Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Norton’s Last Week / Poster Offer

This is the last week of the Dinotopia exhibition at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach Florida. This coming Sunday, September 5 is the last day.

U.S.A. customers can order a signed, official museum poster for $20.00 plus $3.50 for postage/handling. Payment should be by check payable to “The Dinotopia Store” PO Box 693, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. If you like, download an order form here.
Norton Museum: "The Fantastical Art of James Gurney" Through September 5

Al Williamson Archives

Flesk Publishing has just brought out a new book on the rough drawings and unfinished works of comic artist Al Williamson (1931-2010). The 64-page softcover volume gives a look at the development process of a recent master of adventure comics.

The sketchbook pages and tissue paper overlays are reproduced in color, bringing out every nuance of texture and tone. Subjects in this first volume of a series shows science fiction themes: dinosaurs, warriors, maidens, spacemen, monsters, and ornate cities and jungles.

Many of the samples are rough explorations an pose or an idea. Others are comic pages that are penciled and partially inked, which gives a good sense of the process Williamson used.
Al Williamson book at Flesk Publishing
Bud's Art Books
Al Williamson on Wikipedia

Monday, August 30, 2010

Caprine Culprit

Who took a bite out of my sketch of Billy yesterday?

It was Lucky, caught in the act!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Walter Foster Books

It’s easy to overlook the Walter Foster series of art instruction books. They showed up everywhere, and a lot of them were pretty hokey and formulaic.

But there were some gems among them. For example: "Animation" (#26) and “How to Animate Film Cartoons” (#190) by Disney veteran Preston Blair, who gave millions of budding animators the basics of walk cycles, squash and stretch, and overlapping action. As a kid I was spellbound by the series of drawings of the dancing alligator from Fantasia.

Other recommended titles:

“Frederick Waugh’s Paintings of the Sea” (#153) was recently mentioned by Armand Cabrera on his blog. It is a gallery of the great seascape painter.

“How to Paint from Your Color Slides” (#64) had a fine ship painting by Carl Evers, along with the sketches that led up to it.

“Perspective Drawing” by Ernest Norling (#29). The one I learned from as a kid. Very clear introduction to one-, two-, and three point perspective.

“Heads & Figures in Charcoal” by Charles LaSalle (#51). LaSalle was a magazine illustrator who studied under Harvey Dunn.

“Figures in Action” (#191) and “Heads/2” (#197) by Andrew Loomis. Many of the best plates from his hard-to-find books.

Walter Foster Books
Preston Blair on Wiki
Waugh at Armand Cabrera’s Art and Influence.
Carl Evers discussed in "Today's Inspiration."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chunky Handling

“Chunky” or planar handling was especially popular with the classic illustrators when portraying men.

Note the squarish planes around the cheekbone and the forehead in this detail by Tom Lovell. The treatment gives the feeling of a roughly carved wood sculpture.

Also, note the alternation of edges: HARD-SOFT-HARD-SOFT as you go around the outside of the head.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Greenscreen Compositing

Epic historical scenes in movies or TV specials are made up of lots of elements.

Things like buildings, ships, wagons, or crowds of extras can’t be photographed together so they must be must be shot separately against greenscreen or created digitally. Then they’re composited into a (hopefully) seamless whole.

This wordless video about the John Adams TV special shows the all the elements that make up each scene. The setups turn sideways so you can see the pieces dropping into place like pieces of a diorama.
More about Paul Graff and Christina Graff of Crazy Horse Effects

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Road to Exile

Like many of his compatriots, Russian landscape painter Isaac Levitan was interested in the aesthetic movements of western Europe, but he was never completely won over by the notion of ‘art for art’s sake.”

This painting, called “Vladimirka Road” has plenty of abstract beauty. We can appreciate the close values of the clouds in the sky, the rough texture of the road in the foreground, the thin tendrils of the trails, and the small accents of the man-made objects.

But to see this painting only in abstract terms is to miss its deeper resonance. The Vladimirka Road was the route by which exiles and convicts were marched to Siberia.

The title suggests the human suffering without showing it directly. The road is empty, except for a distant figure praying at a roadside shrine.

