A spot tucked within the Myakka River State Park not far from my home. It has been my intention to do something like what Fredrick Remington and N.C. Wyeth did as they visited areas of the Old West to gain accurate information to produce western art. Several modern artists have gone a step further, James Bama and Howard Terpning, gave up their illustration careers in the New York area to be closer to Old West locations. While I am not wishing to give up a career painting fantastic art images, I am embracing my environment to produce pirate / sea rover art that rings with an authenticity of place. Howard Pyle a renowned painter of pirates traveled to Jamaica. Much of my art school training came from still life and figure observation, so recording the outdoors with paints and brushes rounds out my experience. Wild Palms is a 12″ x 9″ oil painting which took me four hours to complete. Painting quickly to capture the essence of a scene before the sun travels a great distance across the sky is a challenging skill to hone. The lighting I observed when I started and what I saw at the end was very different.
The Golden Age of Illustration artist and teacher, Howard Pyle, recommended his students put themselves into the context of their painting to make their artwork more believable and true to the observer. Perhaps I go a bit “overboard” placing myself in such paintings, but Pyle’s reasoning is very sound. There is no better way to represent something than by first experiencing it. “On the Account” is a small 10″ x 8″ oil on panel intended as a preliminary sketch to a larger painting. I kept pursuing the problems and solutions of the work between long lapses, adding new ideas to work out a difficulty, until the the sketch became a small work in itself. It is challenging to take odd bits of research material from a multitude of sources in order to integrate them until a natural and cohesive image evolves. The work originated with a photo taken of me aboard a modern topsail schooner. As I maintained my balance as the ship heeled, rose, and fell in the stiff breeze, the propulsion gave me a rush of emotions I wanted to capture as I imagined the sense of freedom sea rovers felt as they pursued their dreams.
“When Ships Make Waves ” A 12″ x 10″ oil on panel oil begun on location at Old Spanish Point, Sarasota finished in the studio. A bit of wondering what may have transpired at this location hundreds of years ago inspired my imagining sea rovers who endure long periods without the comfort of female companionship. So when they spy a pretty lady ashore in provocative dress, they become enthusiastic because, “Wench Hips Make Waves”…
“Duel with the White Knight” a small 10″ x 8″ oil on panel from a scene in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series originally commissioned for Fantasy Flight Publishing’s “The Art of A Song of Fire and Ice” to feature the sword master’s defense of Arya. Has just been made into a print available in the WebStore: < www.paravia.com/catalog >
An in depth interview from my perspective about cover art is featured in Watch the Skies. A fanzine available in print and seen online at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res89guj/id64.html