Friday, December 3, 2010

You can't beat a good story...

John Buscema preferred Harold Von Schmidt to Frederick Remington.
That's what he said in an old interview I was reading in the summer.
Well in that case I figured I'd better get familiar with Harold Von Schmidt (since John Buscema is one of my all time favorite draughtsmen and visual storytellers - I've collected bunches of his work over the years).

So I found a book online ('Harold Von Schmidt Draws and Paints the Old West' by Walt Reed, published by Northland Press) and ordered it, then took off for Loveland's Sculpture in the Park show, via Vail (to drop off some bronzes for Cogswell Gallery and make their acquaintance in person ) this past summer.

While in Vail Meridee and I visited Claggett Rey gallery since we knew there'd likely be loads of great stuff in there.
I was bowled over by this huge painting of a bull making a break for it that was full of drama.

Turns out it was by... Harold Von Schmidt!

Now I was seriously anxious to get my hands on that book!

The above reproduction of that painting is from the book...

And here it is again, with Harold sitting in front of it!

The book is just a gold mine of great stuff, and I also learned the bull wasn't making a break for it, but because it is white it is being driven from the herd to prevent contamination and preserve the pure bred blood lines.

Great illustration is great art, of that there is no doubt in my mind. And what I love about great illustration is how it draws you in.

 I didn't need to read anything to know these two were contemplating settling in the valley below them.

Personally, what first attracts me is usually skillful execution, deep anatomical knowledge and the compositional sensibilities of an inspired and accomplished artist, and then I might find myself completely sucked into the story they're telling... can't help pondering those lives,  what led them to that point, and wondering what might have come this guy...did he make it?

Harold says in the book that one of his jobs as an illustrator is to sell the story, and make sure you go on from looking at the picture to at least read the first line of copy.

One of things I love about the silhouette below is how much Harold uses the viewer's brain to fill in the blanks. There's just enough there to clue you in, but your mind 'sees' everything it needs to to complete the picture.

Being a  storyboard artist myself I guess I'm just a sucker for a good story that's beautifully told.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

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