Ahoy, ye sea dogs!

l_9781585368150_fcP is for Pirate is here!

As long-time readers know, the subject of pirates is a favorite of mine. You can imagine how happy I was when Sleeping Bear Press asked me to illustrate Eve Bunting’s latest, P is for Pirate. 

Here’s how the jacket art came together. Some rough sketches, a tight sketch based on the approved rough, the painting in progress. I lost something in the tight sketch—the pirate doesn’t have the same aggressiveness & oomph—so I went back to the rough sketch to paint from. That’s my dear old African Grey, Sherman, sitting on his shoulder. How I miss him! I like this low-key palette, mostly blacks, greys and red. The talented Felicia Macheske was my art director on this project. I will show more images throughout the month.

The Picture of Oscar Wilde

Here is the third in a series of three images for the Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s season brochure—specifically for the world premiere of L’Hôtel, a new comedy by Ed Dixon. The cast is stars from the recent and distant past. I showed you Sarah Bernhardt. and Jim Morrison. Here now is Oscar Wilde.

By the way, this painting and the two others will be on display at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Alumni Show which opens this evening and continues through July 20th.

Jim Morrison

Here is the second in a series of three images for the Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s season brochure—specifically for the world premiere of L’Hôtel, a new comedy by Ed Dixon. The cast is stars from the recent and distant past. Yesterday I showed you Sarah Bernhardt. Here is Jim Morrison—sketches and final painting. I can’t seem to find work-in-progress photos for this one. I must have forgotten to take them. You’ll notice that instead of thumbnail sketches I’ve done gesture sketches of these characters. I was trying to capture their attitude as well as likeness.

By the way, this painting and the two others will be on display at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Alumni Show which opens this Friday evening.

UPDATE! The final color painting is up for auction on eBay this week (November 17-23, 2014). It’s beautifully framed and ready to hang.

The Divine Sarah

This past January I had the pleasure of creating images for the Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s season brochure—this time for the world premiere of L’Hôtel, a new comedy by Ed Dixon. The cast of characters is 6 stars from the recent and distant past. Art Director Paul Schifino asked me to create stand-alone caricatures of 3 of them: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Sarah Bernhardt. Here are sketches, painting-in-progress and the finished art of the Divine Sarah.

By the way, this painting and two others will be on display at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Alumni Show which opens this Friday evening.

Loud art poster

I don’t think I ever posted this—it’s a poster I designed for an exhibit of music-related art at the Graffiti Gallery here in the National Transit Building in early 2013. I was without a camera at the time and took these in-progress photos with my cell phone. I finally uploaded them to my computer. Enjoy!

Here’s Charlie

Twenty-fourteen is a big year here in Oil City, Pennsylvania. It was 100 years ago, just a couple of doors up from my studio address, that Charlie Chaplin signed his first movie deal with Mack Sennett. Charlie was performing at the Lyric Theater with Fred Karno’s comedy troupe and met Sennett in between acts to sign the contract. Here’s a detailed account of Charlie’s early career.

I was approached by the Friends of the Library to create a stand-alone cut-out of Charlie. They wanted him big—8 feet tall. I went over to the library to see where Charlie would be installed and discovered that there is not very much floor space but there is ample height—the main floor’s ceiling is about 16 feet high. I scrapped the drawing I’d done of Charlie standing and drew Charlie suspended, using his cane as a hook. I think this pose fits his acrobatic style.

I enlarged my drawing onto pieces of foam board. The project is 3 ply, so that I could paint front & back without it warping. His arm has a center of plywood and his cane itself is 3 pieces of plywood laminated together, since it supports the whole piece.

He is painted with acrylic in black & white, of course!

hangingcharlie.front

3D Henry

Look what I got in my inbox!

Mohamed from Egypt is learning 3d programs. He used my model sheet of Henry  (from Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies) to create this beautiful digital image. I love the textures of the different articles of clothing—the leather vest, the woolen shirt.

mohamed.henry

digital art created by Mohamed Eldemerdash

Thanks, Mohamed!

Douglas Fairbanks

I see Hesperus Project is doing another one of their wonderful musical accompaniments to a silent film—this time around, it’s The Mark of Zorro, with the mighty Douglas Fairbanks.

I love these concerts. If you like ancient music or silent movies—or both—you’ll want to see and listen. A while back these guys were in Pittsburgh courtesy of the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh. They put together a concert of mediæval music for another Fairbanks flick, Robin Hood. Here is the art I created for the promotional poster.

By the way, if you’ve seen the 2011 movie The Artist, you’ve already seen one of Douglas Fairbanks’ daring stunts from Zorro painstakingly recreated for a new audience.

Lily auditions

Prancing Dancing Lily is an app! Thanks to the creative people at Fat Red Couch, Inc.

Here’s a link to the scene where Lily, the cow who loves to dance, reaches New York City. She’s standing outside Radio City Music Hall where the Rockettes are holding auditions. Of course she’s surrounded by people—it is New York City, after all. Among the crowd are my niece, my sister, my wife and me! It’s not easy drawing crowds. There are so many characters to design. I like to use people I know whenever I can. Below is a photo of the 4 of us during a whirlwind weekend in New York. We’re aboard the Staten Island Ferry. I took this series of photos with an old-fashioned film camera and pieced them together to form a complete image. It was August, 2001.

NYC2001