Friday, 03 December 2010 at 17:43
Eastman New Wing Painting
I was commissioned to create a painting for a poster to commemorate the creation/addition of a new wing to the Eastman Theater, a Rochester treasure. The request was for more of a graphic or abstract approach. I relied on my instincts as a graphic designer as much as a painter. The other issue was a tight deadline, a long distance approval and the fact that I was going to create an oil painting for the final. I guess I create more trauma for myself by wanting to include the human touch but in the end,
I still think its worth it.
The first step was to t ake reference photos. Even though the request for a somewhat of an abstract approach, the subject was a new building that everyone is very excited about. There had to be a balance between it being a portrait of a building and an abstract form. I developed pencil sketches to find an appropriate angle. I also had to keep in mind to represent the, current very classic structure, while featuring this new wing.
After pencils sketches a color sketch was requested. I did a little color study from the approved pencil drawing digitally for speed. The challenge always is to show a study that creates an expectation of a piece done in another medium. Folks get locked on to what is in front of them, usually.
Once the color study was approved I began to layout the painting onto the canvas. I redrew it a coupe times to make sure it created a pleasing spacial arrangement within the perimeter square and included the old and new constructs of the building. Once the drawing was firm. I laid down a wash of a warm sienna brown. I wanted this to shown through some of the cooler colors in the over painting. This makes the canvas glow a little. The interesting comment form our client was it had a Southwestern feel. I didn’t see that while painting but can definitely see it now. Some other useful feedback while doing the painting was a call for looseness on some of the edges which really helped. It makes the piece more active and feel more spontaneous. After I worked on the painting and feel its time for a view, I take it from the table to the little photo set up I have in the studio to take a digital photo of it. I then tweak it a bit in Photoshop and email out for approval. This way our creative team was able to work through distances and turkey dinners and deliver the project, approved and on time.
It was a great project to be a part of.
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 at 23:17
Opera Poster - Refined
After submitting three ideas for the opera posters the most graphic solution was chosen. Upon reconsidering the poster some changes were made. I did not have time when doing the layout to hand draw the type and scan it in. I liked the idea that the line quality generated through the images could connect to the type. I use a combination of hand drawn and digital effects to create textures and edges. I placed near the bottom, a combination fire icon and dance group to represent what are called the Furies of the underworld. I scanned in some old book covers and other grunged up surfaces. In Photoshop, under levels, I cranked up the contrast and converted to black and white. Depending where I place the scale I could really blow out the contrast or not. Its really great to be able to have all of the post production control of an image we have. Eve
n though the piece is all digital, I strive to maintain a human or hand done feel. After spending a great deal of time and focus crafting and refining the poster I resubmitted it for approval.
As is the case many times when showing a loose or rough layout, the client gets locked on that particular execution. In this case the graphic simplicity of the original layout may have been lost. Sometimes one can get to close to a solution particularly when working on a deadline. The suggestion to pair back the design in this case was probably a good one.
Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 17:21
Opera Poster Sketches
I had a great opportunity to work with some of the fine people at the Eastman School of Music here in Rochester. I was asked to develop visuals for a real joint venture of dance, theatre, and music for a production of Orpheus and Eurydice, a greek opera being performed at the Harrow East ballroom. I really got a chance to use my art history background as well as America theatre and opera poster design resources. Imagine having a creative director asking for a Maxfield Parish feel. It is definitely a sub culture.
As I mentioned the group I am working with are very sharp and knowledgeable about their opera, music and history...stuff I was really taken with in High School and into college. Once I got up to speed on the story, ideas seemed to fall right out. The idea that was developed on the conference room table was a romantic Maxfield Parrish view of two lovers. It wold be set in an idyllic landscape with perhaps the dancers (the furies) in the background dancing like flames. Since the play is to be held at the Harrow East, it was suggested to incorporate Greek architectural features much as Parish did in many of his posters.
That was my first layout.
The second was less of a literal translation and rendering but more of a graphic icon approach. This approach incorporated a portrait of Orpheus on top and Eurydice in the underworld on the bottom. The names of each accompany the drawing and all are hand rendered and scanned in. I’m still plying with any other graphics and the amount of grunge to provide an aged historic organic look. This piece is very much a poster, simple graphic readability. I’m thinking letterpress here.
The last layout is a new concept to introduce into the lexicon of this opera. The two branches of the battered tree shown, represent the two torn lovers with the lyre uniting them. This piece is a bit darker, more digital in feel and represents a current design .
The cool part about presenting all three ideas, I got a chance to turn some very astute folks onto some poster design approaches they may not have considered. This may lay some groundwork for future work. The approved direction was number two, the faceoff poster as I have titled it. Stay tuned.
Monday, 25 October 2010 at 18:42
Here is a little pencil drawing from the achieves.
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