Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Yankee Spirit - Art Exhibit

West Rock, New Haven - Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)

Last week I checked out "The Yankee Spirit" art exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art. This show features artworks by many  of the most highly regarded American artists of the last two centuries including Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Georgia O'Keefe, John Singer Sargent, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Moran, Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish. The works are all on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut.

Maxfield Parrish- Dusk, oil on panel

I had the pleasure of seeing many of these works a couple of years ago when I was getting my MFA degree in nearby Hartford, Connecticut, so it was especially fun to revisit them. I have to admit that one of my all time favorites in the show is Maxfield Parrish's "Dusk". I marvel at his expert handling of glazes to create such a feeling of depth and luminosity. If you go, take a moment to soak in this small but stunning work.

More exhibit info, dates, times,  pictures and a great review at:
 Art Wife Needs a Life- check it out!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Angel-Fish, 9" x 9" Acrylic and metal foil.

Anyone following this blog has probably noticed a bit of an obsession with fish. It started out innocently enough with a small demo painting of a fat fish for a class I was teaching and has since morphed into a series of progressively goofier fish since then. To date I have painted over a half dozen of these critters and I am sure there are more to come. Click the links below to see some of the others in this crazy fish family.

Angler Fish

Thursday, July 28, 2011

LeConte Stewart Joint Exhibits

The above painting by LeConte Stewart (1891-1990) was my first exposure to the work of this prolific and talented artist. I was a high school student and there was a retrospective show of his work at the  LDS Church History Museum in Salt Lake City in 1985. I was not as astute at deciphering the language of paint then as I am now (after an additional quarter century of artistic pursuits) but the honesty and passion he displayed for his subject matter resonated with me. I  immediately became a fan.

Utah native LeConte Stewart was born in 1891 in Glenwood, Utah. His Mormon pioneer ancestry ran deep. His grandparents crossed the American plains after joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints after meeting Church prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois and settled in Utah. As a boy, Stewart spent countless hours out among the sage drawing and painting. Despite trepidation from his father about becoming an artist, he went to New York where he studied at the Art Student's League as well as landscape painting in the Catskill Mountains at the Leagues branch there.

LeConte's  passion remained in the West and the pull of desert landscape eventually brought him home to Utah. He spent the remainder of his long and productive career painting things that were familiar to him in his rural surroundings. Stewart's  affection for the desert greatly influenced his art. He would often slip a sprig of sagebrush in his pocket, a symbol of his beloved desert, referring to it as his "eau de cologne".

He documented the depression and it's impact on rural life during a five year stretch from 1931-1936. These scenes of abandoned buildings and run down urban and rural scenes are a slice of history and a stark reminder of the hard times Stewart and indeed all of America suffered through during the Depression years.

He was an avid outdoor painter and spent countless hours painting and sketching directly from nature. He was adept in many mediums including pastel, pen and ink, and watercolor, but his passion was oil painting.Stewart taught art at the University of Utah where he served as chairman of the art department for twenty years. His influence as a painter and teacher in the west and Utah in particular continues to be felt.

There are joint exhibits of Stewart's work on display in Salt Lake City and I am excited to view both parts. In a combined effort, The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is hosting LeConte Stewart: Depression Era Art and the LDS Museum of History is showing LeConte Stewart- The Soul of Rural Utah.

A wonderfully thoughtful review of the UMFA show can be found at Artwife Needs A Life

Both Shows are on display through January 15, 2012. The combined exhibits showcase over 200 of Stewart's works. The UMFA show is $7.00 per person and the Church History Museum show is free. Find additional info at the links below.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
LDS Church History Museum
LeConte Stewart Bio on
Deseret News article
Salt Lake Tribune article
UMFA's resources for Stewart
Film on Stewart including footage of him drawing and painting

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Filming a Video Tutorial

Devil-Fish- 9" x 9" Acrylic and metal leaf

Last Friday I filmed my first art instructional video. As I mentioned in a post last week, I created a new version of my "Devil-Fish" demo painted in acrylic. We laid down about 5 hours of raw video and it will be edited down to somewhere around three hours of instruction. I go through the process of creating an entire painting and I show how I work along with some tips and tricks.

