The Society of Illustrators’ 7th Art Out Loud painting demo extravaganza was held this past Saturday. Julie Bell, Rick Berry, Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, and Boris Vallejo painted simultaneously while spectators milled about, watched, and asked as many questions as they could think of.
The doors opened at 1:00 and the crowd broke into groups around each easel. After a quick introduction the artists started to address the people around them, painted, and encouraged questions. Some viewers parked next to one artist for most of the four hours, absorbing everything they could, others took a more ala carte approach and skipped around, taking little bits of inspiration from all of them.
Julie Bell worked on an epic fantasy painting with a large cast of characters. She worked with calm confidence, showing her process of carefully utilizing personal reference while adding life to the rendering in the paint.
Rick Berry did four paintings throughout the afternoon in his unplanned improv method — scribbling with the paint and lifting highlights until he found direction in the act of painting. Rick, as usual, was as inspiring as a speaker as he was a painter.
Donato Giancola brought in an under-drawing of a Lord of the Rings scene – Smeagol grabbing a fallen Frodo. Donato answered many questions while he blocked in color on top of color, slowly building up detail from what seemed like chaotic layers.
Greg Manchess began with a loose sketch of a nude figure and created a painterly work, pulling from a history of focused study while letting a frozen moment drop away in favor of creating an impression or memory of that moment. He then moved on to a portrait of “White Album” Paul McCartney.
Boris Vallejo started with a large fantasy drawing of epic proportions, unbelievably getting through much of the painting in four hours, all the while talking and sharing his ideas with those around him. Boris is a true master and never fails to impress everyone around him.
It is a generous thing for the participating artists to do — not only did they volunteer their weekend away, but painting in unfamiliar surroundings, with a hundred new best friends watching, cannot be easy. Art is not typically a spectator sport and artists usually enjoy being left alone to face “ugly stages” and failed experiments. Yet, all five of them did a tremendous job graciously inviting viewers into their process.
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Irene Gallo would like to thank the Society of Illustrators for hosting the event, the participating artists, and all those that attended. Stay tuned for Art Out Loud 8, early next year.