If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (yes, I have finally joined the Insta crowd) you have already seen some of this work, but for everyone else, here’s a little update. If Picasso Painted a Snowman was written by my wife Amy after a visit to the Picasso museum in Paris where she wondered what snowman painting by Picasso might look like.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update
Picasso’s Snowman- By Greg Newbold

That thought generated the idea for the book and expanded to ask the same question about more than a dozen other artists. What might all these snowmen look like? Well, this book answers all those tough questions! At least it will answer the question of how I might paint a whole bunch of snowmen, attempting to do so in the style of each of the artists mentioned in the book. It’s been so much fun to work with Amy to make her vision of this book a reality.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update
Mondrian’s Snowman- By Greg Newbold

If you don’t like snowmen, we have thrown in a cute hamster to act as museum guide. This book has been a blast so far and also a lot of stress. The timeline for production has been compressed to just over two months painting time. I did all the sketches in early December and then had to bust out a big project that took the better part of a month. I’m scrambling to get all the paintings done and hopefully do them justice. You can’t imagine how challenging (and fun) it is to change stylistic gears every painting unless you have attempted it. Switching gears each piece has required a lot of homework. I have studied up on the materials and techniques of each of the artists before painting each piece.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update
Pollock’s Snowman- by Greg Newbold

Some concessions have been made for each piece for practicality or necessity. The time crunch is a factor here. For instance, Jackson Pollock used an oil based house enamel called Duco for his paintings. I opted for  a more affordable and faster drying latex house paint.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update
O’Keefe’s Snowman- by Greg Newbold

Georgia O’Keefe her works at a monumental scale. Covering so much real estate was not in the cards on this deadline, so I painted my version about fourteen inches high rather than four feet.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update
Lichtenstein’s Snowman- by Greg Newbold

My version of a Roy Lichtenstein snowman was created digitally. I saw no other practical way to create the Ben Day dot patterns by hand and I think the digital version looks adequately passable. The cover and all the little hamster character spots are black Prismacolor drawings scanned into Photoshop and colored using some awesome watercolor Photoshop brushes from Brandon Dorman.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman- Progress Update

I’m pleased how much these brushes and textures look like hand done watercolor. I continue to be impressed with the pace of digital artists’ ability to make pixels look like and behave like natural media. Click in the photo to see the texture a little closer. and click Brandon’s link above to get your own set. I am now over halfway done with the project but the next few weeks will be a real challenge, as I have a couple of other assignments in the hopper also. I’ll post more as I get closer to finishing this.

The book will be released this fall through Tilbury House Publishers, just in time for Picasso’s birthday and all your Christmas giving!

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