Pepperdine University put up an art of illustration show this spring and I finally took the time to drive down to Malibu to look at the artwork. The show featured about 6 original Leyendecker paintings, a Norman Rockwell, a couple of Maxfield Parrish, Mead Schaeffer, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Jamie Wilcox Smith, Charles Dana Gibson, Joseph Clement Coll, Harvey Dunn, James Montgomery Flagg, Henry Raleigh, and several other names. I feel extremely grateful to whoever it was that sponsored the show because it was free of charge and utterly amazing. These great illustrators produced astounding works of art that held up even in reproduction, but to see the originals and to be able to stand inches away from Leyendecker’s luscious paint strokes was incredible. The reproductions, while still great, are nothing compared to the rawness of his originals, just like reproductions of Gerome’s paintings do nothing to capture the luminosity that are in the originals.
So, in the hopes of learning from these marvelous artists, I indulged myself with some marker value studies, about 2 by 3 inches each. If I had been able to paint, I would’ve.