Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Conquer Your Acrylic Demons- Now Available!

You may have noticed a link button to the right of my blog for my new instructional art video Conquer Your Acrylic Demons which is now available at Folio Academy.com. Though it has been up online for a week or two, this post marks the official launch. The video contains three hours filled with me creating an entire painting in acrylic and explaining every step along the way.  I am really excited to share it with you and hope you will all take the time to check out the sample clips here. Folio Academy was recently launched by my fellow artist friends Will Terry and Wayne Andreason and it is geared to fill the gap between traditional art instruction and the dubious quality of most free art videos you may find online on sites like YouTube. All Folio Academy videos offer instruction from professional artists and illustrators who make their living creating art full time. I am proud to join this group of inspiring and accomplished artists. The online site is set up a bit like itunes in that once you purchase a video, it is yours to access and watch whenever you want, as often as you want. You can also "gift' videos to that budding artist in your life. There are instructional courses for all ages and ability levels. Please take a minute to check out Folio Academy's courses. I think you will be impressed with and interested in what you see.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Landscape Workshop Last Hurrah

Heber Valley Vista- 6" x 8" Oil by Greg Newbold

As I mentioned in my previous landscape workshop post, I left the workshop just a bit early to try to find one last location that interested me. I could have stayed and had another go at Deer Creek and the surrounding vistas, but I was itching for something with more trees. I drove home through Midway, Utah and stopped at this spot overlooking the Heber Valley.

I had just over an hour to bang out this little 6" x 8" study. Of all the pieces I painted at the workshop, this one may be my favorite. It seemed to come together quickly (I didn't exactly have a choice since I had a commitment at home that I need to attend), but Things seemed to fall in place and the paint was flowing. I think it has the feel of a larger painting, so I think this one may make it's way onto a bigger panel someday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jekyll Or Hyde?

Jekyll and Hyde- 11" x 14", mixed media by Greg Newbold

I did a series of theater posters a while back for Pioneer Theater Company and one of the shows was a production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I wanted to give a sense of mystery without resorting to the tired "half in half" sort of depiction of this character. I decided that instead of having Jekyll in his "Hyde" disguise, or vice versa, I would simply add a sort of  mad glow to his right eye. I got a lot of mileage out of this one including getting it accepted into the Society of Illustrators Annual.

Also see Cyrano De Bergerac from this same series here
Check out my new painting video here

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Painting with Bill Perkins Redux

High Water- Oil, 8" x  10" by Greg Newbold

I unfortunately had to miss the second day of Bill Perkins plein air workshop but had a good time on day three. We traveled about 20 minutes up Provo Canyon to Deer Creek State Park and found places to paint along the edge of the water. I wanted to try something different and chose a composition where the water came right to the bottom of my picture. I was literally right on the water's edge. Whenever a boat went by the lapping waves would splash on me a little bit.

My view at the edge of the water

This one turned out better than I originally feared but not as well as I had hoped going in. I guess that's the nature of outdoor painting. Sometimes all the elements converge and you get something great and other times things sort of fall apart before your eyes. One thing I am learning (the hard way at times) is to not "chase the light". That means not constantly changing shapes and shadow patterns as the light shifts. I spent so long on this one, that the light on the trees shifted from near shadow to side light, but I tried to refrain from adjusting things. The texture of the trees was also a challenge I don't think I lived up to. I just need to get faster at putting down my impressions I guess. Anyway, After this one, I had one more shot before I had to call it a day. I'll post that one next time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Painting with Bill Perkins

Three Bales- 8" x 8", Oil by Greg Newbold

Later in the afternoon, following a delicious lunch at Station 22 in downtown Provo, we got back to painting. I have long been attracted to farm scenes and couldn't resits trying my hand at the large hay bales we found dotting a nearby field.

We found these bales just to the east of where I painted in the morning session

I decided on a small 8" x 8" panel for this painting. It was a challenge to capture the solidity of the bales and also inject interesting color into the shadows.

In progress, in the shade. The color shift in direct light is always interesting.

I like the overall design but I am not sure if I quite captured the color I wanted. I only had about an hour and a half to paint this one, so I was concentrated on big shapes and trying to get color notes down. I will have to reevaluate it in studio and see if I can "pull it out of the weeds" so to speak. I definitely see things I will want to adjust. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Painting with Bill Perkins

Toward Provo Canyon- 8" x 10", Oil

Last week I took a couple of days to attend an outdoor painting workshop with Bill Perkins. It was a good chance for me to continue developing my outdoor painting skills. The more I paint outside, the more I realize the only way to learn to paint outside, is (stunning revelation) to paint outside. I feel like I get more comfortable and confident with every painting. I feel the paintings are consequently getting better as well.

The actual scene in west Provo looking northeast toward Provo Canyon

This is my first effort of the workshop and I like certain things (the composition, overall color and values) and other things I'd like to have captured better (the texture of the trees and the mountains). I thought the two main trees were too similar in size, so I adjusted the shape and size. Looking back, I think I pushed the color a little too much in certain areas and I'll probably tickle it a little in studio before I let it go.

