FROM THE TIME THE IDEA OF THE VIKING FAMILY PORTRAIT WAS SKETCHED ON PAPER, I have been reading, thinking, sketching, writing and thinking some more. By now I have well over a hundred hours reading books and websites about Viking history, clothing, ships, art, living, spiritual life, trading, wars, raiding, weapons, tool. jewelry, appearance and etc.
I started a Pinterest account a little late in the game and have hundreds of images in my own desktop files and a few on Pinterest. Still not comfortable with how to use Pinterest other than to collect images.
I FINISHED THE 8TH DRAFT OF THE STORY on Friday. I have seven friends who have read the story looking for ways to save me from my word weakness. Three are professional writers. Lois Walfrid Johnson, author of the Viking Quest Book Series (http://www.lwjbooks.com, was very kind to give me some personal tutoring on story writing and character development. She also gave me her best books on the Vikings (in the picture) and shared some of her discoveries while researching her series in Norway, Sweden, and Ireland. Then she gave my story a thorough written critique. I am grateful for a story that will give my painting focus and inform viewers of the painting in the museum setting. When all the critiques are in and the editing is done, I will post the story.
ILLUSTRATOR N.C. WYETH'S teacher, Howard Pyle, said, "You can't create an illustration without a story. The two arts - writing and illustrating - should round the circle instead of advancing in parallel lines upon which it is almost impossible to keep them abreast. Pictorial art should represent some point of view that carries over the whole significance of a situation. It should convey an image of the meaning of the text. Therefore, in illustrating a book, it is preferable to choose for an illustration some point descriptive of the text, but not necessarily mentioned in the text."
I HAVE "VIKING" ON THE BRAIN. I have been up in the middle of the night several times writing and drawing ideas for the painting. I carry a little sketch book in my back pocket so I can put down my thoughts anywhere. I spent an afternoon at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts taking "photo" notes of paintings that spoke to me on perspective, story, size, color, or gesture of a hand. My poor wife has been extremely kind to brainstorm with me or listen to my thoughts and ideas on the painting story.
IN THE NEXT POSTS I will show you a rough color comp in Photoshop and introduce you to the costume maker, models and the artists involved with making the frame for the painting.