April 26 – Happy Birthday, Eyvind Earle

Posted on April 26, 2015

One of my favorite artists from animated movies created what I consider a masterpiece way back in 1959.

I'm talking about the styling, backgrounds, and colors of Disney's Sleeping Beauty – and I'm talking about Eyvind Earle.

(It doesn't hurt that he shares my own last name! Alas, no relation!)

I always loved the backgrounds of Sleeping Beauty – those stylized trees, especially – but one day I went into an art gallery in Laguna Beach, California, and there were some of Earle's masterpieces, in huge format – large-scale stylized forests covering the gallery walls. I felt the love I had for Earle's style change into something bigger: fandom.

It is no surprise to me that Earle is not “just” an animator – that his works hang in such amazing museums as the Met in New York City and Rahr West Art Museum. He is also an author.

After having success with Disney, and also as a greeting card painter (he made more than 800 Christmas card designs for the American Artist Group), Earle returned to full-time painting in 1966. He used watercolor and oil paints, and he created drawings and sculptures, and he even dabbled in scratchboards and printmaking.

His wave has fractal elements to it! So cool...

A bit about his background...

Eyvind Earle was born on this date in 1914 in New York. His family moved to Hollywood when he was just a tiny tyke. Earle began painting at age 10, and he had his first solo show when he was just 14 years old. I would think that that first solo show would be close to home – somewhere in Southern California – but, actually, it was in France!

A bit about his backgrounds...

Earle was chosen to create the backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty partly because Walt Disney wanted Sleeping Beauty to have a different look than Snow White and Cinderella, which had been released in 1937 and 1950, respectively. Disney wanted the movie to look like a living illustration, and he asked his artists to be inspired by medieval art.

Earle's background paintings took seven to ten days to paint, compared to typical animation backgrounds of the time, which took only one day to complete.

  • Here is Eyvind Earle's official website, and here is a Pinterest page devoted to videos and pictures and websites about Earle.

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