Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Barn Painting

I went to Lenox, Massachusetts on Saturday to paint at Undermountain Farm, a horse ranch that has some amazing old barns.  By the time I got set up the light was quickly fading and the clouds had set in.  So I had just a little over an hour to complete this. There are a lot of things that I like about it, and I would love to do a larger piece of it.  It is 9"x 12". 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More recent paintings

Here are several other pieces that I haven't posted. The top piece was one of three pieces that I did at Sagamore Hill National Monument for the plein air competition. The other two are in the previous post, but this is the one I submitted (we could paint as much as we liked, but could only submit one).  I posted a lower-res version of it the weekend of the competition, but this is a more accurate photo.  There are a lot of things I like about it, but looking at it now, it needs more variety in the branches; they're all about the same thickness and width apart.  The tree may have been similar to that, but no one knows that now, you just look at it and see the repetitive composition. Good reminder.

The second down was a piece I did while camping with some friends. It's ok, a bit lifeless, really. I worked on it some more when I got home from memory, and this was the result.   The last two pieces are actually the same fallen tree (there's a third painting of the same branch down below), but on drastically different days.  The sunlit piece has some nice elements, but looks a little too 'composed'. I felt like it looked a little too much like an old Disney background painting without the good parts:)  The last piece was really a break-through piece for me. On the whole, I have spent few years coming to the realization that my mid-tones are generally too heavy and dark.  This painting was an attempt to consciously paint the mid-tones lighter than I saw them. I was pleased with the result, and subsequent paintings have seen my mid-tones becoming ever-more even-handed.  Compositionally, the ultra-straight diagonal branch should have never been painted that way. Even if I thought I saw it like that, I should have had the maturity to give it some life and interest. As it is it's just distracting. Oh well, these are for learning.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What a blessing is Autumn!

So, just because I haven't posted in awhile, don't think I haven't been painting!  Here are some recent pieces from the last few months, not necessarily in chronological order.  All but the last piece are plein air, and were about 2-hour paintings on 8"x 10" linen panels.  Several are from the grounds around Blue Sky Studios, while several were from the plein air competition at Sagamore Hill National Monument in July.  The painting of the architecture is of Teddy Roosevelt's home at the monument. It's a lovely place, and he used to give speeches to guests right off the porch. The tall obelisk is from a trip to Sharon, Vermont that we did a few weeks ago, and is the monument placed at the birthplace of Joseph Smith, prophet and restorer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The painting's ok, but the monument is incredible.

The Paul Revere piece was for Seeing the Everyday magazine, and represents a re-working of the original painting. You can see where the line was for the bottom of the published piece, and originally I had painted the horse's head too small. I fixed that in Photoshop for the magazine, but someone wanted to buy the original, so I went back in and repainted the front of the horse, and was having so much fun at it that I added a little extra vignette at the bottom. As long as I was borrowing so liberally from Wyeth and Cornwell, I thought a vignette would be fitting.  The plein air piece of the fallen log is a scene near Blue Sky that I have revisited several times now and is great for overcast days.  I feel like I made some real breakthroughs with my understanding of the background and how to use softer brushwork to suggest complexity and distance.

As usual, I'll be back out again on Wednesday, so I'll post more soon. Remember, you don't hit a home-run every time, and there are many pieces that get scraped off. That's as it should be.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ice Age updates on website

I have updated my website with some color keys I did for Ice Age: Continental Drift (aka Ice Age 4) that Blue Sky released this summer.  You can find them here, or else just go to the homepage of dibbleart.com  and follow the 'film work' link. I grouped the keys a little differently than the Rio keys, and I didn't include side-by-side renders for comparison, but I liked how they held together by scene, so if you've seen the film hopefully you'll remember some of these sequences.  It was a fun film to work on, and we're all getting very excited for the upcoming release of Epic in May of 2013!  Well done to all of the amazing artists at Blue Sky from whom I continue to learn a great deal.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So, I recently got the annual "Can you do a t-shirt really quick for us" request, this year for an LDS Young Women camp.  This one actually did come together rather quickly, and I was quite pleased with the result. Special thanks to the amazing art director (a.k.a. my lovely wife.)

I have found that the more last-minute the request, the more it is guaranteed to be accompanied with the caveat of "it doesn't need to be fancy, just something simple". Right...  Of course, no one has ever yet emailed me and said "Can you design a crappy t-shirt for us, please?" I'll keep waiting for that email.

