Looking at Illustration: Arthur Getz

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I’ve been looking through the illustrations of Arthur Getz, one of my favorite New Yorker cover artists. Getz painted 213 covers for the iconic magazine between 1938 and 1988. In addition to illustration work, he painted cityscapes and landscapes – ‘fine art’ sold through galleries – although he sometimes signed them with his middle name, Kimmig, because at the time a fine artist was not supposed to cross the line into commercial art.

A particular favorite of mine is his cover from 1957:

Art by Arthur Getz. Prints available through https://condenaststore.com/art/arthur+getz

The moment it captures is utterly American, isn’t it? To the left, the bustling, spangly city with silhouetted crowds in frenetic motion, and in the foreground the relaxed parking attendant, contentedly oblivious to the high life a few blocks behind.

The skill and techniques of this artist make the painting especially appealing to me. The blazing city lights in the distance are warm, but it’s cold moonlight fluorescing down on the garage attendant – that’s the opposite of what you’re taught in painting class! Warm colors are supposed to come forward and cools recede – but Mr. Getz makes this inversion work beautifully. The covers of the magazine our fellow’s reading are slightly brightened with the reflected light bouncing off the pavement – reflected light is a detail that a  master’s eye notes, and novices often overlook. The splashes of neon red far off in the city are balanced by that rusty red wall to our protagonist’s left; there’s even the faintest red haze in the air above the cars in the garage, a delicate touch to offset all that chill October air.

And our attendant’s pose, balancing on the chair – another master stroke.  Let me explain: when you draw a standing figure and you want it to look steady, not tipping over, you draw it so the supersternal notch – that’s the central notch between your left & right collarbone – is directly over the inner ankle of the leg bearing the weight of the body – this makes the figure looks solid.  Well, Mr. Getz has this gent perfectly balanced: if you imagine where his supersternal notch is, and draw a line straight down, it’s directly over the spot where the chair leg bearing the man’s weight touches the pavement. This acrobatic bystander is not going to tip over!

The contrasts in tone all around our nonchalant hero seal the deal for me. After your eyes take in the whole scene, where does your attention go? To the crisp lightning-white page edges of that magazine and that tiny cusp of face and finger illuminated by the October moon. That’s intentional – they are painted with a razor edge and surrounded by blacks and neutral grays to draw your gaze like a pinpoint. The same goes for the swatch of city on the left, the contrast is so high between the yellows and blacks that you can’t not look at them – but even though those marks are skillful, they are vague, to give an impression of buildings and lights. The painting strokes in and around our parked friend’s figure, instead, are descriptive, deliberate and masterful.

There’s sometimes a bit of friction between illustrators and fine artists, over whether illustrations deserve the same esteem that framed paintings are given.  If you ask me, this Garage Nocturne by Arthur Getz could hang in a museum next to Hopper’s Nighthawks any day.

My Cartoon Published

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UPDATE: My cartoons for the New Yorker can be seen here: https://condenaststore.com/art/pat+achilles

I am thrilled to announce that a cartoon I drew and submitted to the prestigious New Yorker magazine back in March has been published in this week’s issue, October 1, 2018.

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a21844

“Sir, we’re getting ready to land–I’m going to need you to slide that under your seat.”

I started reading and chuckling at New Yorker cartoons in high school when my dad introduced its unparalleled humor to me. He and I shared many hours discussing our favorite gags and cartoonists, and, while Dad did land a great cartoon one time in The Saturday Evening Post, he never made it into Eustace Tilley’s grand library. He hoped someday I would. Dad passed away 8 years ago but I have the uncanny feeling he’s been pulling some strings.

Little House on the Main Line

I was commissioned to paint a bridal shower gift recently – a portrait of the little brick home that the happy couple will soon be settling down in. It’s located in one of the charming towns on Philadel-phia’s Main Line, the string of villages that grew up around the Philadelphia Railroad line from the center of the city out to its western suburbs in the 19th century.

My client gave me several photos of the house that were very helpful, and also photos of the couple, since we wanted to depict the newlyweds sitting on their porch.

I started with a basic pencil sketch of the house from the front with the couple on their front porch together.

I drew a tighter but simple sketch of the couple, and then we thought to add their dog into the scene, so my client sent me cute pooch photos.

I tightened up the whole drawing to show to my client before I started painting, and with her approval I transferred the drawing to illustration board and began adding color.

The finished painting is below – it looked great in the frame my client picked, and the bride-to-be was thrilled with her very personalized gift!

Free Classical Gala Music from the Lenape Chamber Ensemble

I was pleased to help the wonderful Lenape Chamber ensemble get some of their delightful music recordings into a format suitable for posting on the internet, and now all can enjoy them for free. I created title screens for introducing each recording and combined the audio and video to make a finished video for their website.