In progress on the easel

I tend to want to have something that I can call finished. Bill kept stressing that for him, these outdoor studies are just a way to "capture a moment in time". He concentrates on getting maybe a dozen spots of color and value down in an accurate way and then using the study to create authentic interpretations of the scene in studio. I admire that approach but still bring myself to not want a more finished painting from the experience.

Bill Perkins Color Boot camp
Bill Perkins site

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Painting Video Sneak Peek!

I just got  the news that my new painting video "Conquer Your Acrylic Demons is nearing launch. Here's a sneak peek of the YouTube trailer. The piece featured in the video can be seen in this previous post. I'll clue everyone in on where to buy it as soon as it launches.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Influenced by the Best

"Thunderbird" -Sunset magazine "cover"
Oil on canvas, 18" x 24" by Greg Newbold

Whether we want to admit it or not. All artists are influenced by what they see. Whether it's our surroundings, the things we like, photography or the work of other artists, we seek out and internalize the visual material that resonates emotionally within us. During my MFA journey at the University of Hartford, we were given the assignment to create a magazine cover in the style of a Golden Age Illustrator. I of course immediately wanted to pay tribute to one of my favorites, N.C. Wyeth.

The 1914 Dixon cover that inspired me

While researching possible magazines in which to insert my painting, I thought o the several magazine covers created by another of my favorite painters, Maynard Dixon. I figured why not pay homage to both artists at once. I found a grainy photo of Maynard Dixon that gave me enough information to start from and with the addition of a palette and brush, I created a heroic view of Dixon painting in a landscape much like the ones he loved to paint.

Giant in the Clouds- by N.C. Wyeth

I tried to create the scene with the design, color and brushwork  sensibilities of Wyeth, especially the clouds and the way that the figure drops off into mostly shadow. In the end, I think it also shows  quite a bit of the influence both artists have had on my own work.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Painting Devil's Kitchen

In Devil's Kitchen- 8" x 8" Oil on board by Greg Newbold

Over the weekend, I went camping with family which is always fun. I managed to coerce my wife and kids to let me go paint a unique geologic feature located along the Mount Nebo Scenic Loop where we were camped. Devil's Kitchen has been described as a "mini Bryce Canyon" and when I saw it, I agreed that this description is pretty accurate. The hoodoos in this rather small rock formation (only about 700 feet across) resemble what you would find in the Bryce Canyon and Goblin Valley areas of Southern Utah and yet this tiny gem is only about an hour and a half south of Salt Lake City. I tend to want to paint all day long when I get the chance, so I agreed to limit my painting time to just an hour and forty minutes.

I knew I was under the gun time wise if I wanted to finish my painting, so I picked a small 8" x 8" panel and dug in. The first thing I realized was that I would have to zoom into a small area in order to make it look like anything. I spent the first few minutes establishing my composition using a dark rusty purple color thinned with Gamsol. I then laid in the sky and the receding mountain ranges at the top of the picture. As I began to paint the salmon colored hoodoos, I realized that there was not much color or value separation between the rock columns and the surrounding canyon walls.

I made some critical decisions in color and value in order to create separation including making the foreground rock columns darker and shifting the color of at the top of the hoodoos toward a cooler gray (they had a much slighter neutral shift in reality). Overall, I was pretty happy with the effort and it was a lot of fun. I also kept the peace with the rest of our campers by not making everyone hang out forever while I painted. I think I got plenty of information for a larger studio painting should I choose to make one and that is also an important consideration when doing outdoor studies.

More pictures and a write up of Devil's Kitchen at Art Wife Needs a Life

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crimson Harvest in Orange County Register

Crimson Harvest- by Greg Newbold

My painting "Crimson Harvest" was featured prominently in an Orange County Register article about The American Nostalgia show. This show, subtitled "Contemporary Artists and Illustrators Reinterpret the Traditional Themes of Norman Rockwell: is on display at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton California. I was pleased to see that of the 50 or so works, mine was chosen to be representative of the show, but was a bit miffed at the reviewer's reaction to the exhibit which came across as overly critical and seemed to miss the point. Reviewer Richard Chang's  main criticism seemed to be that only one artist questioned the validity of Rockwell's point of view and that the rest of the show "appears to praise [Rockwell] to the heavens". Well, in my eyes, the whole point of the show was to pay tribute to the artist whose idealistic point of view is so ingrained in our culture that you cannot escape it. I think he missed the boat on that review. If the show was intended to be "anti" Rockwell, none of the artists chosen would have been invited and the the title of the exhibit would have been something other than "American Nostalgia". If you happen to be in the Southern California area between now and the end of the show's run on September 25th, drop in and have a look. If you get a chance to see it, let me know what you thought since I probably won't get a chance to make it down there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Visiting Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty

A ghostly Spiral Jetty is visible just below the surface.

I recently got the chance to visit one of the most famous earthwork sculptures in the world, Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Built in 1970 on the northern edge of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the 1500 foot spiral of black basalt rock had been underwater for most of it's existence until five consecutive years of drought uncovered it in 2004. I was excited to see it when we made plans  to visit earlier this summer. Last winter was the wettest in thirty years and I feared it may again be underwater.