More paintings

Here are a few more recent paintings. The farm machinery is a commission (not a great photo of it, I'll take a better one soon), the figure painting was a two-session pose, and the plein air was a piece I did at Sagamore Hill for the competition this past weekend.  Onward and upward!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sagamore Hill paint-out

I participated in a plein-air 'paint-out' this past weekend, and it was great fun. Here is one of pieces that I did, and it was really fun. It was held at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, which was Teddy Roosevelt's home for many years. Quite a lovely spot. I have a few more paintings I did which I'll post soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Epic trailer!

The trailer for Blue Sky's new film 'Epic' debuted today on Good Morning America, and we're all very excited about it. The Blue Sky crew is a pretty tough crowd to impress, even our own trailers usually get a mixed applause when we screen in-house, but this morning when it was screened in a large group meeting, there was some of the strongest positive reaction that I've seen from the crew ever.  Mike Lee did the color keys for most of these shots here, and they're beautiful. I did the key for the last shot of the two soldiers and slugs, as well as working on the patterning for the armor.

You can watch the trailer and find out a little more here:

And of course, don't forget to go see Ice Age: Continental Drift this summer!  The Epic trailer will debut before the movie as well, which will be great.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Wedensday Plein Air

Here are my plein air paintings from the past two Wednesdays. They were fun to do, and though there are always things to improve upon, I was pleased with several aspects of these.  The vertical piece of the rocks was a rainy day.  We've had a high number of overcast Wednesdays, which is fine because I love the overcast light.  The bottom was last week, and it was high 90's and high humidity.

Recent Figure Drawings

Here are some recent 'best-of' from the figure drawing pile. I know, I know, if this is 'best-of', then we're in trouble!  But alas, a blog isn't for perfection, it's about work in progress. I haven't traditionally done as much gesture drawing before Blue Sky, so I'm trying to strengthen my approach and help to economically suggest form and structure.   The short poses are mostly 2-5 min, and the more refined pieces are between 20-75 min.

The first piece of the 'Death of Marat' was a fun night. The model is incredible, and he brought foam cubes, sheets, and props, and created this scene, among others. I have rarely seen a model be so artistically informed, or take modeling to such a high level as he does.  And you'll notice the little baby drawings at the end here; my little boy came and modeled for us one night. He is not a sedentary boy.  So, it was a game of try and get as much information before he moves.  Hence the large number of heads:)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And...the t-shirts!

I have probably exhausted my postings on Sidewalk Monkeys designs, but I thought I'd throw up the t-shirt designs just for fun. It took so long to get to a half-way decent design for the logo that we might as well celebrate it.  Normally I would automatically go for the two-color design over one, but in this case, I feel like both have unique elements that work well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paul Revere

The top painting is an illustration of Paul Revere for the most recent issue of Seeing The Everyday magazine. The others are various illustrators versions of horses, and Paul Revere.  I really haven't painted horses at all, and definitely needed some help, so NC Wyeth was a strong inspiration, as you can see.  I usually don't borrow this heavily from other paintings, but there just wasn't other reference available (Google was surprisingly disappointing on this one). This piece was more a practice exercise for me than anything, and I learned so much from Wyeth's dynamic poses and strong brushwork.  Wow, that man can paint the horse! About 1:30am as I was cleaning my brushes, I realized that I had made the head too small, and it was starting to look like a little giraffe head. A little Photoshop magic helped fix that this morning before I sent it off for publication, but it was a good reminder that sound drawing underscores everything. And that, like anything else, it just takes practice, practice, practice!  I actually highly recommend doing masterwork copies as an exercise to improve, and this piece reinforced that I would benefit from doing more close masterwork study.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Here are two recent plein air paintings completed in the last month or two around Blue Sky Studios.  Both overcast lighting, the cedars painting was actually in the rain, which helped speed me up a bit!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So, a good friend of mine at Blue Sky Studios has just released a book which is so incredible that I simply must share.  His name is Mike Lee, and his book is called "Bodega". It is a picture book of 24 images which diagram a day-in-the-life of a corner bodega store in the city.  The graphite drawings are absolutely luminous, and his control of the medium is stunning. His understanding of light and form are so strong that you won't find it hard to believe how he is one of the top color-key artists in the film industry. Beyond the flawless technique, he's a clever story-teller, and the simplicity of the style holds layers of complex narratives that are humorous and observant.

You can find out more, including how to order a copy, at his website: mleedrawings.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Farm Sign is Up

So, the farm sign has been built and is up. Well done to everyone who helped build and install it, you did a great job! And remember, "Make sure all your potatoes are Dibble Potatoes!"