Robert Rodriguez fineartprintsca

The art and interests of Robert Rodriguez

Tag: Painting

Who Is Responsible For This?

I don’t know if it would be the Production Designer or the Director of Photography or the Director himself, but someone is doing a lot of research from a lot of different sources before they make a film.  These are only a couple of the things I have noticed recently.



When I work, I watch videos…or listen to them mainly.  I occasionally look up at the screen, and that’s when I spotted these frames.  Sherlock Holmes, the one with Robert Downey Jr….He’s in a garret and there is a scene of him sitting by the bed, no question…The Death of Chatterton by Henry Wallis from 1856!  The window even has the same number of panes and a very similar handle.



What symbolism attaches, I really can’t figure out except that Chatterton was an unappreciated poet, as Holmes was under-appreciated for his skills?  Probably more for just artistic reasons than anything else.



The other had a less obvious connection, but Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Donald Sutherland has the family sitting in the background while one of the sisters writes a letter.  They are all illuminated by the fireplace light, a very chiaroscuro effect.  Because of the dramatic lighting and shadows and also because of Donald Sutherland’s hair, immediately paintings by Wright of Derby came to mind.  He would’ve been painting in the late 1700’s while Pride and Prejudice takes place a little later, at the turn of the century.  Though the scene isn’t taken from either of Joseph Wright’s paintings here, I think you can see the similarities in lighting and composition.





Always fun to find the inspirations behind various images.

I Am In Love With Eve


We visited Berlin, Vienna, Prague and London on our recent vacation.  Amazing art in every city, amazing architecture on every block, amazing life-changing experiences in every country.  We saw Gustave Klimt paintings and ceiling decorations in Vienna, we saw huge, wall-sized paintings by Hans Makart who was Klimt’s mentor, we saw incredible architecture by Otto Wagner, beautiful animal sculpture by Rembrandt Bugatti (brother of the auto maker), and the epic-sized Slav Epic paintings by Alphons Mucha.  We even saw The Lady of Shalott by J.W.Waterhouse in the Tate Britian and visited Lord Leighton’s home and studio. But of all the mind-blowing art and architecture, the one that absolutely changed my life was a painting called, “Eve” by Solomon Joseph Solomon.  I had never even heard his name before seeing his work.

There it was, a very large painting about 10 feet tall, in a room of other large paintings by great artists, and the one that I just couldn’t leave, was “Eve.”  I could’ve sat there until they turned the lights out, but there were other people involved, and other things to do, sigh….How can someone so amazing, be so little known?  When I told a friend about the painting, he pulled out a book with Solomon Joseph Solomon’s work on the cover, and we had an instant connection.  He was a secret lover of Eve too.  I wonder how many of us there are out there?

My Bouguereau/Leighton Period

Here is my painting hanging high at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park a few weeks ago.  I didn’t get to go, but a friend took the photo.  The show was hung Academy style, and they actually needed a tall ladder to get it down at the end of the show.  The guy that took this is about 6’4″, so you can get an idea.  I think binoculars should have been standard issue on entering the gallery!

This painting is San Gabriel VAlleygory and depicts the spirit of the valley.  It is 24″ x 48″ without the frame.

San Gabriel VAlleygory

San Gabriel VAlleygory

Frederic Lord Leighton’s Flaming June

Don’t be confused by the Old-Fashioned Cocktail, this is the actual painting.

Sir Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June

Old Fashioned Flaming June

Old Fashioned Flaming June

Lord Leighton painted what is probably his most recognized painting in 1895.  By 1960, Victorian painting was considered very old-fashioned and when this painting was put up for auction, it didn’t even meet its reserve price of $140!!!  I am sure that within 6 years, it would’ve been appreciated by all of the poster artists of San Francisco, but in 1963, Luis A. Ferré, a Puerto Rican industrialist and politician, was on a buying trip for a museum he had founded in Puerto Rico when he discovered the painting in a gallery in Amsterdam.  He purchased it for $1000 because of the low interest in art from that period.  But I keep thinking, if I had just washed a few more cars, and mowed a few more lawns, I could have bought it at that auction for $140…I guess it is better off in Puerto Rico.