Getting set up to film. The live camera area was inside the blue tape.

Starting from a sketch I progress through initial washes of color, applying texture, creating a faux distressed gold leaf frame, building up the image layers and putting down final touches. It was a lot of fun as I worked to talk about why I do certain things, and explain what it takes to create a successful painting.The raw footage that I saw was expertly filmed and I think people will get a great view of how I typically work in acrylic.

The working set-up. I could reach for anything 
I needed out of camera shot and bring it into the shot.

I have a few finishing touches to put on the fish for a final shot and maybe a few voice over dubs in order to finish up. As soon as it is put together and launched, I will let you know how you can get your very own copy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early Bird at Pioneer Art Fest

Early Light- 6" x 9"  Oil by Greg Newbold

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I did the Early Bird Paint Out at the Pioneer Art Festival as well. I couldn't get back to sleep Saturday morning after waking up at 4:45 a.m. so I decided I may as well get out and paint. I had not intended to go the early painting, but since I was awake anyway, I figured I might as well make good use of my time. I had done a little scouting trip at Wheeler Farm the week prior and had a couple of locations selected as possible motifs. I picked a little block house to paint since the value contrasts in the flat light of early morning would be the most visible.

I didn't know if I would get any direct light that early since the building had a heavy row of trees between it and the rising sun. It was a good thing I based my value pattern on the local values since the building never did get any direct sun before I had to turn my picture in at 8:00 a.m. The low light was a little bit of a challenge and I exaggerated the warmth of the palette for dramatic purposes, but I sort of like this little piece.

In progress- about 45 minutes into the painting

Shows and competitions like this one are a little strange because I normally never let anything out of the studio before I am satisfied. They never usually see the light of day before they reworked,  retouched and sealed. In this situation people see them before the paint is even dry which is a bit of a strange feeling, sort of like they are looking over your shoulder in the studio. In a way they are since people were stopping all morning long and having a look. I will definitely be adding a few details and a coat of varnish before I call this one done.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneer Art Fest Paint Out

Old Moline - 12" x 12", Oil

I had a great time painting at the Pioneer Art Festival held at Wheeler Farm this past Saturday. I did both the Early Bird Paint Out and the regular Paint Out and I had a great time. The Early Bird  from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.was more of a warm up, but I like how it turned out. I'll post that tomorrow. For the main paint out, I scouted a motif earlier in the week and estimated the light for the hours I would be painting. I picked an antique Minneapolis Moline tractor as my subject. As the perennial piece of machinery on any farm, I thought a tractor would be fun to paint. I got set up and my painting was underway by 8:15. It was funny seeing other artists get a little upset that I had a prime spot, but there was no lack of subject matter on the farm. I got a good block in going by about 10:00 a.m. After that I was humming along getting to the good details and thick paint.

About halfway through the painting- 2 hours in

At 12" square, it was the largest painting I have attempted outdoors, but I enjoyed it and gained confidence as I went along. One lady ducked under my view as she walked in front of me and I had to laugh. I was painting pretty fast (for me) but not quite fast enough to paint in a spectator. I got great comments from other artists about how this painting turned out and was feeling pretty good about my chances at a prize. Alas, the cash prize eluded me, but I got a great swirly purple art glass paperweight as an honorable mention prize. My boys promptly dubbed it "Koraeghoth, Maelstrom of Destiny" (whatever that means). I thought it was pretty funny and they were excited that I won a prize even if no money was involved. Considering the competition, I got over my disappointment. There were a lot of artists who have been at this outdoor painting thing a lot longer than I have been. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Devil Fish In Progress

Devil Fish- 9" x 9" (detail)acrylic and metal leaf- in progress

Here is a little demo that I did for my Intro to Illustration class at BYU a couple of weeks back (about 2.5 hours working time). It's not done quite yet as deadlines got in the way the last little bit. Tomorrow, I will be painting an entirely new version of this critter for an instructional video I am having filmed. I have never done a video before and I am excited to give it a shot. It will be part of a new video art tutorial site that is being launched by my good friend and fellow artist Will Terry. I'll let you know how it goes and give all my readers first shot at purchasing it when it becomes available. Wish me luck!

