday afternoon marked the final upload of the art for the Cactus Hotel project. Here are a few more of my favorite pieces from the project in their final state. All final images were created in Photoshop using digital brushes and handmade texture over the top of the graphite drawings I posted about earlier.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cactus Hotel Progress

Here's a little sneak peek of the final for the book I am working on called Cactus Hotel.  Just a little full page of a roadrunner having a little lizard snack in the shade of a big Saguaro. A few more of the drawings were posted earlier, if you would like to have a look. I have been a bit busy the last week or two working on this project as well as a little thing for Barnes & Noble, which I will post in a few weeks when it hits the stores. It's nice to be busy again with nice illustration projects. I have a lot on the plate, but will try to post more regularly as the work progresses. Thanks for having a look.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Over a year ago, we were on our way back from a swim meet in Southern Utah with our teenage son when I saw the most intriguing subject off the side of the freeway. Now, to most people, what I saw would seem unremarkable, even mundane. To me, the scene beckoned me. Not in a whisper that can easily be brushed aside, but rather, it screamed to be painted. What I saw was not merely a weathered tumbledown stack of hay bales, but a symbol of a man's labor, a hope for the future and an attitude of preparedness. On the flip side, I saw the ravages of time and weather, the power of gravity but amid all the decay, I saw the purity of a sheltered heart.

I decided that this painting would equal the largest that I had ever done (60" x 36" of last year's Autumn Dusting)) and I eagerly started into the process. Schedules became complicated and the picture sat unfinished for many months. I started to waver. The painting didn't begin as fantastically as I had hoped and I set it aside amid doubts and second guessing. I had done a couple of things wrong. The first bad decision was following my better judgement and skipping the study phase. I figured I knew what I was doing and that the subject was simple. Well, next time I attempt a painting of that size, I will surely paint a small study to work out color and value. The other mistake was to stop halfway through the blocking in process. That left the picture suspended in the inevitable ugly phase where there is not a clear picture of the intended target. All this hand wringing also could have been avoided if I had done a study...duh. So there it sat, forlorn and homely propped against the side of my flat file. Eventually, I grew so tired of it mocking me, that I relegated it to the studio storage area while I worked on other projects.

There is nothing like a deadline, or the fact that I had already shelled out several hundred dollars on a beautiful custom frame to spur on completion of a project.  With the Spring Salon rapidly approaching, I dug it back out and plowed onward toward the finish. I spent the better part of a Saturday blocking in the rest of the canvas. I was pleased with how things were looking and began to revisit the sky as I waited for the large expanses of snow on the lower half to dry. Well, after nearly a week, the white areas were hardly any closer to being dry than the day I laid them down. I had no explanation for this other than that the white I was using was different from my normal brand and must have had a richer mix of linseed oil than I was used to. Also, I had not used any drying mediums. I was faced with a choice. Gamble and figure that the paint would eventually dry in time for me to finish things up and frame it in time for the 91st Annual Springville Spring Salon, or scrape off all the wet white areas and repaint them. I opted to scrape. It was nerve wracking not knowing what would be left after the wet paint was off. Luckily it was not that bad and rather than waste all the paint, I mixed in a little medium to speed the drying intending to reuse most of it. With that, I prepared new batches of paint and I dug back in.

Things dried at a normal rate this time and I was able to finish the painting. I am happy with how it turned out and feel that it is one of my best paintings. Whether you love hay bales or not, I think the scale of the work speaks and commands attention. I will find out later next week if the painting makes it into the exhibition. Fingers crossed!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Plein Air Painting- Oakley, UT

Last Saturday, I went out painting with friend and fellow painter Richard Hull. We ventured up to Oakley Utah to see if we could find a worthy subject or two for the day's efforts. My first painting subject was chosen based largely on the contract between the muted yellows and greens of the pasture and the black Angus cattle grazing in it. We were dealing with a distinct lack of color as the winter browns and grays have not yet given way to the vibrant greens and yellows of spring, so we looked for subjects that provided value contrasts more than color. Attempting to paint anything like a herd of cows from life is a failure waiting to happen and I knew that if the cows shifted too much, I would get nothing more than a quick indication of placement. As it turns out, about 45 minutes into the piece and just as I was getting ready to place a few cows, the ranchers came and herded all the cows away into parts unknown. I guess the cows will now be painted in studio.

We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch with another painter friend Don Weller, whose fantastic watercolor work I profiled here in an earlier post. He and his wife Cha Cha joined us at the Road Island Diner for some seriously good chow. I had the Turkey club which was delicious and featured the juiciest roasted turkey and thick cut bacon I have had on a club ever. The shoestring onion rings were wickedly crispy and delicious as well.

The Afternoon session was a bit of a challenge. For the first time all day, the wind kicked up and a steady strong breeze hampered our painting. The same wind resulted in shifting skies and light that went from sunny to overcast every few minutes. I didn't realize how tiring it can be to try and make steady brush strokes while chasing a moving target both literally and figuratively. Not only did the lighting shift at inopportune moments, but my easel and arm felt the brunt of wind gusts as well. Al in all, I think it was a productive day.

Richard would disagree as he wiped off both of his attempts. I told him he was being a bit hard on himself and probably should have held off until he could evaluate the effort in the studio, but he insisted that "crap was crap" and was okay with obliterating his efforts. I usually wait until later to sand off my failures, but that's how it goes sometimes. My wipe offs came early in the process when I realized my drawing was way off. The barn was especially challenging in the wind and I never did get it right. It's a little too tall and I only had room for five posts under the shed roof, but that's fine. I still like the effort and I will once again look forward to fixing a few things in the studio to finish these up. And add some cows.