Court Jones Blog
Traditional Corporate Christmas Card 
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 10:20 AM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
Right after the Pacific Magazine cover, I began work on another traditionally wrought subject--this time for a high-end shoe manufacturer. He wanted me to create an illustration that looks like it could have been done in the 1950s or '60s, but featuring his shoe brand. We had these printed on a few hundred greeting cards and shipped out to his retailers.

Gathering the photo reference for this presented some challenges. Namely, I couldn't think of anyone to pose for me who has a real vintage look in their faces and hairstyles. It's hard to explain, but I think people just looked different back then. At least the types of people you saw in ads and movies had certain characteristic traits. So I shot photos of the models in costume, along with the props in a living room setting with consistent lighting and then found some vintage stock photography of models faces from mid-century. The faces gave me particular problems, because I had to change the lighting and angles slightly to make them seem to fit on the bodies in that scene. I ended up totally repainting the mother and father's faces once each because they didn't quite work the first time.

Also, the dog I photographed was a completely different breed. But the client really wanted a chocolate lab puppy.

This was drawn in pencil on smooth bristol and then painted in Photoshop.




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A Magazine Cover for Christmas 
Sunday, December 04, 2011, 09:40 PM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
I recently finished an illustration for the Dec. 2011 cover of Pacific San Diego Magazine. This was a job I was really excited to do, because I don't often get asked to create a traditional/non-caricature illustration. They wanted something along the lines of a Norman Rockwell, but with a modern San Diego setting. And with a hot girl, of course. So I started sketching ideas by thinking about Christmas time in San Diego and how our climate and landscape might make for a different kind of yuletide image than we are used to seeing. I also referenced a book I have on Haddon Sundblom's classic Santa/Coca-Cola advertising art to study how Santa is traditionally depicted.



I chose the backdrop of the Hotel del Coronado, because it's one of our few really well-known San Diego icons, and the beach idea seemed appropriate. Once I had the setting and background in mind, I tried to place myself in the moment and figure out how someone might celebrate the holiday season in that environment. So the idea of the sand-snow man came to mind. The Hotel del usually has standard white Christmas lights on it's main cone shaped tower every December, but I thought it also looks a bit like a Christmas tree already, so I took those decorations a step further.

And then I figured if Santa were here, he would do as most tourists do and take advantage of the warm weather and beaches. Oh, and he would definitely surf.



Since I knew this would be a realistic traditionally drawn illustration, I took my own photo reference for almost everything and tried to do things "right", which included, photographing the location, buying/borrowing props and wardrobe, and hiring models. I drew everything out in pencil on a large board, but the painting itself was painted digitally with Photoshop, and a little bit of Art Rage Studio for the impasto paint effects.

I also did a few comic panels in ink and watercolor for the inside pages of the magazine, which you can view entirely online here: Pacific San Diego Magazine - December 2011






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Shiny Things 
Monday, October 17, 2011, 08:38 PM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
Here's a couple recent small still life studies. I love painting metallic surfaces, both shiny and patinated. And I've been wanting to start painting vintage toys for a while. The problem is, you have to find and collect them first! So here's the first one I found at Comic Con.





And a little vessel I found at a consignment shop.


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Breaking in a new canvas 
Wednesday, September 07, 2011, 09:40 AM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
I've been using Claessen's Belgian oil primed linen for my fine art work for the past few years. It's the canvas of choice of many artists I admire like Jeremy Lipking and Morgan Weistling. And it is pretty great to paint on. But it's really tough to stretch since it's so rigid, and for some reason, it doesn't like to adhere to hardboards very well with any type of glue that I've tried. It either bubbles up in places, or the edges peel away. So I decided to try something new.

I ordered a small sample of Raphael oil primed linen and did this little oil sketch below to take it for a test drive. I immediately noticed it's more slick than the Claessen's. Paint doesn't stick to it as well, initially. But that actually can be a bonus, when you begin a painting; a little goes a long way. You can easily spread color around and block in the big shapes quickly, without much resistance. But then, more effort is required to get thicker paint to stay in place as you go along. Needless to say, my soft Langnickle sable brushes were my primary tools. I used some stiff bristle brushes at the end to lay down the thickest areas. But I couldn't use the bristles very much, because they ended up removing more paint than they laid down on that slick surface.

This Raphael canvas adheres really well to boards, and it is more flexible and easier to stretch than the Claessen's. So I went ahead and ordered the whole role of Raphael. And there's a lot of it, so I'll be using it for quite a while. And I do like the finished look of the surface--the way the paint interacts with this linen's weave.

This 8 x 10" study was done from a book of Steve McCurry portrait photos.


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A new illustration for The Night and Day 
Friday, February 25, 2011, 07:11 PM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
The San Diego Union Tribune had me do a new illustration for their story on Oscar picks. I did this one in oils on gessoed panel. And before beginning, I decided to try to change up my illustration style a little bit. I wanted to simplify the process and use clean but painterly strokes. Dan Adel was my source of inspiration here, both compositionally and stylistically.

The painting shows Colin Firth from The King's Speech and Natalie Portman from Black Swan. Natalie's likeness was elusive. And when I finally got a sketch I liked, I found that once the Swan makeup is on her, it really camouflages her likeness anyway. And there didn't seem to be any way around it. If you look at the original Black Swan movie poster, it's pretty much impossible to tell who she is even in that. And that is a photo! So I thought I'd have a little fun with her and give her the crazy eyes from the end of the movie.

I don't know if I'll continue to paint in this simplified manner. But it is always a good exercise to experiment with your technique to try and figure out what works for you and what doesn't.







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