Monday, June 08, 2009

June 8, 2009
Went home for lunch and finished a couple of miniatures. These are scraps from leftover watercolor paper that some vendor (I can't remember who!) binds in little booklets and sells for remainder prices. I don't know if it's because they're small (scanned at actual size), or, the fact that it's throwaway paper, but I have been getting some very sweet effects off this stuff:

The dusk image was inspired by the PBS shoot on Middlemarch Road, near Tombstone, a couple weeks ago. There I was without my sketchbook, so I just had my eyeballs to record the whole sunset, and all the attendant effects from the blue fade on the Rincons to the gradual darkening of the foreground. The other one turned into a little crumbling ghost town, hard along a high desert river (this is total osmosis and no planning, it just became what it is as I let the paint go where it seemed to want to go).

I also salvaged another board out of the reject pile this weekend that turned into another Storm Rider:

I finally got to see Yojimbo on Sunday. This is the classic Kurosawa samurai film that Sergio Leone and friends poached to make A Fistful of Dollars. I have known about it forever but had never seen it. The Netflix review describes it as "darkly comic" and I would agree. Some of it is dated, but all in all, it is a strong Western. Akira Kurosawa worshipped John Ford and even went so far as to dress like him (especially after they met). And, of course, Hollywood ripped off another Kurosawa classic Seven Samurai, which became The Magnificent Seven.

The other thing I love about Kurosawa is that he was an artist and he personally storyboarded all of films, taking extra pain to paint the big set pieces. This made me very happy to read.

"Good Westerns are liked by everyone. Since humans are weak, they want to see good people and great heroes. Westerns have been done over and over again, and in the process a kind of grammar has evolved. I have learned much from this grammar of the Western."
—Akira Kurosawa

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