Tag Archives: baroque

Hoist your flagons!

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Heave on your futtock-shrouds and don’t leave your swashes unbuckled! ‘Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Don’t forget: If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, shape a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates this evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again tomorrow morning 10:00 – 11:00ish (we need to clear the decks before noon—when some poor lubber’s wedding takes place).

MoviePirates

As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s M is for Movie Pirates Quiz:

First row: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean (2006). Second row: (left to right) Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926); Robert Newton as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950); Sherman the parrot; Errol Flynn as Captain Blood (1935). Third row: Charles Laughton as Captain Kidd (1945); (Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1990); Dustin Hoffman as Hook (1991); Walter Matthau as Captain Red in Pirates (1986). Fourth row: Maureen O’Hara as Prudence ‘Spitfire’ Stevens in Against All Flags (1952); Laird Cregar as Sir Henry Morgan in The Black Swan (1942); Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (1983); Graham Chapman as Yellowbeard (1983).

R is for Revenge

Queen Anne’s Revenge, that is. Queen Anne’s Revenge is the name of Blackbeard Teach’s flagship—though I have to admit I don’t know why he chose that name. Queen Anne ruled Great Britain & Ireland while Blackbeard was alive, so maybe he considered himself to be a privateer on behalf of the Crown? Was he not happy with the War of the Spanish Succession? I’d like it if, in the comments, someone could offer a better reason behind Teach’s name for his ship. Writers Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift & pirate aficionado Daniel Defoe flourished under Queen Anne, so maybe her reign really was culture’s balmiest day—but why did she need to be avenged?

Anyway, he only captained Queen Anne’s Revenge for 3 years before she sunk off North Carolina. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a sunken pirate ship for Eve Bunting’s new book, P is for Pirate. It was also a chance to pay tribute to fantastic illustrator Lloyd K. Townsend. When I say ‘pay tribute to’, of course I mean ‘steal shamelessly from’. I’ve admired Townsend since I was a wee lad, seeing his paintings in National Geographic. One in particular, from 1979, shows the sunken Spanish treasure ship Tolosa. This was my—cough—inspiration for R is for Revenge. Hey, at least I turned the ship around to face the other way!

Herewith, work in progress:

Renaissance & Baroque musical instruments

I had it in mind to create some note cards with these images.  Never got around to it.

A wee spot

Here’s a fun little spot illustration I did for the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh, this time to promote a concert of ancient Scottish and Irish music—both sacred (church liturgy) and profane (drinking songs).  The costume is from a painting of a highland aristocrat wearing his hunting clothes.

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scotty

Bring me the head of Johann Sebastian Bach

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Awhile back, Ann Mason—then-exec-director of the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh—and I thought it would be screamingly funny to create a promotional bobblehead of the august Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.  And, by George, we were right—it is funny!

Here’s what I envisioned:

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One of the rbsp board members, Joy Troetschel, has some expertise in getting merchandise manufactured, and knew of a bobblehead factory in China who could produce our little statuette.  What follows are some images from the correspondence I shared with the talented sculptors who created a brilliant little 3D clay caricature of Bach from the sketches I sent.

Bach Head Clay 1

Bach Head Clay 2

Bach Head Clay 3

Bach Head Clay 4

Bach Body Clay 6

And here’s the prototype.  They even airbrushed a nice 5 o’clock shadow onto JSB’s cheeks!

Bach Colour Revision 3

If you’d like one of these timeless treasures, visit the rbsp website—they’re modestly priced and benefit the Society.

It’s October…

UPDATE! If you live in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and like to hear really old classical music, mark your calendar Oct 24 to attend The Medieval Beasts concert. I’m told it’s a costume event, but didn’t see any info about that on the R&B website.  Go—you’ll have an enjoyable evening and meet some fun people.

Here’s a little spot illustration I did a couple of years ago for the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh.  For October that year they’d booked a group called Artec who did a concert of Graveyard Music. So, we promoted it with a postcard.  A couple of sketch ideas—

graveyard.A

graveyard.B

Ann Mason—the exec director—liked sketch A.

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The Robin Hood Project

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I like to listen to really old classical music, and have attended the wonderful concerts organized by the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh.  I do illustrations for their season brochures.

A couple of years ago they booked the group Hesperus, who had the clever idea to perform a renaissance/medieval soundtrack to Douglas Fairbanks’ silent movie Robin Hood.  My buddy Ann Mason, who was executive director at the time, asked me to do a poster illustration for this special concert.  How could I resist?

I wanted to show the musicians superimposed on a larger-than-life Douglas Fairbanks, and somehow interacting with him.  I remembered a scene from the movie My Favorite Year, in which Peter O’Toole (essentially playing Errol Flynn) drunkenly walks into a screening of one of his old movies and begins sword-fighting his own projected image.

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To separate the musicians from Fairbanks, I chose to paint them in color and him black & white—that’s a no-brainer.  Also, they will be lighted from below (as they turned out to be during the performance) while Fairbanks would be lighted from the left.  They will cast hard shadows onto the b&w image to keep up the illusion of a projected movie.  The perspective for Fairbanks is different and far more dramatic than for the musicians—we’re looking at him from a bug’s-eye view; the musicians are level with our own horizon.  As usual with my perspective exercises, if you take a ruler to it and try to find a vanishing point you’ll be doomed to disappointment.  The vanishing points are there, somewhere, but I don’t strictly adhere to them.

Robin hood color

I did a burnt sienna underpainting even for the black and white portion.  I think it warms it up a bit.

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