Levitan said he hoped “to discover in the simplest and most everyday things the intimate, deeply moving characteristics that invoke a mood of melancholy. The spectators should be touched to the very depth of their souls.”
More about the painting and Levitan's own exile.
Wikipedia on Levitan

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parrish and Pyle

Maxfield Parrish is sometimes said to have been a student of Howard Pyle, but recollections by Frank Schoonover, in a 1966 interview, seem to indicate otherwise. Below: Parrish's Knave of Hearts.

The association between the two artists wasn’t exactly master and pupil. The two masters met briefly at the Drexel Institute, where Pyle was teaching an illustration course.

One afternoon, said Schoonover, “Maxfield Parrish was in the class, and I thought Mr. Pyle was so generous. He looked down and he said speaking to us young neophytes on the high stools in the back row, he said, ‘We have a new member of this group or I might say a visitor to the class, Maxfield Parrish, the painter. You’re all acquainted with this work, especially with his achievement of color.’ His Parrish blue, you know, it was known as ‘Maxfield Parrish Blue.’ So he said ‘Mr. Parrish, I’m deeply honored by your being here but I want to say this to you and to the others. In some ways I think our positions should be reversed. You should be here talking and I should be there listening to you.’”

Parrish didn’t stay in the class. According to Schoonover, he only appeared once.

Pyle image above and further discussion at the Howard Pyle blog:
“Master Jacob Proto Parrish”, where Ian Schoenherr explores the question of how Pyle influenced Parrish.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


If you pour molten lead into cold water, the liquid shapes instantly freeze into forms with gently curving tendrils or veils trailing behind round blobs.
These shapes provide the springboard for a method of fortune telling called molybdomancy, a common New Year’s tradition in Nordic countries.

The shapes are often studied by candlelight, where they may appear as fish, birds, angels or demons. Such images spring to mind by means of a shape-conjuring process known as pareidolia.

If you want to try it, you can use lead from discarded wheel weights from a tire store. Because of the toxicity, do the melting over a well-ventilated camp stove outside, and be sure to use a frying pan that you will never use again for food. Also be sure to wash your hands after you handle the lead.

After melting a half a cup or so, pour a dash of it boldly into cold water in a bucket. In the sample above, I fused a half dozen separate pourings into a floret by welding them together at their bases with molten lead.
Previously: Pareidolia.
"Casting of the Tin" tradition in Finland. Thanks, Mervi!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Salvador Dalí on “What’s My Line.”

Salvador Dalí was the universal artist.

In his own mind at least, he was performer, sports figure, leading man, humorist, comic artist, published author, and, oh yes, painter. This made him a tricky candidate for the old TV game show “What’s My Line?” where contestants tried to guess a person’s profession.

Notice how he shrewdly sizes up the room at the outset, and then maintains a deadpan sprezzatura afterward.
Via Best of YouTube
Previously: Sprezzatura
Dali on Wikipedia

Sunday, August 22, 2010

North Bennington Plein Air Festival

The North Bennington Plein Air Competition will be held September 8-12 in North Bennington, Vermont. This first-annual event brings together an invited list of on-location painters in a lovely setting.

There will be a quick draw, a wagon ride for artists to scout motifs, an auction, cash prizes, and various social events. Art buyers will be able to acquire some fine works in various media. I’ll be there as a judge, but I’ll be painting as well.

I’ll also be giving two lectures:

Thursday, September 9 at 4:00. Imaginative Realism. Behind-the-scenes view of the creation of Dinotopia and other realistic fantasies. Location: Historic Park McCullough. Geared for both artists and family audiences (bring the kids!). Book signing to follow. 802-442-5441.

Thursday evening, September 9 at 8:00 Plein-Air Pioneers. History and modern practice of outdoor painting. Location: Deane Carriage Barn on the campus of Bennington College. Book signing to follow.

Note: Quick-draw artists should register ASAP. Go to website for details and registration form. 

North Bennington Plein Air Competition

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mystery Artist

Can you guess which well-known artist created this image?

ADDENDUM. The answer is James M. Whistler, who attended West Point and did this drawing that appeared in Century magazine. Winner is Dave Lebow--way to go, Dave!

The prize for the first correct answer is a signed “Color and Light” poster. It’s a useful studio tool which shows 10 ways of lighting the head, classic form theory, color wheels, and optical illusions.

Art instructors in the USA only can request a FREE Color and Light poster for your classroom by sending $3.00 for postage/handling OR by enclosing a stamped, self-addressed 9x12 envelope with $1.22 postage affixed.

