Monday, November 14, 2011

Frazetta: Light and Dark

I have received a lot of personal questions about the oil in the previous post. I thought something needed to be clarified. After Frank's first major strokes starting in 1995 he started to draw left handed and dabble with oil painting. This is well known. What is not well known is the fact that Frazetta's entire approach to painting changed at this point unbeknownst to him. Frank used to begin an oil with a darker sublayer to define form and light indications. He would then progressively add lightening tones and highlights until he achieved the effects he wanted. Look at the Carlsberg Beer ad and you'll see what a Frazetta underpainting looked like. In that case he just stopped.

After his second stroke he began to see color differently and he didn't realize it. I verified this one afternoon. I was videotaping him working on the Reign of Wizardry oil. He was adding a girl and using bright white paint. I asked him what color he was using. He thought it was a shade of green. I told him it was almost pure white. He was shocked and in disbelief. His mind was telling him that he was using a darker color. So after this he struggled with going from light to dark, instead of his usual approach of beginning with dark to light. He had to force himself to add darker tones to his whitish underpaintings. This is what we see in the previously depicted oil. He started with white, then started to add darker highlights. In his mind, this was a darker colored girl more in balance with the other tones of the picture. Frank did the same thing with his repaints of the National Lampoon cover and the constant revisions on the Reign of Wizardry cover. I don't know what the final versions of these oils currently look like. The last time I saw them was in 2003 and Frank had a lot of time to fool around with them.

(c)2011 Doc Dave Winiewicz

10 comments:

  1. Any chance you could post some of that video of Frank painting? The only video I've ever seen of him actually working was on the Painting With Fire where he drew that big cat. Thanks!!

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  2. Yes, indeed! I will get to it. Patience.

    DAVE

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  3. Hi Dave

    Thank you for this blog. It is fascinating. I have often wondered about the change in style evident in Frank Frazetta's later paintings.

    Best regards

    Alex

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  4. Hey Dave, I check by here almost every day to see what you're sharing with us. I find it distracting that the width of your content is always wider than the width of the screen so that I have to drag the mouse across the bottom to read the beginning and ending of each sentence. Is there any chance for an adjustment?

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  5. Hi Ray!

    Sorry to hear about your screen issues. I'm working on a 27" iMac screen and have no problems with the width at all. My text only takes up about 40% of my screen width.
    I don't think it's possible to achieve uniformity across all the devices. My MacAir, ipad, and iphone all work at the proper proportions as well. I think it must be all that FRIGID air up there in the great Canadian North!! :)

    All the best!

    DAVE

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  6. Dave, i would also like to declare this being my favourite site on the web! i will look forward to the vid (as mention above)

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  7. Thank you. It's a joy to share all my Frazetta experiences with a knowledgeable group of passionate fans and collectors.

    DAVE

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  8. Thanks for this insight. I did wonder, I have friends who are colorblind and my wife sees colors slightly different too. slightly warm greens come out more of a peachy color. I guess what Frank had to battle with was similar.

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  9. Yes, I was really shocked when I discovered this. Frank was dealing with so many personal handicaps and home pressures, I don't know how he survived as long as he did.

    DAVE

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  10. Wow, these stories are great, I met him when I was in my teens, in 97 or 98, and he revealed a lot about his process. I was into martial arts and had just done a flying roundhouse while playfighting with some friends in the lobby of my school after hours. Suddenly here's this guy who comes up and asks me if I could do it again while he took shots, and he says "I'm an artist". He said he could pay, and then he started a conversation with me, asked me if we could go to private place, and we sat on the floor of a stairwell, in front of some exit doors while we talked a whole lot. I brought out a sketchbook in my bag, and BAM, I found out he was an artist that could draw (albeit a bit slowly), not just a photographer. From that point the exchange was much more personal, going both ways, and often a mental download and information about process at times. So many things he told me I am finally just starting to use now that I've gone back to art school in my 30s.

    I would love to watch that vid too.

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