By Justin Gerard. Featuring the work of Annie Stegg Gerard.
Every year around this time, I find myself drawing images inspired by tax season. You work all year to bring in a good harvest, and just when you’ve finally got everything stored up and stashed away…. a dragon comes to steal it all.
Annie and I were talking about this theme of dragons plundering the harvest, and we thought it would be fun to each do our own sketch based on the idea and compare them. When we were finished we were surprised to see how different our takes on the subject were, but found those differences to be really interesting and fun. So for this post and the next I am going to be sharing our separate ideas for “Plundering Dragons”. Today’s post will be Annie’s idea, and we will cover mine in the next.
One of the first and most obvious things we discovered is that Annie and I think of mythical animals very differently. She sees them as lovable, adorable little imps; nature spirits to be cared for and loved. Whereas I see them as a pestilential afflictions to be destroyed, or at the very least, controlled. (Perhaps this is a reflection of how we see our actual pets here at home… I love our pets by the way, I’m just certain that if they were just a little larger, they would hunt, kill and eat me.)
For Annie’s painting, she chose to work in traditional oils on an 8″ x 10″ inch, gesso-primed, MDF panel. She uses a variety of synthetic brushes, usually holding two at a time; one pristine new brush for sharp details and one ruined brush for rough texture. She uses M. Graham’s Walnut Alkyd Oil as a medium and no solvents.
When I look at the dragon in Annie’s painting I find myself reflexively saying to our dog, “drop it! You drop it this instant!” But you can see the care and love that she pours into the little creature as she paints it. I know if she found this thing on our doorstep, she would feed it and it would be living with us the next day. (And I know it would look at her with pure love in it’s eyes… and at me with, ‘if I were only a little bigger, I’d eat you,’ in it’s eyes…)
Annie’s oil painting of Stolen Harvest will be available on auction starting March 19th on EveryDayOriginal.com.
Sneak Preview: For my next post I will be showing my version of the same theme, which you can probably already see is just a touch more ominous…
I’m sure your pets would kill and eat you now if they didn’t think it was easier to have *you* feed them instead ?
haha! Probably true…
Love seeing the different responses to the same idea (or commission, etc.)..always fascinating –the differences between us all.
Can’t wait to see your finished piece, Justin!
Fun to read and with awesome eye candy! Really wish revenue services were as cute & cheeky as that little dragon, but alas … think your version will hit home more accurately.
Really beautifully painted! Fruit as mouth watering as Caravaggio’s and the lady is painted with such a soft glow. Very well done!
No solvent during paint, check, but how are the brushes cleaned after?
Awesome post, looking forward to the next one!
Hey Nico, I owe this trick to Petar Meseldzija, but you just take a regular old kitchen glove and a bar of soap and clean them out under the tap. It gets all the paint out and is much healthier for your brushes than solvent. If there is any really stubborn oil in there you can loosen it with a little safflour oil first. But we’ve been cleaning with no solvent for years.
When there is cooking oil on dishes, pans and what have you, how do you clean it? With soap / dishwashing liquid of course!
Always thought that using soap after oil painting was the most logical approach, so thank you for confirming this!
Such a beautiful painting by Annie. Bring on the ominous Sir Justin.
Thanks Paul! (on behalf of Annie, who says hi!)
This is another Annie’s terrific artwork. So lovely, so beautiful. As usual. Thank you, Annie, very much.
Absolutely breathtaking work Annie! Your paintings always feel like long lost master works only found just now.I love the soft warm light how you illuminated the face and casted soft shadows on the hands.
If I may ask, how do you guys make such realistic dragons? What can a student like me do to train myself to draw dragons to this caliber? I understand how you can draw a portrait, animal or fruit realistically, you can find reference of it in real life and draw from it, And there are many methods like loomis, the Reilly rythems and bridgeman to draw figures in a procedural way, but what I don’t get is how people like you guys can draw a dragon as real as the things as whats in front of you? And its clearly not ,in both of your cases, a mash up of animals, it may have feathers of a bird or scales of a fish, but the anatomy and “soul” of it is clearly a dragon.
I’m eager to see your final Justin, the thumbnails looks very promising!
I hear you on the subject of pets, Justin. We had two wonderful dog, Keeshonds. If you don’t know the breed they look like fuzzy gray foxes with a raccoon mask and stand about knee high. Great dogs. I was play fighting with the larger one in our back yard one day and she was snarling and jumping at me all in fun. But the thought occured to me, “If this came running at me in the woods I’d shoot it!” Good thing we really can’t have dragons as pets. This was a fun post and I look forward to the next one. Also to seeing you in KC.