The postage/handling fee can be cash or check payable to “The Dinotopia Store,” PO Box 693, Rhinebeck, NY 12572.

Also, a free copy of the poster will be enclosed in the next issue of ImagineFX magazine (American subscribers only).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gravestones as Chess Pieces

Painting is easy. Thinking is hard.

As we’ve seen in a couple of recent posts, the thought process always comes before the painting. Everything depends on your initial thought or feeling. You may decide to go for photographic accuracy, or you may want to caricature the form, as we saw yesterday.

One guiding thought is to rearrange the elements to convey an idea. I showed you this painting of an Irish graveyard a while ago, but now I want you to see what the actual view looks like.

I returned to the same churchyard on our recent trip to Ireland.

For the painting I was inspired to express something deeper emotionally (which I can’t put into words) and I had to move the gravestones around like chess pieces until they stirred up those feelings.
The painting will be in the upcoming book “Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter,” (November, 2010), which is now at the printer.

The graves belong to the Corry family of Kilnaboy, County Clare: Michael (d. 1965) and Delia (d. 1970), Regina (d. 1980) and Tom (d. 2005); Patrick (d 1915) and Ann (d. 1961) Corry and their niece Nanette O’Regan (d. 1950).

Menagerie Exhibit

Today the "Menagerie" exhibit of animal art opens to the public at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, California.

"This exhibit features artwork from an eclectic array of talented artists, both human and non-human, including paintings and drawings, as well as bronze, synthetic, and paper sculpture.

Among the artists represented in the exhibit are painter William Stout, the exhibit’s guest co-curator, whose accurate reconstructions of prehistoric creatures inspired the novel Jurassic Park; noted sculptor and painter Charles Marion Russell, whose esteemed body of work helped define the American West, Steven R. Kutcher, an “insect wrangler” for motion pictures who will exhibit his collection of insect footprint art, and Rosie, a Bornean Orangutan and long time resident of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Additional artists include Drew Struzan, Peter Brooke, Iain McCaig, Andreas Deja, Antoine Louis Barye, Paul Bransom, Charles Livingston Bull, Marc Davis, Henri Deluermoz, Edward Detmold, Pete Graziano, Doris Hardoon, Louis Paul Jonas, Leon Joosen, Paul Jouve, Charles R. Knight, Harry Rountree, John Sibbick, Tyrus Wong and Sirio Tofanari."

The exhibit continues until January 2, 2011.
Forest Lawn website.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rock Face

In the recent post on Scart Road, we compared notes about the challenge of producing a topographically accurate drawing on location.

But you may wish to start with a very different objective—changing what you see to match a mental impression. That’s what I did here with a sketch of a rock formation drawn while sitting high on a cliff at Mohonk Preserve in New York.

What struck me about the formation was that it looked like an old man’s craggy face. In this case, I wasn’t interested in a literal interpretation. I wanted to exaggerate the forms just a bit to make my idea come across. Note the changes:

1. Make face area larger, forehead area smaller.
2. Bring out chin.
3. Downplay peripheral areas of the scene and focus the strongest accents on eyes, nose and mouth.
4. Emphasize the the brow wrinkles and the creases on the bottom lip.

You could do the same idea with craggy roots or robot-like mechanical forms.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Portraitist’s Dilemma

A cartoon of John Singer Sargent from 1917.

"Here's Sargent doing the Duchess X
In pink velours and pea-green checks.
'It helps,' says he, 'to lift your Grace
A bit above the commonplace.'"

From "Confessions of a Caricaturist," by Oliver Herford. Available for download from Google Books.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Here’s a scene that I really wanted to paint in Bantry, Ireland last week. The green and red building stands at the juncture of two sloping roads in town.

But it was impossible to paint the scene on location for a simple reason: The only place to set my stool was a busy sidewalk that was only two feet wide.

Because the road was so narrow, and because it was the main thoroughfare for the coastal route out of Bantry, huge trucks were forced ride up onto the sidewalks to allow other vehicles to pass.

There was a real risk of being clipped by a rear-view mirror, and I didn’t want to force pedestrians to step into the street. So I had to give it up and look for another motif.

I call such an impediment a “gamestopper.” It’s something that shuts down a plein-air effort, and it has nothing to do with issues of technique or composition.

