Normally I group-study with my pals at Fine Line Artists but we decided to make the summer months "Wild card" months as we all have strange show schedules and varying interests. We were starting to sound ominously like a bunch of mothers trying to organize a play date around soccer schedules. Far better to study on our own for a few months!
So I've decided I'm going to study Maxfield Parrish, an early 20th century illustrator and artist (why the heck are those considered two different things?) I find his work and technique infinitely fascinating. He has everything I'd hope for in a artist to study:
- he was hugely prolific - a large body of work for me to look at and learn from
- he talked about how he worked - really helpful when trying to work in his style
- he had a brilliant and unique sense of color
- he had a unique way of working, trying to accomodate the printing process, something I'm trying to do as well
- he was highly motivated and made a living off his art
I prefer learning from those who painted their visions and paid the electric bill. Why? Because I want to learn more than artistic technique from them. I want to learn from their charisma, chutzpah, dedication, ballsiness - whatever it was that made them make it when so many didn't. I know it's not just talent that gets you there. So I want to know how they did it.
Anyhoo. Back to Parrish. Wow. His career spanned decades and his style rocked the illustration world. His unique method of painting (thin layers of paint interspersed with layers of varnish) left his originals in ruins after his death, but that didn't really matter: Parrish's money was made in prints. Calendars, specifically. Yes, the originals sold -- and for a pretty penny (nowadays they have brought six and seven figures) -- but the prints were what paid the bills.
I'm very interested in that.
His lighting is intriguing. More often than not, his figures were backlit, much darker than the background, which was brilliantly lit and detailed. But it worked. I have to find out why. I can really get excited about what this could do for my art! Anyone else up for the challenge? The only requirements are you blog about it, do your best to learn something from the man and then create a piece of art influenced by Parrish (or you can do a direct copy -- very accepted method of learning and I really recommend it).
Here are some links to get you started. I'll be posting more about him this month as I figure out what I'm going to do as my Parrish project. I don't have any shows pressing on me at the moment, so I should have some time to donate to this. Let's go! Whoo!
A Place to Find His Work
Another Place to Find His Work
Discussion of His Techniques