I invite you all to enjoy these pieces, recorded last summer as part of the Lenape Chamber Ensemble Summer Gala Series, including works by Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Beethoven, Haydn, Milhaud, Dvořák, Cherubini, Ravel and Taneyev.

Click HERE to go to their Recordings page and listen to any one of these nine beautiful pieces.

My New Scout Notecards “Trustworthy”

I’m adding a new illustrated notecard to the Scouting items I have in my Etsy store – while I have several popular Eagle Scout cards, this one is an all-occasion card. I drew these cheery scouts alongside the goals of the Scout Law – to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent – to create a notecard that can be used for any occasion, whether to celebrate a rank advancement or merit badge, offer words of encouragement or to thank a mentor, scoutmaster or fellow scout. I first drew this when my son was rising through the ranks toward Eagle Scout, to celebrate the Scout Law in a fun visual way. The notecards make a great gift for a Scout leader too. The cards are blank inside, and all the ordering info is here on my Etsy page.

My artwork is printed in black and white on sturdy card stock, invitation-size, which is 4.25″ wide and 5.5″ high, 8 cards to a box and 8 white envelopes are included. If mailed, the card requires standard first-class postage. As with all my other cards, the cardstock is made from partially recycled paper and the cards are printed in the USA.

If you want to order some and live in the Central Bucks County area, and would like to avoid the shipping charges, please don’t click on the ‘Buy’ button, instead just email me through Etsy, or here on my website Contact page, to see if we can arrange for you to pick up the card in person.

If you want to have a pre-printed message printed on the inside of your cards, or for discounts on quantities greater than 24 cards, just contact me to inquire about pricing.

All images on this card are © Pat Achilles. They may not be used or reproduced without the consent of the artist.

My Fiddling Mouse and PEI Farm on Etsy

I’ve added a few more cheery notecards to Etsy, both hand-illustrated items that you won’t find anywhere but in my Etsy store.

The card below is my dancing and fiddle-playing mouse, part of a series of music-themed illustrations I’ve drawn. The notecards are printed on sturdy glossy card stock and come 8 to a box, with 8 envelopes. If you’d like some to send or give to a musical friend, ordering info is here.

My second card is a watercolor I painted years back, after visiting our friends who owned a lovely farm in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the place where the classic children’s story Anne of Green Gables was set. The red roads and lush countryside of PEI is as real now as when Lucy Montgomery wrote the story in the early 1900s. My original artwork is in full color. This pack of 8 cards and envelopes has cardstock that is made from partially recycled paper and the cards are printed in the USA. Ordering info is here.

Thanks for checking out my original notecards, and while your on Etsy take a look at my other cards for business owners, Scouting and more!

My Fox & Cello Notecards now on Etsy

I’ve added a few cheery notecards to Etsy, some with fun little hand-illustrated critters that you won’t find anywhere but in my Etsy store.

The first is a fox playing a cello, which is part of a series of music-themed illustrations I’ve drawn. Surprisingly, I got an order for these cards all the way from France a while back, from a woman whose daughter loves foxes, and plays the cello. A rare occurrence of me hitting the bullseye! If you’d like some to send or give to a musical friend, they are 8 cards and 8 envelopes in a box, and the ordering info is here.

For my second one below I watercolored a happy little hamster to celebrate the USA, for a notecard to use for thank yous, congratulations or any other noteworthy American occasion. The inside of the card is blank and my original artwork is in full color. This pack of 8 cards and envelopes has cardstock that is made from partially recycled paper and the cards are printed in the USA. Ordering info is here.

I had a request for the third one, it uses a New-Yorker-style cartoon i drew a while back, as a business referral thank you note. The outside shows 3 energetic businesswomen cheering “2! 4! 6! 8!” and on the inside a brief messages reads: “Referrals I appreciate!” with space below for a personal note.Ordering info is here.

I plan to put up a few more notecards soon – thanks for checking them out!

Artistacon Interview: I’ll talk about my art live Thursday morning

The fellows who run the terrific illustration conference Artistacon, Chris Kotsakis and Shaun Stipick, are creating a video archive of illustrator interviews to continue their mission of inspiring and mentoring illustrative art. These video interviews are tied to their ArtistaList project, an helpful online directory of working illustrators. They have asked me to participate and so I’m very happy to announce that the three of us will do a Facebook live stream about my artwork tomorrow, Thursday May 28 starting at 10 a.m.; and another live interview following just after that one, at around 10:45 a.m. on Twitch. I hope you’ll join us! And as soon as it’s ready I’ll post a link to the recorded interview. Here’s the info:

Download My Free Coloring Sheet

A young girl goes on a fantasy adventure under the sea – what will she find? You can download this sheet I drew for FREE, print it out on your printer and color it in. Click the ‘Download’ button below the image.

I’d love to see snapshots of your finished art – you can email them to me at achillesportfolio@gmail.com. Can you make up a story to go with your artwork?