The Spiral Jetty as it appeared during the dry years

This proved to be the case as it is once again about two feet under the briny lake surface. Nevertheless, it is still visible, especially if you hike up to the top of the overlooking hill. For me, seeing an iconic piece of art for the first time in person is always an interesting experience. Sometimes a painting is smaller or bigger than the pictures, sometimes the emotion of seeing a work in the flesh is surprising. With the Spiral Jetty, I admit I was initially a little disappointed- mostly because it was under water. But the more time I spent there and after climbing the rise above, I began to appreciate more Smithson's vision.

some sort of red algae was blooming the day we visited

It was truly a unique feeling to gaze out across the water and see the shadowy spiral just under the surface. It was a one of a kind experience. Now that I have seen it, I will be waiting for the lake to drop back down so I can get the "out of water" experience as well.

The Spiral Jetty is very remote and nobody finds it by accident. It requires a very deliberate trip to arrive there. It took us about an hour driving from Brigham City to arrive at the Golden Spike National Historic Site and from there it is another bumpy 16 mile drive drive along gravel roads to arrive at the Jetty. The day we went the roads were dry and very passable for passenger cars, though in wet weather a four wheel drive may be warranted.

More photos, a trip review and driving directions to the Spiral Jetty on Art Wife Needs a Life

If you go, be sure to see the Golden Spike site as well. See a nice review on Art Wife Needs A Life. It is well worth the time

Additional driving instructions  to the Spiral Jetty can be found here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

41 Illustrators and How They Worked

The highly anticipated release of Masters of American Illustration- 41 Illustrators and How They Worked has finally come. I have been waiting for a volume like this since I stumbled upon a similar book from the 1940's titled 40 Illustrators and How They Worked which I profiled in an earlier post.

This volume by Illustration historian Fred Taraba and published by The Illustrated Press compiles twelve years worth of his popular Golden Age Illustrator profiles titled "Methods of the Masters"  from Step By Step Magazine. This book is massive at 432 pages and the 9" x 12" page format allows plenty of room to enjoy the copious full color reproductions.

The text is informative and insightful without getting overly wordy. Taraba allows the pictures to speak for themselves and speak they do. Many of the profiles show preliminary sketches as well as the reference photos used in the process of each artist.

Plenty has already been written about luminaries such as N.C. Wyeth, Norman, Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle and the like, so they are not covered here, but those familiar with early  and mid 20th century illustration will find plenty of artists they recognize such as Franklin Booth, Austin Briggs, Pruett Carter, Jon Whitcomb and Coby Whitmore. There are also features on other artists that though largely forgotten, are no less worthy of coverage. I look forward to enjoying my copy for years to come and highly recommend it to any artist or fan of American Illustration.

Buy your copy of 41 Illustrators and How They Worked

Friday, August 5, 2011

Final Call for Bill Perkins Workshops

Plein Air studies by Bill Perkins

This is your last chance to sign up for Bill Perkin's upcoming workshops. The "Color Boot Camp" workshop in the studio will be August 15th through 17th.  The Plein Air Painting workshop will be the 18th through 20th. (See some of Bill's plein air work here) The cost is $300 per  workshop but if you want to do both the combined discount is $450. This price is comparable to or even less than many other similar workshops out there and I think it will be well worth your time and effort to attend. I am looking forward to attending the Plein Air Painting workshop this time around.

To sign up, contact Dave McClellan here

Those of you who follow the blog might recall the "Color Boot Camp" workshop I attended in March with former Disney artist Bill Perkins. We did 16-18 color studies from live models in the three days of this workshop in March and I found it to be a highly informative and valuable experience. I think I learned or solidified  more knowledge of color in those three days than in any other such workshop I have ever attended.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Help- My Video Needs a Title!

Devil Fish (detail)- acrylic on board.

I just got word today that my painting in acrylic tutorial video is nearing the end of the editing process. I will be doing some audio overdubbing and then finishing touches will go on and it will be ready to sell. We are projecting a launch sometime in the next 2-3 weeks. Only one thing is missing. I need to come up with a catchy title that acts both as a teaser to lure in interest and as a descriptor that gives enough info to let viewers know what this video is all about. I'd love your brilliant suggestions for a video title. The video is an acrylic painting demonstration of the above image. It needs to be catchy and make clear that it deals with painting traditionally in acrylic. My first thought was something having to do with the little Devil-Fish I painted (Devil in the Details?) Still percolating- help me out! If I choose your title, I'll figure out something cool to send you as a reward.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Got My Own Gnome!

My Gnome Steve (aka El Mysterio) by Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale, artist and blogger extraordinaire has bequeathed me with my very own gnome in his ongoing "Gname That Gnome" feature. I obnoxiously kept suggesting that all the possible gnomes be named "Steve" or some variation of Steve, hoping that my moniker would eventually be chosen. Well, it took until the final round of the game, but Steve won out! Check out Steve and all the other awesome gnomes at Space Station Nathan.Don't forget to read the description which are hilarious also. Thanks Nate!