When we learned that Disney legend Eyvind Earle’s work would be showcased not too far from our office, we jumped at the chance to take a field trip and see firsthand three of the illustrations that provided the backdrop for the original “Sleeping Beauty” — among 62 other gleaming, intricate and colorful pieces in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Museum.
The overall aesthetic of the 1959 “Sleeping Beauty” is all thanks to the stylized eye of Mr. Earle, earning him a spot as one of the most famous artists to have ever worked at Disney, shaping inspirations for generations upon generations. He had also painted settings for the beloved “Peter Pan” and “Lady and the Tramp”.
Growing up, his father gave him two tasks to choose between every single day, which might have been difficult for a young boy to obey.
He could either:
A. Read 50 pages of a book
B. Paint a picture
What did he choose to do? BOTH. Eyvind was driven and passionate from the start, and those “chores” only sharpened his skills, instilling a strong creative vision and delivery from a very young age. It’s no wonder he had his first solo show in France at the age of 14, which is really where the Eyvind Earle buzz began, and at age 21, he bicycled from California to New York (yes, that is correct), painting 42 watercolors along the way to fund his journey. It wasn’t long before the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his paintings for their permanent collection, and in 1951, Eyvind entered Disney as an assistant background painter.
Like most creatives, it took some time for Eyvind to come into his own. While his work was very realistic in its early stages, his individual style developed after he studied the greats such as Rockwell and van Gogh. Pulling inspirations from the artistic icons before him led his creations to produce an explosion of vibrant color, formulating an environment that could only be imagined once upon a dream.
At Forest Lawn, we were surrounded by so many jaw droppingly beautiful pieces touched by such a treasured source of brilliance, and it left us basking in feelings of awe and privilege (and motivation!). The moral of this fairy tale is: Never. Stop. Dreaming. And. Doing.
The exhibit goes until January 1st, 2017!