Well, it’s finally time to do another fantasy painting. I can only hold it off for so long. As I’ve mentioned in the past, people love my fantasy art, but they just always sure what to do with it. So I’ve decided to try something that is new for me. I want to paint a children’s picture book, but with a twist. I don’t want to spoil it so early in the game, so you will have to wait and see how the project develops.
Even though this project is “fantasy” in nature, I still like to paint from models – even if it is only for reference. With that, I come to what I need help with – finding models. First and foremost, I take the safety of your children very seriously, so let me be very clear that ANY submission of photographs must be provided with consent of the parent or legal guardian. I don’t want any parents or other concerned persons to have any doubt about the legitimacy of what I’m doing, so any questions will be welcome. I’m looking for children to be stand in models for the main characters. In the past I’ve either worked with kids from my neighborhood, family or friend’s kids, or worked through friends to find models. Norman Rockwell use to do it that way too. I’m always looking to expand the pool of model choices.
What I’m looking for on this particular project, are children between the ages of 8-10, three boys and one girl. My usual method is to come over to the home of the children and do the photos shoot there so their parents can be involved, however, I’m willing to work with the parents on what they feel most comfortable with. The first boy will need to have a suit (preferably a dark suit), white long sleeve shirt, tie (not zip or clip), belt and dress shoes and dark socks. The second boy will need “classic” style, two piece pajamas with a button up top. The third boy will need to wear a Cub Scout shirt and a ball cap. Finally the girl will need to wear a long dress (preferably with lots of frills).
Again, for the safety of the children and for me, I will only work through the parent or legal guardian of the children; I will never contact your child directly. If you are interested in allowing your child or children to be a part of this project or if you know of someone who would be interested, please email me a head shot (like a school photo or family photo) of your child or children, along with contact information (phone or email, whichever you would prefer) and we’ll go from there. Any questions can be addressed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are some sample drawings of each of the characters from the book.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
“Tea with the Ogres” is finally finished and scanned. This painting has taken me years to complete. The original photo shoots took place clear back in 2008. I had just been picked up by a large international gallery and they encouraged me to paint bigger than what I was doing at the time. I painted this on a canvas 48 inches high and 60 inches wide. That’s four feet by five feet. It is almost as big as my wife is tall. After I discussed the idea of the painting with the gallery, which they liked, I started to paint. I was about two thirds of the way through the painting, when the gallery owner contacted me and told me they didn’t like where I was going with it. They said it wasn’t scary enough and the Ogres looked like “good Mormon boys in bad Halloween costumes”. So it was back to the drawing board. I took additional pictures of a good friend of mine to help add to the Ogres. I took pictures of a second little girl and made a composite of both girls. With these adjustments I was able to come up with the refined concept that had all the elements both the gallery and I were looking for. I got a new canvas and set to work. After getting about half way through the new painting, I just ran out of gas. It sat unfinished in my living room for months. In the mean time, I painted a commission piece of the Salt Lake Temple. When the gallery saw this painting, they decided they wanted to take my art in a completely different direction, more LDS temples. As a result, this painting was pretty much shelved without completion. Months passed, and I would occasionally think about it. Then, last summer, when I had a break between commissions and with a lot of encouragement from my wife, I was able to sit down and finally finish the painting.
The next big problem was scanning it. I hate scanning, and the last time I scanned a painting this size I had plenty of room, a more powerful computer and a completely different scanning setup. Now my scanner is better, and I have things set up differently, both of which contribute to an easier scanning experience. The downside is that my computer is less powerful and my studio has lot less room. So I kept putting it off. It wasn’t until a year later that I had built up enough desire to scan it and figure out just how I was going to go about it. It took over 50 individual scans. It took me three days to scan and an additional 2 days just to piece them together as well as deal with some unexpected challenges. But, I am very happy to report that it is finished and uploaded to my print website.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Now that I have some down time while waiting for some collectors to decide on what they want, I thought maybe I could do a fantasy painting. More specifically a western fantasy painting with a steampunk twist. The problem with this is that collectors don’t buy my fantasy art. They tell me they just don’t know what to do with it. I remember one gallery, as they were rejecting my work, telling me that I was “too creative”.
The interesting thing is Kids of all ages, both boys and girls love my art. When one of my fantasy paintings was hanging in an art gallery, a little girl came with her mother. While her mother was there for over an hour on business, she spent the entire time completely drawn into one of my paintings. I love having kids tell me what they think is going on. They have no inhibitions. They know immediately. Their imaginations fire up and they are off telling me a story. Teenagers also are drawn to my work, even though they are less willing to venture a story. Of the adults, men seem to be the most receptive. While there are a number of women that have expressed appreciation of my art, it is difficult for me to tell if they truly enjoy it, or if they are just trying not to hurt my feelings. Since most collectors are women, I find myself trying to understand what it is they truly value. All of the collectors of my religious art happen to be women and I am very grateful to them. They love my religious work. They give me a lot of freedom to do paintings as I see them. They are patient with me and willing to work with me and I love working with them too. They have great ideas and such strong feelings and faith. And from time to time they think about buying one of my fantasy paintings, but once again what do they do with it?... I had someone once suggest that my work would be perfect for a coffee table book, something that can be viewed and displayed without it being overbearing. I would love to be able to see how popular this would be, but unfortunately, that is an experiment for the future.
So when I decide to do a fantasy painting, I do it knowing it will most likely never see the light of day. I’ve been told on hundreds of occasions that I’m just too creative. I don’t know entirely what “too creative” means, if there even IS such a thing. So the dank, dark basement will be its home. But, for a short time at least, I’ll get some enjoyment out of it. Well, back to the religious paintings (which I also love and enjoy), until once again I get that itch…