“Mason’s Island”, Acrylic on maple panel, 15″x 15″
I have always felt that there would be a conflict between my illustration and painting. Actually, they have both been made stronger. Each approach lends itself to discovery, simple experimentation (in my case) and using parts of your brain that you typically don’t often get to use. But they work for each other, instead of against each other in a positive way – at least in my case. Sure – you’ll screw up every so often but working on your own work will create an interior freedom and conceptual dialogue that’s hard to come by any other way. Those of you that have more free time than established busy professionals… take heart. Now is the time to develop and give yourself challenges to accomplish before you get established in the industry. If you fall flat on your face, no one will hear your head hit the pavement. Pick yourself up , dust off your clothes and move on. Do what you want to do – it’s all at your whim. This can be a rare and wonderful time in you career. As we know that goes for established professionals too ( See Donato’s and David Palumbo’s previous posts on personal work).
Often I describe illustration as having everything, all elements, visually turned up to eleven on the art amplifier. That being said, there are many illustrators that have a very subtle technique and conceptual approaches. Now that I have that covered…. When creating personal work, you have a chance to fool around will the EQ, amplitude or even the pitch of an image. Doing personal work will give you that opportunity to listen and develop your own internal voice. In essence you are the art director. I’m not saying – do an illustration. Do a piece of art with no thought of type placement or where does the authors name go… just paint. Creating personal work can be a monastic and almost spiritual in nature. Finding new creative layers within yourself can be surprising and liberating. How you choose to develop and at what pace will only get better and increase when the effort comes from your heart with sincerity and authentic inspiration.
“Discipline breeds freedom”.
My examples shown here are not earthshaking or groundbreaking in any way. The drawings and paintings are just another foray into the dark. These are quiet attempts. In fact I don’t see them as complete visual statements. They are somewhat malformed but they are a way of keeping my hands busy. These are artistic wanderings… they do however serve to gestate concepts and explore new avenues. They may and have led to new ventures and artistic opportunities.
I can’t stress the importance of keeping a sketchbook. I have noticed that when I don’t sketch or develop personal concepts my work and attitude are lessened. I am guilty of not drawing enough in my sketchbooks. So I yell at myself internally, and yes, sometimes even out loud. Pardon my noise.
Below are a few things I’ve been working on.
Dress Form Study #1 Pencil
Dress Form Study #2, Pencil
Dress Form Study #3, Pencil
Dress Form, Acrylic on birch panel, 31.27″ x 24″
“Sharon’s Bell” (detail), Acrylic on board, 30″ x 33″
John Jude Palencar is a rarity among modern artists, mixing meticulous technique reminiscent of the old masters with a soaring, darkly surreal imagination. There are touches of Bosch and Da Vinci in his visual allegories of netherworld landscapes and doomed characters.
For more than twenty-five years, he has created book covers and received honors for his contributions to the field of illustration including Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, two Gold Book Awards from Spectrum, and four Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA). Most recently John was presented the award for “Artistic Achievement” by ASFA at the World Fantasy Convention held in Yokohama, Japan.
His work has appeared on hundreds of book covers in over thirty countries for authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, P.D. James, Charles deLint, David Brin and Stephen King. Recently, his cover paintings for Eragon and Eldest, by Christopher Paolini, have appeared on the New York Times Children’s Best Seller List. (Paolini named Eragon’s birthplace “Palancar Valley” after John.)
Time, Smithsonian, and National Geographic Magazine, and the Philadelphia Opera have employed his illustrative talents for their publications and productions. Palencar has also worked on entertainment projects for Lucas Arts, Paramount Pictures and Vivendi Universal.
He enjoys an on-going artist-in-residence program in County Kerry, Ireland, where his personal paintings were included in a special exhibit entitled, “Images of Ireland” held at the National Museum in Dublin.
He continues to create new work and has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Occasionally John is invited to lecture and serve as an artist-in-residence at colleges and universities across the country.
He resides in northeastern Ohio with his wife, Lee, and two sons, Ian and Kit.