Monday, December 31, 2012

Drawing in Church

I know, I know, I should be paying attention but sometimes it's easy to sketch people around you in church. Often you are provided with paper and a ballpoint pen is never far away.  The sketches are always small and fast but they are fun to look at later. I mostly have sketches of the backs of heads!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Artist's Guide to Sketching

In the early 1990s I was working for a grocery company making many hand drawn, cut and painted signs using fomecore board , Crayola markers (off of the shelf) , giant Pilot sign markers and Design Master floral spray paint. I routinely travelled to about 15 different stores with a case of fomeboard and my bag of markers and made whatever signs each store needed for displays and promotions. You could tell when I was in a store by the smell of the markers and spraypaint!

One day, during a lunch break, I stopped at a yard sale and some painter was selling many nice art books.  One that attracted me was The Artist's Guide to Sketching by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade and what a prize it turned out to be!  I had never heard of either artist but their generous information and practical instruction allowed me to learn things that had seemed out of my reach prior to that. I started carrying a sketchbook all of the time and enjoying the world in  new way. Later I was introduced to the Dinotopian art of James Gurney and to the nostalgic images of Thomas Kinkade.
Now James Gurney carries on his great tradition of learning and sharing n his wonderful blog, GurneyJourney.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Clown White

Wow! What do they put in "Clown White"?
The picture below is of me about 30 years ago. The picture below that is me today with the same can of Clown White I used in the early picture. It still smells the same too! I love grease paint!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fred Banbury

When I was a kid I happened to spot a copy of Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful in a downtown news stand. I was struck by the creepy, gloomy haunted house on the cover with Alfred Hitchcok's likeness on it. Eventually I checked the book out from the library and was 
mesmerized by the moody, scary, suspenseful illustrations throughout the book. The artist was Fred Banbury. Mr. Banbury seems to be most known for his artwork in the Paddington Bear children's books but I was forever influenced by his spooky subjects done in watercolor washes and pen & ink with heavy, black pencil textures and stark highlights in chalk or white pencil.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Recent Haunted House

 Here is a recent house I "haunted" for some friendly folks in Pennsylvania. They furnished me with some pictures of the farm house taken with their iPhone and provided me with a list of creatures and items  they  wanted to be in the painting, it was a fun assignment. This is watercolor on watercolor paper.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Winter Halloween Tree

I get a lot of inspiration from Ray Bradbury's short stories and books

A Winter Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree

Multicolored Halloween Tree
All 3 Images Copyright 2013 by John Randall York

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Crowns of the Three Wise Men

The crowns on the left were my first successful giftware design. They were produced by Faroy, a company in Houston, Texas. I wanted to design Christmas decorations that people would collect and cherish.
I was proud of these because they sold as a set and were Christmas tree ornaments. This is a scan from a 1990 Neiman Marcus catalog that featured them.
The crowns below were Limoges boxes I designed, they were supposed to be famous crowns of great kingdoms. I liked the fact they were produced as a collectible group of three and I thought of them as Christmas decorations, as the crowns of the "Three Kings". 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Giftware

I  used to spend a lot of time contacting giftware companies and selling my designs. These little pictures are from a sketchbook I kept for a particular client. I would sketch several ideas and she would, sort of, shop from the sketches and focus on what she wanted to develope.
The Santas in the sketch didn't go very far but the tiny elves eventually became Limoges porcelain boxes that sold very well.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Ghost Stories


Anton Pieck was a Dutch illustrator who lived from 1895 to 1987. Pieck made some beautiful illustrations for Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". His work is described as "nostalgic" and "fairytale-like".  He was also responsible for designing most of the fairytale park Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, the largest  theme park in the Netherlands.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Old Chilton House

 My name is John Randall York. I'm a an artist and illustrator.  If you get to know me you'll see how much I love "Haunted Houses", ghost stories and old fairytale illustrations from the 1950s and 1960s especially.

 In September I stretched a pretty big canvas (5 x 8 feet) and began painting a "Haunted Dream Home". That's a picture of it on the left, "The Old Chilton House".

I didn't have a plan in mind besides the thought of a creepy haunted mansion so for a couple of monthes I built my haunted house in oil!  It was a real treat and I truly missed hanging out at the Old Chilton House when I finished.  I am planning to make one a little larger now, either 5 1/2 x 10 or 12 feet horizontal or perhaps a 5 by 9 (or 10) ft vertical!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope you have a great Christmas and Holiday season!