THE CLIFFS OF FRAZETTA
He'd paint them on the right side of the picture:
...and then for variety he'd paint them on the left side of the picture:
And on days when he was feeling ambitious he'd paint cliffs on both sides of the picture:
To be daring, he was actually known to substitute a skyscraper for one of the two cliffs:
When it came time for a change, he might make cliffs in pen and ink:
Frazetta lived in a land of cliffs that no geologist would ever recognize. Apparently he felt that cliffs added drama to his pictures. They conveyed brinksmanship, a place where the hero's back was to the wall with no retreat.
Some of Frazetta's cliffs were less successful than others. For example, this one seems hopelessly overworked to me:
The technique may be dazzling, but Frazetta seems to have become so mesmerized by his ability to make pretty lines that he lost control of the drawing.
The more he labored to depict individual cracks and crevices and pebbles in his cliffs, the less substantial and persuasive the cliffs appear. For example, the unnecessary details in the drawing above result in a flat, awkward cliff with no real weight or mass. Similarly, the cliffs in the gorilla painting, where each layer of rock is carefully delineated, look like a cheap theatrical backdrop.
Yet, when Frazetta lightened up, and made his cliffs delicate compositional devices, they started to take on genuine artistic weight.
|Another cliff or a column of smoke? They both weigh the same, aesthetically.|