I’ll list some other examples, and I’m sure you’ll have more in the comments. Every one of these has happened to me:

1. Menaced by bull in the middle of a field.
2. Heavy downpour starts (fatal to watercolor) and wind blows rain under umbrella (eventually shuts down oil painting).
3. Forgot the chair, and no place to sit down.
4. High wind makes easel impossible to set up.
5. Subject (person, vehicle, animal) departs.
6. Drunk guy in bar keeps bumping hard into sketching arm.
7. Tide comes in, eliminating setup area.
8. Donkey puts head in lap.
9. Sketching from drawbridge; drawbridge lifts.
10. Goats keeps nibbling sketchbook.
11. Kicked out by guard/ harbormaster/ cop/ farmer/ railyard bull—and once ejected by a nun!
12. Easel blown over washed down waterfall.
13. Scheduled steam train (my ride home) must depart.
14. Folding chair collapses in museum.
15. Biting insects become too unbearable.
16. Unseen people on overlook above keep spitting on me.
17. Forgot key supplies (brushes, solvent, paints, or panel).
18. Fog comes in and covers view.
19. Shop opens or doorway becomes active.
20. Sub-freezing temperatures freeze watercolor.
21. Automatic sprinklers turned on in garden.
22. Car or truck parks in front, obstructing view.
23. Lights turned on, killing mood; or turned off, obscuring sketchbook.
24. Tour bus unloads gaggle of annoying tourists who hover around snapping pictures and asking inane questions.
25. Portrait subject approached, waving a finger, superstitious about being drawn.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Last Day in Ireland

Yesterday was our last full day in Ireland, and we drove all around west Clare.

I did this little sketch while having a cup of tea at an outdoor cafe in Ennis.

This is my fourth trip to Ireland. The first was 16 years ago. We revisited some of the same places we were acquainted with before, and they haven’t changed too much, other than a small “suburban-style” development on the fringes, a cell tower here and there, and a few new windfarms.

We had heard all about the boom and bust of the Irish economy since our last visit, but compared to New York state, the roads were in better shape, and there were fewer closed businesses. And the people are just as charming and warm as ever.

I’ll close with a line we read somewhere: “May the roof of your house never fall in, and those within it never fall out.”

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two-Handed Quick Draw

Here's a guy who draws simultaneously with two hands on a dry-erase board and then erases. It's in real time, judging from the birds and pedestrians. It makes my attempts at two-handed drawing seem pretty awful. Via Best of You Tube

Ridiculous Car Hoods

Over at Huffington Post, they've got a photo gallery of the most ridiculous car hoods of all time, and you can vote your favorite.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Maughansilly Basket Maker

We got lost on the one-lane farm roads trying to find the row of megalithic stones near Maughansilly, County Cork. A little sign that said “Visitors Welcome” beckoned us up a dirt driveway.

We stopped in the middle of a farmyard inhabited by chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and a teenager with a weed whacker. Bunches of willow withys were soaking in metal troughs. A man hailed us from inside the open doorway of a stone barn, where he sat inside making baskets.

I sketched a quick portrait as we talked. His name is Martin O’Flynn. He is one of only ten master basket makers in all of Ireland. The knowledge almost died out in the 1980s, when cheap plastic ware came in, but he was able to learn from a few of the older men.

If you’d like to meet Martin and Yvon and see their handmade baskets, just drive up the Coomhola River from Ballylickey and head over on the single lane road toward Carriganass Castle, or follow the road up the mountains from Kealkill. Don’t try to drive up the path from Dromduff unless you have high ground clearance.

Martin O'Flynn Baskets

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scart Road

Yesterday we set up our folding stools at the top of Scart Road looking down into Bantry, Ireland. Occasional sprinkles of rain and gusts of wind gave us some trouble: At one point the wind knocked over my water cup and dumped three ounces of water all over the half-finished watercolor.

The thing I found the most challenging was the perspective drawing. Here’s the scene as it looked to the camera. I knew all those buildings have different vanishing points from each other. And the road has its own set of vanishing points below eye level. And I expected I would be tricked by those building fronts, which were extremely foreshortened.

But even knowing all that, I still had to erase and redraw the pencil drawing three times until I was convinced I had it right.

Here’s how the line drawing looked after about three hours of measuring, erasing, and redrawing. I used a regular #2 pencil and I didn’t use straightedges. I tried to pin down some measurements using the central pole as a fixed unit of length.