Also in this series, see Angler Fish Goes Green, Dog-Fish and Cat-Fish

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Days of '47 Float Preview

An animated Wilford Woodruff catches a fish on this float. (my favorite of the show)

Ever wonder at the artistry it takes to construct those great parade floats you see every holiday? Well, here's a chance to check it out up close and personal. The floats that take part in the annual Days of '47 Parade are on display today and tomorrow at the South Towne Expo Center here in Salt Lake City. It's free and runs from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm both days. We took the boys and Grandma and had a great time checking out the amazing constructions. It was fun to see them up close and decipher all the different materials that went into these creations. Everything from giant animals carved out of foam to flower buds made of recycled drink bottles painted pastel colors. I spied construction foam, crafting foam in all it's forms,  neoprene who knows how much paint and tons and tons of glitter. My wife has started a spiffy new blog that has a more detailed post on all the fun stuff we saw there. Her blog is all about things to do and see with or without the kids. Check out the link below

Check the Days of '47 Parade Float preview on Artwife Needs a Life here

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pioneer Art Festival

The Carriers- J.Kirk Richards

This Saturday July 23rd, 2011, I will be participating in the first ever Pioneer Art Festival. Activities will include a Plein Air paint out, exhibition and sale, actors in period costume, artists booths, stage presentations and more. I will be painting on location with the dozens of artists scattered around Wheeler Farm. We will be painting our hearts out for a chance at some pretty nice prizes and purchase awards. Some of the other artists include  J Kirk RichardsJoseph Brickey Anne Marie Oborn, Linda Curley Christensen,  John Hughes and more. My book The Touch of the Master's Hand will be given a staged reading complete with violin solo at 1:00 pm at the main pavilion followed by a book signing. If you are in the area, please drop by to see what I am painting and enjoy the free festivities.

Wheeler Farm is located at 6351 South 900 East in Salt Lake City
More information at the Pioneer Art Festival site here

Monday, July 18, 2011

December Boys' Life Cover

Boys' Life Magazine cover- 9.5x' x 12" Digital

I just finished uploading this image to Boys' Life for the December 2011 cover. I already posted the other two illustrations for this project here and here. I had a soft deadline on this since it won't publish until December and my procrastination skills meshed with other deadlines to delay finish. I left this one until last partly because I knew I would want more time on it and partly as a delay tactic hoping that along the way I would magically get better at Photoshop. Well, I actually think that I did get better. In between the first two pieces and this one, i had a series of pieces with short deadlines that forced me to work quicker and more efficiently. As a result, when I returned to this piece, I felt like I had new skills and processes to draw upon and I think this is a stronger piece as a result.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dangerous Snake

Exaggeration is to paint a snake and add legs.
-Chinese Proverb

Just finished this piece for a magazine story where a Man and his boys are out gathering firewood but lose their keys. I am continuing with my pursuit of some semblance of Photoshop painting proficiency. I feel more successful with each finished project, so I think I am almost where I want to be.  I doubt anyone can master all the nuances of Photoshop but at least I am getting comfortable with the tools I need to paint a pretty good picture.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The man who never in his mind and thoughts 
travel'd to heaven is no artist.
-William Blake

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stay (Grateful)

Gratitude- 10" x 13" Acrylic

In today's world we are subjected to a constant barrage of negative messages from the media. They will tell you that you can never be rich, cool, pretty or fit enough. That unless you have this new thing or that, you are a loser. That money is easy if you have credit or at least something that you can double up a loan on. Couple that with the "if it bleeds it leads" mentality on all the newscasts and it's easy to lose sight of what's good in life. Today, thank someone for something nice they did for you. Do something nice for someone else. This afternoon,  someone held the bank door open for me after I arrived one minute past closing. The bank folks probably didn't appreciate the fact that I then held the door open for a lady who arrived two minutes after I did. Oh well. It felt good and I took it one step further by buying two twenty-five cent cups of lemonade from some kids on the side of the road. Go ahead and try it. I promise you will feel better and tomorrow will be happier and more productive.  I did this painting for a magazine article extolling the virtues of being grateful.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Frank Schoonover's Studio

The Schoonover Studio - 1616 North Rodney Street, 
Wilmington, Delaware

In the summer of 2009 I had the pleasure of visiting several iconic illustrator's studios including N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle. The last stop on the studio tour was Frank Schoonover's studio on Rodney street in Wilmington Delaware.

