Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Few Words About the Christmas Cards

Pete Emslie asks re the bell-rope friar:

... interesting with the textures. I'm guessing that Ralph pressed a piece of canvas into the paint on the robe while it was still wet, then touched it up with a few highlights and creases. Steve, do you know whether this one is done in acrylic or gouache? I'm guessing acrylic.

According to the last living authority on the subject (Ralph's wife, my mother), the cards were created as follows:

Ralph used opaque water colors (a.k.a. gouache) from the Disney studio's paint lab -- the same paint that was used for Disney animated feature backgrounds. He would paint many of the cards at lunch while at the studio, others at home. As for the texture on the friar's robe, Ralph did that with a sponge ...

I've said this before, but I'll repeat it here: Dad was incredibly efficient with a paint brush. As a kid, I would watch him paint a watercolor out in the field in an hour, a far-from-simple watercolor. And he could turn out Disney production backgrounds at an incredible clip. It wasn't at all unusual for him to complete his week's quota by Wednesday or early Thursday, and then work on his Christmas cards.

Speed and dexterity tend to increase when you pursue your craft seven days a week, seven to twelve hours per day.


Anonymous said...

Thanks again for posting them, and thanks to your mom for the background info.

Anonymous said...

uh oh. Possibly using Disney's paint. Does that mean that Disney owns the said Christmas cards? :)

I was told to not even use a disney pencil for my personal projects if I wanted to retain ownership. ::rolling eyes::

Steve Hulett said...

Since the cards were done thirty-five to sixty years ago, and since some of the paint on some of the cards was Mr. Hulett's, I doubt it.

Besides, the statute of limitations on stolen paint would have long-ago run out.

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