Thursday, March 11, 2010

eyvind earle

I don't really consider myself a huge Disney fan, not like some people (I know one 30-something man who hits the Magic Kingdom 3 or 4 times yearly - without the wife and kids), so when this exhibit came to town, Rich and I thought we'd take the kids for their sake, not so much for our own. I guess we've become jaded by the commercialism and general gagginess of our princess-saturated market, to the point that we forgot just how much genius went into making the classic Disney films so, well, classic.

Okay, so we were wrong and you should totally go check it out if you're anywhere near New Orleans while this exhibit lasts and you have an interest in the creative process. It was great.

I was already a fan of the fabulous Mary Blair, so seeing her original sketches and paintings up close and in person was a treat. (By the way, Disney has recently released Blair's iconic concept art in the form of  storybooks retold by current authors - CinderellaPeter Pan (those mermaids!) and Alice in Wonderland.)
Even better, though, was discovering Eyvind Earle, background artist and creative director for Sleeping Beauty. Okay, so I've seen Sleeping Beauty at least half a dozen times and never really noticed the scenery all that much. But, again, seeing those hand drawn cels in person! Dreamy. I especially love the botanical details (me = former plant geek). Earle had a modern sensibility that made his art really striking for its day. (From what I gather, that didn't win him the affection of some of his more traditional fellow illustrators. Boo.)



Larissa Holland said...

believe it or not, I have gaped at the woodland scenery in Sleeping Beauty and wondered who did all that great work. It is really beautiful! The colors, the way light is treated, the unusual shapes, all the layering. Genius. I love your first shot with the squared off trees. I had never heard of Eyvind Earle, but I'm going to google him now.

Robyn said...

I actually had a lot more to say, but did some serious editing before posting. No reason everyone should be subjected to my totally geeked out Eyvind love fest.

So, since you are interested, please do Google him. He also worked on Paul Bunyan (I looove his village scenes!) and The Last Unicorn.

(btw, Larissa, I can't believe I "discovered" an artist before you. I'm reveling in this once-in-a-lifetime moment.)

Kaye Prince said...

Oh yes! Sleeping Beauty has always been one of my favourites because of Eyvind Earle's imagery - it's gorgeous! I believe they talk about the scenery images in the special features on the Sleeping Beauty special edition DVD and I seem to remember that there might even be some footage of Eyvind Earle.

I'm definitely going to have to check out the Mary Blair illustrated books, they really look neat!

Robyn said...

Kaye - oooh, I may have to dig up a special edition and check out the extras. Thanks! (slapping my forehead at not having noticed this stuff before...)

Larissa Holland said...

I googled. It is interesting to note all the unrest he caused with the Sleeping Beauty animation artists, who had to revamp their style of animation to match his backgrounds after they had already developed a softer, more rounded Sleeping Beauty. Despite the trouble it caused, I'm glad he stuck to his guns.
I had to comment, because the word verification is 'sucki'. ha.

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