Friday, July 24, 2015

The Artistic Revival of Austin Brigs, Part 2

Yesterday we read how Austin Briggs took time away from his busy illustration career to spend four months in the Gaspé Peninsula painting from nature. In this Part 2, he'll tell us how this sabbatical paid dividends when he returned.

"My landscapes became more alive and convincing and I knew that I was no longer dependent on other artists for a point of view. In a way, that landscape painting trip to Canada was my declaration of independence."

"While on the Peninsula I used my camera a great deal to record information which I believed I could use later. I was right as you can see here. I painted this sample illustration upon my return from Canada with a feeling of confidence. In painting this picture, I relied entirely on my personal reactions to a subject and on my stored up experience in actually observing and painting from nature."

"My studying began to pay off handsomely because many assignments I received required some landscape in the background. In doing this job for the Woman's Home Companion, I felt that I could see the actual sunlight and shadow on the men as they advanced through the jungle."

"The sky pattern in this Cosmopolitan illustration is one remembered from my Gaspé trip."

"Here is another example of the useful information you can store away in a photograph and eventually use. The shadow pattern in the photograph served as a springboard for the structure of this illustration for The Post. Notice the manner in which the figures follow this pattern. As a result, the picture appears to be 'of a piece.'"

"Here is one illustration from a serial done for The Post. The locale was Charleston, South Carolina and for a long time I struggled to illustrate the story with the help of photographs and studio props The job just wouldn't come off, so I went to Charleston and in a short time had plenty of information as well as a personal knowledge of the countryside."

"This picture was planned with the landscape of a nearby hill in mind. After I had worked out my arrangement, I moved my easel and the model to the hill and painted directly from nature. The sky is as it appeared on the day I painted it and adds much to the mood of the picture. I heartily recommend painting on location whenever circumstances permit it — particularly if the picture is predominantly a landscape. Keep in mind, however, the necessity of integrating the figures into the landscape, rather than slavishly copying the landscape as it appears.
We'll do the Harold Speed Book Club tomorrow.
The Artistic Revival of Austin Briggs, Part 1
Quoted from Famous Artists Course (1954 Edition) Lesson 16.
Austin Briggs Flickr set by Leif Peng


Anonymous said...

I like his final comment about integration - spot on!

Dave Lebow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Lebow said...

Such an interesting article. I was wondering if these paintings are actually in color and the reproductions are just reproduced in monochrome ? this really makes me realize how important it is to get out there and paint scenes from life as much as possible, thanks again for these insightful and inspirational articles.

James Gurney said...

Hi, Dave, I wish these were in color, but they were in B&W in the original course binders. I looked for them on the web but haven't found them so far. If I can find some, I'll replace the images with color ones.

Matt Dicke said...

THere are a few color images from brigg's landscapes after he retired floating around the web, but those were the only ones i have seen. Great set of posts. hope you continue to talk about Briggs.

Matt Dicke said...

here is a sketch of the man smoking in one of the last few images

and the tree landscape in color

and the field in color

Anonymous said...

Great to see those color images!