Monday, January 25, 2016

Treasure Island and N.C. Wyeth


In 1911, N.C. Wyeth was approached by Charles Scribners's Sons publishing company to illustrate the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island.  For this commission he was paid, $2,500.  He completed 17 canvases including the cover and end papers.  N.C. loved the work, and painted nine hours a day, relishing in his enthusiasm for the story and Stevenson's words which were written with a "painter's  eye."  Stevenson was a talented painter himself. Treasure Island was meant to be seen.

"Blind Pew," a minor character in the story, is an evil pirate, but my favorite illustration in the book.  The composition, the menace depicted is perfect.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Illustrator or Artist? N.C. Wyeth

"Above the Sea of Round, Shiny Backs the Thin Loops Swirled and Shot into Volumes of Dust."
                                     N.C. Wyeth (1882-1944)

120 Great Paintings of the American West. Dover Publications. Minola, New, York

Illustrator or artist?  The question plagued N.C. all his life.  He is best known as the illustrator of children's classics such as Treasure Island and others. The more he succeeded as an illustrator, the more he was troubled by self-doubt.  "every piece of or work that I turn out is a pain to me because I can see clearly that it is inferior to that great thing that might be done." This quote from the biography, N.C. Wyeth, a biography by David Michaelis.

After reading this biography and seeing more of N.C.'s paintings, I see him as a great artist and will post more of his work in the weeks to come.  The Denver Art Museum is currently exhibiting work by his son, Andrew Wyeth and grandson, Jamie Wyeth.  I don't know of any other American family of artists quite like the Wyeths.  

For a complete description of the difference between illustrators and artists, a fellow blogger,  explains this fully. But you have to look at his October 5, 2011 post.   Thank you!