Just to remind myself how much I need to improve, here’s the line drawing superimposed over the photo, after the fact. I made the yellow building on the right too big, and misplaced the windows and doors on the gray building on the far left. What would have cured a lot of these errors would be to measure across the scene, holding up a level pencil in front of me to judge relative heights—and I’ll do that next time.

Here’s the final painting, after two sittings on location, and about five hours work. I did make a few conscious changes, such as eliminating the wires, and raising the value of the illuminated roof on the red building in the middle distance.

And I regrettably left out of the drawing the wonderful people of Bantry, who passed by with a friendly hello while we were working—especially Brendy, who lives in the house at the far left.

“I like to say hi to me neighbors,” he said to us. “Me neighbors is mankind of every description.”

Irish Signs

Most shop fronts in Ireland still have hand-painted signs.

John Herrick’s sign shop in Galway is down an alley next door to an instrument maker. Like most sign painters, he is also an artist and he offers art lessons.

Ma Murphy’s pub in Bantry shows the architectural setting—a fairly typical Irish facade, framed with pilasters, scroll corbels, and a dentillated cornice.

Curving baselines, shadow lettering, and Nouveau flourishes give distinctive touches set this sign apart from cheap computer-generated plastic signs.

The illusion of dimensional lettering on a flat surface is often created with five premixed tones: light side, shadow side, dark accent, highlight, and cast shadow. Such work takes specialized brushes and brush skills, and it’s a dying art in many other countries.
Previously: Hand-Painted Signs (mostly North African).
There are several Flickr groups devoted to this subject:
“Hand-Painted Signs of the World.”
“Folk Typography”
“Signpaintr,” dedicated to the lost art of hand-lettering
“Hand-Painted Signs of Cambodia.”

Roadside Flowers

May I ask the Group Mind: Can you help me identify these common roadside wildflowers from County Cork, Ireland?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Megalithic Vista

In the southwest corner of Ireland, long rocky peninsulas reach like bony fingers into the Atlantic. Prehistoric people raised Megalithic tombs and stone circles in the rocky foothills.

The standing stone of Leitrim Beg perches atop a hill overlooking Bantry Bay. Yesterday, Jeanette and I scrambled over a stile and waded through holly, heather, and gorse until we found the monument. We set up our tripod stools and pulled out the watercolor gear.

The Slieve Miskish Mountains brooded with their heads in the clouds. Alternating patches of sun and shadow swept across the small farms, each of which was ringed with trees and hedgerows.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Godson’s Folly

Chapel Street leads up to the hilly neighborhoods above Bantry in County Cork. The road is hemmed in by 12-foot walls of rock, topped with ivy.

The road was created by a fellow named Godson, who wanted to provide a convenient route for customers to get to his hotel in the town below.

At great expense, Mr. Godson hired a team to dig with hand tools through the solid rock. The expense proved too great for Godson, who went bankrupt. Ever since, Chapel Street has been known as “Godson’s Folly.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visual Perception in IFX

The new issue of ImagineFX magazine (issue 60) has a special article that I wrote for artists on the subject of visual perception. It previews material adapted from my upcoming book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (November, Andrews McMeel).

The article includes both cutting-edge science and practical applications:
•Why moonlight looks blue.
•Our brains automatic “white balance” setting, and how to overcome it.
•How to use colour afterimages to make your paintings better.
•How colours are tied to emotions.
•Using eyetracking data to help you design better compositions.

ImagineFX is the premier magazine for the field of science fiction and fantasy art. It usually contains a DVD with additional images and videos.

ImagineFX website
"Color and Light" book on Amazon

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Galway’s Back Streets

Galway is a sketcher’s paradise, and it gets even more interesting when you stray a few blocks away from the central tourist track.

At the corner of Eyre and Woodquay, the shops don’t cater as much to the visiting trade, and appearances aren’t kept up too carefully.

In places like this, the city displays the history of human ingenuity, as its exterior skin is retrofitted for new ways of living. You can trace how the old houses adjusted from coal to electricity, and how they strapped plumbing pipes on the outside.

The utility poles are made not from wood but from steel pipes of graduated thickness. They support automobile traffic signs, electric lights, Internet and television cables, and security cameras.

One lady, perhaps expecting a more postcard view, stopped and said, “It’s a lovely drawing, but I wouldn't think of making a picture of it.”

