Wednesday, July 11, 2007

10 Things I've Learned from Maxfield Parrish So Far


"Titania Asleep" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.
"The Bride was Catty" - 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.

I've been doing a lot of lists, lately, haven't I? I'm not sure if there's a term for that. Of course, there is a term for the fear of disorder and untidiness: Ataxophobia. Though, judging from the state of both my work desk and my kitchen, I don't have that. Hey, have you guys ever read the list of phobias? Good stuff. There's even one for the fear of knees. Boy, that must be crippling.

HAHAHAHA - I kill myself! Whoo! So funny . . .

Anyway, because I'm one-third of the way through Maxfield Parrish month, I wanted to share what I've learned so far from him. I still haven't begun my large composition based on his principles, but I will . . . soon.

1. Things can be any color I want them to be as long as I plan it first. Parrish thought nothing of funky colored leaves or orange girls.

2. The background is as important as the foreground. It can be as intensely detailed as the foreground and not take away from the focal point.

3. Limited palette is beautiful.

4. Reality is subjective. I just have to make rules for my new reality and follow them.

5. The rules of dynamic symmetry make for powerful compositions.

6. Backlighting can be a very effective tool - my idea that the subject should really be strongly lit from one side or another is completely proven wrong by Parrish.

7. Using opaque techniques (multiple layers of many colors) on darker areas and translucent techniques (few layers of light colors to allow the paper's white to shine through) creates a more dramatic sense of light.

8. I am an artist. I'm not a slave to reference photos. I can stage my own situations or make endless mock-ups to create scenes that have never existed outside of my mind. And I don't have to wait until I have a live model to pose for me.

9. My love of fantastic stories and my art career can work hand in hand. Maxfield Parrish's art is still highly collected - people still want to be taken away through art.

10. If they're offering tickets to Maxfield Parrish's world, I'm buying.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey mags, congrats on the cpsa entry - it's a real stunner and i think goes far beyond being just a drawing of a horse, like, it's high art (?)

am i digging myself into a hole?

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Hey, I'll take "high art."

Rose Welty said...

Maggie, what an excellent list! I don't think I need to do any more study! :-) A question for you Parrish master...is the "overexposure" that one sees in pictures like "allah" (your #4) really there, or is that just from online viewing?

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I think that's the computer file. Somewhere I remember reading that because of the translucency of his light layers, it was sometimes hard to get a good photo without crazy contrast.

Katherine said...

Good list - but the one that is maybe most important for you is 9.

I'd love to see a Stiefvater novel with illustrations by Stiefvater too! :D

Jo Castillo said...

You have been working hard. Thank you.
Jo