Week One, Day Three: Big shapes, big colors

Chris Payne (left), Gary Kelley (right) demonstrated today. Chris showed us his amazing, multimedia build approach from a lovely sketch in prismacolor through the steps of Prisma on board; flesh colored acrylics (mixed with gesso vs white paint) in the head shape to create a form; then a dark tuscan red laid watercolor wash on top of that color. Clean brush picks out highlights with water --pulling them out of the watercolor. Then fix the entire thing. A mix of purple and green oil paint is applied to the background where clouds were pulled out of the color with a needed eraser. More prisma on the face, More
paint...and so on.We are going to be given a video as I didnt take notes. Chris draws with his paint...really a more draftsman's approach versus paint into paint. But the quick results are spectacular. He talks about templates (your tissue sketch and even templates he creates as guides in pulling the highlights). Lots of learning in the patter around his presentation. He also showed his slides and talked about his work which was interesting and important to see his growth and how he is evolving. I like where its going.

Gary Kelley also did a slide presentation of his work which I had seen before, but with this work--it is amazing and really pushes me to think. His presentation was really illuminating. Yes, I saw him in Syracuse--and maybe I was too balled up in my own insecurities to really see what was going on...but yesterday! WOW. Gary is contantly designing his composition, thinking about art, art history, palettes, form. He is inspired and motivated by shapes and colors--With that knowledge a switch flipped in this dim skulll that I do that too...and that maybe this abstraction thing might be a wonderful pursuit. With his demo, (a pastel (hard, neupastels on a natural colored stonehenge paper), he worked with a very simple design with his tissue sketches as reference. Then, without planning he dives in for the illustration party--and he builds up layer upon layer of pastel (not ground into the surface of the paper, but lightly applied, using his hand to smooth and blend. Gary looks at the edges and plans places where the "history" of the image can happen--that place where you can see how the color was built up..etc. He is working layer upon layer using a workable fix delicately and rarely. The image emerged from the paper with Gary designing and thinking about adjacenies, tangents, darks and lights...etc. This is the stuff a computer does not do...and the spiritual moment with the computer can happen (at least for me) but its hard to get in that cerebral zone where art/design and all the elements just happen.The final palette and coloration became unveils itself to Gary as it goes.... I love that mystical moment with your medium. This is the sweetspot of the job when its you, the paper, and breathing.

Gary showed some spectacular work he did for gratis for local theater companies (one that got a Gold Medal at SOI). He stressed the import for young illustrators in the field to do this sort of work for exposure. He was very direct about no art direction etc. (my intent with the Hangar) as its a gift etc. Nice to have a bit of confirmation in this process.

Both Gary and CF Payne use other art as reference and guidance. Chris says to copy other artists work from the esteemed cartoonist, Jack Davis (a great way to learn exaggeration) to his nose exploration when he copied everyone's noses from Holbein to Bob Peak--until he got it. Good lesson. Note...study this way. Gary uses the inspiration and lessons of palette, composition, styles and styling (not his words) from the inspirations sources of the day. He finds that that group of artists are always evolving and through time and work, his tastes have changed.

I am sorry this is short...but its all good here. The new class is getting slammed (all part of the first year bootcamp)--but all pretty cheery about it. No tears yet. And I get to work on Curly Joe  today. Worth the presentations and the goading to get with it from Chris and Gary.