Painting Studies Reveal How Pino Refined His Iconic Figurative Art
Pino is considered by many to be one of the last great American illustrators, having hand-painted more than 3,000 original book covers before switching to a career in fine art. Sadly, Pino passed away in 2010. However, he left behind not only a collection of amazing artwork, but the various studies that accompanied them.
Studies are initial drawings, sketches, or even paintings done by artists in preparation for creating a finished work of art. They allow the artist to practice their techniques and refine aspects like lighting, composition, form, and color.
Pino’s detailed studies have become popular with collectors. They offer a unique look at his creative process and provide Pino fans with the opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind painting created by the artist’s own hand. We spoke with Max Dangelico, Pino’s son, to gain some insight into the importance of his father’s incredible studies.
The Beginning of an Idea
While Pino’s pencil sketches hint at the beginnings of an idea, his oil studies show a more finished interpretation of those ideas. Dangelico says his father would occasionally sketch his ideas on board or paper and apply color to them. If Pino liked how the study was evolving, he would commit to executing the idea as a full oil painting on canvas.
“The oil studies are very interesting and show you how his creative mind was at work,” Dangelico says. “With just a few lines and a splash of color you can see where he was going with the thought of each painting.”
For instance, you can see how this “Spanish Dancer” study evolved into a finalized painting. In the study, Pino perfected the pose and expression of the dancer. He also determined the colors of his subject’s outfits, adding to the contrast between the dancer and the background that draws your eye to the energetic performer.
A Return to Watercolors
These studies became particularly essential to the artist later in his career. Pino preferred to stand while painting, but, after being diagnosed with cancer and enduring 18 months of grueling chemotherapy treatments, the artist no longer had the strength to stand for long periods of time. Instead, he would rest on the couch to draw and paint with watercolors.
“His career had come full circle,” Dangelico says. “As a young boy he dabbled in watercolors, switched to oils at 18 and never went back until he became sick with cancer. Amazing how life works like that.”
In his paintings, Pino sought to capture the intimate moments of life, whether it was a mother reading a story to her child or a man reclined in quiet, private reflection. These early studies give collectors a rare peek behind the curtain, inviting them into the artist’s studio and showing them how the artist conceived some of his greatest creations.