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