Friday, November 29, 2013

Bob Cratchit - Artwork

Early on in Charles Dickens story of ‘A Christmas Carol’ he introduces the reader to Bob Cratchit the underpaid clerk of Ebebezer Scrooge. He is a symbol of faith and family even in the midst of poverty and poor working conditions. Dickens shows Scrooges cruel and unfair side when he says to Cratchit,  “Let me hear another word from you, and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation.” All Bob was doing was applauding Scrooge’s nephew for his speech about his love for Christmas and family – an attempt to break through Scrooge’s icy heart.

Nothing can move Scrooge’s dismal mood as he threatens to lower Cratchit’s pay and take away the small bit of a fire that he uses to stay warm. He tries to force him into a similar bitter mood as his own, but it doesn’t work. Bob Cratchit represents adversity and perseverance in the midst of hardship. His heart is full. These are some of my early sketches of Bob Cratchit and his desk candle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dicken's Writing and My Sketches

Dickens’ writing portrays much of the events of his troubled childhood in England. He witnessed the pain he felt and saw firsthand on the streets of London. When he was twelve, Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debts he owed. Dickens during this time period was sent to work in a boot-blacking factory rather than attending school.

These bleak memories and hardships that he witnessed first-hand would influence the tone and mood of his writing for years to come, including in ‘A Christmas Carol’. He wanted to portray in this all the wrong that he had felt himself, and that was still occurring on the streets of Camden Town.

In the story I wanted to set the mood of the book with an impression of the London streets that were as black and polluted as Scrooge’s heart. In Dicken’s description of Victorian society he explains that it is very different to that of the city: “…A little market town appeared in the distance, with its bridge, its church, and winding river.” This is in stark contrast to the city where “the house fronts looked black enough, the windows blacker” – the blackness being caused by the masses of coal dust produced by industry.

Here are a couple of rough sketches that I created to set the mood of the city and Scrooge visiting the streets of his old town with the ghost of Christmas past. Hope you enjoy them. I will have more to come on my next post.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Ghost of Marley-Artwork

As I mentioned I am going to post paintings and sketches weekly from my recent work on Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. This week painting and sketch are from stave 1 of the story.

The scene is cast with Scrooge returning home from work to find his dead friends face in place of his doorknocker. Scrooge is in disbelief as he looks in horror at the apparition of his old business partner Marley and his ghostly face on his door

Here is a small excerpt from Dickens sets the scene... “Marley’s face, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression. How it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley’s face.”

Thanks for all your comments about the paintings. I appreciate the feedback. I have a lot more to show. I will also have paintings and sketches available for purchase for those collectors who are interested.

As I mentioned I recently finished over 40 new works of art for the 170th Anniversary edition of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. Easton Press is the publisher who is creating this special limited edition. 

Dickens is one of my favorite writers and I do believe that his work had a major impact on society and the treatment of the downtrodden. In “A Christmas Carol” he asks, in effect, for people to recognize the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely. I tried to capture Dicken’s vision as closely as possible and his heartfelt sympathy for the poor.

I am going to show some of the preliminary sketches that I did before the final paintings over the next month. The first painting and sketch that I am going to show comes from stave 2 of the story. It is a painting and sketch of Scrooge’s sister Fan. Fan was the one person that Scrooge loved and trusted from his childhood. In this particular scene, Fan has come to get her brother to bring him home for Christmas.

I used my daughter as the model for this scene. I have the sketch next to the final oil painting to show the difference from the beginning idea to the final composition.

Welcome to my new Blog. I am going to post images weekly of paintings, drawings,  sketches, gallery shows, books, and movie concept art that I am currently working on. I will also give examples of art that I create during demos for my students.

Sketching is the core element of compositional development for artist. Young or old you should have a sketchbook at your side when inspiration calls. You never know when your imagination might take off on a tangent. Sketching is not just a form of rendering, it is also a means to capture feelings and impressions that present themselves throughout an artist journey.

As an instructor I have required my students to have a sketchbook. I never go anywhere without mine. Here are a few pages of my recent sketches. One is part of a creature development project that I am teaching and the other is a study of St. Francis inspired by the artist Zurbarán. Life is short sketch hard!