Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lovell's Frozen Companion


A friend sent me this unusual painting by Tom Lovell (1909-1997). Apparently Lovell came across the strange true story about two gold miners in Greenland. One of them couldn't take the weather and died. His companion buried him under the woodpile because the ground was frozen. After a while the survivor went a bit crazy with loneliness. Every once in a while he brought the frozen corpse into his little cabin as a dinner companion. He wasn't much for conversation, but he brought back memories of the good old days.

6 comments:

Steve said...

Wow. Real eye opener here at breakfast. Ghoulish content aside, it's a masterful composition. Particularly struck by the rhythm of the hands and paw, the corpse hand echoed by the husky's paw. The situation brings to mind the Blaise Pascal quotation: All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

gyrusdentus said...

James, in the one shadow under the corpse´s right hand there seems to be a bit of a warm underpainting glowing through.
Do you think that he mixes the shadow colors indepedently and then "tiles" the different shadow masses in or would you guys assume that glazes are used here?

There must be the temptation to bring the value and intensity down in those whites with some quick glazes?

The compositional element with the paw truly is amazing.

James Gurney said...

Gyrus, normally Lovell used mainly opaques, but he may have glazed a bit. He did this painting as a comprehensive sketch to show the art director of Argosy. The art director loved it and asked him to tighten it up a bit. He used his friend Bob Lougheed as the model for the bearded survivor.

Steve, I love the way you always bring a wise perspective. I'll be thinking about that Pascal quote all day.

Doug B said...

Steve wrote:
>All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

Reminds me of another quote: "Alone but never lonely"

Doug

Charles Johnson said...

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows...

MoStarkey said...

The prospector is in the most important part of the magazine illustration. It's where the eye reads the image first. The stove pipe holds us there with the prospector and yet we need to see what or who the prospector is talking to. Once you move beyond the stove pipe to the left hand side, it takes a beat, even two to really see the dead companion. Visually, it builds suspense. I love this time period in magazine illustration. Artists became so good at story telling themselves. So compelling, the images would over shadow the written story.