The Lady in Red

Someone noticed the mention in the last post of the lady in the red dress being a big favorite, and wondered why it was that she had to go.  Sometimes as you work on a painting or the design for a painting, you fall in love with a section and you do everything possible to not destroy that area.  Sometimes it is a brushstroke, a color, a pose, or even the way you painted a certain part of the picture.  But the more you work on it, you realize you are trying to force everything to fit with that bit, to the detriment of the whole.  Then you have to decide to kill your favorite child for the good of the family.  Sorry to be so brutal, but it does feel that way at times.  It is hard to come to the realization that you can’t sacrifice everything for that one area, no matter how much you love it.  It is so difficult that I usually delay the inevitable and try to make excuses, but finally I’ll have to come around.  Besides, with the lady in red, I can try to fit her into next year’s poster and she might be perfect at that time.

In this case her posture was so low that she couldn’t fill the space strongly enough to demand the attention I felt the central figure needed.  I tried making her bigger, but she was more of a horizontal shape and wound up being cropped too tightly.  That’s when it became obvious that what the composition called for was a more vertical pose.  This became the center of focus and the surrounding people became the background elements.

Painting a picture for me is a journey.  Originally I start out thinking, “This is going to be the greatest painting I have ever done.”  Somewhere along the way, I have to admit that I might have painted better things before, but this can still be one of the better ones.  I still don’t give up trying though.  And that’s where the “lucky accidents” come in.  Here I am, trying this, trying that, when all of a sudden something wonderful happens.  I go, “Wow!” Now the painting has direction, now it is starting to work.  Now almost everything I do to it only adds to making it even better.  Once that “lucky accident” occurs, the painting just marches on to completion with no false steps to mislead it.  So I suppose you could call it an Aha! Moment,  a Flash of Inspiration, or a Leap of Faith, but whatever it is, it definitely isn’t me controlling it.  It just happens, and then everything falls into place and I suddenly know where to go from there.

An artist can paint a picture strictly based on knowledge and skill, and it will be a very competent painting, but I don’t believe it will have any soul until that “lucky accident” happens.   At least that’s the way it works for me.

The Lady in Red

Evolution of the Tales of the Cocktail poster 2013

Hopefully, this isn’t too much like pulling aside the curtain to expose the Wizard.  I was just aiming to provide an interesting peek at the path this year’s poster took along the way.  I was putting in old photos, parts of vintage illustrations, and very rough scribbles to start thinking about the direction I wanted to take the art.  As things progressed, I would get one little section working, or one shape, or an area of color, and keep it in mind for the next step in the painting.

Originally in the development there didn’t seem to be any focus, just a scene of a group of people.  The lady in the red dress in the second sketch was a big favorite and stayed around in my layouts for a long time (versions you don’t see here).  But eventually she had to go, a more dominant figure emerged, and I knew I was on the right track.  You can see the color was starting to evolve as well.  I always think it is interesting how lucky accidents occur in the making of a picture, things you expand on until the whole piece is working much better than it was when you started.  I’ve heard stories of artists who know what they are going to do before the first brushstroke hits the canvas.  That has never been my way, though if it were possible, it would make things a lot easier.  My method is to move in little steps until I finally realize it is finished.  Step-by-step discovery, where the painting points the way as it evolves to completion.


Tales of the Cocktail poster, 2013

The Gatsby Era.  The Roaring Twenties.  The Jazz Age went bopping right along until the 1930’s, by which time things took a little break for the Depression.  But some might question whether New Orleans has ever let up and Tales of the Cocktail seems to confirm that.

So, in keeping with this year’s theme at the awards dinner, the poster expresses this era in an Art Deco style as well as by depicting some of the classic cocktails of the day.  We have the Mint Julep, the Rickey, the Corpse Reviver, and the El Presidente.  Out on the town with a few classy ladies and gentlemen in the Vieux Carré of old New Orleans, living it up at a balcony bar setting, drinking it in with the music and the spirits, we are looking down on Bourbon Street while late night revelers make their way home in the wee hours before the dawn.

The poster is printed on 80# glossy cover stock with a special UV coating to protect it from fading, dust and moisture.  It comes to you signed by the artist, in a sturdy mailing to insure against damage during shipping.

Print size is:  19″ x 30″
Poster is $30.00
Shipping is $6.00
Total: $36.00