Frank Schoonover at the easel

The studio was established by students of Howard Pyle when space at Pyle's Franklin street location grew inadequate. Frank Schoonover and Stanley Arthurs joined forces to secure funding on a new studio building that included four working spaces.

Schoonover and Arthurs moved in on March 8, 1906. Fellow illustrators N.C. Wyeth, Henry Peck, Clifford Ashley and Harvey Dunn would soon follow. Schoonover eventually purchased the building and worked there for the remainder of his long career.

Grandson John Schoonover poses in front of some of Frank's artifacts

Now owned and curated by grandson John Schoonover, The building still functions as a working studio as well as a gallery and museum of Frank Schoonover's work and artifacts. John was gracious enough to give us a tour on almost no notice after we left the Howard Pyle Studio earlier that morning. I got an email earlier today announcing the launch of a new Schoonover studio website. Check it out and if you are ever in the Wilmington Delaware area, call John and make a visit to The Schoonover Studio.

More info at the new Schoonover Studios Website
A great Frank Schoonover book available here
Schoonover bio by Jim Vadeboncoeur here

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One More for the Road

After the Heber City Paint Out last Saturday, Ron Spears, Rob Adamson and I decided to take one more shot at a painting before heading home. After a bit of driving we located this vista and set up to paint. I had a small 8" x 8" panel in my box and went with it.

It was hot and the sunscreen was flowing freely along with the oil paint. I started over a couple of times before settling into the piece. I think I will add details like the sprinkler pipe later in studio.

The ellipses on the wheels were a bit intimidating standing at an easel with a bunch of wet paint on the panel. I think my colors got more exciting over the course of the day and I feel like I learn a lot every time I go out painting. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Heber City Plein Air Paint Out

Wired Up- 8" x 10" Oil

On Saturday, I shook off the cobwebs at 5:30 am to head out painting in Heber City, Utah. The annual Heber City Paint Out sponsored by the Midway Art Association was the destination. I took fellow painters Ron Spears and Rob Adamson along with me. If you have never done one of these competitions (this was my first but certainly not my last) they are a lot of fun. I found it a great way to give purpose and strategy to your outdoor painting experience while improving plein air skills and meeting other artists. We arrived in Midway Utah to pay the $10 per panel fee and get out boards stamped. This check in  process ensures that nobody brings in a painting not painted during the designated hours.

I discovered that I really needed to edit the view

We then had until 1:00 pm to bring the finished paintings back, framed and ready to hang for judging. We took off to look for a subject within the specified perimeter of Heber City. I found an old farm right on the outskirts that attracted me and I dropped Ron and Rob in their chosen spots. I painted on the first piece for about two and a half hours.

Rob stuck with his scene after the first painting and Ron and I both busted out a second piece. I think I was warmed up after the first one and the second one came together better for me, despite the heavy chain link fence I had to look through to capture the scene. I found that making choices quickly really focused my attention and made me pay more attention to every color mixture and stroke. At 12:30 we reunited in a mad dash to get to the check in and drop our pieces in frames.

North of Heber- 6" x 8", Oil

We were the last to arrive before the cut off. Artists arriving after us, were not allowed to hang their pieces for judging. It was a lot of fun and Rob ended up winning 2nd place for his piece (sorry I did not get a shot of it). All the pieces from the paint out are for sale through the end of the day today (July 4th) at the Midway Community Center on main street in Midway, Utah. If you are in the neighborhood, go check it out. Next time I might do a little bigger piece and spend the whole time on it, but regardless, I had a great time painting with good friends. If the pieces don't sell, I will bring them back into the studio and tickle them up a bit before a final varnish.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Advertisement for data recovery company, circa 1999

If you have ever had a hard drive crash or accidentally deleted something, you know what a pain it is to try to remedy the situation. I did this piece a while back for Power Quest, a software company that specialized in recovery of lost data. They no longer exist since being absorbed by Symantec.The concept was a frantic PC owner watching as his hard drive gets operated on. The technology probably looks a little dated now, but the concept was fun to paint. It ran in a bunch of computer magazines back in the day.