So, a little bit of how I work. I really enjoy my cowboy paintings. I was lucky enough to attend a contact period in Fort Worth Texas for my MFA degree with Hartford Art. It truly was my place to be and when I came back home, I was loaded with a ton of reference photos and a whole lot of inspiration. During my Texas trip, my class went to the Stockyards (it was TOTALLY awesome!) and we went to the rodeo. I will post some of my reference photos at a later date. But in the meantime, I'd like to talk about this painting. The basis of this painting was actually started about 5 years ago. A fellow photographer and friend, Gail Klett gave me permission to use her photograph and five years ago, I drew it in graphite.
The first picture above is Gail's original photo (she is really a fabulous photographer!) and the second image is the beginning process of disssecting what I want to take out and use from the original photo. I actually do not use much royalty free photos anymore and have branched off to acquiring my own photographs. The later is much more satisfying. However, I did promise myself many years ago, that I would develop this one in color. The next set of photographs show my painting process. I love the subject content of the above photo but I wanted to put this cowboy out in the open and in his element so there was no background noise to compete with leaving the cowboy and cow as the main focal point.
I will go further into my painting process next time around, but as you can see in the first picture above, you can see the cowboy, cow, and ground drawn in. I wanted a nice warm tone to come thru in my painting so I tinted my canvas with burnt sienna. From there, I was about to start laying in the tones of the cow and roughed in the colors of the horse, followed by the basic colors for the cowboy and tack. I loved painting this piece. I started marketing it to a few editorial publishers and created a rough mockup with type to see how this illustration would look with font.
This was an assignment for grad school. The assignment was to create a finished artwork using a particular illustrator of a given time frame and pair it up with a notable magazine of the same time period. My chosen subject was Clint Eastwood for Entertainment Weekly. Of course, I was going for a cowboy type theme...and he had that right look.:) The first photo below is my lovely husband modeling his hand for me under a light source so that there was some cast shadows that I could pull from for the illustration. PLEASE NOTE THAT IS NOT A REAL GUN. Then I had to tweak my reference to pull some structural aspects to the piece....aka...the bones. The second image I tinted the board with yellow orche and drew out my illustration as my starting point. Then laid in the background. At this particular time, my arm was giving me a lot of grief so I was working in broader strokes. My particular process is starting from the background and working my way forward. These pictures show the type in white and painted in. However, at the last moment, I covered up the type so I had a solid complete illustration and entered the Entertainment font digitally. Last pic shows the final piece.
These past few days, i have been focusing on networking. Since enrolling at Hartford Art for my MFA last year. I have been surrounded by AMAZING, HIGHLY respected professional Illustrators and I am ever so grateful. The first year, I was under the wings of Murray Tinkelman who was instrumental to the illustration family. He and his beloved wife Carol, are deeply missed around my community and he definitely left a legacy behind. Our new director is the well accomplished CF Payne. I am super stoked to get to know him better and his technique. Amazing work.
Over the past few semesters, I have listened to how these illustrators spoke and all mentioned their influences so...let me see if I can do this some justice. I grew up in the late 70's, early 80's and never really cared much about reading. I know, I know...... a sin. See, for circumstances of...a very challenging childhood, I submersed myself around my 4 legged creatures. My horses, to me, were "my" people and still to this very day. Words didn't mean much to me... but the illustrations in the books...... that was everything. Elementary school library classes were often me seeking out the section of horse books. It didn't matter what grade I was in, I had my favorites. CW Anderson's thoroughbred books and his series of Billy and Blaze were what I grew up on. I find my signature graphite style to be reminiscent of his influence on me. I was a classic doodler when I was in elementary school. Classic. And, my doodles were always of horses. Horses and Art to me go hand in hand. Each hold their weight at keeping my mind balance.
As for guidance and influences, I have been very lucky to have studied under the GREATEST: Dennis Nolan, Bill Thomson, and Doug Andersen as an undergraduate. And proud to say as a graduate, Betsy and Ted Lewin, Robert Hunt, Alice "Bunny" Carter were recent additions that had a positive influence on me. AG Ford's presentation in Fort Worth definately had an impact in terms of justifying "stylize realism' which is how I would classify my work.
Never burn a bridge. Network.
This surgery was a long time coming. Over the past year and half, I have been pushing myself to the extremes. How I am not quite sure but understand that it was a progressive act. This past winter, my work has slowed down to try to compensate for the pain that I had been experiencing for the past year and half. Most recognized term for it is "Tennis Elbow" and yes, I am guilty for developing it from creating art. Amazing huh? Well, here I am 3 weeks into recovery and about to start physical therapy on it and hope to God I do not land back in this position. Check this out.
Okay, first picture is how I tried to manage the pain over the winter. It got so bad, that as I was working, I was stress fracturing my arm along the way. Yes, it was extremely painful and I have become a strong advocate of making sure an artist stretches the arm, hand, wrist, and shoulder out while creating art. I'll try to get an after picture of the incision tomorrow and post it. I have been very fortunate to find an ortho surgeon that was understanding to my plight and skillful to handle this repair:) He has been fantastic. I was also very lucky to find a PT that has been patient with me since day one and I'm grateful for his resourcefulness and skill. I had been advised that the extent of recovery is suppose to be 3 to 4 months and I cannot wait to get back to my work!
Okay, I went to my first PT session this evening and we're hopeful. :) So because of my need to lay low a little bit, I decided it was best to focus my attention to marketing. Tonight, I set up a Society 6 account and started putting together some various graphics that can be put on tshirts, mugs, and what not. Its something to keep the embers burning in the back of my head and see what works and what not. I also have been in contact with multiple editors for cover art which I am super stoked about. :)