But for the next couple hours, three or four guys saw my wife and me painting, looked at the view, decided it was “artistic,” and took out their cameras to snap a photo.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Irish Sketching Expedition

We began a watercolor sketching expedition yesterday in Galway city, Ireland yesterday where our son Dan has been living for the last year.

Dan has a regular session gig at the Tig Cóilí pub on Mainguard Street in Galway. Yesterday he played a few tunes with the great bodhrán player Johnny Ringo McDonagh, fiddler Mick Conneelly and 18-year-old all-Ireland fiddler Dylan Foley.

De Dannan co-founder Dolores Keane sat by Dan’s side and thrilled us all with her rendition of “Galway Bay,” with Dan accompanying on his Paolo Soprani accordion.

They all headed off for more gigs, so we walked through the mist to see the old boats resting on the mossy rocks of the harbor at low tide. Black crows and white swans convened around us, hungrily eyeing our McVitie's Digestives.

Friday, August 6, 2010

J. P. Wilson's Plein Air Oils

Michael Anderson of Yale's Peabody Museum is publishing a book online about the work of James Perry Wilson, who I believe to be one of the most resourceful landscape colorists of the 20th century.

Mr. Anderson writes:
"James Perry Wilson loved to paint. He loved to paint dioramas, architectural subjects, and more than anything else, he loved painting outdoors en plein air.

"In sharp contrast to his diorama painting or architectural work however, Wilson painted other works in a single day on transportable 8"X10" mahogany panels or 12"X16" canvasboards.

"These small works, done apparently for the sheer love and challenge of painting, reflect the same skill and intelligence seen in his diorama work with the addition of a working spontaneity. They guide us directly to the heart of James Perry Wilson and where his passion lay.

"There is a palpable quality of joy in Wilson’s paintings. He expresses his awe of nature through paint. This is a meticulously observed landscape that emanates his love of color in nature and his depiction of light and atmosphere."

For the full chapter, follow this link to JPW's Plein-Air Painting. I highly recommend this link, and be sure to scroll down a little past halfway to read JPW's notes on atmospheric colors. This is like a whole textbook on plein air practice by a painter who thought more probingly about light and color than almost anyone.
Previous GJ posts about J.P. Wilson, Part 1 and Part 2

Elgood’s Secrets

George Elgood was one of the great Victorian watercolorists specializing in flower gardens.

His paintings show botanically accurate flowers in natural groupings, often with architectural or landscape elements. Flower gardens are a brain-busting challenge to paint in watercolor because you have to paint precisely around all the light shapes.

Let’s go back in a time machine 100 years to see how he does it.

Mr. Elgood draws the whole subject carefully in pencil, especially if there are architectural elements. But he prefers not to tie himself to a hard and fast outline, instead drawing as much with the brush as much as with the pencil.

According to A. L. Baldry, who watched him work, he often “lays the whole thing in at once, sometimes in colours which are not by any means those he sees in nature,” thinking ahead to the colors he wants to add later when finishing.

He then builds the rendering from a strong dark and light focus. He works fairly rapidly, often focusing on a group of flowers that is in peak bloom.

He then moves on to other groups on subsequent days of a multiple-day plein-air study. All of his works are done primarily on the spot, though he doesn’t copy what he sees, but rather uses nature as a reference for a composition that he assembles from the best elements.

He uses no opaque white and limited scratching out. His preference is for lifting lights out of wet washes and in general working simply and directly. He works on smooth, stretched Whatman paper with a relatively small palette of colors.
A. L. Baldry “The Practice of Water-Colour Painting,” London, 1911

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sinnott Visit

I paid a visit to Joe Sinnott and his son Mark yesterday.

Joe told stories of living for a dollar a day in New York City when he was a student at the “School for Cartoonists and Illustrators” (later redubbed “School of Visual Arts”). Tarzan artist Burne Hogarth was one of his teachers. Later Joe inked most of Jack Kirby’s “Fantastic Four” for Marvel during the classic years.

I gave Joe a printed-out version of the recent blog post on restoring school funding, so he could read every one of the wonderful comments you all made. Joe hadn’t seen the post because he doesn’t do computers: “Wouldn’t know how to plug the thing in,” he said.

He still inks Spiderman Sunday comics at age 83, though he says you can’t get as good a sable brush these days. And he had to switch to a pen because they print the comics so small now.

Previous post on Joe in "Restoring Art Programs."
Joe Sinnott.com