I donated the two paintings below to Mrs. Kathy Evanilla, a wonderfully passionate librarian who runs the Cleminson Elementary School Library in Temple City, CA. I worked with her in coming up with a painting that would encourage the children at the school to discover the power of reading. So I went to work on the research and the most crucial reference I found came from my girlfriend (an avid reader), when I asked her what she felt when she read a good book. "Sometimes I feel like I'm actually in the story," she said. That explanation became the basis of the painting and it made me feel that it was extremely important to show these kids that reading isn't just about reading words line by line, but it can serve as a doorway to fantastical worlds that only they can imagine.
Magic of Reading #1
24 x 30 in. Acrylic on Canvas. 2012
My intention was to make the composition feel peaceful, and stable, so I made sure to include, rounded, vertical, and horizontal elements. The focus of the painting was the little girl reading on her bed, but I also wanted the castle to be a second read, so I drew a graphic representation or a reference map to remind me where my focus was (see drawing of black rectangle with small white rectangle inside).
The purpose of this painting's warm color palette was to represent a nostalgia of doing homework or reading a nice book later in the day, after a busy, but fun day at school.
Magic of Reading #2
When I was working on the character design for this painting I was contemplating if the kid should turn into a fully armored knight after reading his book. I thought it was a good idea and I even made a mock knight, sprayed with metallic spray paint, and built from a wooden mini-manekin that I would use for reference. I was so excited to render the armor, until it hit me that 99.9% of young boys don't have a full suit of armor that they use to "pretend" to be a knight. At most they probably have a knock off sword and cheap knight's helmet from a toy store. That was the relevant factor to most of these kids and keeping the subject relevant was the key to making these kids believe that they could be like the kid in the painting. Yes they only had a few cheap toys to make them look like a knight, but through reading, they could definitely feel like one.... they could possibly fight dragons too.