Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Bit of Paradise

Around the Bend in Paradise- 9x12 Oil by Greg Newbold
So, yesterday I posted about painting with Josh Clare and shared some of the insights I gleaned from him. I had all those ideas fresh in my head as I set out after the morning demo discussion to make a little painting. Josh was really excited about the lighting conditions being mostly overcast. I have to admit that flat diffused light has never been my first choice. I am always looking and hoping for more dramatic light and shadow situations to paint, so this was a bit of a challenge for me.

We all drove to a stretch of riverfront in Avon, the hamlet adjacent to Paradise owned by Josh's friend and I set out to find the perfect vista. I wanted something that would present a composition that had both a variety of values as well as some dynamic lines. I decided to give this particular bend in the river a try. The river turns and separates around a couple of gravel bars and there were some nice areas of contrast between the bleached out log jams and the shadowy underside of the willows and trees. I set up in the trees and got to work.

For the most part the light stayed remarkably consistent over the two and a half hours that I painted and I soon gained an appreciation for Josh's passionate endorsement of overcast light. I don't think I will have such an aversion to painting on cloudy days in the future. About halfway through my effort, Josh swung by and gave me a few pointers on the progress of my painting and even put down a few strokes to show me what he was talking about. I forged ahead and think the end result is pretty successful. I will be touching it up a bit in studio to pull it all together, but overall, it was a good day and a good effort. I learned a lot and made some mini breakthroughs regarding the process I have been using to lay down paint.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Painting with Josh Clare

Josh Clare explains his working method while demonstration in Paradise, Utah

I had the pleasure of painting the vistas of Beautiful Cache Valley, Utah last week with the very talented Josh Clare. He lives in Paradise, quite literally. His home town is Paradise,Utah. In case you are unfamiliar with Josh's work, here are a couple of examples of his outstanding paintings and you can see more at his website.

As an artist I am constantly looking for opportunities to improve my craft, and I think there is no better way to learn than painting with artists who are better than or have different skills than you do. Since I am a late comer to oil painting (just the last few years), I jumped at the opportunity to spend the day with Josh. I met him last fall on another painting excursion and was struck by his down to earth style of explaining the nuts and bolts of landscape painting and the oil medium in particular. Jost has a great sense of color and his application of paint is lush and inviting. Josh was very generous in sharing tips on how to compose a picture, the importance of value, color chroma and edges. A couple of tidbits he shared struck me and are good reminders to all of us as we try to learn the alchemy that is oil painting. 

None of the ideas he shared are new and I have heard them before, but sometimes they sink in a little further when you are better prepared to understand them. Here are a couple of things he shared that I will be incorporating into my process or at least keeping in the back of my head while I work. Josh said "the tonal arrangement is key and must have the most interesting arrangement of light and dark shapes. Good tonal arrangement covers a multitude of sins." Of course I have heard this before and have even pounded it into the heads of my own students when I teach, but it's always a good reminder that without appropriate value contrasts and patterns, a piece can fall apart in a hurry.

Josh also talked quite a bit about the balance between thick and thin paint. This aspect of paint application has been a bit of a mystery to me as I spent so many years of my illustration career laboriously layering thin washes of acrylic paint to arrive at my final result. Josh stressed the need to arrive at a balance between thick and thin paint and the concept of "reserving" as you paint. This, he explained is where you hold back on aspects of color, value and thick juicy paint strokes in order to use those areas of dark accent value (or highlights), high chroma color and thick strokes as accents to your overall statement. These areas should be places where you want your eye to focus.

Early paint application- blocking in the shape, value and color
Josh also reaffirmed my instinct to have at least one favorite "nasty" brush. You know, that brush that is so hammered that it can only be used to apply those random, accidental stokes of paint that look so spontaneous and honest when you lay them down. I was glad to hear he has a few of these that are missing half their bristles and splay out in crazy fashion. I was glad I brought my favorite "nasty" brush.

Josh Clare final demo result. Subject to tweaking in studio.
He also explained why his method of painting on a smooth surface allows so much flexibility in paint application. He prefers working on primed and gessoed masonite panels (as do I) but his starting surface is somewhat smoother than  mine which allows smoother early application of paint. The thinness of these first passages allow him to build up easily to the thicker more textural finishing strokes. 

The best part of the day was taking this renewed inspiration into the field in the afternoon and trying out some of the tips he shared. The day was overcast which allowed a longer than usual stretch of consistent light.  I'll post that painting next.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Art and Soup is This Week

Oasis- 12" x 12' Oil by Greg Nrewbold.

Sorry for the lapse in posts, but I have been painting like crazy on new oil paintings for this week's Art and Soup event. If you are unfamiliar with Art and Soup, it is a yearly fundraising gala for Community Nursing Services of Utah.

Snow Canyon Morning- 12" x 16" oil by Greg Newbold

Annually they hold a three day event to raise money to help under served and disabled patients get the nursing care they need. At the same time, artists benefit from the sale and exposure of Their work. I think it's a win for everyone and I am excited to be involved this year.

Stansbury Bales- 12" x 20" oil by Greg Newbold

Tickets are $20 available at the door for Wednesday or Thursday sessions. Forty-four artists and twenty five restaurants will be on site so you know the food will be fabulous with something for everyone's taste. A percentage of the artist's sales will go to CNS. Tuesday night's Premiere event is sold out, but if you can make it to the other sessions, come join me! I'd love to chat and share my new paintings with you! If you are looking to buy something, I will have about thirty original oil paintings as well as note cards and prints of the painting featured in this year's calendar, all for sale. Come check it out.

Session times are as follows:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016; 5-9 p.m. -- SOLD OUT
Wednesday, March 2, 2016; Lunch 11:00-2:00 and Dinner 5-9 p.m.
Thursday, March 3, 2016; Lunch 11:00-2:00 and Dinner 5-9 p.m.


Salt Palace Convention Center Grand Ballroom
100 West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 

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.