|Mr. Armitage speaking to our group before the show opening.*|
First a bit of background: Originally from Australia, Frank was inspired by the work of Mexican muralists and moved to Mexico in 1949 to pursue painting. He worked with David Alfaro Siquieros and Diego Rivera, among others. Frank still produces astounding murals today for Disney and private homes. You can see his current work, and his wife Karen’s work, on their website.
After moving to Los Angeles, Frank worked at Walt Disney Studios on the animation and backgrounds of feature films such as Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book. He was also a part of Disney Imagineering and went on to later become a noted medical illustrator. What an amazing career!
Frank’s paintings and drawings vibrate with energy! Some of the themes that his work explores in this show are the West, exotic animals, Mexican peasants and paintings inspired by the novel “Water for Elephants”.
These two paintings, “Market Woman” and “Turkey Vendor”, show a definite influence from the time Frank spent in Mexico. His work is very bold and eye-catching from across a room.
This piece entitled “Indian Woman” was one of the many loose pieces of art that was for sale and was by far my favorite. Every time I look at it I see something new. I am in love with the way Frank plays the cool shadows against the hot tones of the light source. The texture is mesmerizing.
Again, I have to say I did my best to capture these works of art with my iPhone. They are all even more astounding in person!
One of the most interesting quotes to me from Frank is this:
As an illustrator with a tight style, I know I sometimes over think things when I’m in the planning stages of a painting and that frustrates me. My best work comes when I just start working and strive to keep things loose, then the creative process takes over and the painting creates itself.
Another thing a lot of artists contemplate when painting is creating a consistent style, yet in the work Frank displays in this show, it looks like he has a couple different styles. Here’s what he had to say about that: